Metaphor Interactions to Develop Team Relationships and Robustness Enhance Project Outcomes



This article reports the findings from an ongoing action research program to assess the impacts of stimulating constructive dialogue around behaviors on team performance, using metaphor as a catalyst. Interactions based on a new reflective performance cycle model were reported by participants to be intuitive and fun. Implementation of metaphor-based interactions with project teams was found to align participants around objectives and enable them to leverage the behavioral diversity inherent in the group. These metaphorical interventions assist to create a behavioral environment that encourages participants toward more specific outcomes in more collaborative and constructive ways. This article introduces two practical examples of metaphor-based interventions designed to stimulate conversations that are either convergent or divergent, depending on the situation. Although early indications from this research suggest the metaphor-based interactions are effective, the current data are limited, and further research is continuing in several contexts to build a more robust body of evidence.