Find Your Way
Primary Market
Teambuilding, Corporate Training
Character Focus
Communication, Cooperation, Teamwork
Items Needed
One Toobeez set, One maze map (included on page 45), Beeper or whistle

THE OVERVIEW

“Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.”
Robert Greenleaf

Description
The group must figure out the correct way through the maze and get as many participants through it in the time allotted.
Time

Setup Time: 10 minutes

Materials

  • One Toobeez set
  • One maze map (included on page 45)
  • Beeper or whistle
Time Required

Activity: 20 – 45 minutes

Debrief: 20 minutes (minimum)

Group Size: 4 – 24 participants per set of Toobeez

Space: 20 x 20 (minimum room size)
Open space – no chairs, tables, etc.

THE ACTIVITY Set Up

Find Your Way

Find Your Way

Place the Toobeez on the floor in the pattern indicated in the diagram. The Toobeez pieces will act as the frame. The maze is the path they must follow to navigate through it. See picture at left for the layout of frame. You will need:

  • 8 green tubes on the outside
  • 4 gold tubes for the inside other side of the curtain
  • 8 red tubes make the x’s on the outer squares
  • 2 blue tubes make the x on the middle square

 

Choose a maze map from page 45 (you will need to have a sketch
or copy of the map maze in your hand during the activity).

Instructions

Clearly outline the instructions and answer any questions before the activity begins.

Facilitator Script
There is only one correct way through this Toobeez maze from point A to point B (indicate beginning and end to the participants). The object of the activity is for you to determine what that correct path is and then have as many of you go through the maze as possible in the time allotted.

You must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • You may not write anything down or mark the maze in any way during this activity.
  • As a group, you will establish an order to go through the maze, one at a time, and that order will be set for the remainder of the activity.
  • As participants move through the maze, a facilitator will be checking your movements against the maze map. If you make an incorrect move, the facilitator will “beep” or blow the whistle, indicating the incorrect movement. At this point, your turn is over and you will return to the back of the line.
  • You will only go through the maze successfully once until everyone else has also successfully traversed the boxes. Form a new line of completed participants.
  • You may speak only during the planning phase. Once people enter the maze, only nonverbal communication is permitted.
  • Participants may not see the maze map (which will be held by a facilitator).

 

You will have 30 minutes to complete this activity. As a group you
may decide how much of that time to use for planning before the
first person enters the maze. (Thirty (30) minutes is based on using
a medium difficulty maze for 12 people).

Any questions on the material covered? (Answer any questions).
Begin.

Maze maps

Maze maps

“Maze maps” – pick one route to follow, beginning at either end.

TIP…

The timeframe is meant to create a sense of urgency. If you find participants are moving too quickly, reduce the time. You can excuse it with, “Another unexpected obstacle, the time has been cut by X minutes, there are now Y minutes remaining.”

Observations and Modifications

Once the activity begins, your role as facilitator is two-fold. For that reason, this activity works best with an assistant or cofacilitator in the room. One of you will observe behaviors while the other can hold the maze map and beeper. The person with the maze map and beeper needs to stand with a clear view of the map, the actual maze, and the participants as they work through the maze. Anytime you see someone make a move that is not in accordance with the maze map being used, beep that person and send them to the back of the line.

For the person observing, listen and look for the following: How people cooperate, work together, and communicate. The questions below, based on the primary Learning Intentions, are provided to guide your observations.

Teamwork and Cooperation
People will have different ideas of what their “team” is and whether they “need” a team. The possibility here is for people to see that they can all work together creating a bigger possibility of “winning” than any individual can create on his/her own. During the activity, observe:

  • Levels of competitiveness – are people more interested in getting through the maze themselves or assisting others?
  • Do people take time in the beginning to coordinate or plan a group strategy?
  • Whose advice are people following?

 

Communication
In this activity, communication is controlled by the guidelines of the exercise. People may strategize before beginning or they may jump right in. Once anyone has begun to go through the maze, everyone is limited to nonverbal communication. How do they exchange ideas with their teammates? Listen, watch, and notice:

  • How are people communicating (orderly, respectfully, deferentially, or confrontationally)?
  • How do people deal with and communicate around a failed attempt?
  • Is there any discussion in the beginning regarding how they will communicate once they are silenced while in the maze?
  • What nonverbal communication do you notice?

Concluding the Activity

When the time has elapsed, stop people where they are and bring the participants together to debrief.

THE DEBRIEF

The debrief should be an interactive discussion. Lead it by offering a series of questions and soliciting responses from the participants. To begin, ask questions about the activity itself and continue with specifics related to the skills you want to address or highlight. You may stick to one area of focus or choose to cover many topics. Suggested questions are offered below to guide you as you facilitate this debrief.

