Try This – To Avoid the Blame Game!


Their Fault!

We are often quick to point the finger when there are group problems. The truth is a lot of time and energy is wasted on finding a guilty party!

  1. Have your group form a circle with everyone standing
  2. Start by you pointing to someone in the circle. Continue pointing!
  • That person now points to someone else and continues pointing
  • Keep going until everyone is pointing at someone else, and the last person then points at you!
  • Stop pointing and shift your attention to the person you are pointing at. That person becomes your person of interest!
  1. Explain that the objective is to watch your POI very, very closely to imitate his or her every action.
  2. Now ask your group to stand perfectly still. With nobody moving unless their POI does. If your POI moves (blinks, coughs twitches etc.), he or she is to copy that exact movement and then be still again.
  3. Begin the game and play for 3-5 minutes.

When you’re finished ask these questions:

  • We were supposed to stand still, what happened? (Expect some blaming of who moved first to occur.)
  • Who knows who started the movement? (Let some accusations occur. It will become evident that it is nearly impossible to pinpoint who really started each movement.)
  • How much does it matter who started it, once it started?
  • How much energy do we put into looking for scapegoats?
  • How are we to blame for perpetuating particular mannerisms that inevitably become team norms? What examples do we have here at work?
  • What can this imply for us when we’re back on the job?

Try This – To Spark Creativity and Resourcefulness with your Team!


Paper Enterprise!

Time: 5–6 minutes
Purpose: To spark ideas, creativity and resourcefulness


  • Small groups
  • This can be done with one group or multiple groups at the same time.

Materials needed: Sheets of paper


  • Give a piece of paper to each group of five to ten participants.
  • One person at a time stands and demonstrates a use of that piece of paper


  1. Person demonstrating cannot speak 2. Must stand while demonstrating
    3. Demonstration must be original

Desired outcome: Participants experience a myriad of ways to use a piece of paper and translate this to the myriad of ways to solve problems, use resources, motivate a team, and so on!

Try This – To Ignite Constructive Feedback with your Team!




  • Participants learn how easily “but. . .” can interfere with constructive feedback by creating defensiveness, even when they mean well. They will also learn to replace “but. . .” with “and. . .”

Use this when:

  • Feedback is not being received very well.
  • Individuals feel like others are not listening with open minds.
  • You don’t have prep time and/or materials for anything more elaborate.

Materials you’ll need:

  • No materials are necessary for this activity.

Here’s how:

  1. Have participants pair up.
  2. Each participant has 30 seconds to think of something she likes about the other’s outfit and one way the outfit could be improved.
  3. The first participant tells the other what she likes first, then says, “but. . .” and finishes the sentence with how it could be even better.
  4. The other participant then does the same to the first participant.
  5. Now have each participant repeat what she just said, replacing ”but” with “and.”

For example:

  • “I like that tie, but it would bring out your blue eyes better if it was red.”
  • “I like that tie, and it would bring out your blue eyes better if it was red.”
  • “That is a nice dress, but you would look even more professional if you had earrings, too.”
  • “That is a nice dress, and you would look even more professional if you had earrings, too.

Ask these questions:

  • How did it feel to hear “but?” (Annoying, defensive, insincere, etc.) How did it feel to hear “and?” (Helped, respected, supported, etc.)
  • What does “but” usually mean? (Disregard what you just heard, because here is the real truth.)
  • Why do we say “but” so often when giving suggestions or feedback?
  • What implications does this have for us back on the job?

Tips for success: 

  • Share an example to give participants a sense of how the statements should sound.
  • Make sure all pairs have finished their “but” statements before giving the cue to make the “and” statements.
  • Point out that the word “but” usually negates everything that precedes it.

Try these variations: 

  • The more personal the feedback, the better. If the group is uncomfortable giving feedback on each other’s outfits though, select something else, such as the coffee in the lunchroom, a movie they have both seen, and so forth.
  • After the meeting, ask for feedback on the meeting without the “but.” (I liked that we had an agenda, and next time I hope we can stick to it better.)
  • If the group is comfortable giving feedback to each other already, have them do it on their recent job performance rather than their outfit.
  • Add an element of fun to this activity by starting with participants making something creatively (with clay, markers, balloons, building blocks, etc.), and then give the feedback to each other about the creation rather than their outfits.


Source: Miller, Brian. Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers. New York: AMACOM, 2004. Print.

3 Quick Reminders for a Productive Office!

3 Great Quick Reminders For a Productive Office

  1. Listening


For communication, this is the cream of the crop! Giving someone your full attention gives the speaker a sense of worth and support for their values, experiences, feelings or ideas. Powerful bonds are formed this way.

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway


  1. Inspire & Motivate Others


Be a true visionary! Don’t be focused on temporary setbacks, see the big picture. Drive for success, painting a clear picture of your goals and be able to effectively communicate them with your team!

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams


  1. Display High Integrity and Honesty:


Never compromise your values by cheating. Lead by example, walk the walk of your talk! Be willing to respectfully listen, discuss and speak up, even when issues are challenging or unpopular. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” –  C.S. Lewis

Try This – To Hone your Team’s Communication and Active Listening Skills!


Me, Myself and I



  • Participants see how often their communication is centered on themselves.

Use this when:

  • Individuals need to improve their communication skills to focus less on self and more on others.
  • Individuals need to focus on listening skills.
  • Individuals need to practice creativity (around communication techniques).
  • You don’t have prep time and/or materials for anything more elaborate.

No materials are necessary for this activity

Here’s how:

  1. Have the participants pair up.
  2. One partner begins speaking for 3 minutes nonstop. He must continue talking, no pauses.
  3. He may speak about any topic or several topics.
  4. He may never use the word “I.”
  5. The listening partner may not speak at all, not even to ask questions or say “uh-huh.”
  6. After his 3 minutes, reverse roles, and repeat.

