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Team Building Exercise: Leaky Pipes

Team Building Exercise: Leaky Pipes
Leadership, Games, Exercises, Team Building, Exercises for Kids, Problem Solving, Planning

Article Rating:::: 2 Ratings :::: Tuesday, June 25, 2019

This is a classic exercise on team building. It is fun to participate in this exercise and yet it is quite powerful in bringing a team together while teaching communication, leadership and problem solving.

Delegates are asked to pour water into a pipe to raise a ping pong ball inside and therefore to get it out. The pipe is leaky though and there is a challenge on how fast they can get the water into the pipe without losing it through the holes. This requires cooperation, planning, delegation and resource management.

This exercise is ideal for team building and can be used for any age. Several variations are provided at the end to increase the difficulty of the task as you see fit.

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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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Team Building Exercise: Clock Types

Team Building Exercise: Clock Types
Leadership, Exercises, Team Building, Communication Skills

Article Rating:::: 2 Ratings :::: Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The purpose of this exercise is to show that each person in a team has certain characteristics that can contribute to the team. It is not necessarily about casting each person into an ideal team member role; instead, it is about taking advantage of each person’s unique strengths.

The exercise uses a visual technique—a clock that represents four types of personalities; hence, Clock Types exercise.

This exercise is ideal for team building, management, enhancing communication skills and coaching.

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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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Delegation Exercise: It’s Not Good Enough

Delegation Exercise: It’s Not Good Enough
Leadership, Exercises, Team Building, Large Group, Delegation Skills, Management Skills

Article Rating:::: 8 Ratings :::: Monday, January 28, 2019

This is a quick exercise on delegating, designed to demonstrate a key point to participants. It is very easy to run, and its success mainly depends on your execution. Consider rehearsing this so that it can be delivered smoothly.

It is ideal for courses where you are teaching how to lead people or a team. The aim of the exercise is to highlight the importance of providing specific details rather than having unrealistic expectations. People perform much better when they know what is expected of them. This exercise, or demo, helps to instil the importance of this concept which you can deliver with your performance. Make it dramatic and memorable to help delegates remember it in the future.

It is ideal for courses on teambuilding, leadership, delegation skills, team work and similar.

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Caterpillar Traverse

Caterpillar Traverse
Leadership, Games, Exercises, Team Building, Communication Skills, Problem Solving

Article Rating:::: 33 Ratings :::: Monday, February 19, 2018

This is an entertaining team building activity where delegates get to practice working together towards a common objective while following certain rules. It is ideal for exploring leadership, planning, strategic thinking, communicating and creative thinking.

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Emotional Intelligence Exercise: Temperament Analysis

Emotional Intelligence Exercise: Temperament Analysis
Leadership, Exercises, Emotional Intelligence, Giving Feedback, Self-esteem

Article Rating:::: 110 Ratings :::: Monday, August 21, 2017

This exercise helps delegates explore the concept of temperament, understand what it means, how it is formed and how it can influence their emotional intelligence. Temperament refers to aspects of an individual’s personality that are mainly biological or innate as opposed to learned. Temperament is basically life-long traits that we have acquired early on in life or simply inherited. Here are some examples:

  • “I am shy in social settings. I feel uncomfortable if I suddenly find myself at the centre of attention. I guess it comes from my childhood when I was brought up to be a quiet kid.”
  • “I was never very sporty or physical when I was growing up so engaging in sports these days doesn’t appeal to me much. Where I grow up, it was frowned upon for girls to do sports.”
  • “I like talking. If I enter a room and it is quiet I have the strongest urge to talk and get everyone to listen. I got this from my mom I guess...” [Carries on talking for a while until stopped!]
  • “I have always been sporty, even though I was a girl I always liked any sport even if they were predominantly for boys. I guess I got this from my dad who was very athletic.”

In this exercise, delegates explore the nature of their temperament and discuss this with others to better understand what it means.

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Emotional Intelligence Self-Awareness Exercise

Emotional Intelligence Self-Awareness Exercise
Leadership, Exercises, Team Building, Emotional Intelligence

Article Rating:::: 53 Ratings :::: Monday, May 8, 2017

Self-awareness is one of the important competencies within emotional intelligence. Self-awareness is about understanding your strengths, limitations, attitudes, values and motivations. In this exercise, delegates have an opportunity to reflect on their values and see exactly what matters to them the most. Self-awareness helps people understand what they believe now and how this might have changed from the past. Hence, this exercise can be conducted periodically, such as once a year, and you can expect to get different results each time. Comparison of these results on their own can be quite educational and further help to increase self-awareness.

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