Team Building at Chucalissa

by Sam Gibbs

Every type of business, organization, facility, or store has common goals – these may include sales improvement, bringing in more customers, or reaching out to the community.  This semester the staff at Chucalissa has focused on team building, a value that many businesses share.  Team building is crucial to the museum in order to create a professional and fun work environment.  Additionally, it helps the staff to get to know one another, how they work, and their individual personalities.

Our Graduate Assistants for Fall 2012

We use various exercises to help learn about a person’s work ethic, career trajectory, and character traits.  Once a year, the staff members at Chucalissa complete a Myers-Briggs test to define their personality type and match them to various potential careers.  For the past 3 years, I’ve gotten the INFJ personality type, also known as “The Author”. Rachael, our Administrative Associate, has gotten ESFJ, or “The Seller”.

Knowing these results helps match staff members to positions where their strengths can be used and given the chance to grow into a career field.  Another thing we’ve learned from these tests is that half of the staff at the museum is introverted.  Usually an introvert needs a quiet space to problem-solve, write papers, and work on details of a project while an extrovert thrives on social settings. Rachael and Tricia are both extroverts and are great at working with visitors and giving tours! Because there is a diverse range of personality types in the museum, we work very well together in many different settings.

Getting work done in our weekly staff meetings

We also incorporate team-building exercises into the everyday operation of the museum.  Each week we hold staff meetings where we discuss various goals for the week, upcoming events, and individual tasks. They are also a great place to test our knowledge of each other’s personalities and help us communicate with one another to complete tasks.  For example, the museum is holding an event on October 20th, 2012 in observation of National Archaeology Day.  Each staff member has a job to prepare for this event.  Although there are individual tasks, we accomplish them as a team.  We designate time in staff meetings to discuss what to do to prepare and how to team up with one another to ensure a fun event.

Brooke found the cat!

Do we only concentrate on work at Chucalissa?  We have a lot of fun too!  We hold birthday parties for one another and have staff games, such as Find the Cat where we hide a stuffed toy in a (non-public) part of the museum.  We even have fun with the merchandise we sell.  The following picture shows some of our past and current graduate assistants modeling our 3 Wolf Moon shirts.

GAs model our Three Wolf Moon shirts in Spring 2012

Earlier this year Kiran created the Take Your Dog to Work Day event to raise awareness for animal shelters and celebrate pets in the workplace. These are examples of how the museum promotes a professional and educational atmosphere while also having fun.  We believe that having a great time at work will reflect in the high quality education we provide to the public.  When the community visits the museum, we hope they have just as much fun as we do.  What kinds of things do you do at work to have fun and increase productivity?

Samantha Gibbs is the Administrative Assistant at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa

About C.H. Nash Museum

The mission of the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa, a division of the University of Memphis, is to protect and interpret the Chucalissa archaeological site’s cultural and natural environments, and to provide the University Community and the Public with exceptional educational, participatory, and research opportunities on the landscape’s past and present Native American and traditional cultures.
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