How to create an amazing circus team building day – A guide for group organisers Part 1: The Merlin Principle

Merlin PrincipleCreating an Amazing Team Building Event

At some point in the year most companies, organisations and teams will arrange some kind of event to bring their people together. Whether it’s a simply a social opportunity for drinks and dinner, or an activity to enhance teamwork, communication and job satisfaction. Creating an outstanding event can increase performance, forward business goals, improve working relationships and be a highly memorable event for all involved. The wrong event, bad planning or poor organisation can also be memorable (and sometimes expensive) but for all the wrong reasons so creating an amazing team building experience is extra-important.

Here’s part one of our guide to how to create an amazing team building day for your group. Although this is written with our circus team building events in mind, it is applicable to organising any activity or team building day.

Working from the Future Backwards: The Merlin Principle

Lots of groups and organisations come to us without a clear picture of what they want to get out of our team building workshops. Knowing where you are going is the first – and most critical – aspect of getting there.

To plan and execute an amazing circus team building day, you should plan from the future backwards. Working from the future backwards, known as the Merlin Principle (Merlin lived from the future backwards in time), will ensure that you fulfil on what’s important to you.

Like Merlin, you start in the future, with the intentions you have and outcomes that you want to create, and you work backwards through time, step by step, asking yourself the question, “what would have to happen to cause or create that result?”

This may sound unusual but we often find that we do it quite naturally without even realising it. Here’s an example:

Imagine you are going away next weekend for a three week luxury break. You want a restful, peaceful, enjoyable time (that’s an intention or an outcome). What has to happen to fulfil that?

In order to ensure that you fulfil that intention and get that outcome you’ll have to catch your flight.

To catch your flight, you need to arrive at the airport on time so you work out what time you need to arrive at the airport.

To arrive at the airport on time, you work out the time you have to leave your house.

And to leave the house, you need to have finished your packing, and to pack you need to have bought your new swim suit. And so on.

As you work backwards using the Merlin Principle write down each action or conversation that has to happen and eventually you’ll come to today, where you create a plan to fulfil a future. By working from the future backwards, we pull today’s reality, step by step, towards our created future, our intentions and our outcomes.

To create an amazing circus workshop (or produce any other intended result) be like Merlin: start from the future and work backwards.


The Merlin Principle

Merlin by XKCD


Teaching Tip 2: Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

Lesson planning has been the bane of my life. Or at least it was until I started to get good at it. I think a lot of teachers – regardless of whether they are school, circus, or any other kind of teacher – hate doing lesson planning. Lesson planning takes time, and in this day and age time is something of a precious commodity. But I don’t think that’s what really bugged me. It wasn’t the time; I can always make time for stuff that’s important. It seemed like a lot of effort for something that wasn’t very important and didn’t really make any difference.

But as teachers all know lesson plans are really important and do make a big difference.

But if we know they’re important, and we know they make such a difference, then why don’t they seem important when it comes time to sit down and write them? And why are they always so much effort?

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