Sheep Dip with Raising the Baa

In team building, W is for....?

December 21, 2022 Chris Farnsworth & Caroline Palmer Season 6 Episode 23
Sheep Dip with Raising the Baa
In team building, W is for....?
Show Notes Transcript

The penultimate episode in our series, The A-Z of Team Building, covers topics beginning with W relating to the importance of:
- all members of a team being supported
- creating a judgement-free environment
- including everyone in the fold (as it were)
- personal growth and development essential to wider team success
- enthusiasm sometimes needing to be managed
This series was inspired by the many lessons learned by our clients following their experience of Raising the Baa. And we punctuate it with a few insights of our own too.

Expect plenty of analogies from the world of sheep and dogs from Head Shepherd & Founder of Raising the Baa, Chris Farnsworth, in these short and lively conversations with Paul Warriner, our Lead Facilitator.

Enjoy - and thank ewe for listening 😊

In the final draw of the year, the prize is a hand-made sheep's wool hot water bottle cover - to keep ewe snuggly warm in an eco-friendly and ecological way :-)

To enter simply answer this question:

Which W topic is strongly accompanied by its polar opposite, awareness of both being essential?

Email your response to, with Sheep Dip in the subject box please.

The draw closes at 23.59 on 31 December 2022 and we'll email the winners the following working day.  One entry per episode. Open to UK residents only.

FREE resource:
Sheep, Shepherd or Dog - which one are ewe? Take our personality quiz and find out.

Connect with the Speakers via LinkedIn:
Paul Warriner - The Recognition Coach and Lead Facilitator, Raising the Baa
Chris Farnsworth - Head Shepherd and Co-Founder, Raising the Baa

What are your main team challenges and desires? Maybe we can help?
Book in a 15-minute Exploratory Call now and let's see.

Caroline (00:03):

Hello and welcome to Sheep Dip, the podcast from Raising the Baa. We're global leaders in team building with sheep at its core. I'm Caroline and together with my partner Chris, we co-founded this completely unique business. In this series of podcasts, we are bringing you the complete A to Z of team building. It picks up on all the themes that have been fed back to us by our clients in their reviewing sessions, following their Raising the Baa programmes. And a few more topics of our own too. Expect plenty of shepherding references from Chris and he is in lively conversations with Paul Warriner, our lead facilitator. In this series, at the end of each episode, we are going to ask you a question. It'll be related to something discussed in the show. Keep your answers handy because each and every month we're giving away some Raising the Baa prizes. So whenever you're listening, you can enter. How to enter will be in the show notes. Enjoy the show.

Chris (01:02):

Hi Paul.

Paul (01:03):

Hi Chris. How are you doing?

Chris (01:05):

I'm good. I'm feeling amazing. How are you doing?

Paul (01:11):

I'll echo that. Not feeling too bad at all. Amazing would be a great word.

Chris (01:15):

But we're doing W.

Paul (01:18):

In the A to Z of team building, it's W today. Great. Okay. Well, where do we start?

Chris (01:23):

The weak sheep...if a sheep's weak that's where you've got to put the most attention. That's as a shepherd. You walk out, everything's fine, fit and dandy. You've got the weak sheep. That's the one you've got to address and really put some energy into. Is that the same with team building?

Paul (01:42):

I think so. Yeah. I think making sure that everybody in the team is looked after and is able to do their best, giving them the resources and support that they're needed. I think that's very important. And I think a lot of that is giving individuals the confidence to be able to support themselves. And if somebody is feeling overwhelmed or stressed, they've got the ability to voice that without judgement and address that in some way. And what does that support need to look like for them to achieve what they've got to do and their contribution? Often people are judged if they're not pulling their weight or they're falling behind or they're not delivering to their best. And I think the whole team needs to be aware of individual strengths and potential weaknesses too, so that they can support them through that. But individuals need to have that empowerment, as it were, as a good word, to be able to stand up and say something and not feel judged so you can support the weaker members of the team on the way to the result that we want to achieve. And I think it's everybody's commitment to do that.

Chris (02:55):

I find with the weak sheep is they're very good at hiding. So what I mean by that is they're in a flock, you can identify the weak sheep because it's slightly behind the flock or it's slightly off to one side. So the challenge actually as a shepherd is to catch that weak sheep because as soon as you muddle them all up, it easily gets lost in the whole group. So almost identifying it is the easy part. Then dealing with it is a lot harder than identifying it. Does that make sense to you?

Paul (03:34):

Yeah, it definitely does. And in the workplace, I think people are able to hide in larger teams and departments, you know, they are able to hide. Sometimes it's difficult to get the resources and support to the individual for that reason. But also I think it's fair to say that sometimes the weaker members of the team are also ostracised, are marginalised in some way, and they're not then included in a lot of thinking and the planning and the activities purely because it's self-policed a lot of the time in teams. You know, I've been on many a football team as a kid where I didn't get the ball and there's probably a good reason for that. No matter how much I screamed pass to me, the ball would never come to me. And it's kind of self-policing. If you are always going to fumble it, kick it out, you know, give the ball away, whatever it was that I would be very good at.


