High Performing Teams

The defining characteristic of a high performing team is that the teams exists to serve a common goal. Whilst such teams may go through the cycle of formation through  to performance, the uniting factor of a common goal does not change. This does not always hold true for looser affiliated groups or for associations where individuals are brought together for a variety of organisational and professional reasons. In order to achieve high performance however, these groups must take on the task of identifying the uniting common goal and establishing the trust required to act as a true team.

When we look at the animal kingdom there are two main types of grouping that we can see. Packs and herds (and the marine world for instance we have the same divisions between a pack of killer whales and school of fish). A pack has a defined purpose to hunt and kill in order to feed the adults and young of the pack. There tends to be a recognized hierarchy with dominant and subservient individuals. The size of a viable unit exists between too few individuals that make the goal impossible to achieve, and too many that make the pack unwieldy, at which point it splits to create new packs.  The success or not  of achieving the goal is measurable and discrete for each hunt.

Herds on the other hand are a much loser structured. Individual members can take up different roles as is required by the moment. The goal is much broader and less easily measured as it has no defined end point. Safety, one of the herds major goals, is an ongoing experience. Sizes of herds change constantly, breaking up into smaller groups and coalescing into enormous ones depending on the season and the food supply. There is not an ideal size, only a size that fits the current situation.

Whilst we argue that high performing teams need to embrace the skills that can be learned from the herd, they obviously will have some very important pack skills like focus and intent.

Groups and Associations however do not have the structure of a pack but can operate much more like a successful herd ,adaptable to the situation and the need’s of the members. This is not however how we are schooled and trained to operate. Especially with new groups, finding that easy confidence in each other, the trust that allows for open communication and mutual success, is inhibited by a need to find a place in the hierarchy, to not appear vulnerable and to “know” everything.

Our experience is that working with the horses is the fastest way to establish trust and open communication. As people develop trust and communication and self awareness with the horse, they translate that feeling to the group as a whole. Weeks of “team building” happen in hours and authentic connection is built.


“Horsanity provided me with valuable insights into some subtle management and communication techniques to help guide and energise my team. This unique approach and outdoor learning environment was a refreshing approach from the myriad of traditional classroom based and theoretical management training courses out there. The Horsanity team deliver this training with passion and professionalism. I would highly recommend Horsanity for those seeking a different approach to addressing very common management and communication issues.”

Matthew Taylor, Business Support Manager, Kleinfelder Australia

“I play many roles. Employee, daughter, sister, but ‘who am I really?’ I’d been asking myself. It was the phrase in the Horsanity Workshop brochure that attracted me, “follow your true nature”. I realised I didn’t really know what that was. I felt restricted and confined by the requirements of my life and longed to loosen the tethers that bound me.
The day unfolded gently. The models presented were highly relevant in all aspects of daily life. Through these models I remembered that life isn’t as complicated as it seems and realised finding true nature can be simple.
I particularly like the afternoon session where I experienced a Constellation with the horses I selected to represent aspects of finding ‘my true path’ which I have struggled with. I was amazed at what happened with the horses and how the answers to my questions came to me.
I have no hesitation recommending this experience!”

Penny Jones – Administration Manager Penico Engineering Pty Ltd

“The promise of the workshop was to “see with fresh eyes…untether…free unseen possibilities.” Did it deliver – absolutely! I wasn’t sure what to expect working with the horses but the day was superbly facilitated by the talented and experienced professionals from Horsanity. My beautiful “coach” for the day (Siena of Tashkent Friesian) helped me to see more clearly with my heart and listen more attentively with my soul. She pointed out that it wasn’t about the task – it was about connecting. This has reverberated within me for many months since and I am still uncovering additional insights. Each person will have a unique experience but learning and growing in this supportive environment is inevitable. It is ideal for personal growth and leadership development alike.”

David Solomon, Business Performance Strategist, Quiddity

Letters from the Herd

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