Duck Herding. A surprisingly effective personal and team development activity.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been asked for something new and different when it comes to team building activities.

More recently we wonder if it’s the activities that need to be new and different, or the eyes with which we view them.

Example: Duck Herding. For many years I poo-pooed this activity as a silly ‘nonsense’ activity, that was potentially a laugh, but had no value. This was primarily for two reasons,

  1. so many of the mass ineffective teambuilding companies offered it and
  2. I had never seen Duck Herding.

Then a couple of years ago I had the opportunity to see Duck Herding in action at a conference event I was hosting and facilitating in Leicestershire. The client had organised Duck Herding as a fun break out session. For the first time I saw the activity and I saw so many development and learning possibilities, connections and values in the fun team challenge.

I was able to take a significant amount of insights and feedback about communication, message, clarity, behaviours and intent, back into the room to enable clients to reflect and make changes, and I was genuinely surprised by how good the activity was and its inherent developmental lessons.

Much of my work is about developing high performance in organisations and in reality, I spend much less time these days using fun activities. That said, since that first time I have offered – and delivered – Duck Herding for a number of clients, very successfully. It’s great for developing high level topics such as management, communication, relationships, team work and effectiveness, and, with greater commitment and investment it offers excellent coaching scenarios for managers and leaders around beliefs and behaviours.

Most hotels and country conference centres have grounds or adjoining fields that are plenty big enough for Duck Herding. An area the size of a tennis court will do, but a little larger gives more choice.

One thing that will absolutely add value to your team building event is sharing what you want from the experience. Having a theme or connection will give the facilitation, feedback and workshops more bite! I am a big fan of people understanding ‘this means this to me because’. If you want fun, Duck Herding will give it. If you want real memorable value and lessons, professional facilitation will give you that and more.

Before asking for something new, don’t be afraid to look at some of the more widely used activities in a new light and some may surprise you, your team and your organisation. It’s your event, so tell us the outcomes, changes or value you want, and we’ll work with you to help your people do just that.

PJ Stevens

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