Participants are asked to draw upon their artistic skills to create pictures that represent a higher functioning, more cohesive group or team. Appropriate for any team, department, or group.
- To create a pictorial vision of how a group works together
- To identify ways a group could function better in the future
- To discuss best practices for leaders who are establishing a vision
Up to 20 participants from intact work teams
30 to 60 minutes, depending on discussion
Materials and Discussion
- Flip chart with paper for each subgroup
- One set of markers of various colors for each subgroup
- Crayons (optional)
- Masking tape
Tables arranged so that participants can work in groups
- 1. Ask participants whether they have ever had a mental picture of how they would like their group to work. State that this activity will give them an opportunity to create and share their ideas. Ask them to form into their work groups of four or five each. (Divide larger work groups into smaller subgroups.) Give each group a flip chart and a set of markers.
- 2. Tell the participants to use the markers (and crayons, if provided) to create a picture on the flip-chart without words or numbers. Ask half of the groups to draw a picture that represents how they function as a team/department/organization today. Ask the other groups to draw a picture of how they would like to function in the future. Tell them they have 20 minutes to create their pictures.
- 3. After the allotted time, ask each group to select someone to present their pictures to the large group.
- 4. Ask the groups assigned to draw a picture of how they function today to present their pictures first. Hang the flip-chart pages along a wall. Applaud after each presentation.
- 5. Ask the groups assigned to draw a picture of how they would like to function in the future to present their pictures. Hang the flip-chart pages along a wall. Applaud after each presentation.
- 6. Lead a discussion about the pictures using some of these questions:
- What happened as you worked together? What was the atmosphere like?
- What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about your group?
- How does this relate to what happens on a day-to-day basis in this group?
- What differences do you see in the pictures of how you function today and how you would like to function in the future?
- What can you do differently that would move you closer to how you would like to function?
- What did this activity tell you about visions?
- How could a leader use this concept to create a vision?
- What advice would you give a leader who is establishing a vision?
- How can you ensure that you make changes that move you closer to your desired future?
- 7. Summarize by encouraging the small groups to come together again to establish action plans for future improvement.
- You may wish to use an observer to see how each small group handles the assignment. These observations (and your own) can be shared in the debriefing period.
- Be flexible regarding time and allow for discussion going in a direction you did not expect.
- This activity works in every country where I've used it, including Nigeria, Indonesia, and China.
Excerpt from The Book of Road-Tested Activities, edited by Elaine Biech and co-published by Pfeiffer and ASTD.
Mel Schnapper is an international consultant, currently working in Lesotho, who has worked in over 20 countries and in corporate America with companies such as Quaker Oats, Chicago Board Operations Exchange, AT&T, and American Express. Author of Value-Based Metrics for Improving Results, he can be reached at email@example.com.