Archiv der Kategorie: culture/Kultur

Tried and trusted game idea: sticky note ABC

Sticky notes are a wonderful tool for all kinds of workshop and training situations.

In my session at the HR management congress, I talked about using sticky notes in the context of team building, enhancing communication and international collaboration.

You can basically play „Scrabble“ with sticky notes – simply write one letter on each note and create new words. A good starting point is to use people’s first names or the names of their country of origin, or words or phrases from the workshop.

What about… Team culture:

Team culture

What comes to mind when you look at these letters? Do you already see new words or phrases? Maybe you see the names of team members? Or something completely different?

You need a certain level of language skill to play this game, but you could also allow words and phrases from other languages, provided that the person who brings the words in explains what they mean.

 

Here are some results:

results of moving sticky notes around results of moving sticky notes around results of moving sticky notes around results of moving sticky notes around

It’s a very simple, quick and effective tool. And funny and creative, too!

 

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Eingeordnet unter culture/Kultur, Weiterbildung

Let’s play a game: IDL

I love playing games, and I think games, fun and laughter should be part of workshops, trainings and seminars. When I talked about enhancing cultural awareness at the HR management congress in Berlin, I asked the audience to play a game. Of course we didn’t have a lot of time during the 30-minute-slot and it was rather chaotic, but I could hear lots of laughter and had some good feedback afterwards, so it was definitely worth doing it.

Games are not culturally neutral. So, when you think about introducing a game to your team or group, think about the participants and the setting, think about where people come from and about their level of language skills. If people struggle with the common language of the seminar, it does not make sense to let them play a competitive linguistic game.
It’s equally important to think about when you play games. There are games suitable for all kinds of group situations, but not every game fits every group and every phase the group is in. A game where people have to trust each other won’t be enjoyable when played in the first hours of having met the others.
And you should also be aware of potential conflict when managers and team members are in the same group and they come from a culture where the role of the manager is highly regarded and people might fear to „lose face“ if they do something „wrong“.

That being said, today I would like to introduce a game that takes just a bit of preparation and can be adjusted easily to all kinds of groups and situations because you can make up the rules as you like.

The game is based upon the idea that in many cultures, dumplings in all forms and shapes are part of the local cuisine. The name of the game is IDL: International Dumpling Logistics.

What you need:

  • plates
  • play dough
  • chopsticks
  • knives and forks
  • several tables

Let people form small groups and decide beforehand, how big you want the dumplings to be. If you want to play the game in a competitive way, you need to make sure everyone has the same chance to win.

Each group gets a plate and play dough.

Play dough on a plateFirst, dumplings are formed using your hands. Often participants are willing to share their dumpling stories, ways of rolling them or their favourite recipe. But it’s not really necessary to talk – if you have a group with lots of different languages and different skill levels, you can still play the game and have lots of fun.

three dumplings on a plateNow you have a few dumplings. The task is to move them to the next plate (on another table somewhere in the room – you can adjust the settings as you see fit).

Of course it would be easy to just take the dumplings in your hand and walk away. But we want to include different tools from different cultures, so we’re using chopsticks to move our dumplings.

dumpling and chopsticksOnce we  have done this, we’ll use a fork to move the dumpling to the next and final plate, where we have a knive waiting to move the dumpling from the fork onto the plate.

dumpling on fork

 

 

 

 

There’s no „this is how the game must be played“-rule. You can decide how you want to play – maybe the group wants to make up the rules, maybe they want to change the rules after one or two rounds.

The game can be played fast or slow, highly competitive (use a timer!) or less competitive. It’s totally up to you.

One small piece of advice: it’s worth trying out games in a workshop. Choose games that you like and that mean something to you. If you feel you can’t „connect“ to the game, it can be difficult for the group, too.

I found the idea for the game in a book by Wilma Osuji. The English title of the game is my own creation.

Have fun with IDL, and if you want to let me know how your dumplings turned out, drop me a line. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

 

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A question of perspective

Last week I wrote about the „international“ part of the HR management congress in Berlin and mentioned my session on enhancing cultural awareness.

Whether you’re working in a diverse or rather uniform team, an important skill from my point of view is the willingness and ability to change perspective from time to time. The world is not just black and white and we should acknowledge that there’s not always a „right“ and a „wrong“ way of doing or looking at things.

In last week’s blog post, I introduced a simple method to make this change of perspective tangible and visible:

A group of people around a table looking at lettes E, M, W and number 3

Different ways of looking at the „same thing“

You don’t need a lot of preparation or tools and this is a great eye-opener and easy to understand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even when you speak the same language, communication isn’t always straightforward, depending on your own perspective and what you hear and understand.

Here’s a story to illustrate this:

There was a man riding a balloon. And as it happens, the wind takes him to somewhere he doesn’t recognise. He’s never been there before, neither on the ground nor in the air.

 

But he’s lucky. Down below, there’s a shepherd tending to the flock. The shepherd will surely know where he is.

 

So he plucks up his courage and calls down.

 

„Where am I?“

 

It’s a simple, straightforward question.

 

Or is it?

 

The shepherd looks up and answers.

„You are in a balloon!“

 

Well.

 

Yes.

 

 

Of course the shepherd’s answer is „right“ – the man is in a balloon. But that’s obviously not what the man wanted to hear.

Now, it can be hard having a conversation shouting to and fro, but this little story shows that sometimes communication needs more than just a „simple question“. Instead of getting angry at the shepherd (or the colleague who never understands what he needs to do), we can try and find out the other’s perspective and continue communicating and asking questions with an open mind. Most of the time the other person doesn’t want to annoy us when giving an unexpected answer.

Keep exploring and stay curious!

 

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Eingeordnet unter culture/Kultur, Leadership