Ideas on People and Performance, Team Building, Motivation and Innovation

A Satirical Post on Team Building and Employee Engagement

I really couldn’t help myself on this one, what with it being the day after the Mayan calendar ends and all the stuff on the end of things and it also being a Saturday morning. So, my brain was messing with my fingers and making me do this!

I had this idea of creating a new exercise, one that meshed with the current environment at this unusual and unique date. So, I created a new idea for a team building game that might pick up on some of the “holiday spirit” and current organizational happenings and be used to generate some employee engagement and involvement. Maybe.

(Based on how bad the general statistics look about engagement and the frustration of so many people with all the talk and none of the action to make things better, I just could not resist this. So, please understand that I am doing this as satire.)

My newest idea for a game that will resonate with so many employers and so many trainers and so many managers and nearly all the employees would be anchored in this concept:

The idea is that everyone can play like it IS the end of the world and that nothing matters. The teams can really be, “My Team, My Team, My Team” focused and not collaborate or work with anyone outside of their team. Selfishness and Survival could be taken to new levels!

"My Team, My Team, My Team" focus can cause more competition than collaboration

Each team would be encouraged and rewarded to “do its own thing” at the expense of all other teams and the overall organization. It is local-level teamwork and interdepartmental competition taken to its legitimate end. Like a rugby match where no one will pass on the ball, or a basketball game where one player hogs all the possessions…

That reminds me of the Duke basketball player, Alaa Abdelnaby. He actually made third team all acc one year, back in the late 1980s. Abdelnaby is perhaps best known for his infamous quote regarding Duke University’s academic requirements: “The only way I can make five A’s is when I sign my name.”

And, his nickname was, “The Black Hole.“If anyone ever passed him the ball, it never came back out. He would always shoot it. No passing, just give him the ball and that was it. I played in the Marquette gym with Jim Chones in 1979, and he was the same way. He would never — not once ever — pass the ball back to anyone if he got possession of it. (Both these turkeys played professionally, and they must have played differently to survive in the NBA!) With Chones, I quickly learned to never throw him the ball, even though he was by far the best player on my pick-up team. (And it was quite different to play with UNC players in the summer pick-up games since they played with teamwork.)

Anyway, I am thinking that we could develop a really selfishly-driven, para-psychopathic exercise that would reinforce sociopathic team behaviors for improving individual performance in the workplace.

What do you think?

Or might I have just missed my timing on this one? Or maybe my focus is just slightly off? I DO know of a team building game where teams are encouraged to compete — I have always thought that pretty weird and counter to the kinds of things I encourage. Read more here:  (comparison of Lost Dutchman to GDK)

There are just SO many things that we need to do to improve performance and creativity / innovation along with the basic working portion of so many people’s lives/ I wish for a great New Year in so many regards.

Have fun out there, all y’all. And let me know if I need to build this thing,

For the FUN of it!

Scott headshot greenscreen

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at

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1 Comment

  1. Just some background and addendum to the new End of The World exercise:

    Historical and Modern Perspective: Pope Leo X allegedly wrote in 1514 that the world would end in 2014. The Weekly World News has it ending 2016, so mark your calendars — there is still time for us to finish the game, but we will now have to go away from a Mayan anchor point.

    Mayan solstice was actually an ending to their 13th baktun, a 144,000-day period comprised of 20 k’atuns, each k’atun being 7,200 days. The 13th baktun was followed by the 14th, in the same way that the 13th followed the 12th. This happens every 7,000 times the earth circles the sun in a complete revolution.

    Since this only happens every 400 sun-circles, the end of this baktun was somewhat of a big deal on their calendar, like the onset of the 3rd millennium in 2000 was on your PC. Just a date, actually… But civilization does not have a lot of 144,000 year celebrations, I find.

    To modern societies, and probably most of the ancient ones also, these religiously-based End-of-the-World predictions come pretty regularly.
    Jehovah’s Witnesses predicted the world would end it 1914. And when it didn’t, they figured they miscalculated and changed the prediction to 1918. Since it hasn’t yet happened, you might simply want to know that they had the end scheduled for 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, and, most recently, 1994. Or at least, they had their fund-raisers scheduled on those years.
    Jerry Falwell knew, and thus warned us that the Antichrist was living among us and hence the end times were near in 1999.

    Harold Camping, who was president of a Christian radio network broadcasting to more than 150 American towns and cities, used his network to warn that the world would end in 1994, then a later warning of a September 29, 2011 end, and when that also didn’t happen, the final final one that October that same year. It is my understanding that he is still around, and not yet into the great camping ground at the end of things.

    So, our game should be anchored in some strong beliefs about completing our work before everything ends, so that we can feel satisfied as we transfer to some new dimension of existence.

    Not a bad motivator, eh?

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