The remarkable journey to building more effective teams at the recent Strengths Workshop at one of Citrusdal’s biggest employers
Incredible interaction. More effective communication. And teams really getting to know each other through their strengths. We got a glimpse into some amazing team building and growth at the recent Strengths Workshop at Goede Hoop Citrus in the Citrusdal region.
“Our team really got to know each other better. We got to really see each other’s various strengths in action,” says Goede Hoop Citrus development manager Nico Smuts. “And that immediately helped us understand each other, so we could start communicating more effectively from day one.”
Here’s all the info on the company, their goals with the Strengths Workshop, what happened on the day and feedback from the teams. Plus: How you can do the same for your company.
WHO IS GOEDE HOOP CITRUS?
Founded only 10 years after the town itself was born, Goede Hoop Citrus is one of the biggest industries in the Citrusdal region. It employs over 6 000 people and its operations span from harvesting, preparing and packing fruit to helping a wide network of farmers improve standards in farming and researching environmentally friendly food treatment methods.
Being such a large industry, Goede Hoop Citrus has, from a peoples perspective, a huge variety of employees and suppliers, all with various specialities, training and skill levels. So it’s absolutely vital for the management teams to know each other and be able to communicate effectively to keep the business running smoothly and achieving its goals.
WHAT DID THE COMPANY WANT TO ACHIEVE?
“Originally, we looked at having a smaller, more intimate session with about 6 or so people in senior management,” says LifeXchange’s strengths champion and workshop facilitator, Tammy Oosthuizen.
“There are a few people that haven’t worked with each other for that long, so it’s almost like having a new team. So we suggested the strengths-based development approach as a way to fast-track the team getting to know one another.”
Goede Hoop Citrus liked the approach and asked LifeXchange to include a broader scope of managers at various levels within the company.
“In the end, we had about 23 people,” says Tammy. “So we designed the day for the most effective way to get this group of people to really understand each other and work together.”
WHAT DID THE STRENGTHS WORKSHOP ENTAIL?
The whole process started a few days before the actual workshop. Teams were given logins to do their own online CliftonStrengths assessment.
(For those who don’t know, LifeXchange’s strength-based development begins with the famous CliftonStrengths by Gallup, an effective way of seeing an individual’s strengths. But then LifeXchange has its own unique method of interpreting and using that info to get amazing insights for business. See our unique brand of strength-based development.)
On the day, Tammy opened by explaining the strengths-based development philosophy, which is basically that people experience real individual growth and success much more effectively when focused on their personal strengths, rather than weaknesses.
After this, the group shared their assessment results and LifeXchange helped everyone understand what their results really mean and how best to use them at work. And that was followed by a few practical team-building exercises specifically designed to allow the various teams to see each other’s strengths in action.
“I think we all learned a lot,” says Nico, “about ourselves and the people we work with.” Some specific outcomes on the day:
“Our teams also got to engage with managers in other divisions, people they don’t work with every day,” Nico says. Which is vital but so often overlooked. Seeing others who are faced with similar challenges in other parts of your company just makes the business feel “bigger”, like you have more support outside of your own day to day activities.
REALLY GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER
Because teams get to learn more about themselves through their own strengths, it’s a valuable opportunity for them to share a few exercises so they can see each other’s strengths and ways of thinking, too.
MORE EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
“I learned a valuable communication lesson, for example, with one of the colleagues that I work very closely with,” explains Nico. “Where I like to give context and explain every situation in great detail before getting to my actual point, I learned that my colleague just wants the facts, in bullet points and as quickly as possible.
“So this helped me adjust how I communicate with that colleague specifically. And now I feel we can work much more effectively together. It’s amazing.”
HOW THE TEAMS RESPONDED
“It was wonderful to learn more about yourself and your team at the same time,” says Goede Hoop Citrus cost accountant Le Riche Du Plessis. “I think the next big challenge for us is to figure out how we’re going to roll out this kind of information throughout the entire company.”
At the end of the workshop, the teams all agreed that they feel incredibly positive. And started talking immediately about how to implement it across the entire company.
“For now, this was a real highlight for us. And there’s definitely more in the pipeline. We look forward to doing even more with LifeXchange,” Nico concludes.
Discover it for yourself: Remarkable team and individual benefits of LifeXchange’s unique brand of strength-based development.
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