Wellness - Drumming Up A Group Dynamic



Val Shah, right, with Stephanie Soulis of Little Mushroom Catering
Drumming Up A Group Dynamic
The team that drums together makes better plans together
By Jon Rohr
In a world when everyone is stressed, moving releases that stress. Val Shah Inspiration and Education (valshah.ca) is a new program that uses drumming to get people into a creative headspace. “Move your body for a free mind,” says Val. 

Having co-created a “Drum fit “ program with partner Elizabeth Fryer, (both are Waterloo residents), Shah soon realized that drumming in mass built a sense of community within the group. In her trials, she found that by drumming to the same beat, groups would let go of their pent-up energy as a single unit. This eureka moment provided Shah the opportunity to create a new level of team building, one that could work to achieve a heightened level of engagement, by creating a unified and open mind.

Applying this theory to team dynamics in the workplace, Shah discovered that a group warm-up using the motion and beats of drumming permitted a heightened level of problem-solving as a team, empowering otherwise disconnected team members to be comfortable in a group dynamic, and to more positively come out of their shell. “Which is huge,” says Shah. It allows for a more unified dynamic in the team building process, permitting their thoughts and ideas to be shared, captured and built on. Once the barrier of isolation is removed, the company can then open up discussion and move forward in a relaxed and sharing way. It’s goal setting, visioning and planning that occurs after the team “gets their rhythm”.

Recently, Shah did a team building exercise with Little Mushroom Catering. After the staff found their unified voice and all barriers were removed, Shah would enter phase two of her program. By using tools like “Dream boards” which could also be termed “Vision boards”, a work place team leader can uncover work place realities, good and bad, in a calm, peaceful and purposeful environment. Shah places a lot of emphasis on moving and the kinetic energy that frees right brain activity. The left brain is the logical, numbers-oriented, analytical sector, and the right brain is more creative, idea headspace – less logic, more feeling. Feedback is extremely emotional. And it’s emotional for both Shah and the participants. She’s changing lives.

You “make connections, and open up
new connections. It’s a people
empowering process”.

Using the vision board along with goal setting, participants build their board. Shah says you can quickly identify gaps in certain staff boards. By using descriptives like ‘strength, power, team work, exceptional’, she says, “it really becomes a window to the heart of the group.” In the corporate world, it allows people to see and understand a little bit more of their fellow team members. This is all done in a safe and positive environment, permitting a heightened understanding of each member of the team. 

The “dream/vision board” creates a sense of accountability with not just the individual but the other team members as well. By developing a commonality and cohesiveness in the team dynamic, that wasn’t there before, it can engage and build on the success of those individuals by understanding their personal dreams and motivations. You “make connections, and open up new connections,” says Shah. “It’s a people empowering process”.

The workshops can be set up separately, independent drumming to get the team ready for the next session with another facilitator, or Shah can customize the dream/vision board workshops to dig into “a new level of awareness” that team leaders might otherwise not be aware of.

All said and done, the movement, breathing and mindfulness of what makes you happy will only translate in a more productive, focused and engaged employee, permitting a heighten level of engagement – and isn’t that going to benefit business?


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Publisher is Exchange Business Communication Inc.
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ISSN 0824-45
Copyright, 2018.