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

Tag: online teambuilding game

Team Building, Leadership and Change

In my LinkedIn feed was a blog by Jacob Morgan about leadership in change. In it, he talks about the thinking of Simon Mainwaring, who thought that there are 3 transforming trends happening:

  1. Leaders are allowed to be more human,
  2. Cultures are more inclusive, and
  3. Leadership is much more collaborative.

His key point was that as leadership changes, the skills and mindsets of leaders will also change. Successful leaders are willing to adapt to best serve their organizations. This only makes sense.

My initial response to this was, “maybe.” I have been seeing similar thoughts for a very very long time, almost every time there is some paradigm shift like the move to “Excellence” and the move to “Quality” and so on and so forth. Maybe, “covid-driven remote working” is the next great new thing in the world of leadership to drive a focus on managing, or maybe not.

I think that a lot of managers view the world pretty simply:

…and this is NOT how to motivate them for good performance…

I remember reading pre-covid that the workers that were remote way back in those good old days had more contact with their managers than the people who were sitting in the same offices, watching their manager walk by not saying much, multiple times a day. The managers apparently seemed to feel the need to keep connected to these remote workers and never bothered to bother the ones sitting in the workplace.

And, I just read a great PwC survey of CEOs. In this broad-based analysis, one can see that Customer Satisfaction and Employee Engagement Metrics were the top two measures to which these execs were compensated and that they were the top two corporate strategies.

But then you read nothing much about the people strategies of these CEOs and nothing about how they are communicating the criticality of managing the front-line workers and their supervisors to improve their workplaces. And it seems to me that if people are that important to their view of performance, they would be at least talking about that herein or maybe in their regular communications with their management teams.

Now, you read the stories around The Great Resignation and see how so many people are CHOOSING to leave their companies. So much of that hangs around the issues of them and their supervision and management (training, compensation, engagement and similar). And if you read the survey, the word “people” was used two times and there was little recognition that improving the management of people on generating those desired results.

And then I read a great and really well-written article by Ethan Burris about how to manage ideas around your negative boss and up the organization (https://hbr.org/2022/01/how-to-sell-your-ideas-up-the-chain-of-command) — which makes great points but which angers me because only the most motivated workers will choose to do something that risky within their own organization.

How many workers are going to read the article to learn the strategies for working around their managers and how many managers will see this whole thing as needing change?

(This other article on employees speaking freely (also by Ethan Burris) is much better, and will be the subject of another blog post soon:  https://hbr.org/2016/01/can-your-employees-really-speak-freely)

WHY should workers even want to manage ideas around their manager? Why take the risk? Why not just go to another company which will probably generate a pay increase and the possibility that the manager really cares about their people? There is always hope, right?

I’m an old geezer, 73, and recently un-retired and re-engaged in themes of people and performance. I’ve been reading about these same “better management practices” for over 50 years and some of those business writings are now about 100 years old. And little has really changed. METRICS have changed since we now measure engagement and quality, but the general interactions of managers and employees? Not so much.

BOSS spelled backwards is self-explanatory and there are still WAY too many managers who think they are The Boss.
(And most would agree that they are!)

Going remote has HUGE potential benefits for people and performance. But how do we really implement improvements in organizations to make the workplace a real place for personal growth and family support?

So, I am thinking of taking a back-door approach to changing supervisor’s behaviors and forcing them to be more engaging. We just released the online, virtual version of our team building game. It is designed to run with as many as 6 teams of 4 people in a pod, just a perfect size if we can get organizations to push their managers to do some actual teambuilding with their people. One or two supervisors could run the game, which is focused on, “Mining as much gold as WE can.” 

If, we can teach these managers the positive facilitation skills needed to run the game as Expedition Leader, basic psychology says that their attitudes around the ideas of facilitation will change, that they will need to be in alignment with their actual behavior.

The game is about getting people to collaborate within their teams and getting them to collaborate between their teams in order to generate to most gold that they can. Competition makes it more difficult and measurably sub-optimizes game results.

Then, these Expedition Leaders generate a debriefing to get at the ideas the players have for performing better, and then discussing how some of those suggestions could be implemented within their workplace. Later communications done for teaching and around implementation would further the need for more engagement and more changes toward desired outcomes.

