Team Building ActivityOn August 21, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
– Everyone just take a seat for a moment so I can get a head count. And then I’m gonna ask
you to all move around. (audience chattering) Okay, you’re here? Okay. Alright, so I’m going to ask people to count off from one to nine, and then I’m going to ask you to please remember that number. Alright, so we’re gonna start here. One.
– Two. – [Lady With Mic] Teresa, are you in? (chuckles) Okay.
– She’s three. – [Lady With Mic] Okay. – Five.
– Six. – Seven.
– Eight. – Nine.
– One. – Two.
– Thank you. – Three.
– Four. – Five.
– Six. – Seven, eight. (laughs) You’re an eight. And you are a nine. You are–
(audience member murmurs) Okay, one. – One.
– Yes, you’re not here. Okay, one. – Can I play?
– Yeah. Michelle’s a two. You’re a three, you’re a four. Are you guys in? – What?
– You’re a five. – No, I have I to go.
– You’re a five? – No, she was a–
– Are you a five? (chuckles) Are you a five? You are a five, five? Six, seven; Laurie, eight. Nine, and one, two and a three. Alright, so all of, okay, and you can be a one. Alright, so all of the
tables have a number, so the ones start in the back, so if the ones could please convene, the twos can please
convene, threes convene, so on and so forth. (chuckles) (audience chattering) Number one is in the back. (chuckles) (audience member murmurs) – [Participant] I’m an eight. (lady with mic laughs) – Yes, nine back here. – [Participant] Nine, nine. – [Lady With Mic] (chuckles) Yes. She was (murmurs) in the back. This is an eight. Number eight. Number seven. – This is seven?
– Yes. (audience member murmurs)
Okay. How are we doing? – Doing poorly–
– Yes, yes, yes. (laughs) Five is… Four is here, five is here. You’re three, excuse me. Five. – I’m a little offended.
(lady with laughs) – [Lady With Mic] Wait,
we’re gonna work it out. – Where’s five?
– Not here. – Number six isn’t here–
– Five is back there (murmurs) – Thank you, okay. Alright, so everyone’s in a table? – No.
– Alright. (laughing) Go ahead, have a seat here, okay, thanks. Alright, so the theory is we
should have groups of four. Some of this has worked, okay,
so we have too many of… (laughs) Okay, table number ones. (audience member murmurs)
Yes, please. Okay, can I ask two of you to please, this how many; one, two, three, four; one of you to please join this table here? – [Participant] C’mon. One of you gets to be
lucky and join our team. (chuckles) – [Lady With Mic] (murmurs) you are there. – [Participant] What group are you guys? (audience chattering) (lady with mic laughs) – [Lady With Mic] If you are
unsure what number you are, just sit at the table that has
less than four people at it. How about that? (chuckles) This is great. Okay. So if you could have a seat here please. And if you would have a seat there please. Okay, thank you. And so we have extra
person at the one table. Alright, so I need one
person from the one table to please go to this
table here at the end, if you would. So the community college
lady in the red jacket– (audience chattering) Yes, move right here, perfect. Okay. Alright, have a seat; Dan, have a seat. Please have a seat. We have somebody moving here, okay. You’re gonna go right here, okay. Yay, (chuckles) we did it. Alright, the next step
that we have to take is every group, except
for this group here, please go to the back of the
room, one representative only. Take a pound of each one of
the two types of spaghetti, a bag of marshmallows and
some newspaper please. – [Participant] Right here. (audience chattering) – [Lady With White Hair] I
missed the initial instructions. – [Lady With Mic] Okay. – [Lady With White Hair] Okay. Thank you. (murmurs) sit up here?
– Yeah. – Okay. Alright, so here we go. The activity that we are
involved in is called, guess, marshmallows and spaghetti. Okay, here is the task: each group is going to be asked to build the tallest tower using only the supplies that
they have in front of them, which means spaghetti and marshmallows. You will have 20 minutes in
order to complete this task, and I will signal when to begin and when that 20 minutes is over, and I will also give you
a five-minute reminder. Alright, your challenge is
to build the tallest tower. Your measurement will be
from the base of your tower to the top of your tower only. The structure must be freestanding. You cannot be touching or
supporting the structure, or else it will be disqualified. You can choose to use all of the materials or some of the materials. No extra materials can be used, and no web searching is allowed. (all laugh) Alright, and optional for the fourth rule is that the teams should
not eat the marshmallows, but if you have to, go for it. (all laugh) After this, yes? (audience member murmurs) The newspapers really,
the purpose of those is to build the tower upon it so that we’re not messing
up the black tablecloths. (laughs) Alright, I will have a group of observers who will be roaming around the room, and they will also be measuring the tower to see which group measures the tallest. Alright, is everybody ready? You may begin.
