Category Archives: Collaboration

Counter-Culture (EXERCISE)


Silo MentalityTime

25 min

 

Description

Participants will engage in an exercise to examine four negative cultural norms at the organization and four positive replacements.  They will be asked to explore how they feel in the midst of each one and to commit to adopt the positive cultural behaviors.

 

Materials

  • 8 sheets of posterboard
  • Thick marker
  • Masking tape (1 roll)
  • Printouts (1 per participant) of the following two documents. Both documents can be found on the http://www.teachingthem.com website on the Lesson and Material Downloads page..
    • EXERICSE – Counter-Culture – Problems and Solutions.docx
    • EXERCISE – Counter Culture – Wide Range of Emotions.pptx

 

Preparation

  • Print copies of the two documents for all participants.
  • Tape a very large circle with masking tape in the middle of the open floor of the teaching area.  It should be large enough so everyone will be able to stand in the circle together.
  • Create eight large signs on posterboard by labeling each one with a different cultural element from the list below:
    • Distrust
    • Silo Mentality
    • Polishing Our Rough Edges
    • Over-commitment
    • Trusting Others
    • Collaboration
    • Being Vulnerable & Transparent
    • Ruthless Prioritization
    • Ask 8 volunteers to each take one posterboard and line up along two different walls – the four positive cultural elements (Trusting Others, Collaboration, Being Vulnerable & Transparent and Ruthless Prioritization) on one wall and the four negative cultural elements (Distrust, Silo Mentality, Polishing Our Rough Edges, Over-commitment) on the opposite wall.

 

Procedure

  • Pass out the two pages (“Problems and Solutions” and “Wide Range of Emotion”) to every participant.
  • Invite each participant to join in one of eight little groups, aligned behind participants holding up eight large placards.
  • Instruct participants to move around into other groups until there are about the same numbers of participants standing with each placard. (NOTE: This exercise will work even if there is only one person in each small group – the one holding the placard – but will also work with 100 people.)
  • Ask the group behind the “Distrust” sign to read together and aloud the description of “Distrust.”
  • After that reading, call upon anyone in the room to call out the feelings/emotions that they experience when they encounter this cultural problem in their organization. (Remind the participants to look at the graphical list of Feelings in their hands to help them identify any feelings they experience.)
  • After this, have the group behind the corresponding counter-cultural placard (“Trusting Others” in this case) read aloud and together the description of  “Trusting Others.”
  • Then have both groups dealing with the Distrust/Trusting Others issue walk into the large circle in the middle of the room, holding their signs high so everyone can see them.
  • When those participants are in the circle in the middle of the room, the facilitator calls upon anyone in the room to call out the feelings/emotions that come to mind when they imagine this powerful counterculture of “Trusting Others” becoming a reality throughout their organization.
  • On the count of three, have everyone in the room say aloud and together “We release Distrust” and the person holding that placard goes outside of the circle and lays that placard down on the ground.   (The placard “Trusting Others” remains held aloft in the circle.)
  • After this, the same overall process is repeated for the remaining cultural problems and counter-cultural behaviors.
  • When this is completed, invite someone to pray in a short time of conversation prayer.

 

Source – Greg Boyer and Michael Kientz


 


Cultural Problems and Their Counter-Cultural Solutions

 

Some of our cultural problems in our organization are:

1. Distrust – Managers don’t trust staff enough to delegate to them. Staff don’t trust their managers enough to give them honest feedback. Senior leaders don’t trust staff enough to share information.  As a result, work takes longer to complete, misunderstandings abound, and, gossip and rumor often replace formal communication channels.

 

2. Silo Mentality – Staff are focused on doing the best job they can, but they don’t talk to their peers doing the same roles. As a result, they reinvent the wheel on a regular basis or suffer silently, not knowing how to solve problems that someone else has already solved.

 

3. Polishing Our Rough Edges – In a desire to look “Excellent” (which translates to “Perfect” in our culture), staff misrepresent the situation to make it look like things are better than they are. Staff overstate their strengths, skills and contributions. Field Offices put on a show for visiting leaders. Leaders do whatever it takes to ensure they get “green KRIs” (a proxy for all kinds of visible measurements) even when it requires enormous sacrifice from their staff. As a result, leaders and senior leaders don’t have a true picture of the condition of the ministry, resources aren’t allocated correctly, and problems are prolonged.

