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Decision Making
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Board Games for Team Building and Icebreakers

Board Games for Team Building and Icebreakers
Exercises, Icebreakers, Team Building, Decision Making, Planning, Resource Management

Article Rating:::: 2 Ratings :::: Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The purpose of icebreakers is to bring people together, familiarise them with each other, put them into the zone and basically break the ice as the name suggests. The purpose of team building activities is to bring the teams together, get them to go through a shared experience, solve problems, make decisions, manage limited resources and usually work against time. To address both, you can take advantage of great educational and entertaining tools in the form of board games.

You can use board games for many training purposes. Some games last long which help to bring a team together and some can be quite short which could be ideal to break the ice. There are cooperative games, competitive games, or even games that don’t have a winner, but just one big loser! Some games abstract down the real world in such imaginative ways that become incredibly rewarding to experience. As such board games are great if you want to create a memorable event which is also educational as this is what many traditional team building games aim to achieve.

In this comprehensive article, you will be introduced to several hand-picked board games that you can use in a training environment to address a variety of topics.

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Learn Scrum with an Exercise on Agile Project Management

Learn Scrum with an Exercise on Agile Project Management
Leadership, Exercises, Team Building, Communication Skills, Decision Making, Planning

Article Rating:::: 2 Ratings :::: Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Agile project management was popularised by the tech industry and has its roots in Japanese companies such as Toyota, Honda and Fuji. There are many who think agile development can lead to efficient project management and as a result it remains a hot topic. The Scrum framework was then developed based on that in the 90s and has since gained momentum in a variety of technology and engineering companies.

The exercise shown here is a great tool to quickly and elegantly show what Scrum project management is about. Scrum has many amusing and somewhat unusual jargon, such as sprint, backlog, daily scrum, scrum master and so on. This engaging exercise can help you familiarise delegates with these jargons and make it easier to remember them.

Before going through the details of the exercise, here is a quick intro to Scrum. It is highly recommended that you familiarise yourself with the methodology using numerous guides that are available online. The overall aim of scrum is to indicate clearly what needs to be done, by whom it should be done and how this information should be updated periodically to make sure the whole team stays up-to-date, or ‘agile’ so to speak. These are the main components of scrum:

  • Product Owner. This is a person in charge who has the authority to say what goes into the final product. This is formulated based on the end user’s interest.
  • Backlog. This is a prioritised list of tasks and requirements for the final product. The product owner oversees this list.
  • Sprint. A team must complete tasks from the backlog with a certain timeframe which is known as sprint. Typically, this is about two weeks, but it depends on the team’s needs.
  • Daily Scrum. This is a daily meeting of teams to give progress updates. It is typically held in the same location, at the same time, time-boxed to 15 minutes and carried out while standing (it is also called Daily Stand-Ups).
  • Retrospective. Each sprint is finalised with a review session to see what needs to be improved for the next sprint.

In this exercise, teams compete to retrieve a highly dangerous nuclear waste. There are three distinct roles based on the scrum framework. Teams score points for their performance and the winning team is acknowledged.

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Contrasting Ethical Dilemmas Exercise

Contrasting Ethical Dilemmas Exercise
Leadership, Exercises, Decision Making

Article Rating:::: 4 Ratings :::: Tuesday, June 4, 2019

This exercise facilitates discussion of ethical dilemmas. In most job, some decisions are not straight forward to make because one clear choice comes with certain ethical issues. The question then becomes more of what is right or wrong to do, what is conscientious, and sometimes even what is legal.

In today’s fast changing world, there is a lot of pressure on being politically correct. The ease at which bad news can be magnified through social media and interpreted the wrong way also exasperates the problem. It pays to study and practice the art of ethical decision making.

This exercise presents a series of ethical dilemmas through which you can address a variety of subjects. The discussions are key in this exercise which should be controlled based on what you want to teach. For example, if you are using this exercise in a course on management skills, you should relate this to the kind of decisions a manager needs to make and the resources available to him or her.

Review the scenarios provided and consider adding your own scenarios based on your training requirements to tailor the exercise to your training needs.

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Convergent vs Divergent Thinking Exercise

Convergent vs Divergent Thinking Exercise
Leadership, Exercises, Team Building, Creativity, Decision Making, Design

Article Rating:::: 2 Ratings :::: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A useful distinction in thinking process was suggested by Joy Paul Guilford in 1967. Guilford coined convergent thinking in contrast with divergent thinking. With convergent thinking, you are trying to find a single best solution to a given problem. Examples are multiple choice tests, math quizzes, spelling tests and many other standardised tests in education systems. Convergent thinking is systematic and logical (Williams 2003).

In contrast, you can use divergent thinking to create several unique solutions for a given problem. Divergent thinking is creative, spontaneous, non-linear and free-flowing. Several solutions are generated over a short period of time and they can lead to unexpected connections, encouraging discovery of yet more unusual solutions.

After carrying out divergent thinking, you end up with a bunch of solutions. You can then use convergent thinking to organise these solutions, analyse pros and cons of each and find the most optimal answer.

