I led a teambuildng workshop a few weeks back for a company that had experienced a recent merger. One company bought out another company and the group was facing all the challenges that come with that. I worked with 100 of the managers in a hotel conference setting for one day.
I led a series of activities that explored the relationship of small groups (small organizations) coming together (merging) with another small group.
The photos here show an example of one of the activities I led. I call this activity "Focus Ring" and it's a variation on an activity I learned from Jim Cain who is the coauthor of a great teambuilding games book called Teamwork & Teamplay.
ROUND # 1: The first photo shows a group of eight participants delivering their product (a tennis ball) to their customer (a piece of 1/2 diameter PVC pipe). I had the entire group of 100 working in small teams of 8, with each small team working on placing a tennis ball on their own piece of pipe. The "delivery system" is a steel ring with nylon twine attached to it (the tennis ball rests on top of the ring).
ROUND # 2: Small teams (of 8 people) pair-up (merge) with another small team. The two small teams place their tennis balls on a PVC pipe structure that holds two balls. It's tricky because the PVC pipe structure will fall over if the balls aren't placed on the structure just right.
ROUND # 3: Small teams (of 8 people) merge with three other small teams and must deliver their products to a PVC pipe structure which holds 4 balls simultaneously. It's much more difficult than the previous two rounds.
The debrief centered around the strategies, tactics and tools necessary for creating a successful merger. I asked the group to identify what worked in the activity and how the knowledge/awareness gained can be applied in the work environment.
Check out the faces of the participants. I made them blurry to hide their identity. It reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode.
Members of www.TeachMeTeamwork.com can find detailed instructions for this activity (including how to lead it and make it) in the members only section.