Exercise: Rock Paper Scissors

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 straight from a common game: Rock Paper Scissors.

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

  • Provide attendees initial instruction.
    “We are going to play a variation of Rock Paper Scissors with these rules/adjustments:

    1. Standard: Rock beats Scissors.  Scissors beat Paper.  Paper bests Rock.
    2. Best two out of three
    3. You decide the count before showing
    4. If you lose, you immediately become the biggest cheerleader for the person that won
    5. Continue until we have two remaining people supported by numerous cheerleaders.
  • Note:  It does not take long for the volume to raise and the groups to get rather large.
  • When you have the final two people, bring them to the center of the room (or front).  Challenge.
  • I typically give both the winner and the winner up a little token or sticker or something.
  • 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 can easily begin to feel like part of a bigger team and root for others even if we lost.
  2. That momentum and energy can have a rather big impact on people’s participation and engagement.
  3. That the first follower concept by Derek Sivers can be experienced (as others start cheerleading they join in too).
  4. Even a negative points of team dynamics can be drawn…I didn’t even know who I was rooting for but felt pressure (groupthink).

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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