The National Weather Service
The Scenario:The National Weather Service has recently faced downsizing due to a significantpersonnel shift in the Obama budget. The White House budget removed one employee from each of the 122 weather forecasting offices. Only twenty-four of these employees have been chosen to be reassigned and will soon be moving to a regional office that will serve as a consolidated "help desk".There are 6 regional offices (Kansas City, Mo.; Bohemia, N.Y.; Fort Worth, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Anchorage, Alaska; and Honolulu, Hawaii) and these IT employees will be designated to the their closest regional office. Each of the Regional Offices will gain a total of 4 employees.Our team (EPAC; Erica, Paul, & Antonieo Consulting), has been contracted to come in and assist the efforts of the NWS through this organizational change in order to produce a team building/trust intervention/activity with these individuals in an attempt to motivate the employees by building relationships in order to succeed in the overreaching goal of maintaining the NWS's mission and vision. After carefully interviewing both the leaders and employees we have determined the following:These twenty-four IT employees' have experienced high stress of keeping their jobs and morale is low. Several are still experiencing anxiety over the future move to their regional office and the possibility of taking on a heavier workload, and none of these twenty-four employees have met. Once the team building exercises have been completed at the NWS Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, employee training for new job descriptions will be implemented internally once they have been assigned and successfully relocated to their new locations.
Provide weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.
A Weather-Ready Nation: Society is Prepared for and Responds to Weather-Dependent Events
The headquarters of the National Weather Service is located in Silver Spring, MD with regional headquarters located in Kansas City, Mo.; Bohemia, N.Y.; Fort Worth, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Anchorage, Alaska; and Honolulu, Hawaii. With some 5,000 employees in 122 weather forecast offices, 13 river forecast centers, 9 national centers, and other support offices around the country, NWS provides a national infrastructure to gather and process data worldwide. Each year, NWS collects some 76 billion observations and issues approximately 1.5 million forecasts and 50,000 warnings.
The Suggested Intervention/Activities:
Focus: Learning Names
Make a standing circle. Have one person start by saying an action and their name. The
action should start with the same letter as their name, like energetic Eric or jumping Jill.
When they say their action and name, they can also act out their action. So, jumping Jill
would jump up and down. Have the entire group go around and repeat everyone's
actions and names each time a new person introduces him or herself.
Fear in a Hat
Fear in a Hat (Also known as Worries in a Hat) is a teambuilding exercise that promotes unity and group cohesion. Individuals write their personal fears (anonymously) on sheets of paper which is then collected in a hat and read aloud. Each person tries to describe his or her understanding of the person's fear. This leads to good discussion centered around the fears.
This teambuilding exercise requires writing utensils, sheets of paper, and a hat. Allow about five minutes of writing time, plus one to two minutes per participant. It's possible to run this activity with a large group of 20+, if the group is divided into smaller groups and if there are enough facilitators. (We can have three groups)
Setup for Fear in a Hat
Distribute a sheet of paper and a writing utensil to each person. Instruct them to anonymously write a fear or worry that they have. Tell them to be as specific and as honest as possible, but not in such a way that they could be easily identified. After everyone is done writing a fear/worry (including the group leaders), collect each sheet into a large hat.
Running the Fear in a Hat Teambuilding Activity
Shuffle the sheets and pass out one per person. Take turns reading one fear aloud, and each reader should attempt to explain what the person who wrote the fear means. Do not allow any sort of comments on what the reader said. Simply listen and go on to the next reader.
After all fears have been read and elaborated, discuss as a whole group what some of the common fears were. This teambuilding exercise can easily lead to a discussion of a team contract, or goals that the group wishes to achieve. This activity also helps build trust and unity, as people come to realize that everyone has similar fears.