For the past four weeks we have posted puzzles, riddles and a simple change exercise on Facebook and Linkedin. What do these have to do with labor-management cooperation or employee engagement or teambuilding or culture change?
The first of the last four posts was an illusion. Some people see an old lady, some see a young girl. It’s a common exercise. We probably have all done it at some time. Everybody has a different perception. The same is true in the workplace. Everyone has a different perception or different approach to a workplace issue based on our perception. It doesn’t mean one perception is right or wrong. It is just perception and that perception needs to be included in problem solving to look at all parts of the problem. When we do that, we have a much better chance of getting to the root cause of the problem.
The puzzles and riddles reflect the need to work on problems within our work organizations and maybe differently than what’s been done in the past. Solving problems the same way doesn’t always work. The world is a different place and so is the competition and customer that’s out there. The riddle about the girl and the pebbles helps us to think of alternative ways of solving a problem or looking at a situation differently than we ordinarily do.
The rebus puzzles, or word puzzles, help us to think of alternatives, too. Instead of thinking what we know the solution is we may have to look at other possible solutions. Too many times, we try to solve problems identifying a solution that may or may not be right instead of exploring the problem.
I also suggested doing it alone first and then as a group. If you did this, was it easy doing it alone? Did it take some time? Did you come up with the right answer? As a group, did you find out each person had a different approach or different ideas on solving the problem? Did it take longer on your own to solve it or did you solve it quicker in a group?
Sometimes it can take longer in a group but the outcome is probably better because of the different perceptions, different ideas, or different approaches to solving a problem. Sometimes, too, it can take longer solving a problem alone because one person may not have all the information or knowledge or experience.
We live in a rapid-paced society and we expect to have answers to everything immediately without actually exploring what the problems really are. We need to take time exploring problems because if we end up with the wrong solution it can take us much longer to correct the mistake and implement the right solution or solutions.
All of this requires change – right? That’s why I posted the change exercise. It was a simple little exercise just to demonstrate change is uncomfortable at first but we can do it. We can adapt and before long it becomes routine.
These are some things we do with labor-management committees or groups wanting help with teambuilding or employee engagement or with culture change. We do other exercises that bring people together and then we work on the tuff stuff – real problems! We practice first, then put it in place – just like on the football field or golf course or a concert or a play.
We’re going to continue to post some other exercises. If you haven’t tried them and are looking for change in your group or organization, we hope you will try them. Please share your questions, thoughts or experiences on Facebook when you work on these puzzles or exercises. Also don’t forget our webinars on our website, calmc.org. We’ll be adding more of those, too. They also help to teach the same concepts.