This exercise can also show the interpersonal conflicts that can arise on teams when people focus on their own burden without realizing the struggles of other team members.
- A model - dog
- etc. made ahead of time out of Tinker Toys.
Setting: one set of Tinker Toys for each team and one for the "model"
Number of participants: 12 - 24 or larger
Types of participants: any
Time needed: 2 - 3 hours
Ideal conditions: A room for the "model", and a room for each team.
Pre-Work Required: Make Tinker Toy model
Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: any
Facilitator personality fit: able to deal with conflict situations
1. Ahead of time, the instructor creates a secret Tinker Toy structure or thing (airplane, dog, dinosaur, etc.) and puts it in an adjacent room.
2. Divide group into teams of 6-8 participants.
3. Explain that their task is to reproduce the secret structure before any other group.
4. Each group needs to select an architect, an engineer, and a construction chief. The rest of the group are the crew.
5. Each architect is taken into the room where the secret thing is located.
6. Each engineer is given a Tinker Toy set.
7. The architects from the groups are the only ones allowed to see the secret creation.
8. Architects cannot enter the room where the construction crews are working.
9. Each architect can only speak with the engineer on his/her crew and must do so outside the room where the specimen object is located.
10. Outside the meeting room, the engineer selects parts from the tinker toy set and gives them to the construction chief with instructions.
11. The engineer cannot assemble anything.
12. The construction chief then enters the meeting room and delivers the parts to the crew for their team and directs them in reconstructing the secret thing.
13. The crew can receive parts and instructions only from the chief.
14. The chief cannot participate in the assembly, but must supervise.
15. The chief can go back to the engineer who can consult the architect.
16. Roles may not be switched once the exercise begins.
17. The division of responsibility and lines of communication mirror workplace problems where the executive, with the big picture, gives instructions to managers who direct subordinates who don't understand the overall impact.
18. Reflection (added by Jon Jenkins)
a. What were things that were said between the construction chief and the work teams? Between the construction chiefs and the architects?
b. What were some of the things done?
c. What went well?
d. What did not go so well?
e. What were problems in the system?
f. Were there disagreements?
i. If so how did you deal with them?
ii. What could have been improved?
g. What did you learn about the line of communications?
h. What could be done to improve communications?
i. What could you do personally to help this kind of system work more effectively?
Usual or Expected Outcomes: teams will replicate common patters of working together they experience at would and have a chance to reflect on these patterns.
Potential pitfalls: it is done too quickly
How success is evaluated: An honest discussion about communications or conflict management.
Derived from: The exercises comes from the Alternatives to Violence Project manuals which grant limited reproduction rights for non-commercial use of any original material.
History of Development: Created by Alternatives to Violence Project