Friday, September 18, 2009

Team Building for Creative Problem Solving & Information sharing

Infinite Loops

Rope loops - one per person

Small team and large group team building & communication and problem solving
For all partners to become separate, the activity is not complete until there is a full organizational success.

You are going to want to practice this one for mastery!
Each person is issued one section of rope.
Get a partner
Pass your hands through the loops of your rope section so that you and your partner are connected by your ropes.
Refer to the image above.

1. Your wrist loops must stay on your wrists throughout the entire activity.
2. The rope may not be cut (in any manner).
3. The knots may not be untied.
4. If partners get tangled up its allowable to take hands out of the wrist loops and start all over again.

Facilitator Script
“This next activity represents a challenge in problem solving plus the ability of our group to share best practices throughout the organization. The goal of the activity is to get free from your partner and to take part in sharing best practices throughout the organization.

Here is the way the activity works in a moment each of you will have your own infinite loop, one partner will place one loop in the rope on their left wrist then the other loop on their right wrist. Then their partner will place one of their loops of their left wrist, and before placing it on their right wrist they will overlap their rope a single time through their partners rope then placing the loop on their right wrist (visually illustrate this while explaining the activity).

The goal is to get free from your partner so the two of you can physically walk away, an additional goal is for all teams to be successful and separate from their partner making this activity a company wide success.
Here are the guidelines;
Your wrist loops must stay on the original wrist throughout the entire activity
The rope may not be cut (in any manner)
The knots may not be untied
If partners get tangled up, take your hands out of the wrist loops and start over again.

REMEMBER this is a 2 level objective, free from your partner & a total company success.”

Facilitator Notes:
For the solution -
This is a challenging activity and it is recommended that you practice this to the point of mastery and beyond.
Allow the group to struggle for some time.
All groups begin with dancing around and twisting.
Generally after about 8-10 minutes I will walk up to groups and illustrate quickly how to get out of the ropes.
Following this activity you can choose to show the group the solution, or you can choose to not show them the solution, either way the group will gain some valuable knowledge.

Potential Processing Questions:
Ask the partners to separate and choose a new partner - anyone they please.
This processing is called a Story Line - it is an active reviewing activity.

Once the people have new partners ask them to take the next 10 minutes and share their story of that activity. Here is how they will share their story;
“Using the ropes to create a squiggly line with peaks and valleys, then one partner walks along the line sharing their story, personal and team ups and downs while walking along the ropes. The other partner just listens until they have completed sharing their story, then they switch places. The new partner creates a squiggly line with peaks and valleys and while walking along the line they share their story, personal and team ups and downs. The other partner just listens.”

Following the 10 (more or less depending upon the group) ask if any partnerships wish to share their stories.

With knowledge of you preferred team role and your original partners preferred team role describe the communication.

Who assisted your team in completion of the activity?

What would make someone just stop once they were separate from their partner?

What role, if any, did ethics play in this activity?

How can we apply some of the learning from infinite loops back to our office?

to facilitate team work, leadership
Innovation with your group.

-Michael Cardus is the founder of Create-Learning-Team Building, an experiential based training and development consulting organization, as well as a blogger for TeamBuilding NY. Mike specializes in team development and leadership development consulting and training, creating team-building programs that retain talented staff members, increase production and effectiveness of your team. He lives in Buffalo, NY, and travels to you to serve your team-building and leadership training needs, wherever and whenever fits your schedule.