The Theater Offensive: Understanding Team Roles

ArtsFwd asks the Innovation Lab grantees: What is one major “a-ha!” moment your team experienced during the retreat?

The Theater Offensive innovation team learned about each member’s preferred team-working style, which allowed them to build an additional layer of respect for each other as they move forward in their project’s prototyping process. Image: John Shibley

This is the second post from Daunasia Yancey about The Theater Offensive’s experience in the Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts. We asked her to share some of the deep thinking that took place during their team’s five-day focused retreat. Read more from the other Lab participants here. 

What is one major “a-ha!” moment your team experienced during the retreat — and how will it influence how you move forward?

Our innovation team’s first “a-ha!” moment during the retreat at the Airlie Center was when we reviewed our results from the Belbin team roles survey. Before arriving at Airlie, each team member filled out a short Belbin survey and our first activity at Airlie was reviewing our results together.

Our results from this survey revealed that, as a group, we had a lot of powerful voices in the room, and that we each would have a different way of approaching the prototyping process as we moved forward with our Innovation Lab project. Some folks were more inclined to the creative part of prototyping and were excellent idea generators, while others were more interested in implementation and practicality. We learned that this difference between team members’ preferred behaviors can easily cause conflict when there is no mutual understanding of others’ perspectives. This background information helped us to truly hear what one another was saying.

For example, during one conversation in the retreat, one member of our team asked a question about another’s idea that sounded like they were challenging the idea. In fact, they were just trying to figure out how that idea could be put into action. The Belbin team roles review framed the way we worked together and allowed us to feel safer with each other in what could have been a very tense week.

Our discussion allowed us to build an additional layer of respect for each other based on the diversity of learning and creating styles we each brought to the prototyping process. I believe that our Belbin conversation was a key factor in our group being as positive and productive as we were during our week at Airlie and will be crucial to us successfully implementing our prototype. As we move ahead with this project, we hope to incorporate the knowledge, skills, and positive energy we cultivated during our retreat.

About The Theater Offensive’s Innovation Lab project

The Theater Offensive (TTO)’s project asks: What is the impact of our newly formed Pride Youth Theater Alliance (PYTA) – a strategic alliance supporting and encouraging Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) youth theater in North America? How will this new model affect TTO’s work local as it takes on this new initiative on an international scale?

Daunasia Yancey is an African-American, aggressive-femme lesbian, and sexual health educator who has worked for several Boston-area community based organizations and served on the Boards of Directors of Boston’s Alliance of GLBT Youth and the National Youth Advocacy Coalition. She is taking time off from pursuing an (expensive) degree in Public Health while continuing to change the world. Daunasia is Assistant to the Executive Artistic Director at The Theater Offensive, whose philosophy of OUTness as a tool to create safe, vibrant neighborhoods resonates with Daunasia’s commitment to the vitality of her community.