There’s ice cream and then there’s Oppo Brothers ice cream. We were already fans of Oppo so when they called and explained that they were in another phase of rapid growth and needed some help with building effective and high performing teams, we were delighted to help.

After meeting the team over morning coffee, we kicked off with a Belbin exercise – called ‘Team Write’ (part of Belbin Co-operate). Working together, three teams competed to see who could write the most recognisable version of the word ‘Oppo’. Team Roles immediately showed in their behaviours and gave a perfect lead into talking about what works in teams, what doesn’t and how they can best work together to solve a problem.

From there, each person received their own Belbin Individual Report and Jo (the trainer and facilitator) talked the group through the pages, the observer inputs and how reports can be used to learn more about ourselves and how we work with others. 

The teams were divided again, to play Belbin Contribute – a Team Role-focused exercise, designed for team building. It demonstrates the strengths and contributions of each of the nine Belbin Team Roles, developing the team’s understanding of the roles within a learning environment. Made up of nine different tasks, involving everything from caption writing to guiding other members of the team onto a sheep pen, each exercise corresponds with a Team Role and the team must decide who should perform each task. The team’s objective is to collect all nine Team Role awards within a certain time limit.

The video shows the two very different approaches taken – one team started quietly, reviewing the materials as a collective. The other divided up from the start to tackle individual tasks. It soon became apparent – to both teams – that changes were needed and it was fascinating to watch the use of the language of Team Roles coming into play. Their learning about Team Roles and high performing teams was invaluable in getting things done, within the time available.

Once the hour was up, the teams came back together, talked about what worked and where things could be done differently. They reviewed the number of jigsaw pieces which had been secured and considered what the impact and greater meaning was for Oppo as they continue to grow, disrupting established markets and creating their own new niche.

We’ve kept in touch with Oppo since our day together. We’re talking to individual team members about their reports and how they feel they can use their learning to manage up and down, and make their best contributions to their teams. We’re also talking with managers about how they are enabling individuals to play to their strengths and supporting them as they recruit more new team members. We’re delighted to see how quickly they’ve embedded the language of Belbin into their everyday work and look forward to the next update on their effectiveness.

In the words of the Oppo Founders ‘watch this space’!

Whether you are a start-up looking for help with growth, or an established team looking to improve the ways you work together, get in touch to see how we can help!