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Team Activities Drive the Message Home

May 1, 1996
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Related Topics: Behavioral Training, Featured Article
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Employees at Evart Glass Plant in Evart, Michigan engaged in a full-day experiential team-training program. A sampling of the activities they participated in follows.

GROUP JUGGLE ACTIVITY
Challenge:
Using several objects (such as tennis balls, hackey sacs and koosh balls) team members establish a random order of throwing and catching objects within the group and they attempt to juggle several objects simultaneously.

Lesson:
Though all members of the plant team have different roles, they all touch and affect the outcome of the product.

CARPET SQUARE MAZE OF LIFE ACTIVITY
Challenge:
The group must find the hidden path through the carpet square maze and then safely move each member of the group through the maze in a limited amount of time.

Lesson:
By allowing each individual's strength to come out (some have better memories, others can move faster) the group discovers hidden leaders. Either the whole group finds success by making the deadline, or the group pays the consequence of starting a new maze from the beginning.

TUBE PASS ACTIVITY
Challenge:
To pass a bicycle inner tube around a circle of people who are holding hands—without either breaking the circle or letting the tube touch the ground.

Lesson:
To show that what one person does effects the group as a whole. Also: people need to be willing to go out of their way to help each other in order to complete a task at the highest possible level of quality.

NAIL BALANCE ACTIVITY
Challenge:
To balance 14 nails on the head of a nail which has been pounded into a supporting block of wood, creating a free-standing structure without supports.

Lesson:
Things that seem impossible at first are possible when a group of people work together. The nails are interdependent on each other; if one nail is bumped, the others must flex or compensate in order for the structure to remain intact.

ELECTRIC FENCE ACTIVITY
Challenge:
For each member of the group to move from one side of the "electric" fence to the other—without touching the fence (see center photo).

Lesson:
Support and trust are vital parts of teamwork. Sometimes you have to be willing to be vulnerable and ask for help in order to do your job successfully.

DESIGNING VEHICLES ACTIVITY
Challenge:
To draw a vehicle that represents the training team and signify which part of the vehicle each member represents. Someone might be the air filter, cleaning out the negativity in the atmosphere; another might represent the headlights as someone who looks ahead to what lies in front of the team.

Lesson:
To validate the different strengths each member brings to the team and how the strengths are brought together to drive the plan ahead.

MAZE ROPES COURSE ACTIVITY
Challenge:
Each individual has the opportunity to choose his or her own challenges in the interconnected maze ropes course. There is no one correct way to complete a challenge and no one right path to go through. Challenges are not just physical, but emotional, social, mental and even spiritual.

Lesson:
It's all about choices and team members being willing to stretch their personal comfort zones. Also team members recognize the value of emotional and verbal support as individuals push boundaries while being cheered on by a support partner on the ground.

Personnel Journal, May 1996, Vol. 75, No. 5, p. 58.

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