Fashion Fiasco team building challenge
To paraphrase the immortal words of the fashion giant, Derek Zoolander -
“There’s much more to being a top team than just being really, really good looking!”
Teams are thrust into the ever changing world of high fashion as they become their very own “Fashion House” and are challenged to design, manufacture and then present on the catwalk a range of both practical and fantasy fashion creations.
A fashion celebrity “hoax” intro leads to plenty of laughs, the formation of teams and a detailed briefing of the challenge at hand.
Various team roles will need to be filled and some cross-functional communication engaged into for the selection of assorted crazy items and materials for the design and manufacture of catwalk creations.
Teams must ultimately stage a spectacular catwalk extravaganza with carefully selected music, and of course one of their very own team members as the stunning model. Lots of laughs, creativity and some unique parallels with their own team and business challenges unfold with what is a clever real time project.
The Fashion Fiasco concept will provide a different medium for the team to explore their own dynamics along with a variety of approaches for meeting the customer’s needs.
Relationships within the team will be just as important as those between the team and their customers. Getting the internal processes right along with the relationship with the client will be crucial for profitability and success.
Once each Fashion House has obtained the necessary knowledge, resources and tools they can begin to make items that meet the needs of the market and their specific buyers.
Each House will need to create a number of designs and will allocate a genre (e.g. Fantasy Island, Back to the Future, Bridal Blitz) to each of the teams in the Fashion House. Teams may use actual designs and plans or concoct their own truly unique concepts.
It’s Gonna be a Walk-Off!
These wonderful creations will need to be fitted to each team’s own models who will later strut their stuff on the catwalk.
Each team must plan and conduct their own fashion show (in keeping with the overall ‘Fashion House Concept’) for the entertainment and enlightenment of the other teams and the buyers who will be formulating their final orders and contracts.
Each team must have selected their own music to accompany their models.
A special commentary on the label and how it has been tailored to suit the needs of the market must also accompany the team’s models (doubtless some tacky cross -dressing will infiltrate this process) during the show.
The culmination of the event will be the popping of champagne corks and the ceremonious announcement of the coveted awards for “Label Of The Year”, “The Company’s Next Top Model” (and perhaps one or two awards thrown in for the worst cross dressers?).
Following the announcement of the awards, teams can pop the champagne and enjoy a celebration of their creative efforts.
Potential Key Learning Points / Outcomes from a Fashion Fiasco
Team Roles and Diversity
Fashion Fiasco requires a myriad of different operating styles to solve the overall challenge, and many different types of team role contribution are essential for a balanced and profitable approach to the challenge. Team members will find it essential that different team role styles come forward at the right times to deal with different aspects of the challenge. Leading, Thinking, Doing, Supporting and Challenging roles are needed at different times. Models such as Belbin, Myers Briggs or DISC are well re-enforced here.
Overcoming Task Overload
The team is overloaded with potential options and a lot of raw data and information as part of the creative process. They must quickly plan and prioritise how they will actually go about attacking the challenge and getting relevant insights and actions as a team, and a total fashion house, from the mass of available sources and information. Failure to use good systems, cross checks and teamwork will lead to teams falling into the activity trap and becoming task focused at the expense of the bigger picture objective of solving the crime.
Teams have a unique team challenge, but it must dovetail with the overall fashion house strategy with other teams, and therefore they are required to engage in some cross-functional sharing of ideas and equipment to enable each team to properly complete the project with greater speed, profitability and effectiveness.
Bigger Picture Thinking
The team has an overall united challenge and desired outcome, but temptations to focus only upon the execution of their specialisation and area of interest can come into play. Issues of Big Picture versus Micro thinking will come into play as teams need to address not only their own area of specialisation, but also those of other teams to ensure their overall success.
The winning approach to the challenge will require not only the great plans and systems that teams will devise, but they must be followed through into effective and timely execution if the ideas and approaches are to be converted into real and workable outcomes. Good teams will follow a model such as Plan – Brief – Execute and De-Brief throughout.
Fun and Motivation
Fashion Fiasco is a high energy, high interaction and high fun challenge. Teams have a great deal of fun, and motivate one another a great deal towards completion within the timeframes permitted.
Internal and external communication will be essential as teams need to interpret and then effectively communicate information that is critical to making sure the diverse elements of the project come together in the right way for the desired end result. Failure to communicate effectively will result in confusion and bad execution.
Within teams there is a high degree of networking as people work closely together to get the project done. Networking between teams can also be facilitated if we design the activity to require co-operation between teams for common objectives or shared outcomes.
Breaking Down Barriers
Fashion Fiasco gives plenty of scope for releasing individual and collective inhibitions as the total team has the opportunity to see one another in a very creative, and different perspective as they create their wearable works of art and hilarious final shows. People will do things they, and others will not believe!