 

4. Over-commitment – Senior leadership regularly takes bigger bites than the staff can chew. Because we don’t know what’s most important, everything looks important, and we feel that we have to do everything. At the heart of this behavior is a pride that makes us feel like our efforts are essential to the success of the ministry and a lack of faith in God’s provision to bring about positive outcomes.  As a result, staff are exhausted, burnout and turnover are common, relationships are strained, our infrastructure is stressed, and staff lose confidence in their leaders as we regularly invest fully in initiatives that have little to no impact.

 

Counter-cultural corrective attitudes and behaviors are:

1. Trusting Others – Every worker at every level commits to being trustworthy by honoring commitments, being transparent, communicating frequently and strategically, and dealing with conflict in a biblical way. Leaders take risks to share information and delegate to give opportunities for workers to earn their trust.

 

2. Collaboration  – When people encounter a problem that they aren’t sure how to solve or initiate a project, their first thought and action is to contact their peers and find out what’s been done already. Workers regularly spend 25% or more of their time collaborating with other staff both inside and outside their office.

 

3. Being Vulnerable & Transparent – Everyone commits to giving an honest and realistic picture of what the current state is. Leaders and workers ask for help when they need it. Leaders honor this risk by not punishing staff for admitting mistakes or asking for help. Everyone allows their rough edges to show so that God can use them to connect us to each other (like a jigsaw puzzle).

 

4. Ruthless Prioritization – Senior leadership identifies a few anchors that all workers can use to make decisions about which activities get done and which ones detract us from our main focus (even if they look good and important).  Senior leaders require other leaders to justify initiatives by matching them to the anchors and hold themselves accountable to say “no” more often than they say “yes” to new initiatives. The organization regularly assesses workers’ capacity and work-life balance and makes adjustments to protect the well-being of the staff.

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Filed under Collaboration, Communication, culture, Priorities, Transparency, Trust, Vulnerability

Parking Lot (GAME)


Time

15-20 minutes
Description

This game forces team members to work together in order to solve logic puzzles.  Team members will work puzzles representing cars parked irregularly in a square parking lot.  There is only one way out, and they must coordinate their movements so that their “car” is able to make it off the lot.

Scriptures

These Scriptures are provided as possible context for talking about the topics of problem solving or collaboration, but they aren’t essential to the activity.  Use them if they suit your purposes.

  • 1 Kings 3:16-28 (creative problem solving)
  • Daniel 5:12 (solve difficult problems)
  • Nehemiah 2:11-18, 4, 5 or 6 (creative problem solving)
  • Nehemiah 3:1-32 (collaboration)

 

Materials

The amount of materials you will need for this game will depend largely on the size of your group and how many small groups you need to create.

  • For each group of 4-6 people – Posterboard, futureboard or cardboard (One white piece, and one light-colored piece. Use the size that is readily available in the stores – about 2 ft tall x 2.5 ft wide)
  • Thick, black, permanent marker
  • Ruler
  • Straight-edge for drawing lines (optional)
  • Scissors or cutting tool
  • One copy per team of each of the puzzle patterns and answer keys in the file “GAME – Parking Lot – Patterns.pptx.”  (You can find this file on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  Alternately, you could project an image of each of the patterns using a Computer, LCD projector and screen.)
  • Prizes for winning teams (Optional)

 

