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Angus Firth from Rapid Teams: The Man On a Mission to Transform Team Building

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By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

Angus Firth, Director of Rapid Teams

Are you looking for a perfect blend of fun, development, and learning sessions for your team? You have come to the right place! Recently, I had an opportunity to speak to Angus Firth - the Founder and Director of Rapid Teams a leadership training provider that offers experiential team training and team building workshops in Perth, Western Australia. 

Before starting Rapid Teams, Angus worked in the corporate industry for over 14 years in operational, sales and marketing capacities within the education management sector. 

Leveraging his learnings from facilitating teambuilding and the implementation of business improvement among others, Angus is now making remote work seamless and enjoyable for various remote teams through the launch of his new online training program the ‘Engagement Action Program’ (more on this later in the interview). 

My conversation with Angus was fun and informative, kind of like the programs conducted at Rapid Teams. Hope you enjoy this read! 

Tell us a bit about Rapid Teams and what you guys do?

Angus: We're a niche consulting business, we do high-quality team development. I think the easiest way to describe us is that we sit somewhere between ‘just having fun’ and a ‘full-on formal leadership experience’. So if you do a program with Rapid Teams, we aim for it to be the most fun you’ve had on a leadership program and on the other side, the most professional team-building experience you’ve had. 

Angus with his trusty equipment

Could you elaborate on your career background? And your journey leading up to starting Rapid Teams?

Angus: I worked in the corporate world for about 14-15 years and always in the leadership development or capability domain. I have worked in the UK and Australia. Most of my career was in client management and I then transitioned to a mix of sales, marketing, and management. Actually, it was more like 90% management by the end. 

So, the more I progressed through the traditional corporate ladder, the more I learned about different elements of the business.

In 2016-2017, I was managing a national team of about 14 people, and I had to travel to multiple places to accomplish different tasks from a commercial standpoint. This role gave me insight into the skills I would require to run my own business. 

After spending 15 years in the corporate world, I knew it was time to take the big leap, and I finally started Rapid Teams in 2018. I have learned a lot over the last couple of years.  

Tell me about the current work and staff structure. Do you have anyone else with your team or do you bring on contractors?  

Angus: We are heavily project-focused, so we bring people in to run different projects, which is similar to a traditional consulting model. We conduct many workshops ranging from corporate events to strategy sessions or learning and development programs. These workshops may require a team from our end of 10-12 people to deliver the planned scenario or we may run the program with 1 or 2 staff. We focus on getting the right mix of experienced consultants to event support staff for each project.

From the distribution point of view, right now we're all based in Perth. So we're not a traditional, distributed team, but we also don’t sit down every day together or have a daily stand-up because we don't have a fixed workflow.

Moving to the classic question, tell us how COVID-19 has affected Rapid Teams over the last year? 

Angus: I don't think it's time to look at COVID yet retrospectively since our experience is still ongoing and changing. Fortunately, six months pre covid, we worked with a large, remote team and organised an interactive digital team event for them. So we had built a cross-functional, online team game before Covid, this eventually became our Engagement Action Program

The focus became all about the Engagement Action Program in early 2020 for obvious reasons and two months later we land the first major client in Melbourne, we followed that up by delivering the program in Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, and Japan. Since COVID highlighted the importance of team performance and employee experience, the demand for our services escalated and to be honest, this has been our best year in business so far but that isn’t a true statistic because it is kind of easy to say for a startup that doesn’t have years of trading I guess. 

Rapid Teams
Rapid Teams Outdoors

Tell me what the Engagement Action Program is and what you want to achieve with it? 

Angus: The Engagement Action Program is a team-based behavioural leadership program but in the form of a game. It has multiple levels and layers. You work in sub-teams and play for around 20 minutes each day for five days. Each part is structured to help you lead yourself, others, and eventually, the business. We take teams through a really well thought out process and they learn how to collaborate in a remote work environment. 

What do you think companies, in your space, need to be aware of in a ‘post’ COVID world? 

Angus: In the team development space it is being ready to pivot again when the markets shift. I also think personally, the biggest challenge I see other teams having right now is project slippage.  What I mean by that is where people have to let things go way past deadlines, or in some scenarios, it is now just harder for teams to get things done at the same speed of time. 

I think that the most significant way to tackle that is to take accountability for your actions. So, individuals within teams take responsibility to make sure things get done. This then flows to a team level, where teams take accountability for deliverables and timelines.

Question 7: Where do you see Rapid Teams in the next 5 to 10 years? 

Angus:  I think remaining niche, specialist and true to our quality.  Our goal is to double or triple our output in the coming years and expand into Singapore and South-East Asia. Our focus will be positively impacting teams as a market leader in team development. We aim to increase our app-based offerings, maintain high quality and stay flexible in our mode of delivery.

Check out Rapid Teams here - https://rapidteams.com.au/ 

or connect with Angus on LinkedIn here- https://www.linkedin.com/in/angus-firth-3615326b/

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