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The objective of this team activity is to creatively demonstrate the importance of teamwork. Group teams of 4 to 8 people are optimal and the exercise will take 30 minutes.

For each team you will need the following materials:Soda Can Carry

  • One full soda can
  • Four pencils
  • Two thick rubber bands (strong enough to go around can and be lifted)
  • Fifteen-inch piece of string for each person
  • Prepared easel paper or whiteboard to “score” the activity

Assemble in a space large enough to break the team into smaller groups as well as long enough to carry the soda can from one side of the room to another. Clearly mark point A and point B (with masking tape on the floor)

This exercise energizes a team while demonstrating the importance of teamwork.

Divide the group into teams of four to eight people. Hand out the materials for each team and give them the task: To carry the soda can (or other soda can) from one side of the room to the other side using the following rules:

  • Each team that successfully carries the soda can from one side of the room to the other side earns 200 points.
  • The soda can is contaminated; therefore no one can come within six inches of the can. If they do, then the team will be fined 10 points for each violation.
  • You cannot upset or turn the can upside down at any time during the exercise. If it is, then the team will be fined 20 points for each violation.
  • You cannot use any other materials than those provided to complete the task. If you do, then the team will be fined 30 points for each violation.
  • Finally, every member of the team must be involved in the carry.

If possible, provide a “starting and finish line” by putting tape on the floor or providing visual points of reference.

Ask if there are any questions and clarify if necessary. Let them know this is not a timed task (no extra points for speed), but you will stop the activity in 20 minutes.

Debrief and Summarize
After all have successfully carried their soda cans to the finish line, debrief the activity:

  • What did you like most about this activity?
  • What made the team successful?
  • How did individual team members help each other?
  • How did you make decisions?
  • What would you have done differently?
  • What did you learn from this activity?
  • How might you apply these lessons to our team’s work?

Variation
Perform this activity in two rounds:

  1. Round One: identify one person per group as the “team leader” and the rest are “team members.” Have the team leader “direct” all the activities. (Even more fun, blindfold all the team members!)
  2. Round Two: Allow the team to fully participate in solving the problem.

If you like this activity, check out my book, Team Energizers, for 49 other team activities!

life

 

I was having lunch with a colleague and the conversation meandered toward the Landmark Forum, a derivative of Werner Erhard’s est (Erhard Seminars Training).  I mentioned that I had taken the course over 15 years ago and that it had made a memorable impact on me. The curious type, he asked, “So what were your top three lessons?” I thought about it for a minute and responded:
Continue reading “Top 3 Life Lessons Learned From a Valuable Course” »

During the first break of a four-hour workshop with over 100 attendees, the meeting planner ran over to me and gave minute-by-minute feedback on what he thought went great and his opinions on what he would have done differently. He did it again at the second break, as well at the end of the session.

As a speaker I certainly appreciate constructive feedback, however, it just wasn’t the right time. This type of unsolicited feedback can be distracting when the focus should be on the attendees and fine tuning the content of the next session.
Continue reading “How to Give and Receive Friendly Feedback” »

My favorite joke this month goes like this: An older gentleman was applying for a job at a youthful organization. The HR Manager, after some discussion, asked, “So what do you feel is your greatest weakness?” The elder gentleman thought for a few moments, then replied – “honesty”. The HR Manager said: “Well, I really don’t think honesty is a weakness”. The older gentleman said – “Well, I really don’t give a sh#t what you think”.
Continue reading “Recent Trends in Hiring Baby Boomers & How Employers and Employees Can Benefit” »

Whenever I facilitate a meeting, I am inevitably asked, “So how do we compare to other teams you work with?”

I typically dodge the answer because all teams are different – although they are largely a reflection of the team’s leadership. If the leader is constructive, then the team is too. If the leader is passive-aggressive, so goes the team.
Continue reading “Are You a Strong Team Leader? Four Traits That Really Matter” »

It has been a long winter, and many are finding the endless snow days, the difficult and dangerous road conditions and the inability to get out and carry on business very frustrating. However, stress is not necessarily the boogey man that many people fear. In fact, the human race would not have survived without it.

There are two kinds of stress. One is eustress, which is positive stress. It actually inspires people to action and produces energy necessary to accomplish great things. Things like cramming last minute for an exam or preparing for an important presentation can, when they are met and conquered, trigger the production of immunoglobulins.  Immunoglobulins are a type of protein that strengthen the immune system.
Continue reading “5 Ways to Turn Negative Stress into Positive Stress & Beat Winter Blues” »

Innovation. We all know how important innovating new ideas are for the growth and future of the any business. But where does “innovation” come from? Do you just wake up in the middle of the night screaming, “Eureka!” or is it more nuanced than that?

One of the most prolific management thought leaders, Peter Drucker, defined seven sources of innovation in his book, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (1985):
Continue reading “Where Does Innovation Come From? The Seven Sources of Innovation” »

The business world is changing in every way, especially in the areas of prospecting, cold calling, marketing and productive networking.  Networking is defined as ‘a socioeconomic business activity by which groups of like-minded business people connect to act upon business opportunities’.

In the past, corporations would do this by attending networking events where they might meet people who were potential business opportunities. Some local networking business venues include the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trade, Rotary and industry trade shows.
Continue reading “Networking or Not Working?” »

I was recently asked to speak with students in the fourth year Entrepreneurs Business Program at UPEI.  Since my normal audiences are usually executives, managers, and professionals, I wondered what message I would share that could help scholars at this phase of their life.

It all comes down to the choices we make. When people make the “right” choices early in their life, it propels them on a trajectory where they hope to end up. By making bad decisions, life can go in a completely wrong direction. Just like when NASA sends a rocket to the moon. When it leaves earth, if it is only one small degree off course, it will miss the moon by over 4,000 miles. The same is true for life.
Continue reading “The Four Most Important Decisions You Will Ever Make” »