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Initiative Excercises

CPL Parkin

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Human Overhand
What: An initiative where the key is "vision." Group Size: Small groups of four; as many small groups as your space and skills can handle. Time: One hour (it seems like this should require less time, but it has almost always taken the full hour). Props Required: Three four-foot lengths of rope per small group. Objective: For the group to tie an overhand knot in the middle section of rope without anyone releasing their ropes. Activity Instructions: Distribute the ropes, and demonstrate an overhand knot (the kind that you start tying your shoes with ... half of a square knot ...); have the group practice the knot with you a few times to make sure that they understand what an overhand knot is. Now instruct the group to face you and grab on to the end of someone else's rope so that they form a connected line - not circle - with a rope connecting each person. To truly belabor the point, the human configuration should be person-rope-person-ROPE-person-rope-person. Why the caps in that center ROPE? Because that is the rope in which the group must tie an overhand knot without anyone letting go of the ropes that they are holding. Simply instruct the group to tie an overhand knot in the center rope without anyone releasing the ends that they are holding and step back. That's it. Facilitator Notes: 1. This activity is challenging - folks will ask you several times if there are any "tricks" involved. And there aren't any. The "trick" if you will is simply for the group to consider themselves as one long rope, to get a clear picture of how an overhand knot is tied, and to follow through based on that vision and understanding. 2. If a you have several small groups and any one finishes early, you can  ask them to assist other groups by coaching,  observe other groups and notice the dynamics for the debrief, or  ask them to tie a figure-eight knot in the center rope

SETUP:
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PROPS: Balloons, at least one per person, with extras GROUP SIZE: 1-10 SPACE: Small area ORIGIN: Karl Rohnke TIME: 15-30 minutes

INTENT:
To identifying supporting factors that help balance people.

ACTION:

Group balances a member on a bed of supportive balloons.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Make sure the ground being used is not likely to burst balloons, or use a tarp or blanket between balloons and its surface.

PREPARATION:
Distribute one balloon to each person. Ask them to inflate it and tie off the neck. Have a few extras ready to replace the couple that burst. Give each person a fat tipped permanent marker (NOT pointed pen) and ask them to write their name on the balloon. You may use balloon colors to divide a large group into small ones.

SCRIPT:
Along with your name on the balloon, write something you do to support people in your group as they try new things and take risks (people do this). Now, I'd like to get one volunteer who is willing to try something new and take the risk of lying down on the supporting balloons of the group. Any takers? (get a volunteer). Okay, the challenge here is to float or balance this risk taker, who may metaphorically represent the team or your company, on a bed of support without touching anyone or anything other than balloons and without anyone holding balloons in place. You can help your group member into position, but support must be by balloons only. Any questions? (give the group ten minutes to strategize, then five minutes to actually "float" the person, and decide if you will allow other groups to share their balloons and spread the support around). What: An icebreaker/energizer activity suitable for all ages and ability levels ... a hacky sack circle for the rest of us! Group Size: From 6 on up, divided into groups of six to eight participants. Time: 15 Minutes. Props: One 12-inch round balloon per group. Objective: For the group to work together to keep the balloon in the air using selected body parts. Instructions: Divide your group into smaller groups of six to eight, hand each a balloon, and ask them to form a circle holding hands. Tell them that, on your cue, they are to put the balloon in the air between them and to keep it up using the body part you call (e.g., knees) without letting go of hands. They are to continue until you call out a different body part. Ask for questions. Ready, set, go!

Facilitator Notes:
1. Remember to review safety guidelines before beginning.  For this activity, make sure that participants do NOT interlock fingers as a way of holding hands.

