This teamwork activity requires participants to work closely together to build a tower from a set of building blocks.
The players need to coordinate their actions in order to be able to move the wooden blocks with the crane they have, and this can only be solved by precise planning, good communication and well-organised teamwork.
You may use this exercise to emphasise the following themes and outcomes:
- In Leadership training: identifying interdependencies in systems, leadership communication, dealing with risk, giving feedback
- In Team building: communicating effectively, cooperating, being an active listener, maintaining the balance, working with values
- In Project management: simulating strategic planning, working under time pressure
- In Communication training: meta communication, facilitating, dealing with different perspectives
- Tower of Power exercise kit from Metalog Tools (1 crane with 24 robust strings, 8 wooden blocks)
- Review cards
Tower of Power is a Metalog Tools exercise, see more at https://www.metalogtools.com/en/tower-of-power.html with detailed description and video illustration.
1. Set up the space - around 10m x 10m free space - and place 8 wooden blocks upright on the floor. Ask each team member to pick up one of the ropes that are connected to a crane.
2. Explain that you want to the team to take part in a team challenge. Explain the objective and rules:
Task: use the crane to build a tower by placing the blocks on top of each other.
- Keep lines long and under tension at all times.
- Only touch your own line and no other equipment. The participants are not allowed to touch the blocks with their hands or any other part of their bodies.
Objective:To build a tower as high and as stable as possible.
The task appears simple but with each block cut at a different angle and the need for all participants to work together, building the tower starts to get tricky! The task can only be solved by precise planning, good communication and well-organised teamwork.
3. Set a timer for 20 minutes and start the exercise.
4. At the end of 20 minutes, stop the action and begin a review of the exercise by asking the participants:
- What score out of 10 would you give us for the way we worked together on that exercise?
- In what ways specifically did we work well together?
- What specifically could we have done better that might have made the outcome even better? (Try to keep the discussion focused on process rather than technical aspects of the task).
- How did it feel to all work together towards a common objective?
This exercise is quite straightforward, but the team often rush and drop blocks which then land on their sides.
It is possible to pick them up using the strings – do be strict about them keeping the strings under tension.
You may ask the team to build a more stable structure, for instance a three-storey house. This lowers the risk of the whole tower collapsing, which can easily happen in the original version.
(If you would like to order this Metalog exercise kit, please contact Shirley (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get a discount. )