Trust in the Time of War

“Without trust, we don’t truly collaborate; we merely coordinate or, at best, cooperate. It is trust that transforms a group of people into a team.”

 -Stephen Covey

“We are going to war.” 

Those are Vivek’s exact words as he started the continuous learning session this week. Well, no one likes war, but knowing Vivek, we knew those were more than mere words. Vivek Jade, our CEO, had brought forth some great sessions to us – each one full of learning. This time, it was war.

So within our office, we made two countries. Each country had a population of 10 people (please read that as teams) who were at war with the neighboring country at the other edge of the room.

Because these countries were at war and didn’t like each other, they had set up a minefield between them. Vivek, very creatively, spread pens all across the floor and told us that these were the mines in the field. One wrong step and we would be blown to pieces. 

Now came the war. Members from each team had to cross the minefield and fight the other team. Did you think it would be that easy? There was a condition. The team members walking through the minefield would be blindfolded. To cross the minefield, they had to depend on the instructions of their team members. 

Now, let us suppose that the team members who were crossing somehow survived the minefield and managed to reach the other side to fight the war (thanks to the excellent communication skills of their team members), there was a way to fight the other country’s team. 

The strategy for the war was planned in such a way that a few members would defend their country and the remaining team members would attack. And this was denoted especially. Both countries were armed. 

So if they clapped once, they could pull a gun on the person they are attacking. If they clapped twice, they could pull out two guns and attack. And if they clapped three times, then they could pull out the gun to shoot on the head.

The person defending could use his or her both hands and put them in front of them to defend themselves – like in case of the 1st case, they put out their hands in front of their chest, in the second both hands in front of them and the 3rd, they could defend by putting their palms across their forehead.

Also, if a person was injured in the minefield, they had to go back and start all over again to fight the other country. Phew! War is never easy. As with every war, the country that had the most survivors would win the war.

The game started. Both the teams saw to it that their team got across the minefield. The casualties had to start all over again. And then the war started. But a few of them forgot if they had to defend or attack and did the opposite. They also tried to mislead the enemy country’s fighters by clapping unnecessarily and succeeded to a certain level. Some were very aggressive and didn’t always heed the warnings and were injured at the minefield. 

In the end, both the team were in pretty bad condition. At one side, Prajakta was standing as a one-man army. The other team was left with Yogita and Monali. The result was quite obvious hence. Yogita defeated Prajakta on a gunfight and won.

Vivek related the game with 12 of our company ideologies pretty well. Our KPI here was to kill and finish off the opponent team. Hence, the team which got defeated became too aggressive and exhausted all the manpower in attacking, whereas they decided to keep half of them for defense. Clearly, they failed to apply the “Say it do it” method. 

The other team, on the other hand, correctly followed the principle of “Do more with less.” 

Both the teams chose the simplest path to cross the minefield. Which implemented “If it is complex, then something is wrong.”

In a nutshell, that activity sure was a stress buster for each of us! Also, we all realized once more that leadership is all about making things simple, the way Vivek just did with a fun game!

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