*This activity is adapted from one we participated in at Columbia Business School
“Sometimes the hardest decision made is the right thing to do…”
A group is split into twelve teams and instructed to trade in order to increase value.
Setup: 30 minutes
Activity: 60 minutes
Debrief: 30 minutes (minimum)
Group Size: 12 participants (minimum)
No maximum number of participants
Space: Any room large enough to fit the group and open enough to find the other teams. Tables and chairs are fine. You will want an open setting for the debrief session.
Before the participants arrive, set up and number the 12 bags according to the table below. Prepare the flipchart or poster board with the scoring results for the end of the game (found in the chart on p. 106). Keep the poster hidden. When the participants arrive, divide them randomly into 12 teams. (See “Variations ” for other ways to create teams.)
In this activity you will be working with a team (unless you have only one participant per bag). As a team, your objective is to have the most worth at the end of the game. All items will be converted to cash and thus a score will be determined.
Once the activity begins, your role as facilitator is to 1) observe, 2) time the trading rounds, and 3) provide payouts after each round.
This activity is an opportunity for people to look at their own and others’ behavior in business interactions. By putting the mirror up, you provide the opportunity for participants to see the choices that they’re currently making – allowing each person to determine what behaviors he/she defines as ethical. During the activity, observe:
Learning Intention: Negotiation and Influence
Influencing and negotiating with people can be about just getting what you want or creating the win/win so all parties get what they want. No one strategy will work in every situation or with every person. To be most effective, you must choose the negotiating tactic considering the person, your relationship with him/her, and the values at play in the situation. This exercise is designed to raise awareness of the strategies people tend to rely on and expand participants’ toolbox of tactics and understanding of how to select the appropriate approach. The shaded box on the following pages contains ten influencing strategies. Listen and notice:
Asking for input and ideas to make someone feel included and valued. This is a collaborative approach which credits a person’s contribution and incorporates his/her ideas into the solution to create buy-in. This strategy is particularly useful with someone who values recognition.
Taking time to be friendly, build rapport, learn about someone’s interests or preferences and identify commonalities.
People are more inclined to do things for people they like. For social people, this tactic will be easier to employ.
Tuning in to others’ concerns by observing non-verbal behavior such as facial expression, body stance, and eye contact, and using that awareness to identify and address those concerns.
Seeking to understand what is preventing someone from the “yes” and suggesting a solution to both problems. “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine,” is the foundation for this strategy.
Establishing a common vision by first determining the motivators of the target audience. Using that information, this approach shows how the plan or idea supports the broader goals or encompasses the stated values.
Center of Influence
Building support for ideas by first getting the support of those people that influence others. A person’s influence can be based on social status, level in the company, or other criteria.
Power by Proxy
Power by proxy is a strategy of enrolling assistance by leveraging someone else’s belief in the goal. This is sometimes also referred to as legitimizing when an established procedure or legal authority is the reference. This method is useful when addressing someone with higher authority.
This tactic relies on knowledge, expertise and a logical presentation of the information to persuade. It is most productive when there is sound reasoning, statistics, and other irrefutable information, and it is most effective when dealing with left-brain thinkers who appreciate organization, information, and logic.
This strategy plays to emotions by presenting information in a dramatic way. A bold statistic, an unexpected question, a shocking revelation or a personal story are methods of grabbing attention and creating an impact.
This tactic uses threats or pressures to “force” the desired behavior. It is effective from a position of power and only when all else fails. It should be considered a last resort.
2) Trading Round Payouts
Be precise when timing the activity. Each round will last ten minutes. Give a two-minute warning after eight minutes. You will have five minutes to payout before beginning the next round. The payout after each round is noted below.
Concluding the Activity
The activity will end after the fourth round of trading and objects are converted to cash and bonuses are paid out. Post the results by team on a flip chart.
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 choos e which ones you will cover (see “How to Use this Book”).
The intention of this activity is to develop project management skills and enhance communication among 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.
In business we can win by having the largest paycheck, getting what we want, standing in integrity, or creating alliances. In cases, we define what winning is.
It is useful to examine what influencing tactics you’re currently using, understand what tactics you respond to in others, and expand the options of influencing strategies you can utilize. Use the following questions to generate a discussion about the strategies available and how to select a strategy based on situation, person, and personal strengths.
When you negotiate or attempt to influence others, you must select your approach considering not only the current situations and needs, but also the long-term impact on the relationship. Influence and negotiations can just be about getting your way. Alternatively, it can be about getting your way by serving the needs of the other people involved – by creating the win/win.
While everyone has a different interpretation of ethics, there are some ethical norms that we agree to adopt in organizations and business dealings. Using the following questions, generate a discussion about how people view ethics in this activity and how that applies to business.
Ethics and integrity are key components to building relationships and are critical to success in business . With every decision, one must evaluate the business results as well as the consequences to relationships. By staying in integrity, one can build professional success while also creating respect.
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.
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 “our team”, we also expand the possibilities for success and achievement.
Developing a strategic plan is a critical element to success, and fostering creativity is necessary to develop an optimal plan. Use the following questions to generate a discussion about planning, strategic thinking, and creativity.