You as the facilitator should be conscious of the various groups as they move with their balloons and be alert for potential collisions as the group's collective attention will be on their balloon.  Also, you may want to suggest to your groups that each person "calls" for it when it comes to him/her to avoid a hitting of body parts, e.g., knees if that is called. 2. I suggest you begin by calling out "wrists." This allows the participants to get used to the action of the balloon and moving together as a group at a very low challenge level. 3. Other body parts: knees, heads, elbows, shoulders, feet, chests, etc. I often call out "chests" when I am ready for the action to end because the balloon inevitably comes down at this point. 4. What happens when a balloon hits the ground? I usually instruct the group to just pick it up and continue as my goal is to stimulate group interaction, the beginnings of team formation and fun. You have the option of making the rule that a group is "out" when its balloon touches terra firma, but be aware that you will then switch the focus to the competition itself. What: A series of trust activities suitable for all groups. Group Size: 2 + Time: 30 Minutes Props: One blindfold per person. Site: a level open space, clear of any obstacles.

Instructions:
1. Ask participants to find a partner for the activity. 2. Ask participants to face their partners so that there are two straight lines, each person facing his/her partner. The lines (and therefore the partners) should be approximately three yards away from each other at the start. 3. On cue, the line you designate will walk towards the other line with blindfolds on. For them to do this safely, they will use the "bumpers up" position. "Bumpers up" means that the person has both arms extended straight forward from the shoulders with elbows slightly bent and the palms turned forward (like you were motioning "stop" with both hands at once). Demonstrate for them the "bumpers up" position and check for understanding. 4. The "stationary" line will meet the walking line with its "bumpers up," that is, if all goes well, each sighted partner will meet their blind counterpart palm-to-palm.

Note that I put "stationary" in quotes above and I noted that the sighted partner meets the blindfolded walker. The person with sight must take the responsibility for shifting to either side in order to meet his/her partner. Blindfolded walkers don't necessarily walk in a straight line, hence the responsibility on the sighted partner. This point is CRUCIAL for the safety of this exercise. Make sure your group understands this clearly. Once the first line of walkers completes their blind crossing, they remove their blindfolds and go back to their starting point. Once they are resituated, the lines will switch roles and repeat the exercise. At the end of this step, everyone has made the crossing once.

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Instruct both lines to move backwards until they are 5 yards apart. Repeat steps 15. Instruct both lines to move backwards until they are 10 yards apart. Repeat steps 1-5.

Facilitator Notes:
1. Whenever you have blindfolded participants, you as facilitator must be extra conscious of safety. Before doing this exercise, review with the group your use of the "s- word," i.e., STOP. Should the group ever hear you say this, they are to freeze in their tracks you have seen a potential safety issue (e.g., a participant about to walk into another participant) that you will need to correct and you will tell the group when to begin again. What: Trust activities for any group. If Blind Crossing worked for you, these two variations will as well. Group Size: From 8 - 20. Space Required: a large, relatively flat open space at least 30 feet square. Works indoors or out. Time Required: 20 to 40 minutes. Props Required: none required, but a blindfold for each person is preferred.

Variation #1: Trust Run
Process: 1. Facilitate Blind Crossings first. 2. Ask for a volunteer who is willing to run with his/her blindfold on. Arrange the rest of your participants in a line at the extreme distance of your activity space, all with bumpers up. The sweaty-palmed volunteer places herself at the other end, dons her blindfold, and then proceeds to run towards the other line, also with bumpers up. It is the responsibility of anyone in her path to meet her palm to palm at the end of the run. Allow for as many participants who are willing to give it a try.

Variation #2: Trust Pinball
Goal: for the Runner to make contact with each member of the group in the course of his/her "run." Process: 1. Arrange your group of 10+ in the following manner: runner at one end of a field, a majority of the group scattered down field of the runner, and 3-4 at the far end representing the destination. All members of the group face the runner. The group should be proficient at “bumpers up.” The facilitator should initially place herself in the scattered group but closest to the runner approximately 10 yards away. 2. The runner is instructed to place his blindfold. The scattered group then rearranges itself within its area so that the runner will not know the locations of the group members. 3. The faclitator gives the “Go” at which point the runner proceeds at his own pace, “bumpers up,” down field. (He will probably walk towards the facilitator.) The first person should meet him bumpers up, pause, then redirect his bumpers towards another member of the scattered group.

