Exercise: Count to 20

One of my primary speaking sessions lately is centered around helping people start learning through experiencing and not being told.  I’ve enjoyed this session and the results so much that I’m going to do a series of posts that highlight an exercise and how you might leverage it.  Plus, this will force me to retire this session by the end of 2018 (always challenging myself too!).

This exercise is based on an improv game/exercise.

Facilitator Exercise Instructions (note: obviously feel free to put this into your own words):

  • Provide attendees initial instruction.
    1. Small groups of 4-9 standing in a small circle
    2. Goal:  Count to 20
    3. Constraints: No looking at each other (heads down), no patterns (people speaking has to be random), one one person can speak at a time (if two people say a number at the same time, dramatically say UGH and start over)
  • You can either wait for one team to get it or all teams to get it.  I tend to lean towards letting teams finish this exercise.
  • Provide attendees next instruction.  “What did you notice during that challenge?”

Key points that can be leveraged from this exercise:

  1. The most common key point I make here is how we need to listen beyond our eyes.
  2. That failure can be acknowledged but quickly move back towards progress.
  3. That people will sometimes create constraints that are never stated.

The amazing part of doing this exercise with a discussion afterwards rarely leads me to making the key point.  They do!  In fact, frequently, I’ve had one key point to make and yet so many other wonderful learnings came from the discussion…impacts to the team, experiments they could do, etc.

What key point would you leverage from this simple exercise?

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