Relating Team Games to the Workplace


When using games or activities during workshop or training events, a key imperative is to ensure that the learning from the exercise can be related to the workplace.  In this article Sarah Cook looks at what the trainer can do to ensure that games and activities relate to the workplace.

Whether designing or buying a training game or activity, an important first step is to ensure that the objectives for the game are clear. What do you want the participants to be more aware of and do differently at the end of the game or activity?

A further consideration of the organisational context in which the participants work, is to be aware of the culture 'Norms' the glue that binds the organisation together, to ensure that the game you design or select reflects these.

Is your organisation task focused or people focused.  Does it have a hierarchical structure or an empowered one?  Do participants work in a close team or are they managed remotely?

Games and activities can be used to illustrate the environmental context of the organisation and the target participants.

Often people do not talk about the culture in which they work.  It is taken as a given and people find it easier to focus on the obvious requirements of the business such as customer needs and the tasks at hand.

When designing or selecting an activity to use as part of a training intervention, therefore, the trainer has the opportunity to bring to the foreground the rules and the norms of the organisation that are so often not discussed.

For example in creating an activity recently around customer focus, I designed a game where people tend to work in teams to deliver a product to the customer.  In the re-brief there was the opportunity for delegates to reflect on how they worked together.  In fact they stayed in there separate teams and did not communicate or cooperate with each other.

This behaviour then allowed me to draw parallels with the culture of the organisation where different departments were highly competitive with each other and not internally customer focused.

In conclusion, look under the surface of games and see what correlations you can make with the workplace to enhance participants' learning and increase self awareness.

Sarah Cook is Managing Director of Leadership and service excellence consultants, the Stairway Consultancy, she can be contacted on 01628 526535

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