Preparation

  • With the permanent marker and the straight edge, mark off a large square on the white posterboard, futureboard or cardboard.  (24 in x 24 in).
  • Divide this square into six squares vertically and six squares horizontally using the ruler, and mark off the lines with the permanent marker.  (Each square should be 4 in x 4 in.)
  • Mark an arrow, pointing to the right in the square on the far right on the third row from the top.  (See the diagram to the left for a better idea of what this looks like.)
  • On the light-colored posterboard, futureboard or cardboard, measure and mark off nine, rectangular pieces according to the following dimensions:
    • 3 pieces of 4 in tall x 12 in wide
    • 6 pieces of 4 in tall x 8 in wide
  • Cut these pieces out.
  • Mark diagonal stripes down one of the 4 in tall x 8 in wide pieces of posterboard, futureboard or cardboard.
  • Divide the group into smaller groups of 4-6 people each.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to play a game called, ‘Parking Lot.’”
  • “Every team has a white game board with 24 squares on it and nine separate pieces of posterboard (or futureboard or cardboard).”
  • “You’ll notice that one of your pieces has diagonal lines drawn across it.  This is YOUR car.”
  • “All the other pieces represent ‘cars’ that belong to other people.  Some are bigger cars than the others.”
  • “The white game board represents a parking lot.”
  • “I’m going to hand you a pattern (or “show you a pattern on the screen”), and your group should lay the separate pieces on your game board to match the pattern.”
  • “You will only need eight of the pieces, because one of the pieces will be used for later patterns after the first one.”
  • “Once you have duplicated the pattern on your game board, you will then work as a team to get your car out of the parking lot.”
  • “There is only one way out, and it’s marked with an arrow on your game board.”
  • “To get your car through the exit, you will have to move the other cars up and down or right and left to get them out of the way.”
  • “None of the cars can turn, and they can’t move sideways.”
  • “If they are facing vertically, they can only move vertically.  If they are facing horizontally, they can only move horizontally.”
  • “They cannot go through or over or under another car, but if there isn’t a car in the way, they can move as many unoccupied spaces as possible.”
  • “The last rule is that you can only move one car at a time and only when I tell you to move.”
  • “The team that gets their car out of the parking lot with the fewest moves wins.”
  • “What questions do you have before we get started?” 
  • (Answer any questions.  Then, pass out the first pattern.  Allow groups three minutes to form a strategy, and then remind them that each team will move together as you give the signal.)
  • (Tell them to make their first move.  When everyone has made it, tell them to make their second move, and so on, until a group gets their car free.) 
  • (After you have allowed them to make 20 moves, if no team has won, you may want to let them start over.  None of the puzzles require more than 20 moves.) 
  • (Hand out copies of the Answer Key for each puzzle so that teams that didn’t complete it can see how it is done.)
  • (Award a prize for the winning team if you like, and play another round by handing out a second pattern.)
  • (There are a total of six patterns available for use in the file. There are also Debrief Questions to highlight the teaching points.)

 

Debrief Questions & Discussion

  1. “What was challenging about the game?”
  2. “What did your team have to do to get your car free each time?”
  3. “What can you learn about problem solving from this activity?”
  4. “What can you learn about collaboration?”
  5. “How can this help you back in the real world of challenging problems?”

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Filed under Collaboration, creativity, Game, Problem solving, teamwork

The Mafia Game (GAME)


Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

 

Time

20-30 minutes
Description

This game shows the negative impact of distrust and lack of role-clarity on collaboration within a team.  Participants are assigned a secret role to play (Mafia, Police, Doctor or Townspeople), and “good” and “evil” try to eliminate each other. It is based on a game originally invented by psychology student Dimitry Davidoff in Russia in1986.  (A variation for young children is described at the end.)

 

Scriptures

If you would like to connect this game to a biblical lesson, you can choose from the following (depending on what point you would like to make):

  • Psalm 133 (It is good for God’s people to live together in peace.)
  • Proverbs 3:29 (Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you.)
  • Proverbs 12:22 (The Lord detests lying lips but delights in the trustworthy.)
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (One body but many parts)

 

Materials

o  Deck(s) of playing cards – one deck for every 8 to 12 people (If your group is larger than 12 people, you will need two decks.  If it’s larger than 24, you will need three, and so on…  However, if you have a total of people that is bigger than 12 but too small for two groups, you can just play with one large group.)

o  Flipchart or whiteboard and markers (optional)

o  Prizes for the winners (optional)

Preparation

o  Take out the following playing cards from each deck:

o  2 Aces – representing the Mafia

o  2 Kings – representing the Police

o  1 Queen – represents the Doctor

o  Enough number cards for the rest of the people in each group (For example, if you have a group of 8, you will have 2 Aces, 2 Kings, 1 Queen and 3 number cards.  If you have a group of 12, you will have 2 Aces, 2 Kings, 1 Queen and 7 number cards.)

