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Story Event Proposal for Caterpillar Offsite

We will offer a group of 25 to 60 employees an exciting and varied range of arts-based training within a framework of storytelling and theatre. The training will culminate in the creation of a new product: the performance/presentation of the participants' own interpretation of a familiar epic story.

Why theatre? In the theatre teams are formed of people with disparate skills, backgrounds, training and expectations. Their shared goal is to produce an innovative product in a short space of time. The success of each project depends on the team’s ability to realise the potential of all its individuals and to work together towards shared cultural and commercial values.

CONCISE SUMMARY OF THE TRAINING

Using raw materials and arts tools, this training day will create a finished product.

THE PRODUCT

A performance/presentation of an epic story.

THE RAW MATERIALS

The participants’ own creativity, ideas and commitment.

THE TOOLS

Drama, music, movement and design skills and techniques the participants learn and practice over the course of the programme.

TRAINING OBJECTIVES

  • To activate, highlight and represent Caterpillar’s cultural values.
  • To encourage imaginative thinking which translates into tangible results.
  • To create pride and satisfaction in the development of a new product (in this case a performance/presentation).
  • To provide opportunities for participants to express themselves in new ways and to increase self-confidence.
  • To develop a model for successful teambuilding.

THE STORY

The story we propose to facilitate is The Life and Labours of Hercules, which was chosen because of its resonance with Caterpillar. Hercules is a powerful symbol of strength, bravery and dynamism. His life is the story of a remarkable person who must overcome a series of great obstacles and impediments in order to achieve success. To continue to prosper he must constantly rise to new and unforeseen challenges. To accomplish an array of very difficult tasks he has to do more than utilise his great strength and heroism: he also needs to demonstrate wisdom, guile, judiciousness, loyalty and patience. He must be a creative problem solver and a clever negotiator. He has to incorporate the lessons learned from previous adventures in order to survive and thrive, and must learn that great strength brings great responsibility.

AN OUTLINE OF THE DAY’S TRAINING

  • A short welcome introduction to the day’s training. An outline of the learning opportunities and explanation of the challenges participants will face.
  • A series of warm-up exercises designed to bring the participants together as a team and to establish the ways of working we’ll be exploring during the course of the day.
  • Tell The Life and Labours of Hercules. Employ exercises to examine the qualities a hero requires and compare and relate these to Caterpillar’s cultural and commercial values.
  • Using further exercises based on Hercules, introduce a range of theatre and arts techniques which the participants can use and develop over the course of the day.
  • Divide the participants into working groups. Each group will be assigned a different episode of Hercules’ life to explore and bring to life, using a “step by step” facilitated process.
  • String together the episodes and our other actualised work to create a final realisation of the Hercules story, which could be presented to an audience or simply shared and enjoyed by the participants.
  • Feed back impressions of the presentation/performance.

CATERPILLAR’S CULTURAL VALUES EXPLORED AND ACTIVATED BY THE TRAINING

To create a successful product--in this case a presentation--the participants will be urged to:

  • ‘Strive for world class quality levels in processes and products’
  • ‘Develop an ‘ownership of quality’ attitude in each employee’

To build this product the participants must:

  • ‘Adopt a ‘we’ attitude in all activities’
  • ‘Combine the strengths and abilities of all employees to achieve our goals’
  • ‘Demonstrate trust and confidence in employees (and colleagues)

To achieve this ambitious project in a single day the participants must:

  • ‘Display a sense of urgency in all actions.’
  • ‘Strive for timely, honest and concise communication.’
  • ‘Be accessible (listen) to all employees’
  • ‘Create an open and informed environment’

By meeting the challenge of creating a new (and very different) product from their own ideas and skills the training would:

  • ‘Develop the self-confidence of all employees’ and contribute to one of Caterpillar’s European success factors:
  • ‘People Development’

POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE TRAINING MODEL

This training model has been chosen not only because it seems a suitable introduction to arts-based training, but also because it could be expanded to create an exciting and ambitious company wide event. Here’s how this could be achieved:

  • The story of The Life and Labours of Hercules would be divided into 15 or 20 sections.
  • Each section could be assigned to a group of Caterpillar employees, which they could actualise over a course of a day’s training. (Using a whole day’s training would allow participants to investigate each episode of the story in much greater detail, and would allow elements of design and construction to be incorporated more extensively)
  • At the end of each training day each group would present its story, which would be recorded on video.
  • The 15 or 20 videos would be edited and combined into one, which would be shown to all the participants, allowing all to share the work and efforts of their colleagues.