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A Team Building Activity With a Spinner

I am always on the hunt for good team building activities that others use. I’ve come across many people who are creative at applying a games-way-of-thinking to solve a problem. Today, I read an article authored by Keith Ferrazzi, CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, published by Harvard Business Review (“Five Ways to Run Better Virtual Meetings”, Thursday, May 3, 2012). Keith’s topic was on how to run better virtual meetings using video. It’s an interesting article and provided me with insights I hadn’t thought of before.

Of course, when I read about a fun technique used to remedy a problem, my brain lit up. Following is an excerpt. Remember, he’s discussing video conferencing guidelines:

Penalize multitaskers: Many managers tolerate people who multitask during meetings. After all, aren’t those individuals making the most effective use of their time? But the simple truth is that nothing drains the energy from a meeting like multitasking. To discourage it, managers should implement a penalty for offenders, but in doing so they should remember that a touch of humor can go a long way in setting the right mood. At one company, a spinning wheel determines a person’s punishment, with the needle ending up on anything from small monetary fines to a chore like cleaning the office coffee pot for a week.

Keith suggests using a games-way-of-thinking approach to deal with the disruption of multitaskers. It’s been a long time – years – since I’ve attended a meeting anywhere when multitaskers were not present. I’m still dumfounded at the people who bring their cell phones into a meeting and continue to use them while the meeting follows its course.

I create my own games (of course I would) around those who focus on their cell phones in meetings . My self talk may be, “He might have a dear one in the hospital and is anxious about missing calls from a doctor.” Or even “She’s right at the end of closing a big deal and is on high alert in case any of the terms change.” I make up excuses for them which allows me to be more tolerant of their behavior, which I think is inconsiderate. The multitaskers are just not present. And if I have to be present for the meeting, they have to be present for the meeting. Is there logic to that?

I think I will create my own spinning wheel and carry it with me to every meeting I attend. What would the punishments be? Makes me laugh just thinking about the possibilities!

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