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Session Builders Series 100 Volume 1

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Session Builders Series 101 is a 2 Volume set of 60 Activities.Ã_ It covers over 20 of the most important management and supervisory skills, from active listening to time management.With more than 200 exercise options and variations you will always have a choice of realistic, easy-to-use designs that will add ñsomething extraî to your training programs.

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101—Blue Monday

PDF

Preparation

• Make copies of the instruction sheet, calendar, Daily Activity Sheet, set of inbox

items, and Handouts 9 and 10 for each participant.

• Have plain notepaper, pencils, and paper clips available for working out the

exercise.

• Have a whiteboard or flipchart and markers available to use during the

discussion period.

• Provide a 3-foot square table area for participants to use when working on the

exercise. Room arrangement should be flexible for group discussion.

Process

• Participants may work on this exercise individually or in teams of two. The two-

person teams may share knowledge to help each other complete the goals of the exercise.

• Distribute one instruction sheet, one calendar, and one Daily Activity Sheet for

each participant if working individually. If participants are working in teams, give one set of all the preceding items to each team of two participants. Have participants read the instruction sheet first.

• Explain the purpose of the exercise—to learn to organize time, choose

 

102—A Behavior Problem

PDF

Preparation

• Make copies of the Analysis Sheets for each participant.

• Make sure there is extra paper to encourage participants to be as detailed and

descriptive as they can be in their answers.

• Provide pens or pencils for participants.

Process

• Distribute an Analysis Sheet to each participant in the session.

• You might want to explain that due to the nature of this particular exercise a

few precautions should be considered:

− Behavior problems are sticky issues. Dealing with them requires a great deal

of thought and preparation on the part of the manager or supervisor. The questions asked in this exercise begin to address the proper method to use when handling these problems.

− It’s important for the manager and supervisor to suspend judgment on the

reasons or causes for what might be happening. For example, Question #1 asks, Describe the behavior. Suggest to participants that the best way to address this is from an unbiased observer point of view. Suggest that they look at all the information they have on the problem and use that information to write their behavior description. Have them remain objective and try not to “analyze” what they judge to be the possible reasons or causes for what might be happening.

 

103—Enhancing the Motivational Climate

PDF

Preparation

• Make copies of the exercise sheets for each participant.

• Provide pens or pencils for participants.

• Have a whiteboard or flipchart and markers available when you discuss the

material in your next session if you choose this option and conditions permit such arrangements.

Process

• Distribute the exercise sheets to each participant.

• Tell participants that this exercise is designed to help them put their new moti-

vational knowledge to work by applying the principles and theories to their own job situations. Explain that it will take some thinking, but the work they do on this plan can be applied to their own personal action plan.

• Suggest that they carefully read over the list of ways to motivate people and

choose one that seems to be the most critical to all their projects and their people. Then develop an action step to implement the chosen method.

• If your schedule permits, you can provide effective follow-up by asking partici-

pants to bring the exercise back to the next session. If the group is large, tell them you will discuss five of the steps submitted. The remainder will be reviewed after the session and returned to them with comments (see Notes section).

 

104—Snowflake

PDF

 

 

Session

Builders

104 – Snowflake

 

Purpose/Objectives: Leadership is a sometimes indefinable quality of a manager. Because of the many facets of leadership, it is often difficult for a manager to exhibit leadership in a classroom situation. This exercise helps people evaluate leadership by seeing the effect leadership can have on productivity, attitude, and the overall motivation of employees.

In this exercise, the group is divided into three competitive teams, each working under a different style of leadership—a “heavy-handed” style, a “democratic” style, and a “non-leader” style. As the exercise progresses through the planning and production phases of producing snowflakes, participants experience a variety of feelings and reactions to their particular leaders.

Through the discussion that follows, participants are able to compare and note changes in the feelings, attitudes, and actual results produced by each team. This exercise is very demonstrative and thought-provoking.

