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#4 Use experiential activities to reflect organisational context


Client Enquiry:

Im working with a cross-functional team of professionals in a fast growing business and looking at decision making. I want to use an experiential activity before going into a Myers Briggs session, that helps look at decision making and how they move to a consensus. I want to see how they work with ambiguous information and share understanding across the group.

The group already has experience in working with Colourblind®.


RSVP Design Response:

Id recommend two activities: Webmaster® or Simbols.

Both can be run in a single group, or initially in sub-groups which then come together as a larger single group to complete the activity.


In Webmaster the group has an ambiguous and fuzzy problem to initially solve, and then they have to decide (and implement!) how to significantly improve performance, with the benefit of several rehearsals.


In Simbols the group initially has an extensive amount of ambiguous information which has to be sorted, and decisions made about how to structure it in order to complete the final task. Verbal communication of abstract information is the primary focus of the initial part of the activity, and deciding on an Managers Using Simbols implementation process for the final task becomes key later on. The group is allowed only one single attempt at the final Simbols task.


As either could work well in terms of achieving the learning outcomes, you should decide based on some other feature - for example Webmaster is a more physical, active exercise, whilst Simbols is a more intense but sedate exercise.


Tip #4

When deciding to use an experiential activity we often make it initially appear unrelated to any work activity, yet still focus on the behaviours we want to change, or the skills we want to build. Putting ropes together in the right order, or deciding how abstract images on magnetic cards should be placed together are not critical business problems for managers to solve in their work environment - but how they rehearse approaching new and difficult problems is important. Consider how to further reflect their work environment by adjusting the activity where possible. Examples might be - reflect typical organisational leadership by choosing a team leader and giving them extra knowledge (eg the the activity brief); or let it evolve by placing the brief in a general area and see who takes it; or ask someone to lead/coach but not take part in the activity (remote leadership). Reflect the current  organisational structure by having sub-teams work side by side (where people are typically co-located) or spread them out, perhaps even in different rooms (if they are normally geographically disperse). Sometimes it is the extra thought that goes into setting up a flexible activity that can bring the extra learning or impact you need!


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