Tuesday, 29 April 2014

5 Great Games

One of the basic elements of working in a team is to collaborate, communicate, listen and hold on ..... Have fun !! 
The Leader has to ensure that his team learns to work together , respect and trust each other and enjoy at the workplace
In my sessions, I have used these games.  These games can be used for various occasions. Hope you like them !
For each game I list :
§  tnumber of participants
§  an estimate for the duration
§  the learning objectives and purpose
§  the material needed
§  a short description with instructions for the game’s facilitator

For the learning objectives and purpose, I’ll additionally recommend a short debriefing after the games, where you’ll find even more valuable outcomes.

Chair Game
number of participants: >= 9 (the more the better)
duration: 15 min
learning objectives/purpose: Success only through collaboration; working together across teams; finding a higher common goal; silent communication
material: >= 20 chairs
short description: Have the participants form 3 groups. Tell the participants not to talk anymore. Give each group one of the following instructions on a card (group should keep it a secret for the other groups):
§  arrange all the chairs in the room in a big circle
§  put all the chairs in the room upside down
§  group all the chairs in the room to pairs

Make sure everyone in the groups reads the instructions. Tell the groups to execute their instructions. If at some point every group is stuck, tell them that there is a solution that every group will be able to successfully execute their instructions at the same time. Debrief when there’s no movement in the room anymore.

possible progression: Groups will first fight each other, later hopefully see that they can all reach their goals together. The end state of the chairs is a big circle with pairs of chairs turned upside down.
Count to 33
number of participants: >= 3 (not more than 20)
duration: 5 min
learning objectives/purpose: simple things can be hard to achieve; listen to others

short description: Have the participants stand up and form a circle. Let the participants shout out numbers in the sequence from 1 up to 33 clockwise. Give the instruction:
“Whenever your number is dividable by 3 or ends with a 3 you have to clap your hands together instead of shouting out the number.”
Whenever a participant makes a mistake, the following participant has to start all over again with 1. Debrief when the group reaches the number 33.

possible progression: Participants will end up with this sequence (numbers are shouted): 1 2 clap 4 5 clap 7 8 clap 10 11 clap clap 14 clap 16 17 clap 19 20 clap 22 clap clap 25 26 clap 28 29 clap 31 32 clap
Escape the Room
number of participants: >= 3 (the more the better)
duration: 10 min
learning objectives/purpose: collaboration; silent communication
material: 1 chair per person
short description: All participants sit on a chair randomly distribute in a (large) room. Let participants lift their feets from the ground. Announce the following instructions:
“The goal of the following game is to escape the room. From now on, nobody is allowed to touch the floor or speak anymore.”
possible progression: Some participants hop with their chair to the exit. Others, often the ones furthest away from the exit, will cooperate by forming a bridge with their chairs. Some will also help others, e.g. by ‘islands’ (i.e. participants on chairs not connected to the bridge help by extending the bridge in their direction).
number of participants: >= 10 (the more the better)
duration: 10 min
learning objectives/purpose: warm-up; deals with post-meal coma
material: 1 chair per person minus one 1 chair
short description: Have the participants build a circle of chairs with one chair per participant (except for yourself). Assign a fruit out of three or four possible fruits to each participant and yourself, like
“Strawberry, banana, apple, mango, strawberry, banana, apple, mango, strawberry, banana – and I’m an apple.”
Explain the rules:
“Whenever the person in the middle calls out a fruit, the participants that fruit was assigned to have to get up and quickly find a new chair to sit on. When they get up, the person in the middle also tries to find a chair. Given that there is one chair less than the number of participants, one person will end up without a chair, and the game starts over. Instead of a fruit the person in the middle can shout ‘fruitsalad’, which means that everybody has to find another chair. It is not allowed to sit on any of your neighbour’s chairs.”
possible progression: Big fun in a fast paced game, where you have to react quickly.
Counting In The Dark

number of participants: >= 5 (not more than 20)
duration: 15 min
learning objectives/purpose: collaboration; silent communication

short description: Have the participants stand up and form a circle. Let them close their eyes. Tell them to count to 10 aloud. Whenever two people shout out any two numbers together, let the group start over.

possible progression: People will start calling out numbers with a high possibility for calling them out together, so they have to start over and over again. Since their eyes are closed, they can’t use sign language. They have to collaborate to find a appropriate strategy like letting one person alone do the counting, or by using a counting token which will be passed from one to the other.
Enjoy playing !  Have Fun !