Type: Simulation exercise for the group; role play for the leaders

 

105—The Marty Incident

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Session

Builders

105 – The Marty Incident

 

Purpose/Objectives: This exercise illustrates how a manager or supervisor can affect a group’s motivation and effectiveness to work as a team when the manager or supervisor does not accurately define a problem. The “Marty” incident addresses what happens when a group participates in a decision over which it has no control. Marty, the manager, calls a meeting of his staff and opens the meeting by asking for input about mandatory weekly reports. When the group responds negatively, he has nowhere to go. He is backed into a corner and ends the meeting demanding that the reports be completed by noon each Friday. The group is left frustrated about why they were asked for their input. Participants are able to see, firsthand, what happens when this situation occurs.

Type: Case study and/or role play

Time Required: 60 minutes

Group Size: Unlimited, but works best with 25 or fewer

Use this Session Builder as: •

A reinforcement exercise to build on key points of problem solving, motivation, and team effectiveness.

 

106—Getting to the Root of a Problem

PDF

Preparation

• Make copies of the application exercise for each participant.

• Provide pencils for participants.

• Have a whiteboard or flipchart and markers available to use during the

discussion.

• The room should be flexible to accommodate small group discussion.

Process

• Distribute a copy of the application exercise to each participant. Tell them that

they’ll have about 30 minutes to complete the action plan.

• If participants cannot think of any problems facing them at the present time,

ask them to work through a previous problem following the steps outlined in the exercise.

• Suggest that participants make their answers as specific as possible and that

they carefully think through the exercise. Caution them not to rely on “old” methods of solving the problem but to creatively apply new techniques. Ask them to explore ways they’ve not previously tried to reach their solutions.

• To reinforce this point, suggest that they be as positive in their approach as

possible. Ask them to avoid approaching the problem with any preset solution or answer. This may be difficult if they’ve been struggling with the problem over a period of time.

 

107—A Natural Disaster

PDF

Preparation

• Provide pens or pencils and paper for participants.

• Make copies of the objective statements and guidelines so that each participant

can grade each item. For example, if there are three teams with five on each team, you would need 30 printed copies.

• Have a whiteboard or flipchart and markers available to use when processing

the exercise.

Process

• Divide the group into three to six teams of approximately equal size.

• Begin the exercise by distributing the objective statement and guidelines to

each team.

• At this point, outline the guidelines for participants to follow in their group

discussion. For participants without prior planning or problem-solving knowledge, the guideline serves as a basis to know where to begin. For people who have done some planning or problem solving before, the guideline helps them recognize the areas on which to concentrate their efforts.

• Have the teams work and discuss the assignment for a maximum of 30 minutes.

Let them know that they will have 5 or 10 minutes to explain their plan to the group.

 

108—How should I handle it?

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Session

Builders

108 – How should I handle it?

 

Purpose/Objectives: This exercise is designed to help managers see how different approaches to the performance appraisal interview can affect the actual outcome. In this exercise, participants are selected to play the role of manager. Each manager interviews a different type of employee—a marginal worker, an average performer, and an outstanding producer. As the interviews progress, methods and techniques on focusing the interview, developing a solid direction, and probing for the results begin to surface to help the managers reach their specific objective. By classifying interviews into three categories, participants learn how to develop a basis on which to handle most types of employees during the appraisal process. This role play shows techniques and brings to the surface many hidden feelings about the interview experience.

Type: Role play

Time Required: 60 minutes

Group Size: 10 to unlimited

Use this Session Builder as: •

A reinforcement exercise to build on key principles in a lecture or other presentation on the subject.

 

109—Are these reports really necessary?

PDF

Preparation

• Make copies of the employee’s role, the manager’s role, and an observer’s

sheet for each participant playing those roles.

• Provide pens or pencils for participants.

• Have a whiteboard or flipchart and markers available during the discussion.

• The room should be flexible to set up mini-groups for the exercise.

Process

• Divide the session into groups of three. If there are extra participants, they can

be second observers to the groups.

• Let one group member be the employee, one the manager, and one the ob-

server. Ask them to role play Case #1 for about 10 minutes, having the observer note the interaction between the manager and the employee. Have participants look for the following key points from the observer’s sheet:

1. How did the manager approach the problem? Did he/she present it in factual, straightforward terms or just talk around it? Did he/she not mention it at all?