We will move this way as we develop more of the game support materials. We will wrap the exercise around generating motivation and teamwork and improving how people engage and collaborate around their remote workplaces.

If you want to see more about The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, you can click on the icon below and see a short overview video or to to our website to read about the exercise in more detail.

The new, virtual version of the team building game for remote teambuilding

For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman, Ph.D., CPF, CPT – “The Square Wheels Guy”
Managing Partner, Performance Management Company – 864-292-8700
1520 S McElhaney Road, Greer SC  29651    USA
Scott@SquareWheels.com

Visit our website at www.performancemanagementcompany.com

See a 2-minute video of Lost Dutchman Virtual here:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE6gDtZymwk

The Virtual Version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine teambuilding game

This is not so much of a blog post as it is an overview of progress about the conversion of our board game version of Lost Dutchman into an online version. It has been hard work doing the conversion and we are now in our eighth month of dealing with details. My son Jeff has been overseeing this with an amazing amount of creativity and focus. It is something that I could never have accomplished. He has built a really solid interface for game play online, with many opportunities for strategic planning and inter-team collaboration, with the Facilitator screen giving a solid overview of actions and progress.

An irony is that the software development company in India played the board game version of LDGM long before we engaged them in the design and development process. On Thursday, 24 of their team will play again, this time with the online version as what I hope will be our final beta-test delivery. The initial goal was to have the LDVirtual game have much of the same look and feel of the board game, since we will continue to sell both versions.

  • (I would LOVE to run the debriefing of the upcoming game with them as an actual team building exercise, since they played the game before and we should see improvements in their internal collaborations and their play this time around. But my guess is that their debriefing did not generate much action and followup, since it seems to have been played more as a team bonding event than one for teambuilding. Nothing wrong with having fun but I really think we can always generate improvement it the debriefing is done well. But this delivery is run as a diagnostic of the design, rather than as a teambuilding event.)

What I think we can do even better with the virtual version is to anchor some specific followup and organizational development activities as part of the overall delivery. We can play with 24 people, in 6 teams of up to 4 people each. And instead of playing and forgetting, my goals for the delivery is to generate a very solid debriefing about collaboration, communications, alignment and change, and then to have structured followup with the group in the weeks after the play to anchor in some of the ideas raised in the discussions around themes of motivation, dis-un-engagement, alignment to existing goals and objectives and to promote implementation of ideas for improvement.

With the online design, we can accomplish that by making a “game discussion” part of the following week’s followup and to help the group implement ideas for improving communications and teamwork that fall out of the discussion around the play of the game.

Doable, I think.

For that development purpose, I would love to have an organization to partner with on developing this process. Ideally, it would be one of our old board game customers looking to refresh the learning and reach out to their remote workers more effectively. The design of the game would easily allow a supervisor to run all their people in a single session, because it can play with 3 or 4 teams of 2 to 3 people (we think!) and have the same, effective interactions.

The game design is 99% completed and the debriefing rolls out from what we’ve been doing since 1993 with the board game. Designing the weeks-after followup needs to anchor to some real-world improvement opportunities, I think, and also have the buy-in of the managers involved to insure it aligns with their goals and objectives.

We do NOT want the game to be only a game, and we DO want the play to be an excuse to do an interactive debriefing, accomplish the goal of generating ideas for organizational improvement, and to provide a mechanism for easy followup on ideas and needs. The manager will have to learn some facilitation skills and we would need to develop some simple processes for followup and implementation.

Interested in collaborating? Ideally, we could work with a team of HR / Training people to tightly link the play of the game to the debriefing on critical, current issues and opportunities. You would work directly with me on this development, I think. We would support the licensing of game facilitators as well as support their training and development around delivery of the game.

 

For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman Ph.D. CPF, CPT is still managing partner of PMC and collaborating with the team at PMC LLC, but also sort of retired…

Scott is developer of the incredible Square Wheels® tools and images
and the board game version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

Scott has presented his concepts in 47 countries and collaborates with consultants and trainers worldwide.

You can reach him at scott@squarewheels.com and you can see his profile at LinkedIn

 

 

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