o  Shuffle the cards up for each deck, but keep the decks separate from each other.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We are going to play The Mafia Game.”
  • “First, I need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into groups of 8-12 people each, and have each group sit in a circle, facing each other.)
  • “Everyone in your group is part of a town.”
  • “There are both good people and bad people in your town.”
  • “During the game, we will have both day and night in your town.”
  • “Each day and night together are a round of play.”
  • “I have a deck of cards for each group, and in this deck are four kinds of cards – Aces, Kings, Queens and number cards.  I’ve taken all the extra cards out.”
  • “I am going to come to you and ask you to draw one card from the deck.”
  • “You can look at your card, but please do not let anyone else see what you drew.”
  • “The card you draw will determine which role you play in the game.”
  • “There are four roles.”  (You may want to write these roles on a flipchart or whiteboard so that participants don’t forget what the cards mean.)
  • “If you draw an Ace, you are part of the Mafia.  Your goal is to eliminate the Townspeople, the Police and the Doctor during the night.”
  • “If you draw a King, you are part of the Police.  Your goal is to figure out who the Mafia are and to persuade the Townspeople to eliminate them during the day.  You probably will want to keep your identity a secret so that the Mafia doesn’t get rid of you first!”
  • “If you draw a Queen, you are a Doctor.  Your goal is to protect people from the Mafia during the night.  Each night, you can choose one person to protect – it can even be yourself!”
  • “If you draw a number card (no matter what number), you are one of the Townspeople.  Your goal is to eliminate the Mafia during the day.”
  • “I am the Narrator, and I’ll be giving you instructions.”
  • “We will have both days and nights in each round.”
  • “During the night, everyone will close their eyes and put their heads down.”
  • “I will give the Mafia, Police and Doctor roles the opportunity to wake up at night and do their work.”
  • “The Townspeople will stay asleep all night.”
  • “When I say it is day, everyone will lift their heads and open their eyes.”
  • “During the day, everyone can pretend to be a Townsperson, because no one will know what your real role is.”
  • “Everyone will get a chance to try to convince each other who to eliminate.”
  • “If you are eliminated, you will have to leave the circle without telling your identity, but you will be allowed to watch the rest of the game with your eyes open.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions about how the game is played?”  (Answer any questions.  Then, have each person draw one card from the deck(s).  Remind them to keep their card and their role a secret.)
  • “Let’s play! Please do what I tell you when I tell you, and be sure that no one hears you if you are doing your work at night!”

 

NIGHTTIME

  • “It is nighttime, so everyone please go to sleep.” (Everyone puts their head down and closes their eyes.)
  • “Mafia, please wake up.” (Only the member(s) of the Mafia quietly open their eyes. As long as there is more than one Mafia member, they must unanimously choose a person to eliminate by pointing to someone in the group. The Narrator must remember the person chosen.)
  • “Mafia, please go to sleep.” (The Mafia close their eyes and place their heads down again.)
  • “Police, please wake up.” (The member(s) of the Police quietly open their eyes and point to one person, who they suspect is a member of the Mafia.  The Narrator gives a thumbs-up if they are correct and a thumbs down if they are not, but even if they are correct, the person is not eliminated.  The Townspeople have to be persuaded to eliminate the Mafia.)
  • “Police, please go to sleep.” (The member(s) of the Police close their eyes and place their heads down.)
  • “Doctor, please wake up and choose someone you would like to protect.” (The Doctor wakes up and silently points to someone they would like to protect for that day. It’s okay if he/she chooses himself/herself.)
  • “Doctor, please go to sleep.” (The Doctor closes his or her eyes and puts his/her head down.)
  • “It’s morning. Everyone please wake up.” (Everyone opens their eyes and raises their head.)

 

DAYTIME

  • The Narrator announces the person who was eliminated by the Mafia. 
  • Unless the Doctor protected that person, he/she MUST quietly leave the circle.
  • This person may not speak to anyone for the remainder of the entire game, but he or she may now keep his/her eyes open to watch everything.
  • The townspeople (along with the Mafia, Police and Doctor who may pretend to be Townspeople) then nominate and vote on people who they suspect are part of the Mafia.
  • Each person nominated may make a defense and plead their case, but they cannot show their card.
  • The ONE person receiving a majority vote (which must include at least 50% or those voting) is eliminated.
  • After someone is voted off, the day is over.
  • The day may also end without any elimination if the entire group decides not to eliminate anyone.
  • The Narrator again gives the instructions for the Nighttime, and the cycle repeats.
  • The game continues until:
  1. A.    All the Mafia are eliminated (the Police, Doctor and Townspeople win!)
  2. B.    All the Townspeople (at least the ones with number cards) are eliminated (the Mafia win!)
  • Once the game is over, award prizes to the winners in each group if you would like.
  • Then, have the group sit together to discuss the following debriefing questions.  (You might want to put these on a flipchart or whiteboard.)

