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This management exercise is apt for explaining many concepts. As a program coordinator or workshop leader, you can use it in your sessions on illustrating difference between effectiveness and efficiency, establishing the need for building up production capability of resources, sorting out the dilemma in prioritizing various activities, need for renewal or rejuvenation to lead a stress free life etc.
Start with giving all the participants pencils with broken leads and asking them to write a paragraph of around ten sentences of their choice with it on their note pads.
They will obviously ask for the pencil sharpeners to sharpen the lead of the pencils. Refuse for some time and insist that they should use the pencils given to them to write.
Observe what each one does.
Some may still insist on getting the sharpener to sharpen the pencil.
Now give them some sharpeners to sharpen the lead of their pencils and let them circulate the sharpeners among the others even those who did not insist on asking for sharpener.
Let them sharpen and then resume writing. Let them note down the time they took to sharpen the pencil and time taken to write the paragraph. Let them workout the percentages. Let them decide which was the priority activity? Could a resource (a pencil or a machine or a human being) be used productively without maintaining it in a proper condition?
Initiate a discussion among the participants around these observations for some time. You can aid the discussions with your own inputs.
Now get two volunteers to who will be willing to cut a small block of wood by a hacksaw. Set up two blocks of wood of similar shape and dimensions and two hacksaws. One of these saws will have pretty sharp teeth and other saw’s teeth will be absolutely blunt.
All other participants of your program will be observers. They will record the time taken by each participant to cut the block of wood. Obviously the volunteer with sharpened saw will cut the wood while the other volunteer with blunt saw will not be able to cut the wood tough he appeared to be equally busy.
Start another discussion among the participants. Let the volunteers also share their experiences. With their discussions aided by your inputs, the participants will be able to clarify to themselves concepts mentioned at the beginning paragraph of this write-up.
Relate this exercise also to the importance of need for the human beings to take some time out from their busy schedules to renew or rejuvenate themselves.
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:
- Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
- Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers (Volume 2)
- Classic Team Building Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
- 101 Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
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