2. Did the manager prejudge the problem and its solution, or first seek the employee’s feelings?

3. Was the manager a good listener? Give examples of this.

 

110—Space Tower

PDF

Preparation

• Prepare a kit of materials for each team. Each kit should contain about

40 TinkerToy®, Lego®, or similar building pieces and a tape measure at least

6 feet long. If possible, each kit should contain identical pieces. Put the construction materials and the tape measure in a container so that they can be stored unobtrusively in the room until you are ready to use them.

• Make a copy of the Instructions as well as the Cost-Effectiveness Sheet and two

copies of the Bid Sheet for each team. Place them in the container with the building materials.

• Have a whiteboard or flipchart and markers to use during the discussion. Two

flipcharts are even better. Have masking tape on hand to tape the flipchart papers to the walls.

• The room should be flexible enough to accommodate small group discussions

during the planning phase and to provide floor space adjacent to each group for the construction phase. The floor space must be large enough for all members of a group to work on the tower at one time. Group space should be separated so that members of one group do not interfere with the members of another group during construction.

 

111—Lookers and Runners

PDF

 

 

Session

Builders

111 – Lookers and Runners

 

Purpose/Objectives: Communication in an organization is a complex and multi-dimensional process. This dynamic exercise dramatically demonstrates these complexities in only a few minutes. Participants experience (and can later discuss) dimensions such as message clarity, time pressure, assumptions, emotional involvement, and organizational structure. Each of two or more teams tries to be the first to correctly assemble a duplicate of a given device. But the builders for each team cannot see the model. They depend on other members of the team to quickly and accurately relay instructions to them. During the discussion, participants are eager to probe the many facets of communication they experienced and to develop practical, job-related solutions.

Type: Simulation

Time Required: 60 to 90 minutes

Group Size: 12 to 30, 10 minimum

Use this Session Builder as: •

A warm-up exercise to build group cohesiveness, reveal key issues, and prepare for specific skill building.

 

112—What are we doing?

PDF

• Teams should be spaced throughout the room and individuals seated according

to the following diagram:

Leader

A

Manager

B

Employees

C

D

E

• Give every team member a set of instructions, an envelope containing five

cards, a pencil, and plain writing paper. Each of the five cards within the envelope is to bear a different symbol. (Symbols are provided for you on handouts.)

• Give the Leader of the group a separate set of instructions that explain the

object of the game. These instructions are intentionally written in a wordy and ambiguous style. Do not attempt to change the wording. It is also important that no one else receives this information.

• Have participants read over their instructions. Then read or paraphrase the

following information for all teams:

Each group composes an organization with a Leader, a Manager, and three employees. The Leader has just received instructions about a proposed project.

In order to complete the project and because of the location of each position within the organization, the Leader, Manager, and Employees may only communicate in writing. Talking is not allowed. You may convey information only to those people indicated on your instructions and only via written notes.

 

113—Setting Objectives and Standards

PDF

 

 

Session

Builders

113 – Setting Objectives and Standards

 

Purpose/Objectives: This exercise helps managers/supervisors identify factors found in well-written objectives. Participants are asked to take three poorly written objectives and rewrite them using criteria outlined on the handout.

They then check their responses against given criteria and compare them with others in the session. Participants will understand how to recognize factors that make an objective an effective measure of performance. When the examples are completed, ask each participant to write an objective from their own job situation. Please note that there are six different types of poorly written objectives—manufacturing, technical, administrative, IT, financial, and sales. Choose the type that best applies to your organization.

Type: Application

Time Required: 60 minutes

Group Size: 5 to 25 works best

Use this Session Builder as: •

A reinforcement exercise to build on the key points of writing good objectives.

A pre-session assignment to stimulate thinking about what makes up a well-written objective.

 

114—Leadership in Action

PDF

Preparation

• Make copies of the Instructions and Common Problems sheet for each

participant. You will also need observer forms for the problem situations selected by the participants. Please note that there are different forms for specific problems.

• Make one copy of the five Problem Description sheets (A, B, C, D, and E), cut

them apart, and hand them out after problem situations are chosen from the list.

