Small group team building and community exercises often revolve around activities that foster collaboration and camaraderie. However, today, I’m introducing a unique concept for you to take away and ponder.
During a keynote session I once hosted, I presented 800 school coordinators with a deck of 60 question cards. The origins of this exercise were rooted in an experience with a tightly-knit group I was once invited to work with. This group consisted of individuals who had been working together for a minimum of six years, with some having collaborated for over two decades. Their closeness was evident, but I wanted to explore the depths of their connections.
The 60-Question Challenge
I displayed all 60 questions from the deck, face up on a table. The group, consisting of six individuals, was tasked with one simple yet revealing objective: remove every question they felt confident they could answer on behalf of every other member in the group. Astonishingly, they could only confidently answer four out of the 60 questions. And, in my subsequent experiences with other groups, no group has ever managed to confidently answer more than six.
This exercise underscores a profound realization: Often, when we work closely with people, we assume we know them comprehensively. However, in reality, we might only be familiar with a minuscule fraction of their personalities or life experiences. As time progresses, these assumptions confine our colleagues into boxes, limiting our understanding of their evolving nature.
Surprises in the Responses
The questions posed were thought-provoking, with prompts such as, “What is a goal you plan on accomplishing in the next year?” It’s intriguing to hear responses to such questions, especially when it’s from someone you believed you knew inside out. Articulating aspirations or ideas out loud not only paves the path to actualization but also possesses the potential to influence and inspire peers.
In conclusion, this exercise isn’t just about team building; it’s an invitation to continuously rediscover those around us. By actively seeking to understand our peers beyond the superficial layers, we cultivate deeper relationships and a more cohesive team environment.