Ideal starter activity which identifies those with leadership potential and those who understand the benefits of cooperative working. Great fun! Highly revealing!
4 teams of 3-6 per team
35 minutes + debrief
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Each of the four teams nominates a leader or you, as Trainer, can nominate the leader. Leaders then receive a brief containing instructions on their particular team’s task. (Each of the four briefs is different.) After reading it through leaders return to their teams to brief them. The task is in two parts.
First, teams have 15 minutes to listen to the leaders, understand the task and plan their strategy. During this stage they can ask just three questions - in writing, to the Trainer who is bound to answer truthfully. How well will teams use this important opportunity to get to grips with what the task really entails?
On a nearby table in the training room you should place the six packs of circular playing cards – all packs randomly mixed up together but there is just one card missing (all explained in the Trainer’s notes). These constitute the shared resources with which each team needs to fulfill its particular task.
They can all achieve their objectives but because the resources are shared there is a need for organisation and planning. Tasks include making matching sets of cards, identifying a missing card and counting the number of ‘eyes’ within the pack.
Teams have 20 minutes to work on their tasks. Now, all communications between the four teams must take place ONLY between the leaders. Under time pressure - and teams not necessarily understanding other teams’ tasks and how they might fit together - can all four teams work together to complete on time? Win-win or lose-lose?
The title Mayhem is chosen for a reason - as chaos usually ensues! The key factor is whether teams can work cooperatively together, within the deadline, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The perfect energiser to start the day or to recharge batteries after lunch!
Full guidance is provided in the Trainer’s Notes.
'Mayhem!' went down a treat and did everything I hoped it would do. Bearing in mind this was a team building event (!), here's what happened: one team decided to sidle up to the table where the cards were: other teams immediately got suspicious and I heard comments such as 'what are they doing?' and 'watch them carefully!'. When the time came to work with the cards, this team snatched them all up and started sorting through them. This caused, as you might imagine, bedlam, mayhem, screams of derision, 'what the hell are you guys doing? We need to collaborate.' - which all fell on deaf ears. Team leaders were desperately trying to negotiate, but people soon realised that team leaders had no control. Other teams decided to form commando teams and started snatching cards! Then I heard the ultimate comment: 'As much as I love to collaborate, it's more important that we hurt them!'. It was lots of fun debriefing and learning - it definitely did what it said on the tin.
C. Chin, Curious Learning
This activity quickly descended into chaos! So I intervened after 8 minutes and talked to the whole group asking a few key questions. I then reset the clock and they finished the task with 30 seconds to spare. A triumph! And loads of learning points simply tumbled out.
Steve Laing, Consultant, QC Training International