Wednesday, August 02, 2017

What would you get rid of?

I was recently at a leadership workshop where they talked about attaining consensus with your team so that everyone is more or less on the same page. It brought to fore our personal values that we bring to the table at work, and how it varies across people. It was a fascinating conversation. The group activity we did was even more fascinating. I am sharing it here, hoping for some interesting conversation.

Imagine you are on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean. Due to bad weather, your ship is sinking. You, along with 15 other people, quickly collect your valuables, evacuate the ship, and get on a lifeboat. But soon, you realize that the lifeboat can only hold so much before sinking. You need to quickly discard things. You have no idea how long it will take for help to arrive, if at all. Rank the items in the order that you would discard first (number 1 is discarded first, number 16 is discarded last). Their respective weights and value is provided too.

We first took 7 minutes to do this exercise on our own.

Then we got into groups of 4 where we took 10 minutes to arrive at a consensus about the order in which to discard things. What it meant was that at the end of those 10 minutes of conversation, everyone had to agree.

Then, we got into groups of 8 and did the same. The point was to arrive at a consensus by discussion, without coercing people to agree with you. How quickly and effectively can you convince people about what goes and what stays in the lifeboat? Here is the list. Prices and weights follow the US convention, so apologies if some of them do not make sense to you. For me, many did not. Pounds and ounces really do not make any sense to me. 
1. Deluxe emergency preparedness kit (30 lbs; $200)
2. Case of bottled fruit juice (27 lbs; $75)
3. Cell phone with video camera (5 oz; $500)
4. Service dog (50 lbs; $22,000)
5. Marine handheld GPS with compass (2 lbs; $450)
6. High power flashlight (8 lbs; $55)
7. Emergency hand crank radio (12 oz; $45)
8. Suitcase filled with clothing (40 lbs; $500)
9. Box of gold/diamond jewelry (40 lbs; $1,000,000)
10. Personal laptop with family photos (5 lbs; $300)
11. Five life jackets (15 lbs; $200)
12. Two bottles of whiskey (6 lbs; $100)
13. Irreplaceable cancer research samples (13 lbs; priceless)
14. Swiss army knife (10 oz; $35)
15. Cabana umbrella (12 lbs; $250)
16. Two bottles of SPF 15 sunscreen (2 lbs; $15)

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. It was eye-opening to hear what some people said. It also put me in touch with some of the assumptions and values I bring to the table. I look forward to your thoughts. I am not sharing anything from the fascinating conversation we had at the workshop so as not to bias or influence you. I might share those in the comments as we start talking.


No comments: