We spent two days with the team, three hours each day. The first day was devoted to a team-building game followed by the debriefing session. The second one focused on the features of the StrengthsFinder tool with the subsequent discussion of how it can be used to help the team.
Hence, we divided the whole session into three stages:
Stage 1. Educational business game
- Business game.
- Follow-up facilitation.
- Psychological testing and action plan elaboration.
The game was based on the so-called Prisoner's Dilemma: if two prisoners do not confess, they both win. However, if the first one remains silent while the second confesses, the first prisoner loses, and the second one gets rewarded. While the scheme is actively used in game theory, its main intrigue is how much the parties trust one another.
For our own interpretation of the Prisoner's Dilemma, we chose a Wild West theme. We called the game "Rio Grande", after the river in North America.
The action takes place in the Wild West, hundreds of years ago. The area is under continuous control of four gangs rampaging six neighboring towns. It is certain precious goods made by townspeople that the bandits crave for. Living off robberies, every now and then the gangs clash with each other.
Conflicts, however, are mutually disadvantageous: after each next confrontation, a gang loses its members and becomes weaker. At first glance, the bandits' task seems simple: all they need is to reach an agreement with each other, divide the towns between themselves, and they'll never lose their men again. But that only works in theory. In practice, stereotypes and a lack of trust will stand in the way of making it happen.
The participants played the business game in four teams. It was a rather fascinating, fun, emotional, and short session: it only took them 1 hour and 45 minutes to finish the game.Stage 2. Facilitation session
The discussion of the game process revealed the employees' capacity to work as a team. Yet there still are some non-constructive emotions hindering successful collaboration. The ultimate conclusion made by the players was that trust is vitally important for mutual success, and it is something they can only build jointly and consensually.Stage 3. Clifton StrengthsFinder
The second part of the training opened with StrengthsFinder testing and a discussion of the team's strengths and weaknesses. Clifton StrengthsFinder is a diagnostic questionnaire that is used to identify talents, i.e., natural predispositions to certain patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Upon completion of the questionnaire, everyone received an action plan and learned how to develop their strengths and gain more enjoyment from living and working within the team.