4. This continues, with group members shuffling as needed, until all members of the group have met the runner, at which point the runner is directed towards the short line at the end of the field where he is met by a member of that group and spontaneous applause by all.

Facilitator Notes: 1. Putting on blindfolds significantly increases the perceived risk in any activity. And there is some degree of real risk here too. Be vigilant. Make sure everyone in your group knows the signal to stop (when you yell STOP). Don't allow anyone to "play" with a blindfolded participant. If your group is not ready, don't. 2. The activity was enhanced by all group members remaining silent after the initial “Go,” but this is optional depending upon the comfort level of the runner. 3. With groups of ten or less, or if the playing area is smaller, spread everyone out, omit the ending line, and have the group agree on a final person. Observations: Even after participating in the Trust Run, the runners slowed down, became walkers actually. Fruitful material for a discussion on What Changed, How We Come to Trust, etc. Did you find yourself speeding up at the end? Why or why not? Perhaps even more significant are the feelings and reactions of the scattered group members. I’ve observed that everyone wanted to get into the act (Send him to me . . .) and that once the contact was made with the runner, both persons noticeably relaxed and the runner was gently sent on his way. A tiny moment of real empathy and compassion. While they were instructed on bumpers up and on pausing before sending the runner on (we don’t REALLY want a pinball-like effect) and had some practice, at the moment of contact they were acting out of a real caring for the runner, and it was mutually satisfying for both. It’s one thing to instruct a group on “This is how a person should act in this situation to care for the runner,” and it’s another thing to see the members really CARING from the heart. Or, as one participant noted, “It’s like, deep down, people really want to care and just need to be given the tools to do it.” How’s that for Experiential Ed? What: A challenging problem-solving initiative that casts light on the team's listening skills, roles, meeting dynamics and problem-solving processes. Group Size: 10-30 Time: One hour Props: One blindfold per participant; one 50 - 100 foot length of rope; video camera (optional) Objective: For the blindfolded group to form a perfect square (or triangle, or hexagon if you're somewhat sadistic ...) with the rope. Instructions: Blindfold the group, lay a rope on the ground somewhere in their midst, then cryptically tell them that there is something in their midst that they will need to find, that they will know it when they find it, and that you will give the group further instructions when each person is holding the prop. Instruct them to move slowly and with their hands out in front of them to prevent bumps. After the group finds the rope, tell them to make it into as perfect a square as they can, and that they will have up to twenty minutes to do so. Videotape the whole affair. When the group decides that it has made a square, they can remove their blindfolds and check their work. Total time to this point is 30 minutes.

Pop the tape into a VCR and play it back for the group, pausing it at points and inviting participants to observe and point out significant aspects of their group process. Debrief time is 30 minutes for a total of one hour. Facilitator Notes: 1. This activity is challenging - expect some resistance or "checking-out." 2. Possible Uses:

ASSESSMENT / OWNERSHIP OF ISSUES: When used at the beginning of a training day, have the group identify the strengths that they observe and the opportunities for growth. Depending upon the group's performance, can also be used at the conclusion of training to note improvement. SKILLS PRACTICE: Can also be used following classroom training as skills practice on identified areas for improvement. In this activity, the group must 1) hold a meeting, 2) problem-solve, and 3) make a decision, so it is most appropriate as part of any of these trainings.

PROPS:
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Three knives per small group Two cups per small group One salt or pepper shaker per group

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OBJECTIVE/INSTRUCTIONS:
Using the 3 knives, build a suspension bridge between the two cups so that the salt or pepper shaker will be supported in the middle of the bridge. The cups must be set 12 inches apart.

(Click for larger pic) No outside resources are allowed in the bridge construction. The solution is possible without damaging the equipment.

