Informal Team Alignment Exercise

Is your business the “winningest” team?
Fun wordplay to help your team stay aligned

This is a fun exercise to try when your team is working well together and you’d like to keep the momentum going, or for when you need to lighten to the mood a little.

My 14 year old son is mad about American Football at the moment, so we’re learning lots of new team sport strategies and techniques and the jargon that goes with them. My favourite piece of American Football jargon so far, has been the term “winningest“, which the OED defines as follows:

Winningest
adj, North American, informal:

Having achieved the most success in competition:

‘the winningest team in pro-football history’

I did a lot of my early coach training in the US and I’m a big fan of how North Americans don’t let formal grammar get in the way of clear, concise and even fun communication. So I’ve been using this approach recently in my work with top teams and boards, to help them think about what kind of team they are. It also helps with getting more creativity and risk-taking, as it’s a subtly-rule-breaking exercise.

I usually start by introducing the term winningest and then ask them to take some other words they like and make similarly informal terms out of them that help describe who they are as a team.

Start with an “…ing” word and just add “est” to play along. Don’t worry about which part of speech your word is (because that’s kind of the point here). For example:

  • Amazingest – we’re the team that makes you go wow
  • Challengingest – we just don’t back down
  • Encouragingest – every one of us is a born cheerleader
  • Energisingest – you’ll never feel tired on this team
  • Fulfillingest – simply the most rewarding team to be part of
  • Surprisingest – we really love new ideas
  • Workingest – we try harder.

If your team was an “…est”, what kind of est would it be?


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