 

Debrief Questions

  • How difficult was it to collaborate when you weren’t sure whom you could trust?
  • How difficult was it to collaborate when you weren’t sure what role everyone was playing?
  • Were you ever wrong about who the Mafia members were?  What problems did that cause?
  • What types of problems does lack of trust cause in our organization?
  • What types of problems does lack of role clarity cause in our organization?
  • What are some ideas for how we could solve trust and role-clarity issues?

 

Variation for Children – “Predator”

Instead of Mafia members, there are “Predators,” and instead of police there are “Hunters.” Usually three separate Predators (Lion, Wolf, Bear) are chosen and instructed to “wake up” separately at night and attack someone (it’s possible that they will attack each other). Instead of using cards, you can just tap them while their heads are down (“If I tap you now, you are the Bear.”)

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Filed under Collaboration, Games that Teach, Relationships, teamwork, Training, Trust, unity

Building the Church – GAME


Audience

Teens, Adults

Time

30 minutes
Description

This game helps participants to recognize the need for effective collaboration/teamwork when working to build up or serve the Church.  It is a “Gotcha” type of activity that sets up the participants to fail in order to make the point about teamwork.  By the end of the game, though, everyone wins!

 

Scriptures

Ephesians 4:11-13

 

Materials

o  Copies of the file “Building the Church – Pattern.ppt” (can be found at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page – There are 2 pages. You will need one copy of both pages for every two groups.  It will be necessary to divide the participants into an even number of groups for this exercise.  It’s best if these are in color.)

  • Copy (or copies) of the file “Building the Church – Vision.ppt”  (can be found at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page – You will need at least one copy for every two groups unless you project the image with an LCD projector.  If you print it, it’s best that it’s in color.)

o  Scissors or cutting tool (one or more per group)

o  Bible

Preparation

o  Print out the “Building the Church – Pattern” file. (2 pages – 1 set for every two groups)

o  Decide how you will divide the participants into an even number of groups.

o  Decide which groups you will secretly pair together for the activity.  One group in the pair of groups will get one of the pages from the “Building the Church – Pattern” file, and the other group will get the other page.

o  Set out scissors or another cutting tool on each table.  (To make the activity go faster, I recommend giving each table several pairs of scissors.)

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to do a game called, ‘Building the Church.’”
  • “I’m passing out a puzzle pattern to each group, and I would like you to cut out the pieces using the scissors on your table.”
  • “Do a good job cutting them out, because you will then piece them together like a puzzle to make a church building.”
  • “The first group to correctly ‘build’ their church will win!”
  • “Any questions?”  (Answer any questions.  Then, tell them to start.  Walk around the room as they are “building the church” so that you can see their progress.  If they are able to make a building that looks like a church from the pieces in their pattern, let them know that it is a nice effort but not what you are expecting.  Tell them that you think the church can be improved, and let them have more time to work on it.  After most groups have had a chance to create some time of building with the pattern, interrupt with the following information.)
  • “You’re doing a good job building your churches, but I think they can be much better.”
  • “I think I need to share with you what my vision for the church is.”  (At this point, either project the image of the church from the “Building the Church – Vision” file or hand out copies of the file to each table group.)
  • “This is more along the lines of what I had in mind.  Build THIS church!”  (Allow more time for them to work to build this church.  Before too long, they should realize that they don’t have enough pieces to complete the pattern.  The only way for them to complete the church is for them to collaborate with another group to share pieces.  Not all patterns were the same, however, so they must partner with the “right” group if they want to complete their church.  If they are struggling to discover this, you can drop hints until they understand.  Then, allow them to finish building their churches.  When they are done, have them go back to their original groups and discuss the following debrief questions.)

 

Debrief Questions

  1. When did you realize that you didn’t have enough pieces in the pattern to build your church?
  2. What did you have to do to finish building your church?
  3. What impact did seeing the Vision for the church have on your efforts?
  4. How important is it to have a common vision in our organization for building up the Church?
  5. Read Ephesians 4:11-13.  What does it say about the different roles in the Body of Christ and why/how they should work together?
  6. How do you think this applies to us in this organization and our work with the Church?
  7. What should we do differently to help us build up the Church more effectively?

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Filed under Church, Collaboration, competition, Game, Problem solving, team, teamwork