The debrief is organized with an Opening and Closing and then by Learning Intention, and it may be used in a variety of ways. You may use just the Opening and Closing for a basic debrief or add the Learning Intention-specific debriefs in between. To include the Learning Intention specifics in your debrief, either pick one or two questions from each area in order to touch on many topics, or work in depth on one or more areas of learning and go through all of the questions for that topic(s). Look through the questions, TIPs, FCs, and Transitions prior to the training session in order to choose which ones you will cover (see “How to Use this Book”).

Opening

The intention of this activity is to enhance communication, trust, and cooperation among the participants. However, this activity offers many lessons, so let the participants share with you what they learned and their comments as to the purpose of the activity.

  • What was the point of this exercise?
  • Where was your focus during the activity? Was it on going through the maze yourself or getting everyone on your team through?
  • Were you concerned with looking good or being right?
  • What was the biggest challenge of this activity?

Closing

This activity is a platform for new actions. We navigate “mazes” without maps all the time. Clear communication, a team focus, responsibility for everyone’s outcome, and openness to guidance are critical to everyone’s success.

Concluding Questions

  • What did you learn about teamwork or communication?
  • What could have been done differently?
  • Where in your professional life are you uncertain of your next step? What can you now do differently to address those challenges?

 

Action Plans

  • How many ways can you relate what you learned in today’s activity to:
    • Everyday management
    • Client relationships
    • Professional development
  • Promotions/advancement
  • Based on your new experiences and insights, what could be different in going forward?
  • What three action steps (with specific, measurable results) will you take this month to begin incorporating what you’ve learned into your daily routine?

LI: Teamwork and Cooperation

Teamwork and cooperation includes how people interact with each other, the roles people take in group settings, and how people perceive situations – as competitive or collaborative.

Teamwork

  • How did your team work together?
  • What roles did you/people assume?
  • How did you define success?
  • If you knew how to get through the maze, how did you participate?
  • How did you choose whose advice to follow? How did that impact the performance of your team?
  • Where in your job and career does your resistance to trusting and working with others limit your performance? How else could it look?

 

Cooperation

  • Were you more concerned with getting through the maze yourself or getting your teammates through it?
  • What would it have taken to focus on team success first, and what’s the possible impact?
  • What is preventing or blocking you from expanding your idea of “team”? How could you overcome it?

 

Summary Script

When people work together in an empowering way – one in which everyone is listened to and respected as a contributing member of the team – results are impacted. We often interpret situations as us versus them, when all parties would benefit by working together. As we expand our interpretation of “team”, we also expand the possibilities for success and achievement.

Transition to Communication…

“Now that we have an idea of the impact of Cooperation and Teamwork, we’re going to look in depth at one of the main building blocks – excellent Communication.”People are always engaged in many levels of communication. The following questions offer participants the opportunity to become aware of their communication, the impact it has on others, and the results it creates. Through this awareness, people will then get to choose the alternatives that serve their goals..

Speaking

  • During the planning phase, did you speak up?
  • Were you clear and specific when describing or asking questions?

 

Listening

  • How did you listen?
  • To whom did you listen? Why?

 

Nonverbal

  • What body language did you notice in yourself and others?
  • How did your body language change as the activity progressed? How about with failed attempts?
  • How did you communicate with the rest of your group once you were in the maze?

 

Summary Script

Research has shown that 90% of human communication is nonverbal, yet we rarely focus on it. This activity provides an in-depth look at nonverbal communication and how powerful and effective it can be. Now you can put that information into action to create clear and comprehensive mutual understanding. How will this impact your organization?

Key Take-Aways

  • Clear communication strategies support people working together through whatever obstacles come their way.
  • Anyone, regardless of role or position, can be responsible for an outcome.
  • A cooperative team focus enhances everyone’s success.
Abigail R. Kies, MBA is the founder of Play To Win Coaching, a leadership development company. Combining her business background and powerful coaching skills, Abigail works closely with individuals, teams, and organizations from diverse backgrounds in varied situations... entrepreneurs, managers, Fortune 500 executives, artists, teachers, lawyers... to enhance communication, enrich relationships, develop leadership, and realize visions.
Michelle Tillis Lederman, CPA, MBA, CEC is the founder of Executive Essentials, a training company. She has delivered seminars internationally for corporations, universities, high schools, and non-profit organizations including: JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Columbia Business School, and The Museum of Modern Art. Michelle is an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business in the Management Communications department and serves on the faculty of the American Management Association.
All Activities of Abigail R. Kies, MBA and Michelle Tillis Lederman, CPA, MBA, CEC

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