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Open minds with paper plates, cups

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in Leaders & Managers,Team Building

Here’s an exercise to prime your team to think more boldly about solving problems. Create groups of three to five people each. Give each team 50 paper plates and 50 paper cups. Then write the following in­­struction on a whiteboard: “Use the plates and cups to build the tallest tower possible.” Tell them they have three minutes.

Most groups will assume they can use only the plates and the cups. But the most attentive, creative teams will stack chairs, tables and other objects to help construct the tallest tower.

This exercise can open everyone’s mind to consider a broader range of solutions to pressing problems. Above all, you’ll help teams appreciate the need to embrace myriad possibilities to collaborate more effectively.

— Adapted from The Necessity of Strangers, Alan Gregerman, Jossey-Bass.

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