There is so much we don’t know about our colleagues. We often know very little about their personal lives and interests, let alone about their childhood and teenage years. When I learn something about someone’s early life it often gives me a new perspective and appreciation for who they are and what they value. The people we are closest too usually know a lot about our personal histories which helps them understand our thoughts, beliefs and actions. Teams who want to build close and lasting relationships can benefit by learning more about the formative years of their peers.
If you are cringing at the thought of sharing childhood stories with your team, keep in mind this isn’t about sharing your deep, dark family secrets. Nor, does it need to be extremely personal information. But understanding more about how and where each other grew up can be an interesting way to better understand each other and why we hold certain values at present.
This activity is best for a team who has some degree of trust and who desires to blend personal and professional lives.
- Ask each person to bring one (and only one) picture from their youth to share with the team. This picture should represent a happy memory.
It can be an actual childhood picture or an image of something that represents a happy memory. For example, if someone loved to go to the beach and build sand castles with their father, they might bring an image of a sand castle.
- At your meeting, ask each person to share their image and to tell the story of that happy memory.
Be prepared to smile, laugh and connect to your team mates on a different level as you see them in your mind as an innocent young child.
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