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Name - Heaven - Frog

I am sharing 3 small stories which I use in my motivational workshops. Enjoy !

What is in a name ?

During Rob’s first month of college, the professor gave his students a pop quiz. 

Rob was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until he read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. He had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would he know her name? He handed in his paper, leaving the last question blank.

Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward the quiz grade. 

"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They each deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'".

 Rob never forgot that lesson. He also learned her name was Milly.

(Indian Readers of the blog ... remember Munnabhai and Jaadu Ka Jhappi ? )


Heaven and Hell 

A woman who had worked all her life to bring about good was granted one wish: "Before I die let me visit both hell and heaven."

Her wish was granted.

She was whisked off to a great banqueting hall. The tables were piled high with delicious food and drink. Around the tables sat miserable, starving people as wretched as could be. "Why are they like this?" she asked the angel who accompanied her. 

"Look at their arms," the angel replied. She looked and saw that attached to the people's arms were long chopsticks secured above the elbow. Unable to bend their elbows, the people aimed the chopsticks at the food, missed every time and sat hungry, frustrated and miserable.
"Indeed this is hell! Take me away from here!"

She was then whisked off to heaven. Again she found herself in a great banqueting hall with tables piled high. 

Around the tables sat people laughing, contented, joyful. 

"No chopsticks I suppose," she said. 

"Oh yes there are. Look - just as in hell they are long and attached above the elbow but look... here people have learnt to feed one another".

The frogs and the tower

There once was a bunch of tiny frogs, who arranged a running competition. 

The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants...

The race began...

Honestly, no-one in crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. They said ....

"Oh, WAY too difficult!!"

"They will NEVER make it to the top".

"Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"

The tiny frogs began collapsing. One by one...

... Except for those who in a fresh tempo were climbing higher and higher...

The crowd continued to yell ...

"It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!"

More tiny frogs got tired and gave up...But ONE continued higher and higher and higher...

This one wouldn't give up!

At the end, everyone else had given up climbing the tower. 

Except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top!

All the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it?

A contestant asked the tiny frog how the one who succeeded had found the strength to reach the goal?

It turned out... That the winner was deaf.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Why does your Team Hate you ?

You are the Project Manager or a  Team Leader and you know that your team really hates you. 

"Oh yeah ... " You say to yourself  "They just don't understand my position ... When they will get to manage a  team like this, only then they will understand .... " You console yourself. 

In spite of the deadlines and the pressure, you think  do so much for your team but do not really understand why they always throw up bile against you at your back. 

Yes, they do. You know that. 

Get of of your shell, dear manager and leader ... here are the reasons why they hate you.

  • You Micromanage : You are a control freak and know each and every detail of what they are working on. You are forever on their heads , asking for status and try to control each and every decision. Your team feels suffocated and they think that it would be better if you did the job rather than them slogging over it . Because of this, they never take ownership of the work.

  • You always keep your hands very clean : You are always assigning work.  Doing work or making your hands dirty ?  Have you ever rolled up your sleeves and worked along with your team ? Ever done any project yourself ? Never ever.

  • You treat them as mere resources : You do not know anything about your team members - their likes, dislikes, family, priorities etc.  You treat them mainly as billable/non billable resources - they are just numbers in your resource plan. Hence you cannot empathize with them and they cannot include you in their joys and sorrows. 

  • You don't fight for them : Everybody makes mistakes. Including you.  When some crisis occurs due to some team member, you do not own the mistake, instead point finger at him/her. You do not fight for your team at the appropriate places. You team can feel it . And they hate you for this.

  • You treat them like mushrooms  : You keep your team in the dark and feed them junk. Like cultivating mushrooms. You keep information with yourself,  telling yourself "they do not need to know this " . You are not transparent.  This generates water-cooler talks and grapevines feed on the gossips thus generated. Your team has a hidden antennae and can feel important information being withheld from them. You lose their trust.  Someday, even if you tell them something, they will not believe you. Trust me !
There are a few more points. But I think that is enough food for thought for you in this post.  

Think about it . Ponder . And then change yourself to become a good leader ! 

Yes, you can  (Read the post)!