This will be my first attempt to link some of my practice, in this case, teambuilding and the Quran. I have had this bugging question in my mind for the longest time:
What does the Quran say about the various components of outdoor experiential learning such as team building, cooperation and communication?
As a Muslim and an outdoor practitioner, I believe that my belief supersedes my profession. In other words, I believe that my outdoor practice should be guided by my religion instead of them being two separate entities. My belief is that religion provides anyone with the moral compass or code of ethics in their daily lives including their work. Hence, I have always wondered what my religion has to say about outdoor and experiential learning.
It was as if my prayers were answered, I recently co-conducted a team building activity for my fellow colleagues during a staff retreat. We were informed that a senior staff, who is also an Ustaz (teacher in Arabic), will be summing up the learnings and takeaways from the activities.
I must admit that I initially felt awkward when informed of the news. It was not because I was against the idea but because I was so used to debrief a particular activity myself. Nevertheless, I stuck to the plan and was secretly looking forward to the final debrief session.
And that was when the magic happen. The Ustaz asked us to refer to the following verse from the Holy Quran:
[Quran, Surah at-Tawbah, 9: 122] It is not advisable for the believers to march out altogether. Of every division that marches out, let a group remain behind, to gain understanding of the religion, and to notify their people when they have returned to them, that they may beware.
I personally found this verse to have multiple hidden messages embedded within the particular verse. But my focus of this article is to share how one can use this Quranic verses could debrief a teambuilding activity.
Teambuilding and the Quran
1.Importance of Planning
The verse shared on the importance of having a macro and long-term view of things when planning. The example in the verse cites having a team of people to not be at the forefront contrary to a common approach of sending your whole group of people forward. While it might sound gung-ho but it will be suicidal if there is no reserve team. Hence, it is important to plan properly and strategize.
2.Significance of All Team Member’s Roles
Going further, the verse places equal importance on the different roles in a team. Similar to the earlier explanation, all team members be it those who perform the operational or administrative roles are equally crucial in working towards the organisational mission.
Finally, another important lesson that the verse brings forth, from the word “notify” is communication between departments. In order for an organisation to be successful, the different departments need to communicate with each other. While it is common for individual departments to have their own internal cultures, they need to communicate in order to synchronise and synergize their efforts.
Relating teambuilding and the Quran is similar to how some trainers use famous quotes or stories to direct and highlight a particular set of lessons after experiencing an activity. However, regardless whether the trainer uses a Quranic verse, famous quotes or stories, proper planning of the teambuilding activity should be emphasised so that the lessons will not appear forced on the participants. Participants need to experience some peak learning moments during the activity so that they could relate to the key messages that were intended.
Disclaimer: I am not an Ustaz (Islamic teacher) and these reflections are purely personal and based on my limited knowledge. Should there be any mistakes in my citations or any parts which may misrepresent Islam, kindly contact me and I will rectify them as soonest. Thank you.