ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

September 1999


Not So Common Sense

Establishing Teams: The Agony And Ecstasy

CEOs Have Little Control Over Bottom Line

Older Vs. Younger

Drum Roll Please


A Conference For, By And At The People
by Peter Block


Brief Cases

Diary of a Shutdown

Views for a Change



Drum Roll Please

Looking to build dynamic teams? Try marching to the beat of a different drum - literally.
Healthy Sounds, a Kansas City, Kan. based team development program, uses the music making process as a team-building tool. The saturated marketplace of team training has spawned numerous creative, and unconventional, schemes focused on team development. Companies have turned to ropes courses, cooking workshops and improvisation acting classes to help create cohesion among teams. So maybe using a set of drums as a problem-solving tool isn't that far fetched of an idea. At least that's what Barry Bernstein, the Healthy Sounds program developer and trainer, is betting on.

"We can address problem solving, team building or deal with tension between groups of employees," Bernstein boasts of his Healthy Sounds program.

The typical Healthy Sounds training program lasts about two to three hours and consists of 50 to 400 people. Sessions begin with participants using percussion tools (shakers, bells, tambourines, hand drums, castanets, etc.) to experiment with different rhythms. Giving 400 people free reign with loud musical instruments might seem like a good way to cause friction and dissention among teams (picture that one obnoxious team member standing next to you with a tambourine). But Bernstein puts his faith in the program.

"Employees will say something like 'I really felt how my rhythm fit in,' " Bernstein adds.
After the initial phase the program switches to small-group exercises that use instruments as tools to address specific team processes, personal objectives and corporate goals.

The final part of the training requires participants to create their own piece of music, including lyrics that tie into the program's theme. Don't look for these team building jingles to be burning up the charts any time soon, but they have been music to the ears of Hoechst Marion Roussel and Bayer, two past program participants.

While the program might not be a solution to complicated team issues, it is a good stepping stone into team development.

"My goal is to get people out of their boxes so they can relax and be with others in a different way," Bernstein adds. "It's a definite stress reliever and a bond builder, which contributes to the emotional well-being of the office culture."

So if the ropes course gets to crowded for comfort a set of snare drums may be just the ticket to creating a little team rhythm.

September '99 News for a Change | Email Editor
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