Sometimes it didn't meet the aspirations and goals of the other team members. So they do self-regulate a lot of the time. And it's a leader's role to identify that and to have that awareness and put in the strategies that bring people back into the fold, no pun intended. And to give them the support and build them. And because one of the best things about being a leader is seeing people develop and seeing people grow and being part of that journey for them as every other team member. It's one of the great joys of the work that we do. You know, we've seen it time and time again when people just don't get it and then all of a sudden they get it and you know, the objectives are delivered, the sheep are in the pen and people are celebrating. And it's such a wonderful feeling to be able to share that with people. And that's what it's all about now. Bringing everybody along on that journey is really important and everybody benefits as a result and people grow. But if you don't know and you don't take care, you're not aware, you can't do much about it.

Caroline (05:35):

If you're enjoying listening to this podcast, we'd really appreciate your following us and rating Sheep Dip wherever it is that you tune in. And if you've got a burning question arising from today's show, or you have a topic that you'd like to discuss in a bit more detail, then please email me

Chris (05:57):

You've got to be observant, wise and encouraged. All those things are so important, aren't they? When trying to pull everybody together. I think what wisdom of the dog to know instinctively what you want to do. I want to catch that sheep, you know, to focus it, to do the right movements. Second nature to you is amazing. The willingness to play full out I think is incredible with the dog. Would you get team members like that?

Paul (06:33):

You certainly do. You get people who are very enthusiastic and very willing to do everything that they can to make the exercise a success. And you do get those that don't want to play full out. But as we just said, getting everybody on the same page, moving at the same pace. But willingness to participate is vital in a team. Very rare that you can get the full amount of array of benefits from team building, team development if you are just sitting on the sidelines. So getting in the game is important. So being willing to participate is vital. And you're talking about wisdom there. And I think, in hindsight, there's a lot of wisdom in hindsight, but it takes a lot of courage to put your wisdom on the map right in front of everybody else and just share your thoughts. And there's a lot of wisdom in thoughts.


You know, people come at it from different perspectives. But the real wisdom is collating all of those thoughts and being able to percolate them down into a plan and just hearing everybody out. We've seen it time and time again, haven't we? When they've rushed out to do the exercise without taking on board all of the information that they have available, even though we've offered it to them, they rush out because they're enthusiastic, they want to get on with it, they're too willing to sort of rush out there and have a go. But they haven't taken advantage of all of that information. So the wisdom is let's just gather all of the information before we make some decisions. That very rarely happens, but it often gets shouted down. There are one or two people that say, well, perhaps we should just think about this a bit more.


No, come on, let's have a go. So we can see wisdom, or lack of wisdom, or enthusiasm overriding wisdom sometimes. It's a player all the time, and when they reflect on it, everybody goes, oh yeah, perhaps we should have done that. Perhaps we should have done it. So those reflection moments are really powerful and I believe they take that with them when they finish the exercise. They don't just do it for the day. They'll remember things that they learnt on that particular day and take it back. So maybe at another time in the future they'll pause and they'll think and they'll reflect before they make a knee-jerk reaction. They will in fact gather the information because they learnt from an exercise that they did with us. So I believe that that's also very wise is to debrief what they do with us.

Chris (09:10):

Yeah. I must admit, the groups which make the most progression and seem to be the most coherent are the ones which always love the enthusiasm, which people rush out to the field, but can taint that with the wisdom of actually going, right, let's really knuckle down and see what we need to learn here. So that's an amazing group to work with.

Paul (09:36):

Yeah, and I think the joy for us, and ultimately the joy for them is that they do learn from it and they do appreciate what they've learned in that exercise. There's very few groups who are super arrogant and, you know, just so pigheaded about the whole thing. There's a lot of humility in the exercise and the learning that they go through. And I think that is, when they look back on that, they're exercising wisdom and seeing what they've learned as a team and taking it forward.

Chris (10:10):

Paul, that was fantastic. I've never realised that wisdom could be so good.

Paul (10:16):

Oh, those are wise words from an old shepherd. Well, not so old, you know, I didn't mean it that way.

Chris (10:21):

Good to speak with you, Paul.

Paul (10:23):

Yeah, likewise mate. Take care.

Chris (10:24):


Caroline (10:25):

Well, I hope you've enjoyed the show. Thank you so much for listening. Did you get the answer to the question? Keep it handy because at the end of each calendar month, we will be doing a draw of all the correct entries. Full details of how to enter are in the show notes. Till next time, have a baa-rilliant week. Bye.