(audience chattering) – [Participant] No, gotta
have it convince them. We only got 20 minutes so (murmurs). – [Lady With Mic] I’ve had
a request on the time check. Five minutes have past. 15 minutes to go.
(audience chattering) And that’s an observation. – [Participant] You know what? – It’s study.
– It’s very sturdy. (murmurs) – Are you here tomorrow too?
– Yeah, yeah. – Okay, I have my oatmeal
chocolate chip cookies. (chuckles) Except I didn’t
(murmurs) a healthier recipe, they’re all with yogurt–
– (murmurs) eat them all. (participants cheering) – I can’t look.
– (murmurs) here. (murmurs)
Yes! I give up.
(audience chattering) – [Participant] Longer
and make it a triangle. – [Participant] I saw this,
how they provided strings. They were thinking they can
use to reinforce (murmurs). Instead they hung the whole
thing from the ceiling. – [Lady With Mic] There
are 10 more minutes left to complete the task. 10 more minutes left. (audience chattering) – [Participant] No. – [Participant] You know,
I’ve done this (murmurs). – [Participant] Just to
see what they (murmurs)? – [Lady With Mic] Yeah, so they (murmurs) (audience chattering) – [Lady With Mic] Yeah, that’s cool. And then I (murmurs). – [Participant] Oh yes,
yes, I bet. (chuckles) – [Lady With Mic] There
are five minutes left for the completion of the task. Five minutes left.
(audience chattering) One more minute. – So does it matter
which tables we measure, or is everybody measuring
every table (murmurs)? – Just get (murmurs). – And you’ll compare–
– Yeah, then we’ll (murmurs) Just get the closest one.
– Got you. – [Lady With Mic] Just get to
the closest groups to measure, okay, and then we’ll take
a look at the (murmurs). – [Participant] Are you ending it now? – [Lady With Mic] One
more minute. (chuckles) – My notes were really messy.
– That’s fine. You just got (murmurs). Alright, please step away from the tower. Please step away, and our
observers are going in to measure. Step away from the tower please, observers in to measure. (participants hollering)
(chuckles) No, no, no, no; okay. Has to be standing. – [Participant] Hurry
up and get over here. – [Lady With Mic] Did
anybody measure this group? Do we get measured?
– No. – [Lady With Mic] Okay. Paula, if you could measure this group. Did you guys get measured?
– We did not– – [Lady With Mic] Okay, go ahead. I’m missing a measurer. Okay. This group could measure? Linda?
– No one said we couldn’t build two.
– But the tower has to fill (murmurs), right? (audience chattering) – [Lady With Mic] And Abby, okay. – [Participant] Paula,
you don’t need (murmurs) – Alright, if everybody
could please have a seat. Our observers will be collecting and doing an analysis of the data. So here’s what we’re going to do next. Everybody’s been measured? Okay, so Abby’s, we had four
observers walking around, and I just asked them to kind of pick up on some of their observations, notes, whatever they saw, so can you just share? – Okay, you’ll have to
forgive ’cause my notes are really disorganized. First, I would like to
give an honorable mention to Dan Feinberg who spent his entire time, instead of building the
tower, sowing discord and chaos amongst the other teams, stealing their ideas as
well as their resources. (audience laughs) Most creative attempt at
this project. (laughs) I didn’t say he communicated
them to his team, I just said he was collecting them. Okay, so everyone had really interesting and very different approaches. There were some teams were
everybody just had hands on the tower at the same time,
building at the same time. Some teams had one
person who was building, another person who was
handing them resources while everyone else
sorta gathered together and just gave their
assessments of weaknesses, new ideas on how to build on it. Some teams had different, each people kind of in a, what do you call it, an assembly line building different layers of the tower and one person assembling them altogether. At different times, some
teams had one person holding on to the tower for dear life while the others tried to bandage it up (chuckles) as they were going. For the most part, it
didn’t seem like people were that invested in
watching what everyone else was doing, until it got closer to the end. I think probably
partially because you were really focused on
whether or not your tower was going to collapse.
