Learn With the Cavemen

Formats: DVD with facilitator’s guide and downloadable support material
Producer: Belbin
Price: £600

This is the Belbin company’s first training film for 18 years and it has a different pace from other offerings on the market.

It is a gentle but incisive product, that explores the factors that influence the way we behave and the impact of different types of behaviour on a team, based on Meredith Belbin’s theories.

The film has both novelty and practical value. Expert comment and quirky animation are used to explain Belbin’s ideas before we watch an unusual case study. On recounting, this case study will sound ridiculous – a group of cavemen is transported into an office, spruced up and encouraged to work as a team discovering and marketing fire – but, trust me (I’m a ‘completer finisher’), it does work.

The final section of the film includes an interview with the man himself. In an age of ranters, such as forthright businessman Alan Sugar and swearing celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, it’s a pleasure to see a management icon from a different age, and one with a gentle, assured manner, who gives the learner time to digest the message.

Belbin gives his advice on avoiding destructive hierarchies and talks about the emerging trend of collaborative organisation. And he reminds us to choose the best role we can play.

I had worried that the film would appear dated, because it has a slower tempo than its contemporaries, but its high-calibre thinking put it ahead of much of the pack. Animation and cavemen aside, there are few gimmicks – just a lyrical and rounded view of teamwork.

It would make a gentle, balanced introduction to a training course on team roles, or as an introduction to a teambuilding exercise. The facilitator’s guides are helpful and well planned.

Relevance: 5 stars (out of 5)
Interactivity: 2 stars
Value for money: 5 stars

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