Page tree
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Cross-functional teams usually need some time to work together in a truly agile and collaborative way. This is not a question of the methodology, which is usually quickly understood and adapted, but of the way the team members think and behave - as shown in the iceberg model. The following exercises are designed to help you as a coach to minimize misunderstandings caused by misdirected communication, hidden agendas, etc. and to make issues obvious that are swelling beneath the surface. You can understand the exercises as small interventions that playfully bring your team back together as a team and thus, enable real collaboration and co-creation.

As a coach, you are strongly challenged in these exercises - it strongly depends on your moderation, side coaching and guidance for reflexion how strongly the team understands the existence of behavioral and mental hurdles and how these can be overcome together. Together with the team, try to collect the experiences you have made with these exercises and try to establish the learning from them as a kind of team manifesto "how would we like to work together and develop". It is important that the members of your team work this out themselves but under your guidance leading them there by asking specific questions and giving them hints to discover toxic behavior. So let's get started!


Exercise #1: "Yes, and..."

Purpose

This playful team intervention teaches everyone to listen. Sounds like a easy thing to do, but you will discover during this exercise how hard it sometimes could be.

This is maybe one of the hardest things: accept what is on the table - whether you think it makes sense or not; wheter you like it or not. Be okay with it and take it as a gift someone is offering you and shape it your way.

During this exercise everyone will experience how to build up on each other in order to create something new and that there is nothing which you cannot help to improve with your wealth of experience and knowledge.

It will show on the side that in co-creation processes not to think too far ahead often helps.

Duration

  • 15 minutes including introduction to the exercise
  • 5-10 minutes reflection

Participants

  • Innovation manager
  • Innovation experts
  • Coach



Usage Scenario

  • As starter in the Business Design Training during the Setup Phase.
  • Before the Design Workshop starts in the Design Phase.
  • If you as coach get the feeling that your team is not building on each other.
  • If your team is getting lost in unnecessary detailed discussions about terminology.

Key Activities

To ensure that the intervention has the desired effect, as a coach you proceed as follows:

  1. Ask the team members to divide into three-man teams, line up in a small circle and determine an order for the course of the exercise; i.e. who will start and continue the exercise clockwise or counterclockwise.
  2. Provide all teams a first sentence (e.g. „Today, I walked down the road.“).

  3. Person A starts telling a story with repeating the first sentence and build up on it with one sentence by saying „Yes, and...“.

  4. Person B takes over telling the story exactly where they left off by adding another sentence by saying „Yes, and...“ and then person C continues by saying "Yes, and..." and so it goes on and on.

  5. One minute before the end of the exercise, you as coach give a sign to slowly come to the end and finish the story.

Reflection

The reflection after the exercise is essential, as it gives the team members the opportunity to reflect on what they have experienced and to transfer these experiences to their cooperation as a team. Therefore, ask everybody to come together and answer the following questions:

  • How did you like the story?
  • Did you expect to tell such an entertaining story together under the given circumstances?
  • What did it feel like not being able to plan in advance?
  • How did it feel to take responsibility and go on telling the story, even if you didn't know exactly how to do it at that moment?
  • How did it feel to accept unconditionally what your forerunner introduced?
  • How could this attitude of „Yes, and..“ help us in our next steps of the Business Design project?

Probable findings:

  • Entertaining stories can arise from nothing if one accepts unconditionally, what the other person puts on the table.
  • Thinking too far ahead blocks you more than it is beneficial to the story (in this case, the story is equivalent to a product).
  • Sometimes you have to let your beloved ideas go for the good of the whole story - no matter how brilliant they may have been.
  • Due to our wealth of experience we are always in a position to react quickly to circumstances and to spin on emerging ideas. You can trust that there's always something there.


Exercise #2: "Stop, walk, jump"

Purpose

Intuitive changes, ideas where you could grow together as a team as well as the feeling for adjustments which need to be taken, can't just come out of nowhere - that's what many think. But it does not take years of cooperation to feel truly connected as team members, to understand impulses and start to follow them together.

This little playful exercise teaches everyone to sense what the group needs.  It supports to develop a feeling for the right timing and also to take responsibility for the group by making decisions. It creates a sens of how important clear decessions are and when to make them.

Duration

  • 15 minutes including introduction to the exercise
  • 5-10 minutes reflection

Participants

  • Innovation manager
  • Innovation experts
  • Coach



Usage Scenario

  • As starter in the Business Design Training during the Setup Phase.
  • As a starter in the Kick-off Workshop during the Discover Phase.
  • As a starter in the Decide Phase.
  • If you as coach have the feeling that your team is getting lost in non-resuming discussions and not taking an aligned decision.

