In business we often work on projects which run over a long period of time or we work on recurring projects and tasks which technically don’t have a beginning and end. Experiential activities are a way in which a team can experience working on a task with a beginning and an end, sometimes in a relatively short period of time.
There are different stages to consider when taking part in an activity or challenge:
Analysis - Listening to the instructor explaining the activity and ensuring that you understand what it is that you have to do and what resources are available.
Goals - Deciding what you can achieve within the time available. If you have half an hour to complete the task in are you going to aim for 25 minutes. This is the competitive element.
Strategy - Understanding the use of any equipment that is available for the task. The team should also attempt to understand what skills are available within the team and allocate tasks to the most suitable candidates. Past experience, confidence, competence and physical strength may play a part.
Monitoring - Making sure that the team is on track taking into account what needs to be done and the time available. Teams often spend too long on one stage of the activity and suddenly realise that there is not enough time left in which to finish.
Coordination - Making sure that the right people are doing the right things with the right equipment and ensuring that equipment is not at risk.
Backup; if something goes wrong putting people and / or equipment in place to bring the activity back on track. If supplies are required ensuring that an effective supply line is managed.
In addition there are interpersonal processes which need to be managed.
Conflict management – This starts with the initial plan. Not all of the team may agree on the best strategy and this needs to be managed. During the task there may be minor or major disagreements and the team will need to be reminded to focus on the end result.
Motivation and confidence building – The team may be taking part in activities that they are not familiar with or feel nervous about. They may also suffer set backs in the early stages. They will need to be motivated and have their confidence built with celebration of successes as they progress.
Activities can be a very effective way of simulating business in a short, controlled session which can be experienced and then examined afterwards.