The point of the distinction is that you need both processes for good thinking. Being good at convergent, analytical and logical thinking is not enough as you could miss on some creative solutions. In contrast, just coming up with spontaneous creative ideas is not good enough; you need to examine solutions systematically before embarking on an implementation.

Researchers such as Guilford have found that personality traits tend to promote divergent or convergent thinking. As such, in a given team you will have people who are natural at either divergent or convergent thinking and therefore resistant to the other style of thinking

The following exercise helps to bring this distinction to focus and help delegates see the power of thinking differently to what comes naturally to them.

This exercise is ideal for team building or training delegates on management and creativity.

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Fishbowl Conversation Technique

Fishbowl Conversation Technique
Exercises, Team Building, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Large Group

Article Rating:::: 10 Ratings :::: Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The fishbowl technique can be used to organise constructive discussions on a given topic. In a nutshell, the technique helps people manage a debate on the topic and keep it under control even if many people are participating. In this technique, at any given time, a group of people will be actively debating while the rest of the group listens in and takes notes of various viewpoints. Through an iterative process, many participants will get to listen and talk about a topic.

The fishbowl technique is ideal for many situations where a discussion around various points of view is needed. The technique is popular in political science, philosophy, advertising, science and decision making. It is also a great tool for training courses and involving students in various discussions around a specific topic.

The great advantage of the fishbowl technique is that it lessens the distinction between the speakers and the audience, while allowing many people to voice their views. It is ideal for large groups.

The fishbowl technique is particularly useful for today’s divisive societies where opposing views are constantly on a collision course. The technique helps to expose an audience to what the other camp thinks in a controlled manner and helps create a dialogue.

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Teach Why Groups Can Take Too Much Risk While Making Decisions

Teach Why Groups Can Take Too Much Risk While Making Decisions
Leadership, Exercises, Team Building, Decision Making, Large Group

Article Rating:::: 4 Ratings :::: Monday, February 18, 2019

Is there a difference between people making decisions in groups and individually in respect to the amount of risk they take? To investigate, James Stoner, who was a MIT graduate in 1960s, carried out a series of experiments (Stones 1961). The research soon led to fascinating insights into the dynamics of group decision making.

Usually, we think that employing more brains is always better than one and that making decisions as a group is better than making them individual. The research conducted by Stoner clearly showed that decisions made in groups tended to be far riskier than those made by individuals.

The studies were intriguing and soon other researchers joined and conducted their own investigations (Whyte 1993). With Stoner research, certain factors influenced the groups to make riskier decisions than individuals. In other studies, the groups behaved more conservatively than individuals.

What the research showed was that a group seems to exaggerate the opinions of its members leading them to make extreme decisions—either being too risky or too conservative.

The exercise presented here is based on such studies and it aims to illustrate this point to delegates in an elegant and memorable way. The aim is to make them aware that decisions made in groups could be exaggerated in one direction or another.

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Perspectives

Perspectives
Exercises, Team Building, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Brainstorming

Article Rating:::: 12 Ratings :::: Monday, January 15, 2018

Suppose there is a team meeting and the group is going to discuss the issues associated with a topic, design something or a solve a problem.

For any given complex problem, there are a variety of perspectives and views that can be considered. However, habitually, everyone will only look at his own view, aiming to push his own agenda. This leads to a situation where the group may end up responding to the loudest person who talks the most and is naturally biased towards a particular perspective rather than considering overall important concerns.

This exercise helps the team to view the problem from a variety of perspectives that they usually tend to ignore in favour of their own.

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Diamond Ranking for Decision Making

Diamond Ranking for Decision Making
Exercises, Creativity, Decision Making

Article Rating:::: 7 Ratings :::: Monday, August 22, 2016

When making decisions, you often need to choose between a series of options. When told to rank options, people sometimes want to give the same rank to multiple options. In some cases, it might be more important to learn about the most and least preferred options rather than to spend time judging between the middle choices.

A technique known as Diamond Ranking can help you focus on the most and least preferred options.

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What Are the Basic Principles of Memory

What Are the Basic Principles of Memory
Public Speaking, Exercises, Decision Making, Attention and Focus, Memory

Article Rating:::: 22 Ratings :::: Monday, June 20, 2016

This is a fantastic exercise in teaching a number of important topics related to memory and retention. The exercise is actually rather simple—going through a list of words and recalling what has been stated. However, the way the list is structured helps to cover various interesting topics in relation with memory such as the following:

  • Effect of primacy on memory
  • Effect of recency on memory
  • Repetition
  • Element of surprise
  • False-memory
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Training Technique: Combined Ranking

Training Technique: Combined Ranking
Exercises, Train the Trainer, Decision Making, Planning, Learning

Article Rating:::: 6 Ratings :::: Monday, May 9, 2016

When delivering training courses, sometimes you need to get the delegates go through an exercise that involves sorting cards. Card sorting is a training activity where you get the delegates to think about a subject and vote by sorting a number of options. Sometimes they may need to generate these options before sorting them. Usually, the aim is to pick the best option or find a consensus on how to move forward.

Here, you will be introduced to a variation of card sorting that makes the process systematic for a group of delegates and allows them to make a decision collectively.

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