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  • Writer's pictureBurk Moreland

Your Next Company Training Doesn’t Have To Be Boring

I facilitated a really great training event for one of my clients.  I invested most of a day with their new managers working on topics like:  Working with difficult customers, developing new team members, delegation, time management and team building.  The last topic was of particular interest.

You’re shipwrecked…

One of the exercises we did was a ‘survival’ scenario.  There are multiple ones out there, but the one I chose for them was a shipwreck.  The group was stranded over 100 miles offshore with each other and only 15 items in a rubber life boat.  Due to weight and space issues, they are required to make a plan to get rid of items one at a time. 

The first step was to rank the items 1 to 15 in order of importance on their own, and they’re not allowed to ask questions to each other or me. They must make their best guess.  Once done, they have to compare notes and come to an agreement on the order as a team.  The leadership, collaboration, logic, problem solving and other skills that can be pulled out and examined on this exercise are bountiful. 

Once the group starts to participate as a team, the fun begins.  Arguments over personal importance placed on items comes out, but in addition, ideas of multiple uses for items or angles no one else thought of start to emerge.  Characteristics of leadership styles and pecking order are clear. 

Tweet: We learn things about people in a group exercise that we didn’t know before and hidden talents and knowledge are revealed.

Having a great time…

In addition, from a pure team building perspective, the laughter as the team comes up with crazy ideas and uses for certain items and sometimes even crazier justifications for keeping things emerges.  This kind of fun is what people will kid each other about for days, weeks and maybe years to come.  A great example:  One of the items in this particular scenario is a sextant.  Out of the entire room (in fact the last two trainings combined), only one person had even a clue as to what one is (it is a nautical navigation device used before electronics).  The guesses at what it was were even funnier based on the first three letters of the word… In another example, someone misread the list and thought they saw a bottle of suntan lotion.  The actual item was a bottle of rum.  The confusion as to why someone would slather themselves with rum will be a story for many meetings to come I am sure.

Learning and growing…

I truly enjoy the events l do with my clients.  We laugh, we learn, and we grow.  The sharing of information amongst the group is invaluable to the company and the relationships that are cemented help to ensure stability moving forward.  Oh, in case you are curious, I bring along the Coast Guard recommendations for the list so that you can compare your survival skills to the experts.  Sadly, most people won’t make it if they are alone, but as a group, they have a chance. The scores almost always improve by 10-20% when everyone works together.  The old adage two heads are better than one comes to mind.  So as you go on about your day and work with your team, your customers and anyone else, take a moment to slow down and ask for input.  Consider new angles.  Collaborate. Allow others to have an opinion.

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