Moving in the same direction
How does a group of up to 30 people learn to draw effectively with a single pen? In this activity, individuals come to appreciate how even small actions impact others. They must work with excellent communication and synchronization toward a common goal.
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Participants use ropes to control a single writing pen held upright by a plastic disk resting on a large sheet of paper. As the participants pull the ropes, the disk slides around leaving behind a trail of ink from the pen. Even with a shared objective in mind, drawing as a team is difficult until the group learns how to work together. Once the lines of communication are running smoothly and everyone has a feel for how they influence the outcome, the group can draw effectively as if they are one.
This activity can be staged in many ways. Pre-designed templates can present the group with a winding path to follow or a maze to solve. If the objective is to write a word or a phrase or draw a shape or a company logo, planning, leadership and extra coordination are required. The paper sheet can be prepared in advance with cards half-hidden in slits so that when the pen reaches a card, a new topic of the day is revealed.
Instead of giving each other directions in the usual way (“up”, “down”, “left”, “right,” etc.), the participants are only allowed to use each other’s names (“A little more towards Anita and Rob!”). This is an unusual way of learning names that will set your workshop apart from anything the participants have seen before.
4–6 participants put on blindfolds. The others take the lead and verbally coordinate the drawing activity. The “blind” experience the importance of sharing essential information; the seeing discover just how much precise instructions help overall success.
SHARE THIS TOOL
Use it for a fun and easy kick off, learning names, activating the group, creating team spirit
Use it for communicating effectively and explicitly, motivating through information, generating trust
Use it for identifying interdependencies, adapting and synchronizing the actions of the parts to achieve system goals
Use it for focus on progress along a path toward a goal, realizing gains as skills improve, organizational learning
Use it for coordinating actions, cooperating and sharing responsibility
|Participants (min / optimal / max)||Time needed (activity only)|
|6 / 10 / 30 ||15-30 mins|
|1 folding case made from solid beach wood, |
18 braided ropes (1.2 m x 3 mm, detachable),
10 printed maze sheets (16.5 x 23.4 in)
1 pen, 1 detailed instructions manual
|3 x 5 ft (0.3 x 0.5 m)|
|24.8 x 18.1 x 4.7 in (63 x 46 x 12 cm)||16.5 lb (7.5 kg)|
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