- Four team stage envelopes. Write one of these stages on the front of each envelope (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing)
- Directions cards. A packet of three blank index cards for each team
- Handout. A copy of the handout Stages in Team Development for each participant team
Brief the participants. Distribute copies of the handout and briefly explain different stages in the development of a team. Tell participants that they will have to generate a set of directions (or guidelines) for facilitating a team during different stages of its development.
Form teams. Divide the participants into four teams of fewer than seven members. Teams should be approximately the same size. Seat the teams in a circular configuration to facilitate the exchange of envelopes.
Distribute the supplies. Give one Stage Envelope to each team. Also give each team three index cards.
Conduct the first round. Ask team members to discuss the developmental stage on the envelope they received, and to brainstorm practical guidelines for facilitating the team during this stage. Tell them to write these guidelines in short sentences on an index card (which will be referred to as the Directions Card). Announce a time limit of 3 minutes for this activity and encourage the teams to work rapidly. Explain that the teams' Directions Cards will be eventually evaluated in terms of both the number and the quality of the items.
Conclude the first round. After 3 minutes, blow the whistle to announce the end of the first round. Explain that each team should place its Directions Card inside the envelope and pass the envelope, unsealed, to the next team. (The last team gives its envelope to the first team.) Ask the teams not to open the envelope they receive.
Conduct the second round. Ask the teams to review the developmental stage on the envelope they received, but not to look at the guidelines on the card inside. Tell the teams to repeat the first-round procedure and to list (on a new Directions Card) practical guidelines for facilitating a team in this stage. After 3 minutes, blow the whistle and ask the teams to place the Directions Card inside the envelope and pass it to the next team.
Conduct another round. If you have time, conduct one more round of the game, using the same procedure. If you are pressed for time, you may begin the evaluation round after the second round.
Conduct the evaluation round. Start this round just as you did the previous rounds. However, explain to the teams that they do not have to write any more guidelines on new Directions Cards. Instead, the teams must evaluate the Directions Cards inside the envelope. They do this by reviewing each guideline on each card and then comparing the cards with one another on the basis of their overall effect. The teams have 100 points to distribute among the guideline cards to indicate each card's relative merit. Announce a suitable time limit for this evaluation activity.
Present the results. At the end of the time limit, check on the teams to ensure they have completed their task and have recorded score points on each Directions Card. Select a team at random to present its evaluation results. Ask the team to announce the developmental stage written on the envelope and to read the guidelines on each Directions Card, beginning with the card that received the least number of points. The team should progress from one card to the next in an ascending order of the number of points. After reading all cards, the team should announce how it distributed the 100 points and briefly explain the criteria used for distributing the points.
Determine the Winner. Instruct the teams to place all the Directions Cards on a table at the front of the room; then call for a representative from each team to collect its Directions Cards and return them to the team. Ask the teams to add up the points on their cards to determine their total score. Invite the members of each team to announce how many points they received, and identify the team with the highest score as the winner.
Debrief the participants. Briefly comment on the interesting patterns among the guidelines for facilitating during different stages. Ask the participants to identify the stage for which it was the most difficult to come up with suitable guidelines. Invite the participants to offer their comments and to ask questions about the activity.
Not enough time? Announce tight time limits. For example, allow only two minutes for each round. Play only two rounds of the game before conducting the evaluation round. Eliminate the evaluation round.
Too few players? Conduct the game among individual players. All you need is a group of three participants. Play the game twice, using two different sets of envelopes.
Too many players? Divide the large group of participants into three or more subgroups. Have each subgroup divide itself into teams and play the game in a parallel fashion.
Complaints about subjective evaluation? Prepare and distribute a rating scale for evaluating the quality of the guidelines. Or skip the evaluation. Instead, ask teams to review the items on different cards and consolidate them into a single set of the top five items.
Source: Thiagi Group