Last week we held an annual meeting of all of our team leaders and senior management. As part of the agenda, we included a team building exercise. After all, in just the last year we’ve added 5-6 new managers and we thought it would be a rather clever idea to make sure they actually knew each other.
We settled on an Egg Drop Team exercise, and it was very successful. I’ve participated in several variations over the years, and it’s a fun activity to hold for almost any group of people, including your staff, volunteers, or even board members!
The premise is simple- the group is broken up into several teams of 3-4 people each. Each team is given the same materials to build a container that will successfully enable an egg to survive a drop from 9 feet. The materials can be almost anything, and in our case we included 2 cups, soda straws, paper clips, 3 feet of masking tape, etc. At the end of this blog I’ve included the actual directions and material list- feel free to use these directions or modify them as you wish.
One thing that’s not in the directions is that you can inject elements that reflect your actual team projects. For example, half-way through the exercise, we had a member of each team switch to another team. And then a little later, we changed the specifications of the goal. You can come up with your own changes that typically challenge a project’s momentum or possibly even its ultimate success.
The key to the exercise is to share the feelings and reactions from each team member. Usually (but not always), there’s one member who will ‘take control’ of the project, or another member may act as a ‘spy’ for other teams, while another may simply act as a passive observer. It’s also likely that some teams will fail and in our case, half of the teams did fail. Questions to ask here include “How did it feel to watch other teams succeed?” or “What was it like when your egg cracked?”
This exercise can teach people the value of teamwork, and the importance of knowing and understanding the effects that success and failure can bring within an overall organization. After all, what happens when a committee in your organization is behind on an initiative? Or if one special event is more successful than another? By sharing their feelings, your staff/volunteers/board members can better understand the importance of teamwork and who knows- maybe they just might invent a better egg drop device!
One final word: Remember the large plastic garbage bag to catch the dropped projects. And wear old shoes.
Teams will be split up with 3-4 members per team.
Objective:To create a device so that an egg will survive a drop of 9 feet without breaking.
Materials: Each team will be given the following materials to build their device.
- 1 Egg (non Boiled)
- 3 Feet of Masking Tape
- 15 Soda Straws
- 2 Pencils
- 5 Paper Clips
- 2 Cups
- 1 Pair of Scissors
- You will have 10 minutes of design time per team. No construction of the actual device should take place. The design should be drawn so that all team members agree with the design.
- When the design time is finished, each team will have 15 minutes to construct their device.
- You should use at least one item from each list above in your final device.
- You should name your device, and come up with 3 benefits and 3 features of your solution.
- You should not borrow or copy another teams design. Please stay at your table.
- One member of each team will present their device- the moderator will drop the device.
- The Winner(s) will be those teams that design a device that successfully protects an egg from a single drop of 9 feet.