Web of Wools

Materials: yarns and scarfs
Time: 30 min
Group size: 9-12

Instructions: The group will be split into teams of equal numbers. Then each team will form a web of wools, the more intricate the better. Here comes the best part: we’ll switch the teams, so everyone has a different web than their own. Each team should then blindfold a team member and have them untangle the web following only their verbal instructions. The first team to do it wins. Sounds easy, right? In reality, it’s not. They have to give concise advice and be receptive enough to follow their colleagues and instincts.

The Barter Puzzle

Materials: puzzles
Time: 60-90 minutes
Group size: 12-20

Instructions: Not sure how your co-workers reach an agreement when they’re under pressure? Let them negotiate to find out. We’ll divide them into teams of 4 or 5. Then, we’ll give each team a different jigsaw puzzle equal in complexity. We’ll explain to them that the puzzles are scrambled, containing parts from the other ones. The goal is to be the first team to complete their puzzle while engaging in negotiation activities like bartering, exchanging team members, assigning leader roles, etc. These actions need to be taken by the whole team, not individually. To make things more interesting, we can hand each team a few trading chips with no value assigned to them. Although time-consuming, this activity brings up the best negotiators in each person and gives you a sneak peek into how they strategize decisions.

Robots

Materials: a rope to mark the start line, blindfolds, a “bomb” in the form of a ball
Time: 30 minutes
Group size: 6-12

Instructions: This group team building activity is a great way to see how your team works together in an uncontrolled environment. The objective? To communicate in such a way as to retrieve a fake “bomb” before the other teams. Each team contains 3 to 5 members. There are three key roles to remember:

Robot (1)– stands blindfolded in front of the start line, facing the bomb and is the only one allowed to move.

Communicator (2)– stands behind the line and doesn’t face the activity area, nor the robot.

Observer (3)– stands in front of the communicator facing the activity area, but is not allowed to talk.

The team game begins with the observer who can use any other communication channel to signal the direction to the communicator. The communicator in return has to interpret those signals and give instructions to the robot to retrieve the bomb. We will observe how each one is communicating both in a verbal and nonverbal way. And, of course, we’ll pay special attention to the robots when it comes to active listening.

M&M Arm Wrestle

Materials: a bag of M&Ms
Time: 15 minutes
Group size: 4-20

Instructions: The participants will pair up and assume an arm-wrestling position. They can either stand on the floor or at a table. Whenever they pin down their partner’s arm, they win a point. The goal is to earn as many points as possible before the time goes out – usually 10 seconds. What you’ll notice is that people will focus more on competition and wrestle arms with each other (Win-Lose situation), rather than work together and win points for both sides (Win-Win situation). We’ll give them a couple of extra rounds so they can figure it out for themselves. The bottom line is that winning at all costs, even at your co-worker’s stake, is counterproductive. But wait, where do M&Ms come into play? For each point earned, the participants will get an M&M candy. A great incentive J