(audience chuckles) A couple teams’ towers
did start collapsing, and it was interesting to watch everyone kind of rush to try and save it as well as trying to
figure out what it exactly was going wrong. We have a drooping tower
over here. (chuckles) – (murmurs) place it
off the pole, thank you. Okay, thank you. Alright, so now we had Paula
who was scouting about. So some of my observations observations were very similar. I did like the dynamic of people standing versus people sitting. So at the beginning, there
were some groups who had folks sitting and kinda looking and maybe verbalizing their thoughts. And then the farther we
got into the competition, people started standing
up, so that was interesting to kinda see that shift. I don’t think anyone
was frantic when we got to the five-minute mark. Like, you guys were
like, it is what it is. (audience laughs) As far as people looking at other people, of course, we had someone from group four who started looking around immediately. And then other groups, it was
farther into the competition. And then finally, quotes that stood out: like one person I think from this group, I can’t remember what group
this is, group three maybe. I heard someone say, oh look,
that team actually thought about it and planned something out. (audience laughs) I guess some people kinda just jumped in, and then other folks were like,
let’s get a plan together, so that was kinda interesting
to see; it was fun. – Thank you. (murmurs) Okay, next up we have Sandy. – Ditto on most of the other observations. I wondered at the beginning
if there was an engineer in the room. Yes, there was, I heard. (chuckles) (participant murmuring) (Sandy laughs) – That’s very interesting,
and can I just share my observations, because
I’m a group dynamics person? I was looking to see who
the social loafer was, the person who wasn’t participating and letting the group
kinda carry the task. But that now taught me that my perceptions are not always accurate. So what I’m seeing may
not really be what is because you opted out purposefully because of your area of expertise. – Yeah, I also (murmurs).
– And he’s also, okay, so now we appreciate that, so
what we see from the outside, we have to learn more about
really what’s happening. Interesting, interesting, thank you. Alright, and our last observer is Linda. – Yeah. So most of my observations were similar to everybody else’s, but
I was sort of looking for the interpersonal stuff. So one thing I noticed was that team one was so absorbed that when it was the five-minute mark,
they were like oh my God, really, how could that
be, we had 20 minutes. I mean, they were so engrossed that, and everybody was so invested, it just, and actually there’s is the
only one standing, right? (murmurs) yeah. And it’s 36 1/2 inches tall. So when I approached group eight, it was like really within
a couple of minutes, and the first thing they said, are you spying for another team? So group eight was pretty paranoid. Group nine decided to just
add whatever materials that they had, they were really
thinking outside the box. And then group four,
there was something like too many cooks, so certain
disruptive technology component of the group wandered around and bothered other people. Yeah.
(audience chuckles) He’s a disruptive technology, right. So group two had a clear leader, I mean, it was like they had a plan, and they just stuck to it even
when it kept falling down, which I thought was really interesting, ’cause everybody had bought into the idea, but then they didn’t change it, and it just kept falling down. So I thought that was interesting. And then group three was
very, very conversational. Like, they just really talked it through and had a good time, and then didn’t care that it wasn’t tall.
(audience laughs) They just stopped, they just
like, oh, that’s good enough for me, I had a great
time, did you have a good; good for me, was it
good for you, you know? It was like, go marshmallows, you know? And I think group number seven, I can’t even remember who they were. Whose group number was that? That was you guys over here. I had written that they were following an agile model, because
they were responding to each emerging need and reassessing and putting it out there
and then starting over once they saw what the problem was. And it did pay off, until it fell down. – (chuckles) Thank you, Linda. If you could just sit at
the table, and then give, we wanna determine who has the tallest. Alright, so this really, thank
you all for participating, but we have a higher purpose here. First of all, how many of
you ate the marshmallows? (laughs) Okay. Alright, so really, this was an exercise in planning, leadership and collaboration. And so some of the questions I have was, what was the biggest
challenge that you faced. If anybody could just quickly, what challenge–
(murmurs) material. – Okay.
– Lack of usable material. – Okay, so the resource
allocation was a challenge in the planning, and that,
yes, could definitely be. Under leadership, how many groups had a leader, would you say? Alright, so somebody
stepped up to leadership? (audience member murmurs) You know what, let’s talk about this too. – So we started out as four, and then quickly became only two because one decided to–
(audience chuckles) – [Participant] You’re
letting them divide us. – No, no, no. No, I just want, I just
think that we should, and then one, I didn’t
even realize had kind of, removed himself from the activity. I’m just gonna sit here and watch, and if you need something, let me know. But not saying, I’ve
already done this before. I found that out when
everybody else found that out. – Alright, so we have
some inherent difficulties in our planning, in our leadership models. And how about collaboration? I think our observers did some, spoke a little bit about
the collaborative models that they saw. Anybody deal with
frustration, I think we had our answer to that from table number four. But anybody else have a pain point or an area of frustration
throughout the process? – No.
