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Online Business Game. December, 2020

Kimberly-Clark marketing team goes on the Wild West trust-building adventure

How much do your team members trust each other? In an attempt to assess the trust level and improve interaction within their team, Kimberly-Clark marketing experts turned to ManGO! Games. Together, we made it happen!
30 people
6 hours
Kimberly-Clark
Kimberly-Clark marketing team goes on the Wild West trust-building adventure
Mission. Hold an online team-building event for Kimberly-Clark marketing staff, while giving them an opportunity to thank each other for their cooperation on New Year's Eve and providing not just relaxing but also a valuable experience for strengthening interpersonal communication.

Background. With new members joining and old ones leaving the department, the remote workplace became the last straw for the employee's growing disunity. What everyone needs now is solidarity and a sense of a friendly shoulder. A good idea would be to hold a casual, fun event to determine the level of trust within the team. The finding made should serve as the basis for further elaboration of interaction strategies. It is vitally important to find ways to bring the team together and build up strong relationships more quickly.

Solution. Deliver two-day online training featuring a business game, psychological testing, and a facilitation session.

How did it go

We spent two days with the team, three hours each day. The first day was devoted to a team-building game followed by the debriefing session. The second one focused on the features of the StrengthsFinder tool with the subsequent discussion of how it can be used to help the team.

Hence, we divided the whole session into three stages:

  • Business game.
  • Follow-up facilitation.
  • Psychological testing and action plan elaboration.

Stage 1. Educational business game

The game was based on the so-called Prisoner's Dilemma: if two prisoners do not confess, they both win. However, if the first one remains silent while the second confesses, the first prisoner loses, and the second one gets rewarded. While the scheme is actively used in game theory, its main intrigue is how much the parties trust one another.

For our own interpretation of the Prisoner's Dilemma, we chose a Wild West theme. We called the game "Rio Grande", after the river in North America.

The action takes place in the Wild West, hundreds of years ago. The area is under continuous control of four gangs rampaging six neighboring towns. It is certain precious goods made by townspeople that the bandits crave for. Living off robberies, every now and then the gangs clash with each other.

Conflicts, however, are mutually disadvantageous: after each next confrontation, a gang loses its members and becomes weaker. At first glance, the bandits' task seems simple: all they need is to reach an agreement with each other, divide the towns between themselves, and they'll never lose their men again. But that only works in theory. In practice, stereotypes and a lack of trust will stand in the way of making it happen.

The participants played the business game in four teams. It was a rather fascinating, fun, emotional, and short session: it only took them 1 hour and 45 minutes to finish the game.

Stage 2. Facilitation session

The discussion of the game process revealed the employees' capacity to work as a team. Yet there still are some non-constructive emotions hindering successful collaboration. The ultimate conclusion made by the players was that trust is vitally important for mutual success, and it is something they can only build jointly and consensually.

Stage 3. Clifton StrengthsFinder

The second part of the training opened with StrengthsFinder testing and a discussion of the team's strengths and weaknesses. Clifton StrengthsFinder is a diagnostic questionnaire that is used to identify talents, i.e., natural predispositions to certain patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

Upon completion of the questionnaire, everyone received an action plan and learned how to develop their strengths and gain more enjoyment from living and working within the team.

Results

The main thing the game proved to the participants is that there are more and less collaborative people in their team, along with ones more and less competitive. It also showed that not everyone willing to collaborate is actually capable of doing it. The importance of clear formulation of motives, common objectives, and shared expectations, meanwhile, arises from the fact that these are different for different people. In the end, all participants voiced the desire to receive consent as a response to a proposal for cooperation.

Another conclusion drawn from the testing is that although each member of the team is different, they all have their own strengths to be further developed. As for the weaknesses, those are to be treated with more tolerance, as they are nothing but the extension of one's strong points.

The team agreed to hold another meeting in a few months to assess if the decisions made have been effective.
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