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Team Building Exercise: Shrinking Platform

Team Building Exercise: Shrinking Platform


Purpose

This is a simple yet challenging teambuilding game which puts pressure on a group to solve a problem as the clock is ticking. The shared problem solving can help to improve relationships and encourage teamwork. To successfully survive the task, the group must learn to work together quickly and efficiently. They might need to assign a leader, they might need to self-organise their activities and they may need to use body language and non-verbal signals to convey meanings quickly. 

Objective

Remain on a shrinking platform as much as you can.

What You Need

  • A series of square tiles such as carpet squares. The size and number of them depends on the size of the group.

Setup

  • Layout the squares on the floor to form a larger square or rectangle. Make it large enough so that the group can stand on the area comfortably and be at ease.
  • Explain that every 30 seconds, you must remove a square. They should shift around until there is one square that no one is standing on so you can easily remove it.
  • They are allowed to step on anything other than the tiles.
  • Start the exercise and watch as the group manages its members to survive on the shrinking tiles area.
  • The group fails when you can no longer remove a square.
  • Time their performance and record it for your own statistics so you can compare group performances over time.
  • Follow with a discussion.

Timing

Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 10 minutes

Group Feedback: 5 minutes

Discussion

What did you do to succeed at this exercise? Did you work cooperatively? Did you work as a team? What worked and what did not? Could you have done better? If so, how?

Variation

You can adjust the amount of time to allow between each removal. Examples are:

  • Take tiles out every 1 minute.
  • Take tiles out every 15 seconds.
  • Take the first 3 tiles out every 15 seconds, the next three tiles every 30 seconds and the next three tiles every 1 minute.
  • Take the first 3 tiles out every 1 minute, the next three tiles every 30 seconds and the next three tiles every 15 seconds.

You can also convert this to a competition by dividing the delegates to two groups and letting them race for it. This however allows them to get ideas from each other as they go through the exercise.