The song I sing 

A look at group culture

Objective: Teams discuss their group's culture and individuals' experience of that culture.

Prerequisites: Use this with longer-term teams that have been together for several months.

Materials: none, or a list of popular song titles

Time required: ~45 minutes

Instructions: Every team has its own culture. Some are social and collaborative. Others are more formal and task-oriented. No one culture is better than another. But culture is often overlooked or never discussed. New members have to spend considerable energy figuring it out. And not everyone on the team might be comfortable with its standards and expectations for behavior.

This exercise can reveal problems with the culture or ways in which it is supportive of individuals. This exercise can be used to mine for conflict or disunity within the group. For example, most people in the group may choose upbeat song titles and one or two members will choose titles that reflect a feeling of being marginalized or stressed. This is a chance to confront issues of team distrust or dysfunction.

It's also possible for this exercise to be a rousing celebration of each member. Facilitators should be prepared for either eventuality.

  1. Ask team members to choose a song title for their role on the team and say why they chose it. Allow time for others to comment on this choice.
  2. If there’s time, the team can come up with a theme song for their team as a whole. 

Possible song titles:

  • Hold On
  • Blank Space
  • Thinking Out Loud
  • Poker Face
  • Call Me
  • Crazy
  • Locked Away
  • Stormy Weather
  • (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  • Boom Boom Pow
  • What Do You Mean
  • Heard It through the Grapevine
  • Respect
  • What Do You Mean?
  • Cheerleader
  • Complicated
  • Shake It Off
  • Just Give Me a Reason
  • Eye of the Tiger
  • Whenever, Wherever