SOLUTION:

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NOTE:

Unlike "the Cutting Edge of Teamwork," do NOT show the participants any of the pictures; simply provide the materials, read the instructions, and sit back (but try not to laugh too much ...) Learning Objective: To introduce the idea of teamwork, communication and creative problem solving. Group Size: Small groups of 5-7 people. Space Required: a room with ample space for movement. Time Required: 1 hour Props Required: Lots of newspaper, rolls (6-8) of masking tape, a gallon jug 1/4 to 1/2 full of water, a plastic dishpan type container, cassette player, cassette tape with "William Tell Overture" or music with a hectic pace. Activity Instructions: "You are going to build a bridge using only the newspaper and masking tape. The bridge must be strong enough to hold this bottle (show the bottle and let them check the feel of it for weight). Also, the bridge must be tall enough for the pan to pass underneath it. The bridge must be free-standing; not attached to the wall, a piece of furniture, a person or an article of clothing...FREE-STANDING." Tell the group they are to line up according to birth month and day and CANNOT talk while doing this. Next, starting with January each person reveals the month and date of birth. If any person is out of sequence, the groups is to say loudly "unh-hah". Count off so that they are divided into teams. Rules Summary: (Clarify understanding of rules. I also write them on flip chart.) 1. Cannot use materials other than newspaper and masking tape. 2. Each group to build a bridge that the dish can pass under and hold the gallon jug for 10 seconds. 3. Cannot stick/tape to another person or furniture. 4. 7 minutes to plan; 8 minutes to build the bridge. Process: Tell them they will have 7 minutes to plan, discuss, etc., and to be sure everyone in the group is included. DO THEY HAVE ANY QUESTIONS? Time the 7 minutes. After the 7 minute discussion period, pass out the newspaper and tape. Inform the group they will now have 8 minutes to construct their bridge and, by the way, there will be no talking allowed during this 8 minutes. At the end of 8 minutes, allow the groups 30 seconds to speak to each other and then an additional 3 minutes of SILENTLY work to complete their bridge. During this last work session, play the "William Tell Overture" (or other such music) loudly. Call time and have one group at a time present their bridge. A spokesperson from each group will tell about their bridge and pass the pan under and put the jug on top. When the jug is put on top, all will count for 10 seconds. (This will be done for each group). Processing/discussion questions:

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How did you work as a group? Which part was the most difficult? Did everyone participate in some way? Did you feel like you contributed to the group? Did you feel like you were part of the group? Was there one particular person that kept the ball rolling? Were there individuals who were particularly quiet? How was their quietness interpreted: agreement or disagreement? What influenced the type of bridge built by each group? Why were no two alike? How did communication or lack of it affect the work of the group? What characteristics of teamwork became evident during this exercise?

Group Size: 20 + Time: 10-15 minutes Props: None

Instructions
1. Ask the large group to separate into smaller groups that you are about to announce. Call out a "category" using any of the suggested questions below (or make up your own). 2. Allow enough time for the groups to form (anywhere from 5 seconds to 30 seconds, depending upon the category). 3. Repeat steps one and two. Continue until the group is warmed up and ready for a new activity.

Category Questions to Get You Started
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Clasp your hands together and fold the thumbs across the top. Is your right thumb on top or your left? [If this is your first question, follow the question with something like "All lefties to this side of the room, all righties over there." This should help them understand your process.] Fold your arms across your chest. Is your right arm on top or is your left arm on top? Which month of the year were you born in? Which season of the year were you born in? Do you see yourself more as a Cadillac, a Miata, or a Jeep? Quickly choose a partner. Turn to them and give a spontaneous wink. Which eye did you wink with? What is your shoe size? Imagine yourself licking an ice cream cone. Are you twirling your cone clockwise, counterclockwise, or are you licking up and down? Can you roll your tongue?

