For its annual Away Day, Kingfisher Sourcing Organisation (KSO) Hong Kong wanted presentations delivered during the event to be strongly linked to the team-building activities. The company, which is the sourcing arm of international retailer Kingfisher, is responsible for sourcing products for its brands, which include B&Q, Castorama, Brico Depot and Screwfix. Kingfisher has nearly 970 stores in eight countries.
Team building is an important component of KSO Hong Kong’s Away Day, and the company has worked with specialist Team Building Asia for the last four years to create programmes that boost morale and camaraderie among its staff.
“KSO’s objectives included being positive and being confident in uncertain times,” says David Simpson, co-founder and director of Team Building Asia. “They requested that presentations that day be strongly linked to the team-building activities. To ensure this, we added an interactive Q&A forum to cover company vision, and plans for the future.”
Simpson and his staff recommended the Dragon Squad activity as the ideal programme to be paired with the interactive Q&A.
“In Chinese culture, dragons are luck-bringers and symbolise great power, dignity, wisdom, life and prosperity,” Simpson explains. “The Dragon Squad includes a dragon dance performance intended to scare away evil spirits while bringing good fortune to the community – all these messages fitted nicely with the dynamics of Dragon Squad and KSO’s objectives.”
As KSO prefers a different venue each year for its Away Day, this year’s event was held in the newly renovated Jockey Club Box at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Shatin. It was chosen because it looks like an upmarket barn house with fine furnishings, while the views of the racecourse and the hills of the New Territories are stunning.
“The main issue for us when looking for a venue was ceiling height,” Simpson says. “The dragon gets lifted high in the air as participants raise and lower their arms to make the dragon come alive during the dance. While the majority of function spaces in Asia have high ceilings, it is important to be aware of this challenge in the production planning and site visits with the client.”
Mobilising the teams
The 170-strong KSO Hong Kong group was divided into 12 teams for the three-hour programme. Each team divided members into two sections – one responsible for the aesthetics of the dragon (construction and decoration) and the other for its movement (dance).
After a briefing from the main facilitator, each team set out to build the dragon’s head and tail from pre-cut pieces of cardboard by following a detailed assembly diagram. Once completed, team members had to decorate both body parts and then attach them to the main body, which was made of beautifully coloured silk.
Meanwhile, two members of each team were dispatched to join the specialist briefing clinic that taught them how to produce the music and dance moves for the dragon performance. “Each team was given different music genres by lucky dip, ranging from hip hop to Bollywood and from modern dance to ballet,” Simpson says. “Dragon Squad is unique as teams have full creative control of how they want the dragon to look and dance. They can also add their own personalities to the dragon.”
Toward the end of the three-hour activity, each team performed their personalised dragon dance in front of the entire KSO group. “The quieter participants really came alive during the dance section,” recalls Simpson, “and one of the team leaders did a series of impromptu Michael Jackson moves like the moonwalk, spins and vocal effects. It was hilarious and the audience loved it.”
At the end of the programme, participants were given physical takeaways, including a consolidated booklet of all the output from the discussions, along with selected souvenir photos. These pictures were also converted into electronic format so they could be uploaded onto a website, with the link sent to each participant through email blast after the event.
KSO Hong Kong gave the Dragon Squad a 96 per cent approval rating in its post-event feedback form. Says company manager Valery Cussenot: “It is an excellent, creative team-building activity. It provides excellent team engagement and alignment to all involved.”
“It was an enjoyable day last Friday – our colleagues are still talking about it this morning,” participants from KSO noted after returning to work the following Monday, adding that they specifically enjoyed the modern twist that was added to the dragon dance.
EVENT Dragon Squad Learning Activity
VENUE Hong Kong Jockey Club Shatin
DATE March 2012
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS 170 people
ORGANISER Team Building Asia