Key Activities

... how you as a coach can make it all work.

  1. Ask the team memebers to walk around the room.
  2. If you as an instructor of the exercise say "stop" they stop, "walk" they walk, and "jump" they jump along.
  3. If you feel that the team implements this well and is in flow give them the following new challenge: From now on, you will no longer give instructions. The group itself is responsible for this. Everyone in the group can shout out "stop", "walk" or "jump" when they want or if she/he thinks a switch is necessary
  4. If you feel that the group is doing the commands well for themselves, interrupt them and move on to the next phase of the exercise. Prohibit them from giving any loud commands to do so. Nevertheless, a change of activities must take place as before, but without verbal agreement. You will see that the group just does magically the same thing, adjusting from walk to jump as they go by everyone sensing what the group wants.

Reflection

In order to make this little playful intervention resonate in the further cooperation of the team, please ask all team members to come together and answer the following questions. But please don't forget as coach and moderator to relate to their cooperation as a team and to derive insights for themselves how they want to function as a team for the next weeks.

  • How did it feel to suddenly not get instructions?
  • Was it easier with or without clear instructions?
  • How was it to make your own decisions and take responsibility for the group when to change?
  • How did it feel when you all suddenly played together without having to say a word?
  • What changed?
  • How could we as team adapt this naturally flow of decison making?

Probable findings:

  • To listen to your team members with all your senses is quite difficult, but you get into the flow quite quickly.
  • It is precisely this sensitive listening that enables you to develop a timing for decisions.
  • Sometimes decisions must be made to move the team forward.
  • It feels damn good when everyone supports your decision, so it will feel absolutely right for all outsiders.


Exercise #3: "Who needs you most?"

Purpose

Simply making quick decisions without reassurance, long coordination loops and fall-back option - this is what this intervention makes experienceable in a playful way.

However, the focus is not only on making quick decisions especially in times of pressure, but also on taking into account each individual team member and ensuring that they can support the decision. It simple learns everyone to support each other.

In doing so, one thing becoming clear that if you make it loud, that you are struggeling, you'll get support. But if you act like you have everything under control, no one will offer you help.

At the same time this exercise shows how important it is not to overthink everything, but sometimes simply to act.

Duration

  • 10 minutes including introduction to the exercise
  • 5-10 minutes reflection

Participants

  • Innovation manager
  • Innovation experts
  • Coach


Need Support?

Bernhard DollWe help you improve the performance of your teamwork - playfully.
Contact us: simone@improeffekt.de.

Usage Scenario

  • As starter in the Business Design training during the Setup Phase.
  • As a starter in the Kick-off Workshop during the Discover Phase.
  • As a refresher when you as a coach have the feeling that the team is not supporting each other or some of the team members have a hidden agenda.

Key Activities

Here is how it works and what do you have to do as a coach:

  1. Ask the team memebers to spread out in the room.
  2. Ask them to adopt a posture that is as uncomfortable as possible and that they can hardly hold.
  3. Appoint a person who is responsible for the entire team. This person is called the carer.
  4. This person has to decide within seconds who needs them the most from the team. The person who needs the most help is the one who would fall over immediately because he can no longer maintain the posture she/he has adopted.
  5. The carer runs to the person mostly needing her/his help, types the person out and adopts a new posture that can't be hardly hold.
  6. The saved person is now talking over the role of the carer.
  7. You as coach scream all the time „Who needs you most“ to increase the pressure and promote speed.

Reflection

Again, the following applies: The reflection after the exercise is essential, as it gives the team members the opportunity to reflect on what they have experienced and to transfer these experiences to their cooperation as a team. Therefore, ask everybody to come together, reflect and to answer the following questions:

  • How was it?
  • What was the hard part of this exercise?
  • What did it make easier for you?
  • How does it feel to save somebody?
  • How does it feel to be taken care of?
  • How would it feel if we could have this kind of „Who needs me most“-mentality during the whole Busines Design process?

Probable findings:

  • If you speak up about your need for help, you get it faster - so make it loud! The more you make it loud, the easier it is to ask for help.
  • It's difficult to keep an eye on everyone all the time. That's why it's also helpful for the carer to have somebody signal him "Hey, I really need you right now".
  • Getting support feels really good.
  • It's nice to see that basically everybody struggles.

  • No labels