– No? Alright, so that was great. Alright, the next question
now that I wanna ask relates to SUNY online. So we will be asked to work
together now as a system. And we are all with new partners, working towards a common goal. So some of the challenges that we faced at the hearing was resource allocation. Some was in team membership
and people having expertise that wasn’t revealed, and
so we had misunderstanding among the group. But how wonderful would it have been if that expertise could’ve been shared, but to your point, you didn’t
want to skew the results, so there was competing balances there. Dan just decided that he was
in charge of all the groups. (laughs) And walked around. I say this in a collaborative spirit, Dan. We had one group who was just satisfied with what it is that they had produced and really was not letting the competition influence their decision-making. So how unique was that? We had one group who kept
asking about the time, so that’s an external constraint that you were very aware of. And we have SUNY online starting for fall, and so that is a constraint
within this process. Any other application you can think about of what we just did in regards to open SUNY? – [Participant] So I totally
agree that I was kind of taking over over here,
and that may not have been the best thing, because
again, we had, I had one, I had one plan, and we stuck with it. And I can see that happening, this is how we’ve always done things. And that can be a sticking point for doing this kinda stuff. – [Lady With Mic] Thank you
for that honest observation, appreciate it. Somebody else had a comment? Yes, please.
– Vision, you know, having a vision. Immediately, we agreed on a pyramid, that a pyramid would
be the best way to go. I mean, we didn’t build
the tallest structure. Well we do now. (chuckles) Yeah. But it was easy for us all
to subscribe to a pyramid. – Okay. And so is it important to be the tallest, or is it more important that
you had a shared vision? Think about that. Did you have a comment?
(audience member murmuring) (chuckles) (murmurs) – I kept thinking about the
efficient use of resources. I had a little bit of an ulterior motive ’cause I wanted to eat
some of those marshmallows. But really on a serious
note, I just kept thinking, you know, we’ve been
given all these resources, are we using it in an effective way, and so we can apply that to what we’re planning to do for SUNY as well. – Thank you. The observation that I had
was that we saw somebody use resources in a very
unique way in this group. Although you had less members, you were very creative in
the use of the resources that were provided to you. And they used–
(murmurs) Alright, but that’s a factor. But they used the actual boxes, they didn’t take the
spaghetti out of the box. They used the boxes to build the tower, and that was the only
group, and the first group since I’ve been doing this,
that I’ve seen do that. So that was very interesting. (laughs) The other observation
was I noticed some groups spread all their resources
out in front of them, and some just really kept it contained and pulled the resources
as they needed it, so that was very interesting as well. So we have then our big moment now. I’ve asked my team of
observers to pull together. Yes, of course.
– I look around the room and I see only two towers still standing, so what does this tell us
about things that we do and what happens afterwards? – Oh, that’s a great question. That’s a great question. Yeah.
(audience chuckles) Does anybody wanna speculate
on a reply to that? Yes, please. – Look at where things are working and you go and replicate them. – Absolutely.
– So I really (murmurs), I wanna walk over there and see why those are still standing.
– Okay. (audience member murmurs)
(chuckles) Oh, wait, we have our expert. – Some poor models can be
propped up for a long time. – Okay.
(audience chuckles) Well that’s very interesting
comments to be making. We have, although we have
several models still standing, I do want you to take
a look at how different that they are. And can we consider that if the tower was standing at the
completion of the task, was that a success? And so that’s something else to really be thinking about as well. So what’s our determination
of a enactment of a vision? Completion of a mission? Where do we do that assessment? I think these are all
things that we really do need to consider. Alright, do we have the big
announcement from the group? Okay. Who would like to make it? – The tallest tower.
– Yes, the tallest tower was? – The tallest tower that
is no longer standing, (audience chuckles) was team one, 36 1/2. – [Participant] Oh, it’s still standing. – Oh, okay. – And what was that?
– 36 1/2 inches. – Okay, 36–
(audience laughs) 36 1/2 inches, and who is
our runner-up, do we know? – Team eight. Oh, no, I lied, team four. (participants clap) – Our creative spot, by a half an inch, alright. (chuckles) I really appreciate everyone’s
participation in this, I hope it was fun. That was the point of
it, that you got to meet new people here at our summit. Please leave everything on the table. Please take bags of
marshmallows if you’d like, we have extras. And enjoy the rest of the
summit, thank you all very much. (audience applauding)