The culture in this organisation was unusual, odd. But culture change came in a most unusual way.
At pre-dinner drinks – I noticed the body language of this group of health professionals was rather different, as was the group dynamics. Yes, it was unusual, it was odd, especially for a Christmas party. I was not unduly concerned as no two groups are the same. The event proceeded and as usual there was much laughter and interaction, albeit on the quieter side. They all joined in and my initial qualms were forgotten.
As the Murder Party ended, the organiser thanked me profusely. She remarked how surprised she was that it went so well. She further revealed that this group had some major issues. Many did not speak to each other and some had lodged official complaints against these very co-workers. I am not surprised she did not tell me this during our pre-event consultation. She was dumbfounded to see her colleagues laughing together so freely, supporting each other’s characters and attempts at speaking in French accents but sounding Russian (this was in fact very normal!) and so on.
It seemed, for a while, these very special people had been able to put aside their difficulties by escaping into an adventure together. The magic of creativity and non-threatening communication is so beneficial to human dynamics. Change comes in small increments and the co-workers saw each other differently on this night and no doubt in days to come. I think the costumes helped a lot too!