Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers: Link in a Chain

(You can see on one single page all of management games and icebreakers authored by me and continually updated on the site if you refer:

(Refer our High Quality Management Encyclopedia “Management Universe” at:

It is a very simple yet very effective management exercise or game. It is a group or participative exercise. You as a program leader or workshop facilitator can use it for your sessions on supply chain management, cross functional process management, internal and external customer care, link in a chain concept, team work, team building, leadership and motivation. It is also a good warm up game, an icebreaker and an energizer.
Instruct the participants that all of them form a manufacturing and selling organization. Each participant represents one department of the organization. The complete process of manufacturing and dispatching an item as desired by the customer gets completed only when that particular item passes through each and every department (i.e. the participants). Touching the item by one hand by a participant indicates that the department has completed its operation as part of the total process. The item is then passed on to the next participant (department) who also touches it by one hand signifying that he also completed the task assigned to him for that item. This way the item gets circulated from the first participant through the entire chain of participants one by one and the last participant delivers it to you. You will act like a customer in this game. It is essential that each participant should have touched the item by one hand at least once before it is handed over to you- the customer. Only then the process is thought to be complete.
The organization has promised the customer (i.e. you) fastest possible delivery and that’s how you have agreed to buy the item from this organization.
Now before this game starts, you would have called out two participants sitting in two corners of the seminar hall one by one and secretly instructed them to sabotage the game by not passing the item to the participant sitting next to them. When the item reaches these participants, they should keep holding the item for an inordinately long period. The first participant of these two participants can hold it with him for three to four minutes before it is passed on to the next participant. But the second of these two participants should just not pass the item at all. The item should stop there with him. He should keep holding it and not pass it forward even if the other participants coax him or threaten him to pass on the item.
Now start the game by giving any item selected by you (say a note pad) to the first participant sitting nearest to you. As per the instructions the item will get circulated in the seminar hall from one participant to another till it gets stuck for some three to four minutes with the participant whom you had instructed to sabotage the game. When it gets stuck there, you as the customer will remind to the last participant of the entire group (acting as dispatch department of the organization) to find out why it is getting delayed and why you are not getting the item the fastest possible as promised. Perhaps the group may start putting pressure on the participant who was delaying the process by holding the item and not passing it on. Same thing will happen when the item once again gets stuck up at the second participant whom you had instructed to sabotage the game.
There will be a lot of pressure from the participants who are next to him but he would not pass on the item. You as the customer will get cheesed off and cancel the order. The game concludes here.
Ask the participants to discuss the happenings of the game. Why customer cancelled the order? How come just about one or two departments (participants) could create havoc in the whole process? Why the entire chain of departments which was pretty strong became totally dysfunctional and inefficient? Did leadership, motivation and creativity work and why not?
Sum up your session by giving relevant inputs on supply chain management, cross functional process management, internal and external customer care, link in a chain concept, team work, team building, leadership and motivation.

Get Hold of the Related Books

You can order the following books on “management games and icebreakers” as printed books and eBooks from Amazon online:

  1. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
  2. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers (Volume 2)
  3. Classic Team Building Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
  4. 101 Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers

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About Shyam Bhatawdekar

35 years’ industrial/business experience as a top executive & 35 years’ parallel academic/consultancy experience in general management, behavioral sciences & technology. Areas: general management, production, human resources, industrial engineering, systems, MIS, computers, corporate planning, audit, sales/marketing. Penchant for information technology & behavioral sciences; integrated with conventional technology makes him unique thought leader. Conversant with academic theories & realities of business, fuses the two into practical approaches. Was associated with Tata Motors, Hindustan Motors, Hindustan Aeronautics & ThyssenKrupp; held top positions as highflier executive. Presently Chairman & Managing Director, Prodcons Group associating with 250 organizations; providing management & I T consultations & conducting seminars/workshops. Been a faculty for IIM’s, TMTC, Railway & HAL Staff Colleges, Symbiosis. Speaker with 35000 hours’ experience benefitting more than 100,000 people. Published 35 articles in Economic Times, Indian Management & Computers Today. Authored 27 books. Invited as key speaker in seminars by AIMA, HRD Network, NIPM, QCFI, CSI, NPC. Widely traveled. Education: Engineering & Management.
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9 Responses to Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers: Link in a Chain

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