Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Game of Squares

(The actual puzzles are only one color.)
In one Management class, we were given a lot of personality tests. The teacher taught that before you can manage or be managed, self-management comes first. In knowing your personality type and tendencies, you now have clues on your strengths and weaknesses and how you can use them to your advantage. This is valuable when working in a team with various people with different skills.

As an exercise on teamwork, the class (we were only 10 students) was divided into two groups, each member assigned given a puzzle to work on. The game works this way:
1. Use only 3 pieces to form a square. Each person has 3 random puzzle pieces. Yours must not exceed 3 at a time.
2. Try to form a perfect square by rotating the pieces: if a piece doesn't fit, you can pass it around.
3. No talking or coaching by gestures.

In no time, my group got it right, all of us had perfect squares in front of us. The pieces moved around in an intuitive way, and I quite liked the 'no talking' aspect. We focused on each other's puzzles than each other's faces.

The other group didn't make it on time. In her rush to get a square right, one of them didn't notice that she was already keeping more than 3 pieces while the others looked on and hoped she'd let go of the other pieces. I guess they panicked because when the game hasn't started yet, they were already complaining about the 'no talking' rule. They were already thinking it would be difficult, so they found it difficult.

I'm not saying our group won or was better. No matter how the game was played, there's a lesson to be learned once we analyzed and talked about each group's process. In the example of the other group, it shows that sometimes we can be unaware of the needs of others when we focus on our own square, when the goal of the game is complete all the squares of everyone in the team. Once we think of both our squares and those of others, then it will go smoothly.
- - -
Easier said than done. I still have some sort of personality clash with a classmate and we had a long mutual irritation but we're okay now. We still get on each other's nerves sometimes, though.

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