It will not come as a surprise to our regular blog readers that I like to include examples of team building and working together in the animal kingdom. But I have decided to take a slightly different approach to this month’s animal entry. I was reading some of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting to my nephews over the weekend when we got to the bit about this unique and interesting creature known as the Pushmi-pullyu (pronounced push-me-pull-you). The Pushmi-pullyu is a unique animal with two heads that do not talk or listen to one another. Instead they always try to pull in different directions to one another. This causes them nothing but problems as they are always trying to go in two opposite directions, and as a result they never get anywhere. But if the two heads talked to one another and understood what they each wanted to do, they would be able to work together to achieve both of their desires.
Whilst the Pushmi-pullyu may be a character from a children’s story book, there is a lot that teams can learn from it about how not to work together. On our team building events we often help teams to find ways to move forward together. This is usually caused by the fact that not everyone in the team is on the same page and they want to do and achieve different things. But if they talk to one another and understand each other’s point of views and what they want to achieve, then they can work together to ensure that they are all successful, thus making the team successful.
I might start using the Pushmi-pullyu as an example in our debriefing session!