Feedback is vital to our personal and professional growth. It helps create self awareness, identify areas of strength, and areas of opportunities. However, in our everyday life we do not find enough time to provide or ask for feedback. We frequently do not know how to respond to feedback and start explaining our motives or take it personally, while the only correct answer to feedback is "thank you". This game provides an opportunity to give and receive feedback in a positive and non-confrontational way. It can be used for alignment and team building, or as a format for retrospectives. This is my original game that I practices with multiple teams in several organizations, and everywhere we found a lot of value (and fun) in it.

We will be playing two games during the session: a collaboration game (which is a learning experience by itself), and then will use my original feedback game to give each other feedback as a retrospective. What is most fascinating, both are silent games. The power of silent communication is yet to be understood and quantified, and these two games will show how powerful silent communication may be and how it can create thoughtful and respectful atmosphere on the team.

 

 

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

The session consists of two parts. As part 1, I normally use a brainstorming exercise (e.g. each team of 5-7 people takes 10 minutes to estimate the budget they need for Scrum rollout in a 1000-people organization and presents to other teams). Another option could be a "money game" with two competing teams to show the value of incremental delivery, or a ball game. For this session, I will use the Broken Square Game because it teaches collaboration at a system level. The game is fascinating, as every team member receives an envelope with square puzzle pieces that do not constitute a square without exchanging with others. During this silent exchange, the team members very soon (within 4-10 exchanges) create squares - all except one, and then they sit puzzled for a few seconds, until someone understands that it is time to disrupt equilibrium, takes their square apart and start a new cycle resulting in success. If everyone is successful except for one person, then the team fails. This simple game is a fascinating demonstration of the value of collaboration. This game would take up to 30 minutes.

However, this is a known game and is a pre-requisite for my original feedback game. During the Feedback Game, team members provide feedback to each other for their collaboration during Game 1. The way it is done is:

1. Everyone gets a large index card and a marker. 

2. Each participant writes their name on one side of the card.

3. The game starts when everyone gives their card to the person sitting next to them around the table clock-wise.

4. This person looks at the name on the card and writes their feedback on the other side (signing feedback is not necessary but encouraged), whether it is encouragement and suggestion on person's area of opportunity.

5. One done, this person passes the card to the person on the left, who repeats step 4.

6. All this is done simultaneously and ends when everyone receives the card with their name.

7. Then. the exercise is closed with "one-sentence closing" technique.

This takes 25-30 minutes, depending on the number of participants.

Finally, the group debriefs the game. We will discuss when this game can be used (retrospectives, team building activities, major milestones, to build trust, collaboration), what are the benefits as compared to other continuous improvement techniques that do not have a game component in them.

Learning Outcome

Value of system thinking (lean: a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link)

Value of feedback provided in a positive non-confrontations way

Both games are very powerful as they build trust and encourage continuous improvement without causing resistance.

 

Target Audience

Everyone

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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  • Richard Kasperowski
    By Richard Kasperowski  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Looks good! Is the whole session really done in 30 minutes?

    • Mariya Breyter
      By Mariya Breyter  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Thank you, Richard! Great point, I do not know why I selected 30 minutes. It was planned for 90, thank you so much for pointing out.


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