Missing communication

Editors rating: 
No votes yet
Users rating: 
Your rating: None
No votes yet
Level of process: 
Intent or purpose: 
To develop realisation in a team that they need to communicate more/better. Even if they think they have what they need, someone else in the team may have vital extra information.
Used as component of: 
Developing team effectiveness.
Recognizable Components: 
Exercise, follow-up.
Types of Participants: 
Team members, especially loose team not working physically close together.
Recommended size of group: 
Usual or Expected Outcomes: 
Closer team work, better sharing of information, more recognition of value of colleagues.
Level of participation: 
Often used in groups with participation issues. Only a minimal level is needed to start, one result should be recognition of need to engage more.
Ideal Conditions: 
Multiple teams of 4 or 5, sufficient space to prevent over-hearing other teams. Facilitator should know total numbers ahead of time to properly prepare. Best used as part of wider workshop with multiple goals, with particiapants used to exercises and not primed what this one is for.
Potential Pitfalls: 
Relies mainly on participants not spotting a key fact - possible (but rare) for a participant to do and weaken experience.
How is success evaluated: 
Usually obvious "revelation" to team. Best use is where information sharing can be assessed during normal work.
Examples of successes and failures: 
Used in academic and professional services environments, significantly improved communication during rest of workshop and afterwards. many participants had previously expressed negative views on need for better information sharing had an epiphany. Partial failure in one case where not properly prepared, and mechanics of exercise result distracted from message (although still partial success).
Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: 
Facilitator must understand cleint sufficiently to help team relate message to their environment.
Level of Difficulty to Facilitate: 
Facilitation skills required
Facilitator Personality Fit: 
Can be an initial feeling amongst team that they have been duped, facilitator must be comfortable dealing with defusing this.
Setting and Materials: 
Well spaced table for each team. Paper & pens.
Resources Needed: 
Prepared exercise sheets. Any of many reasonably high level adult puzzle books.
Pre-Work Required: 
Prepare exercise. You need from a puzzle book one of those exercises like "Bill is the oldest, John is sitting next to the youngest, Frank is not Bill's brother, etc......Who is the tallest?". Copy the statements out onto sheets, so every member of every team will have one copy, but each one should have one statement removed, from well down the list so it isn't obvious. each team will have all the statements to solve it, but no member will (you will probably have to try the combinations out with soemone who is good at these - some sources may have puzzles that are too easy and still possible with several statements removed).

Use this after the teams are used to doing exercises. Split into equal sized teams (you need to have known numbers beforehand to prepare the sheets).
Hand out the sheets to each member, you need to be careful that each team has the different ones so that between them they have all the information, but without making it obvious - they should think they have identical sheets as the top few statements are the same.
Let them run through the exercise, if there are multiple teams make it a competition to encourage them to crack on as quickly as possible. Very few will make any effort to do it as a team - in each team the one or two people who are most used to logic puzzles will try to do it themselves. At some point many teams start to struggle, and there will be a sudden realisation - often their exclamation will tip off the other teams, otherwise let them work at it for a while (typically 20 minutes) then call a halt and if no-one has realised tell them that they were each missing information without realising it, but that the team had sufficient if they had shared.

How flexible is the process?: 
Can be used in any situation where people have information that could be helpful to others - virtually any environment.
Follow-Up Required: 
Lead them through whether this ever happenned in their environment. Emphasisze the point that often you think you have all or enough information or that someone has nothing useful to offer, but unless you check that assumption you can never be sure. Encourage them to set ways in which they will do this in future.
Bernard Gore
Derived from: 
The base exercise is a common team-work one, the removing of some information from some sheets adds the element of information-sharing.
Epistemological Framework: 
History of Development: 

Developed in 2005 as part of a larger workshop. Used in a variety of situations since.

License Model: