- make sure that you have enough space;
- ask participants to mind basic safety principles while playing this activity;
- Have all participants seated in chairs scattered across the room. Avoid forming a circle, but fill up the space and have at least 1 meter between them. There will be 1 empty chair.
- A facilitator turns into ‘a robot’, starts a stopwatch, and walks in a constant pace towards the nearest empty chair. He makes a sound of ‘tic tac’ indicating a robotic nature.
- Each round starts with a timer reset and goes until the facilitator takes a seat. Always tell the participants the time and remind them of the best time.
- Participants must find a way to keep the robot (facilitator) walking as long as possible. They can’t rearrange the chairs. Once a person gets up off the chair (even at the slightest), they must change a seat.
- There are different ways to approach the activity. Give the participants some time to discuss the strategy before the game. Then inform them about 3 parts of the game, each of 7 rounds with 2 min in between to discuss the strategy. You might decide to play some rounds when they can speak and some when they can’t.
- Debrief - the activity will give you many options for debriefing. You might focus on natural leadership, on communication, on process vs result, on group learning and adaptability. Here you might focus on coping with pressure and stress.
Debrief - potential questions:
- How did you feel during the activity when the facilitator was walking towards an empty chair?
- How did you cope with the pressure of trying to keep the robot walking as long as possible?
- Did you have a specific strategy to keep the robot walking, or did you adapt your approach throughout the rounds? How did you decide on the best approach?
- Did you notice any differences in how team members coped with stress, pressure, or ambiguity? How did these differences affect the team's performance?
- How might the skills and strategies you used during this activity translate to other situations where there is stress, pressure, or ambiguity in the workplace?
- What did you learn about yourself and your team's ability to cope with stress, pressure, and ambiguity during this activity? How might you apply these learnings in the future?