Why we do what we do…

If you have ever run or been involved in a team build or leadership development programme you have at one point or another built a bridge. We’d put money on it – everyone has! The bridge may have been over a real river with proper planks (you worked in banking) or more likely in a hotel room involving bamboo sticks, string, sellotape etc

The funny thing about the bridge building exercise is that like it or not it provokes behaviour HOWEVER (and this is a big however) it’s not always natural behaviour and if you asked us the question why do we do what we do then the answer would involve number 1 in the list below.

Types of behaviour witnessed in bridge building:

1. “Watch Me”: the person who is nice as pie and spends at least 30% of their time looking over their shoulder, smiling at the observers and who’s every gesture says ‘watch me be an awesome member of this team’

2. “Face:Bovered”: the people to whom this contrived load of nonsense is a complete waste of their time when they could really be doing some proper work

3. “Mr (or Ms) Helpful”: these people contribute to the team by being the nicest politest people and doing everything they can to be as helpful as they can

4. “PANIC”: ‘they’re watching me, I will screw something up, I will do it wrong, my career will end now’ and FREEZE

5. “Say nothing is best”: these people are helpful, pass, fetch, carry, stick etc but could be confused for mutes – they say very little

6. “The Silent Assassin”: who can easily be mistaken for a “Say nothing is best” but who will wait until either “Watch me” or “Mr Helpful” have made a complete cat’s breakfast of it, step in, say a few things and completely save the day. Timing is everything

As people who regularly run such sessions we were fed up of standing in the corner of a hotel room watching the inevitable play out and secretly wanting to strangle the “Watch me” person so we decided to do something different. What started with The Property Trading Game has grown into a list of games and simulations that can be used to avoid the above but there’s enough about that on here already so in short, why do we do what we do? To avoid strangulation!


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