Facilitator Notes
Keep things moving by watching the groups and calling out new categories. Participants should not be running to their groups or out of breath, and if they are asking questions of you or each other as they respond to each category, that is a good thing - let it happen. Purpose: To illustrate vision and the need for everyone on the team to have the same understanding of the end goal. Set-up: Scrap paper (blank page in workbook, notepad, etc.) and pencil/pen for each participant. Writing surface for each participant. Activity: Without providing any forewarning or foreshadowing, ask participants to take out a piece of paper and a writing utensil. Tell them, "I am going to read some pairs of words or phrases. For each set, please select the correct word or phrase. There is a correct word or phrase in each set. Ready, let's go." Read each set of choices a couple of times. Answer questions by simply saying write down the correct answer. This will frustrate some people (a good debriefing point that sometimes we get frustrated when we don't understand where we are going - or don't have the complete picture). Choices

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Cold or blue Up in the Air or Down on the ground Metal or cloth Stars or planets Green or red Snow or White Stripes or Plaid

After you have finished select a couple of people and have them read their answers and tell them how many they got correct. Ask how people felt (frustrated, confused, didn't make sense). Ask if anybody knows the answer - often times one or two people will have figured it out. If not, ask people to sit back and visualize the US Flag. Or show actual flag or picture of flag. Now quickly run through the choices - with the whole class responding out loud.

PROPS:
  
12 knives for each set of 4 people 12 Large marshmallows for pedestals A picture of what you want the knives to look like at the end of each round (below)

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OBJECTIVE:
Duplicate a structure using knives and marshmallows.

HISTORY:

Jeff Yang submitted this activity sequence with pictures. I have used the first stage many times as a simple problem solving activity, however this sequence of stages creates a rich opportunity for a presenter to teach the concept of experiential learning and for people to understand how activities can teach.

PREPARATION:
For larger groups, divide the knives and marshmallows into groups of three and place the sets on several tables so that people can get them easily. For smaller groups, have the knives and marshmallows available on a table.

INSTRUCTIONS:
In a moment we will be working with some knives and marshmallows. Please be careful not to cut yourself with the knives and please do not eat the marshmallows. I will be showing you some pictures of a structure I would like you to reproduce. Take your time and ask questions as we go. After each of the four stages, we will discuss what you did and I will ask some questions. Go gather three knives and three marshmallows.

Round 1
Use the three knives as bridges and three marshmallows as pedestals to build a structure like the one pictured. Each knife blade rests on only one other knife and the marshmallows aremore than a knife's length apart.

Round 2
Partner with someone near you. With the combined materials you have with your partner, build a structure like the one in the picture (below) using six knives and six marshmallows.

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Round 3
Now gather with another pair to make the structure in the picture. All four of you will use twelve knives and twelve marshmallows. Each knife blade rests on only one other knife.

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Round 4
Now it's time for you to use yourselves as resources rather than the knives and marshmallows. In your group of four you will use your bodies like the knives and your hands and arms like the

marshmallows. Each person will place his feet in the lap of another person so that when everyone straightens their bodies, the only thing touching the floor will be hands!

FACILITATOR NOTES:
This activity is not really about creativity. Many people will vary their design to make building the structure easier or unique. Encourage people to build what they see in the picture. As some people finish earlier than others, ask them to coach other teams as appropriate. The following can be a series of discussion points as people experience the four stages:

Round 1
Individuals use three knives and three pedestals to experience the difference between a "group" and a "team". How are the three knives, before the construction, like a group and the same three knives, after the construction, like a team?

Round 2
Pairs use six knives and six pedestals to experience the difference between "working individually" and "cooperating with a partner". What were the differences between working alone on the first round and working together on this second round?

Round 3
Four people use twelve knives and twelve pedestals to experience the difference between "small team size" and "large team size". In what ways does team size effect performance and interaction?

Round 4
Four people use their bodies to experience the differences between "talking about something as if it is real" and "really experiencing it". What are the differences between using activities and models and doing things for real? NOTE: On Round 4 be sure people are aware of others' physical abilities. It is going to be some weight on wrists, arms, and knees especially. I haven't had any problems, but I do encourage people sit out if they have any injury concerns.

