We’re Just Playin’ !!

When it comes to training and OD, HR tends to take things to extremes.  We hire the best consultants, make sure we follow the newest trend of training noveau, and the more “HRey” it is, the better we feel justfied of our existence.

Okay, that’s a little extreme in itself.  But, the point is this – we try too hard when it comes to training exercises !!

I was made aware of this tendency at a recent retreat we had.  I was excited to be involved in training our great folks.  My topic was “Communication” and Operations told me I could be over the top to make sure we had fun.  I was a little skeptical about this honestly. I don’t mind going over the top whenever I do presentations to HR chapters, conferences or even other businesses, but I wasn’t sure how I would be accepted.

The Ops leaders threw another curve at me when they said they were going to kick off the day with something “fun.”   My abject fear of the Lifeboat Exercise was racing through my mind (when you’re given just one item and then you determine who should survive).  Just what was fun going to be?

When the day of the event came up, we met at a very cool place called Blue Ocean Facilities . Spread out all over the room were board games. Everything from Clue to Apples to Apples. (my personal fave)  The Ops Leaders then pulled out the classic OD training technique of numbering us off from 1 to 6.  Then the radical instructions came – “Okay, now we’ll go by numbers, pick a board game as a group and go play it.”

That was it.  Go play the game. One GM even started by saying “So, what’s the real meaning here that you’re looking for?” Isn’t that sad that we’re conditioned to expect some hidden agenda even before we started?

No agenda. We just played board games for the first 1 1/2 hours of the day.  It was a riot !! BTW – my team picked Apples to Apples and we howled and laughed the entire time. When we finished one round, we had the option to change, but my group stayed with it to laugh even more.

Playing a game set the stage for the rest of a VERY successful day where we did take time to learn about better communication as well as improving our guest’s experience.

Here’s something I’d like all of HR to remember . . .

When we were kids the world was limitless. We could imagine anything from simple household items and change the world with our imagination.  We also played constantly. Everything was a game !!

You know what happens when kids grow up ??  They become our employees.

So, keep things simple.  Play a game !! It’s the best “training” you’ll ever do !!

2 thoughts on “We’re Just Playin’ !!”

  1. Great post Steve. Last month we held a major service standards overhaul session with 70 front line staff and 10 parents of our patients. The session was incredible, but we started the whole thing off with a game in small groups, and it set the tone for the rest of the day. Great reminder!

  2. Great post Steve. Convincing some that simple is more effective can be the most difficult challenge. Once achieved, most become believers.

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