July 2010, Saran Shuffle
This initiative can be done with anywhere from 6-12 people.
Get the team to clump tightly together, all facing the same direction. Make sure they are about as tight as they can comfortably get. Now have the people on the outside of the circle raise both hands above their heads so that you can encircle the entire team with a couple bands of plastic wrap.
Now they are ready for your instructions.
The goal is to get their team from one cone (or similar marker) to another, approximately 10 yards away, as quickly as possible.
The rules are simple: Do not break the band (emphasize this!) and keep the band around the midriff without grabbing on to the band with their hands. Time the group on the first couple of attempts, encouraging them to make process improvements to speed up their time.
On the last attempt, ask the group (or those on the outside of the circle) to take a step out, stretching the band as they step. They will quickly discover that they can get a pretty good stretch, way before the band breaks. Their next attempt should result in a much improved time and lots of celebration!
- The larger the group, the more dangerous. It is easy for heels and toes to get stepped on. Be sure that everyone has on flat shoes. This should never be done with high heels on.
- As the group gets faster and faster, be ready with spotters to help decelerate the mass as they approach the finish line (cones).
- Caution the people in the middle of the mass. They should hold onto shoulders of those around them to prevent tripping and trampling.
Boundaries -- this activity is great at illustrating how groups sometimes create self-imposed boundaries around their process and operations.
Ask: Do we ever have tendencies to perceive boundaries that may not exist? What are some examples?
What should we do if we perceive a boundary is not real, or should be challenged?
How do we best communicate "boundary questions and concerns, both to leaders and team members?
Ask: How do we determine process limits in our day-to-day work?
How are limits set and how are they best communicated?
Ask: How are paradigms created regarding how we do our work?
What are the challenges associated with seeking new paradigms at work?
Ask: Explain where and when teamwork is critical in your actual work.
How do you facilitate excellent levels of cooperation and teamwork?
This activity is great at stimulating teams to think about and to be proactive is looking for improvements in how they perform their work together as a team.