The Urgent Order | Teamwork Training Activity

Can teams work together against a tight deadline to get organised to complete a task, and then cope with an unexpected and urgent request out of the blue?!

Learning Objectives

  • Teamwork skills
  • Managing / coordinating a task
  • Managing interruptions & priorities
  • Attention to detail & accuracy of work
  • Creative thinking & problem-solving
  • Keeping focus on customer needs
  • Influencing skills

Repeat Use Licence

This Northgate training activity comes with a licence for repeat use with up to 24 participants per training session within your organisation. Please ask for a discount for use with larger groups.

  • Participants

    3-24 (up to 4 teams of 3-6 per team)

  • Timing

    1 hour + debrief

  • Uses a computer?

    Not required

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The Activity

A special order is received by teams who represent the staff and management of an electronics company. Their task is to manufacture (from plastic pieces) a number of new ‘computer chips' for a customer.

With the materials they have, teams must create 10 'unique' chips. Unfortunately some of the pieces are the wrong colour and teams will need to exchange these with other teams to fulfil the task. But will they?

The chips need to be ‘sprayed’ and ‘dried’ before being neatly packaged, labelled and prepared for despatch to the customer. This is a trial order - if it is done well then larger orders are likely to follow.

Halfway through the activity, teams receive an urgent notice from another customer who wants a quotation for a potentially much larger order (for the same computer chips). They now have to prioritise the work as this is urgent. Accuracy and attention to detail are paramount, but the original trial order still has to be completed before the deadline of 60 minutes.

Very often, teams know exactly how they should behave but in practice, it’s all too easy for priorities to go out of the window! How can teams ensure that at work this does not happen and that they become highly efficient, motivated and successful teams?

Trainer's Role

  • Introduce the session explaining that teams have a task to do an they have exactly 60 minutes to complete it.
  • Divide the group into team and issue team briefs to each team.
  • Observe teams in action and make notes on any interesting behaviours you witness. These observations can be used at the debrief to comment on how well teams worked together.
  • At the halfway point, issue a copy of the email quotation request.
  • At the 60 minute point stop the teams and collect in the packages they have put together. Check these for accuracy, design and overall appearance. Score each team's contribution using the guidelines in the Trainer's Notes.
  • Begin the debrief and lead a discussion on how the teams worked. How did they start? Did they have a good understanding of the task? Was everyone involved? How did they prioritise, delegate and work together?

Pack Contents

  • Trainer’s Notes
  • PowerPoint
  • PDF files for reprinting
  • Trainer's Reference: Legal Chips
  • Team Briefs
  • Floor Plan: Spray & Dry Rooms
  • The Urgent Email
  • Team Review Form
  • Team Resources: Card, Coloured Paper, Set of Plastic Interlocking Pieces, 60-second Timers, Sticky Tape, Rulers, Scissors.

We like Northgate activities here at ELS because they are great for rapidly creating cooperative team working in a fun, subliminal way and without any link to the course subjects. Here at ELS we deliver complex courses and we need people thinking fast and in different, creative ways. Northgate activities get people’s minds working and are the conversation pieces at coffee breaks long after the session has finished.

Rob Allen, Senior Consultant, Explosive Learning Solutions

'The Urgent Order' works really well! I used it at the end of a two-day workshop on teamwork and leadership and it finished the day brilliantly. It brings out key lessons whilst keeping delegates engaged and entertained - they thoroughly enjoyed the game. A breeze to run.

Ted Hall, Director, TBT Associates

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