Ask these questions:

  • Which role was easier for you, the speaker or the listener? Why?
  • How did you feel listening without being able to ask questions or contribute your own thoughts? (Left out, less connected, more focused on the speaker, etc.)
  • How did you feel speaking without being able to check in with your listener? (Worried that he was not understanding or did not care, uncomfortable with the attention on me, enjoying the attention and focus, etc.)
  • How difficult or easy was it to keep talking nonstop? Why?
  • What creative ways did you find to talk about yourself without using “I?”
  • How can we phrase our communications to focus better on the other person.
  • What implications does this have for us back on the job?

Tips for success:

  • Be prepared to demonstrate a portion of a 20-minute monologue without using “I” if the group demands it. Have the group try to catch you using an “I.”
  • Give a 30-second warning before the play ends.

Try these variations:

  • Add a get-to-know-you element by having them determine who is the first speaker and listener by who is oldest, who lives furthest from your location, who has the next birthday, the cutest pet, is most physically fit, and so forth.
  • Extend the speaking time to 5 minutes to make it more difficult.
  • Add competitiveness by allowing the listeners to gain two points for each time the speaker says “I” and one point when they pause more than 5 seconds. Be prepared with small prizes for the winner(s). During the debrief, ask how the competitiveness impacted the activity.


Source: Miller, Brian. Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers. New York: AMACOM, 2004. Print.


Try This – To Energize Your Team!


Salt and Pepper

This activity is fun, excellent for energizing your team, and also great as a get-to-know-one another exercise. It doesn’t take up a lot of time and requires a few simple materials like a pen, tape, and small sheets of paper. Recommended group size can range from 6-40 people.

  1. A sheet of paper for every person.
  2. As manager, come up with pairs of things such as, salt and pepper, yin and yang, shadow and light, peanut butter and jelly, Mickey and Minnie mouse, male and female, and so forth.
  3. Separate the pairs and write only one of them per piece of paper. (Salt on one paper, pepper on a completely different paper).
  4. Tape one paper on the back of each person, making sure they can’t see it.
  5. When you say go, everyone must walk around asking yes or no questions in order to find out what word they have taped to their backs.
  6. Once they figure that out, they’ll be able to find their other pair. The two will sit down and learn three to five interesting facts about one another.
  7. Optional step: have the pairs introduce their partners and the interesting facts they learned about them.


This exercise will encourage communication and creativity among the participants. Learning how to ask the right questions will be a challenge. It will also encourage teamwork as interacting with the other team members is necessary.



Try This – To Help with Change in the Workplace



  • Participants learn to cope with rapid-paced changes.

Use this when:

  • The group is experiencing lots of change at work.
  • Individuals need to see that minor mistakes are just that: minor!

No Materials are necessary for this activity.

Here’s how:

  1. Arrange the group into a “U” formation.
  2. Have them count off down the line so everyone has a number.
  3. The first participant begins by calling anyone else’s number.
  4. Immediately that person must call someone else’s number.
  5. Play continues like this until someone hesitates or calls an incorrect number (either their own number or a number that is not in the group).
  6. That participant goes to the end of the line. She and everyone that was behind her now have a new number.
  7. Resume play.

Ask these questions:

  • How did you feel when you made a mistake? (Like a failure, I let the team down, disappointed in myself, embarrassed, etc.)
  • How did it feel to watch someone else make a mistake? (Empathy, glad it wasn’t me, angry or frustrated, disappointed, etc.)
  • What is our typical reaction when we make minor mistakes at work? (Point out that changes lead to some minor mistakes, and we should not focus on them.)
  • How did you feel as your number kept changing?
  • How did you feel watching the pressure others were experiencing, but you weren’t?
  • What implications does this have for us on the job?

 Tips for success:

  • Have the group set a pace by clapping hands to a beat.
  • Quicken the pace so everyone “fails” often and then numbers change frequently.
  • Watch to see if anyone tries deliberately to trip up those at the beginning of the line. Ask why during the debrief. Do we not like to see others remain successful?

 Try these variations:

  • When a participant makes a mistake, encourage him or her to take a bow, and have the group applaud him or her. Reinforce the concept that learning from minor mistakes is a good thing!
  • Use the alphabet instead of numbers.


Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers – Brian Cole Miller, pg. 108-109


Survey Says

Jump into an entertaining battle of wits that will motivate its participants and engage the audience!

Lights, camera, action! Welcome to Survey Says, a fast paced energetic game show program with a live TV atmosphere. Applying fun competition to drive team success, Survey Says takes its participants and audience through our very own innovative corporate version of Family Feud, while using audience response keypads spurring interaction from everyone involved at the event. With fast-paced rounds of survey questions and a “bracket” scoring system, teams will be encouraged to collaborate their collective intelligence and experience to stay sharp in high hopes of moving onto the semi-finals and eventually the “Feud Finale.” When it’s over, the natural bonding that comes with teamwork and collaboration has all of our participants winning!


Project Alzheimer’s™: Video of the Week

Alzheimer’s affects 5.6 million people and can be an unavoidable tribulation to many families. Wouldn’t it be amazing to find a way to reconnect these people with their original selves? Garnering inspiration from the movie “Alive Inside” and understanding music’s touch as a universal language, Project Alzheimer’s was born! This program captivates its participants through a unique and heartwarming experience, helping Alzheimer’s patients evoke the feelings of love and fond memories. With points earned, teams will receive iPods and an array of items, to make a blanket and a colorful gift-box.   These donations can profoundly change people’s quality of life, while costing less than most individuals’  medication. We couldn’t be prouder of that!