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|Team Building game using Lego|
You can source lego bricks from here http://creative.lego.com/en-us/Products/Basic/5749.aspx. The link is to three sets of bricks 5749, 5529 and 6177. It might be an idea to get one of each, then split the combined bricks to create three or four identical sets (only the shapes matter, not the colour) with 100 to 150 bricks in each. It doesn't matter if some of them seem irrelevant to you to building a tower!
You will need to get one base per group as well.
You will then be able to work with up to four groups of four to six people.
Introduce the objectives of the activity and how to get the most out of it and enjoy it too.
(I might propose listening, trying things and not taking it too seriously and ask them if they have anything they want to add.)
Brief discussion, what do people do when they work effectively together?
(I would make some suggestions about, for example, everyone having an opportunity to contribute perhaps and ask for more ideas from the group. We might list these on a chart and display them)
Introduce the practical exercise. Groups of four to six people each build a Lego tower. It is a mini-project. Each group has the same number and type of "bricks" they have up to 20 minutes to build the tower and make a profit by doing so.
The "profit" is calculated as follows. Profit in pounds/dollars/euros = height of tower in cm multiplied by 3, minus planning time in minutes multiplied by 2, minus construction time in minutes multiplied by 5, minus 50 pence (of pound), 50 cents (of a dollar), 50 cents (of a euro) per brick! When you are planning you can look at and handle the "bricks" but not put them together! The tower must stand by itself for a minute.
(My wife and I have tried this and it is possible to build a very respectable tower reasonably quickly and make a profit.)
Do the exercise and calculate the "profits".
(This is quite quick; you can just count the bricks left over. The other factors are easy to measure)
Review the learning from the exercise in each group. People could refer to the list they created at the beginning of the exercise and see how they did against the things they thought were important for people to work effectively together. One person in each group could make sure everyone has time to speak while everyone else just listens.
Repeat the tower building exercise, as before. Calculate the "profits".
(You might consider splitting groups and forming new ones to maximise the opportunity for team building across a department)
Review in groups, as before.
(There will be new learning about using experience)
I would bring the whole group together to discuss the implications for work and the work of the department and ask people to share what they learned.
(This will help your investment in this activity have a return in practice. You will also have some idea of the output of the event).
I expect all of you will a lot about working together, learning from experience and identifying and using resources and a few things about building Lego towers!
(You may also find it helpful for people to identify the assumptions they made. Common ones are that the activity is a competition and what stems from this is that the groups can't help each other. These are not necessarily true. There are lessons here for back into the organisation).
Here are some additional things to notice about each group.
Some thoughts on structuring the game.
The "things people do" will be quite simple. They might be: -
When you review the learning from the exercise, ask each person what she or he learned about working together effectively and give everybody the opportunity to speak without interruption, before moving on to more general points.
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