In this team building activity, the team has to build a structure using wooden blocks. What they don’t know is that they then have to remove blocks without compromising their structure!
Wooden blocks or a Jenga set
Space Required: Small. Ideally indoors.
Group Size: 6 – 20 pax
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 10 minutes to brief and setup
- 10 minutes for the activity
- 10 minutes to review and debrief
- The sticky labels should have the different departments/functions/hierarchies, in the company (e.g. HR, IT, Front Office, manager, executive, admin staff etc). Ideally the number of labels should reflect how small or large the groups are (e.g. If managers constitute 15% of your staff, 15% of the blocks should be labelled manager).
- Place the sticky labels on the wooden blocks.
- Divide the wooden blocks according to the number of small groups you have (each small group should have 3 – 6 pax). Each group should have the same number of the different types of blocks.
Running the Activity
- Explain the activity: Each small group is tasked with building a structure using the blocks provided. For the first round, there are no parameters on the type or size of structure — the group is free to be creative! They are given 3 minutes for building.
- Once they are ready, they can begin building.
- After 3 minutes are up, all building must stop. Then, inform the groups that they must now remove a block at a time without toppling their structure. (Do not inform them of this step in the beginning!)
- If time permits, repeat this activity a second time and challenge the groups to build a structure that will be able to withstand the removal of blocks.
Suggested Learning Outcomes
Activity Guidance and Notes
Labelling the wooden blocks with the different roles, functions and job scopes and using them to build a structure serve to highlight how all parts of the organisation have to work well together in order to achieve goals.
This activity is a great metaphor for how it’s necessary for the various parts of the organisation to support each other, and how removing or leaving out certain functions can cause things to fall apart.
- Challenge the groups to build a specific type of shape to make it more difficult.
- To make the removal of blocks more challenging, call out certain labels that the groups must remove in order.
Suggested questions to ask:
- How did your team approach the building of your structure?
- What problems did you encounter during the activity?
- Why was communication important in this activity?
- How did the second round differ from the first round? Did knowing that you would have to remove blocks from the structure change the way you approached the challenge?
- What did you learn from the challenge?