This exercise helps delegates to understand the importance of working together and the destructive nature of having hidden agendas which can easily lead to conflicts and confrontations. It addresses many areas such as conflict management, assertiveness and persuasion skills.
Build a wall based on the instructions given while also following your own hidden agenda.
What You Need
- Coloured Lego bricks or suitable toy building blocks. Make sure the set contains varied sizes and shapes. The set must contain Blue, Black, Red and White bricks.
- Agenda cards. These cards state a number of “hidden agenda” missions that delegates must follow. See below for what each card should contain.
- Divide the delegates to groups of 4 or less.
- Explain to the groups that their objective is to build a wall using the toy block based on your given instructions.
- Write your instructions on a flipchart so everyone can see. For example:
- “Make a wall 6 rows high and two blocks wide with a window.”
- Distribute one random “Agenda Card” to each delegate. Explain that these are their hidden agendas and they should not reveal it to others. When going through the design they should take steps to implement their agenda in the final design.
- Examples of Agenda Cards are as follows. You can modify these to bias the exercise in the direction of your choice and based on the available bricks.
- Make sure that there are 4 white bricks touching each other horizontally.
- Make sure that there are 3 blue bricks on each row.
- Make sure that no black bricks are used in the first or last row.
- Make sure that there is a vertical line of red bricks touching each other top to bottom.
- Make sure that no row contains more than three colours.
- Make sure that no blue brick touches a red brick.
- Make sure that there is a white brick every two rows.
- Make sure that every row contains a 2x3s (2 by 3 studs).
- Make sure that a black 2x4s is not touching a red 2x2s.
- Naturally, conflicts may arise as a result of following hidden agendas. The design will also take longer to finish and group’s satisfaction in their task could also be hampered.
- Allocate about 15 minutes and then bring everyone back together for a discussion.
Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes
Activity: 15 minutes
Group Feedback: 10 minutes
Which group managed to achieve the objective? Who achieved his own agenda? What sort of difficulties did you have? Could you all achieve your agendas? Did it lead to conflicts? If so, did you manage to resolve them by compromising? Were your inputs dismissed in fear of thinking that you have a hidden agenda? Could you gain and keep others’ trust? What was the overall effect of hidden agenda on task completion and more importantly on moral? What was the most important lesson you learned in this exercise?
You can run the exercise as a competition between groups with a prize to increase pressure which would exaggerate the effect of hidden agenda even more.
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