VARIATIONS:
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Rather than progressing through all the stages, choose one of the structures that a team builds. The three knives structure is deceptively hard for many people. Use platforms and 2 X 6 lumber instead of marshmallows and knives to "giant-size" the activity. People can even walk to other platforms without touching the ground. Four platforms and boards will be more stable than three. If you are hesitant to use knives with your population, substitute paint stir sticks or longhandled spoons. After you complete Round 4, challenge the teams to raise eight people interlocked or twelve or sixteen. Another fun variation to Round 4 is to ask the team members to sit sideways in chairs positioned so that the backs of the chairs are on the outside. Everyone leans way back to put their head and shoulders on another person's stomach. Everyone lifts out of their seats and the seats are removed to leave four or more people supported by their feet.

Other Potential Discussion Questions:
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What were some of the key factors that allowed you to accomplish each task? How did your role change as more people were added to the task? Based on your overall experience, what are some advantages to learning by doing?

What: One of the best initiatives. Can be used indoors or out, works as well early or later in a training. Requires successive levels of thinking "outside of the box" for success. An excellent follow-up activity to Group Juggle. Group Size: 8-20 Time: 30-60 Minutes Props: one foam or fleece ball (a 9" round nerf ball works well and is readily available at most major retailers).

Instructions:
1. [If this is a follow-up to Group Juggle, skip to step 5] 2. Ask your group to form a circle. You will also form part of the circle with the throwables within easy reach. 3. Explain: "I'm going to start by tossing this ball to someone else in the circle. If you receive it, toss it to someone else in the circle not immediately on either side of you. That person will toss it to another person who has not yet received it and again not immediately on either side of him or her. Throwing continues until the last person tosses the ball back to me. Remember who you tossed to because we will try to recreate the pattern in the next phase. Any questions?" 4. Toss the ball to someone across from you. The cycle continues until the ball comes back to you. Repeat one more time so that everyone is clear who they toss the ball to and from whom they receive it. The ball must follow the same pattern both times. 5. Explain: "We are now going to see how quickly we can send this one ball from start to finish through the system. The only stipulation is that the ball must pass through the system in the same order that we have already established. [Remember these words: how you state this stipulation will define the boundaries for how this task can be accomplished.] I am going to step out of the system now, so the person that I tossed to will become both the beginning and the end person. Any questions? I will start time as soon as the ball leaves the first person, and I will stop time when it returns to him/her. You may begin when ready." 6. Time their first attempt. Applaud their attempt, whatever it is (one second per participant or longer is quite normal). And prompt them with "you can do better." Allow for planning, additional attempts and more planning. 7. At some point the group will ask you how fast this can be done or how fast you've seen it done or what the ultimate goal is. Answer for most groups of 20 people or less = less than one second.

8. Continue until the group attains the elusive "warp speed" or ceases to be actively engaged in trying to reach it. Process the activity.

Facilitator Notes:
1. Once the group learns of the goal that they are trying to reach, expect responses like "no way" and "are you kidding?" This will however alert them to the fact that the whole system needs to fundamentally change. 2. Fundamental changes that the group should progress through include movement (e.g., moving closer together, changing the position of the participants in the circle, moving out of a circle to a line or some other shape), changing how the ball moves through the system (e.g., from a toss to a hand off to a roll across hands or along the ground). 3. How creatively you allow the group to interpret its objective and the stipulation is a function of your assessment of the group and your learning goal. We have had groups ask if they just put the ball on the ground and then touch it in succession, does this satisfies the objective? [Does it? Pause here and reflect ...] Our response in this case is usually to ask the group to answer its own question. Does the ball actually pass through the system in the correct order? Most groups usually choose to continue to seek another solution, and we applaud their "thinking outside of the box" even if it didn't exactly provide the solution - it shows movement in the right direction.

