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You can pay a lot of money to have ‘experts’ come along to your company or organisation and teach your staff all about teams and cooperation. Thousands of pounds.

Or you can do it on the cheap.

For this to work you need some quirky project such as the miraculous Talliston house, (http://www.talliston.com/) gardens, art installation, and dead nun repository. You invite a group of people that includes all of the following. Four published authors, two Pagans, a Wiccan, two guys who work in a department store, a youthful architect, a drama student, a layabout, and your mum and dad. There may be some overlap between the categories. I myself am an atheist layabout, for example.

At 10:00 o’clock on a Saturday morning, you say ‘Here’s what needs doing by 5:00 o’clock tomorrow afternoon.’ Then you  let everybody loose. You have to do some graft as well, or there will be insurrection in the ranks as you prowl about occasionally checking on ‘visible progress.’ You also need to make sure the nascent team are fed and watered at regular intervals.

Somewhat counter-intuitively, you allocate tasks on the basis of choosing people having no discernible talent for the job, or in my case some talent but a deep loathing. In this way you can assemble, for example, a squad of people who have no bricklaying skills whatsoever, and have them build retaining walls in the Labyrinth Garden. Or you can get your atheist layabout to do eight hours of spring cleaning in the Voodoo Kitchen, then stick a paintbrush in his hand the next day and make him tackle the Haunted Bedroom.

Do you know what? By the end of the second day, everyone has had a really good time, though they’re knackered, stiff as mackerels, filthy dirty, and in one case suffering from mild radiation sickness. More work has got done than you expected or hoped for. The one fly in your ointment is that nobody got round to cleaning the pterodactyl crap off the owl.