• Provide pencils for participants.

• Have a whiteboard or flipchart and markers to process the exercise.

• Have a stapler and paper handy in case the training problem is chosen.

• The room should be flexible to accommodate a role play easily viewed by other

participants. You will need a desk or table and two chairs for the role play.

Process

• Distribute the Instructions and Common Problems sheet to participants. Ask

them to read the material and select one problem they would like to see role played.

• List the problem choices on the whiteboard or flipchart. You can do this by

going around the room and asking which problem each person has selected. For a group of more than 20 people, do a random selection and vote on the choice.

 

115—You've Got What It Takes to Do It

PDF

Preparation

• Make copies of the manager’s and the employee’s role for each participant.

• Provide pencils and paper for participants.

• Have a whiteboard or flipchart and markers available during the discussion

process.

• The room should be flexible to accommodate a role play in the front of the

room. If the option is used, the room will need to be flexible enough to accommodate multiple role plays occurring at one time.

Process

• Explain that you want the group to role play a scene between a manager and an

employee, with the manager attempting to convince the employee to take on a new assignment. Have the participants reach each role before proceeding.

• When the participants have read the roles, ask for volunteers to play the parts.

• When the first role play is completed, have another participant take the

manager’s role and try it. Let this second role play proceed for 5 to 7 minutes.

When interaction between the manager and the employee seems to be completed, ask for a volunteer to play the employee’s role again.

 

116—Time Flies

PDF

 

 

Session

Builders

116 – Time Flies

 

Purpose/Objectives: Participants get a chance to apply problem-solving/time management principles to specific problem areas. In this exercise, participants analyze a study done to determine how efficiently/effectively managers spend their time. The study covers a one-week period and provides percentages on how much time was spent in areas like e-mail, phone calls, meetings, and other duties. Participants can relate what happens in this study to their own duties and draw conclusions on where time should be spent. Separate Process and

Discussion sections have been written for Problem

Solving/Decision Making and Time Management.

Type: Case Study

Time Required: 60 minutes

Group Size: Unlimited but works best with groups of 15 or fewer

Use this Session Builder as: •

A reinforcement exercise to put key concepts of problem solving/time management into practice.

A pre-assignment exercise before a group discussion, inspiring thinking on problem solving and effective time use.

 

117—The Big Turn-Ons

PDF

 

 

Session

Builders

117 – The Big Turn-Ons

 

Purpose/Objectives: Unlike communication, motivation is often difficult to teach and demonstrate in a classroom situation. This thought-provoking exercise helps managers understand motivation by discovering factors that motivate people toward high achievement and performance. Participants are first asked to talk about organizations and/or activities where people devote time and energy away from work. Then, assigned to groups, they produce ideas about what motivates people to give their time and energy to those organizations and/or activities.

When the groups reconvene for large group discussion, they are asked to discuss kinds of motivational stimuli that managers can use on the job to produce a similar commitment. Participants can readily “butt in to” the results of this exercise based on their own experience rather than simply accepting theories or someone else’s research.

Type: Discussion Stimulator

Time Required: 30 to 45 minutes

Group Size: 6 to 60

 

118—Making the Meeting Meaningful

PDF

 

 

Session

Builders

118 – Making the Meeting Meaningful

 

Purpose/Objectives: This exercise demonstrates how a supervisor or manager can “open up” a problem-solving session by promoting an atmosphere of open thinking, sharing ideas, and an in-depth analysis of those ideas. A task force consisting of five to seven participants is assigned to select what day to use for a ninth floating holiday in their company.

A leader is chosen, and the emphasis of the exercise is on how well he/she carried out this assignment. The leader and the remaining class participants receive guidelines on how to conduct the meeting. If the leader fails to follow the guidelines, the observers note the action. Changing leaders several times throughout the meeting gives others a chance to try out their skills.

Leaders can learn when their meeting does not “stay on track,” and the rest of the participants can compare different styles of leadership.

Type: Simulation

Time Required: 70 to 90 minutes

Group Size: Unlimited but works best with groups of 15 or fewer

 

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