Don't Touch Me!
A low-prop, mild-activity-level initiative problem; especially useful for training in communication, creative thinking, and problem-solving. I recently used this as one of the experiential bases for a 1/2 day training on some of DeBono's Critical Thinking tools. A GREAT ACTIVITY for distinguishing between continuous improvement and innovation/breakthrough improvement and for promoting thought and discussion on how our perceptions or assumptions can limit our choices.

Group Size/Configuration:  
10 - 100 An even number of participants. If the group is odd (every group is odd, but ...), then you will need to add yourself in as someone's partner.

Space/Supplies Needed:
1. Conference room; enough room to mill about. (I know this is vague, but it really depends on the size of the group. Read further, and if it isn't readily apparent to you, contact me.) 2. One relatively small, unbreakable object (can be anything, really. I've used a frisbee and a deck tennis ring in the past, but stuffed animals would also work well. Thoughts or suggestions?) The object may be lying on the floor or on a chair, but there should be enough space for the entire group to circle up around the object.

The Task
For each person in the group to touch the object as quickly as possible, subject to certain constrictions. This is a timed event; your group is trying over the course of several attempts to achieve "world class performance."

Directions/Facilitator Script
1. Would each person please grab a partner and line up opposite that partner in the circle? Thank you.

2. Your goal is for each person on the team to touch the object and switch places with his/her partner. Because we at XYZ zipper manufacturing are so safety conscious, we're going to require that no one make any physical contact whatsoever with anyone else for the duration of the attempt, and that each person repeat the company's OSHAapproved safety mantra "Don't Touch Me!" 3. I'll give you a few minutes to plan your strategy, and then signal for you to begin. I'll be timing you from the moment you begin until the task is completed; if anyone touches anyone else on the team, a penalty of 5 seconds per touch will be added to your time. 4. After we assess a time, you will have more time to plan, and another chance to attempt the task again and lower your time. Any questions?

Facilitator Notes:
1. Some person or person's will be unclear from the start about the task. Whenever someone asks "what are we doing?" I say the following: "Let me repeat the specifications. Each person on the team must touch the object. Each person on the team must NOT touch anyone else. Each person on the team must switch places with their partner. Each person must repeat the safety mantra "Don't Touch Me." I suggest that you say it just as written because you are trying to give instructions which are clear, don't mislead the participants, but don't give away too much. 2. First attempts are often very long (say two-three seconds for each person in the group), there are several touches, general confusion. On the second attempt, the group will usually have defined some type of system that involves each person in the group doing the task in turn, i.e., I and my partner each move to the center of the circle, touch the object without touching one another, then carefully move to the outside of the circle again. Then you and your partner do the same steps; then the next pair, and so on until everyone has completed the task. 3. Third (and sometimes fourth and fifth and so on) attempts will have the group finetuning its approach, its organization and process. Progress, i.e., a lowering of the time it takes to complete each attempt, will be incremental. 4. When the group starts questioning its assumptions, it will take huge leaps forward. Someone in the group will ask you "Do we have to stay in a circle?" You respond (per point #1 above) "Let me repeat the specifications ..." but the real answer (that the group should come to without you telling them) is no, the group can start in any shape or configuration it desires. Then someone else will ask "Do we have to start across from our partners?" Again, you repeat the specifications, but as they listen closely they will realize that there is no particular rule about where each person starts relative to their partners. Some groups even begin to question the meaning of the term "switch places." It is open for discussion, and you can be as free here as you wish. 5. "World class performance" is, obviously, whatever you say it is. I recently designated 8 seconds as world class performance with one group, but chose to do that because the group had worked effectively together, had used the tools that I had been teaching quite effectively, and were proud of their performance at that point; I was also running out of time. If, however, your goals center around thinking outside of the box, breaking old paradigms, etc., you may at some point casually mention that "the ABC Zipper Company was recently clocked at 1.2 seconds" - this will intensify the questioning and re-examining of the process that I point out in number 4 above. A "world-class" solution usually involves a reconfiguring of the group so that partners are right next to each other and simultaneous movement of one half of the group immediately followed by the simultaneous movement of the other half. Get it? No? Give it a try!