What does the grapevine say?

How does information cascade within an organization? What is the best way to ensure that communication does not get jumbled or lost in transit? And how do we get teams to experience it in an experiential manner?


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The Grapevine Challenge is a delightful experiential activity where teams are broken up into smaller groups of around 5 people each. The task which is assigned to each of the groups is to draw or create a lady bug. To replicate the different levels in an organization, the activity breaks up each team into two groups – the middle managers and the front end executives. A single person from the entire team dons the role of the Senior Leader, who passes on all the instructions down the hierarchy. The execution is done by the front end executives.

When the activity starts, instructions come in one at a time down the hierarchy to the front end executives. Eventually the last instruction is passed on.

Will the teams succeed in carrying out the instructions of the senior leader?

The Grapevine Challenge is a delightful activity that replicates what inadvertently happens in many organizational settings when information is cascaded down the hierarchy. Elizabeth Newton demonstrated this beautifully in her famous, “Tappers and Listeners” study. The person who is communication always carries “the curse of knowledge.” He assumes that the people he is communicating to have the same context that he has. And this leads to sometimes hilarious, but at times tragic consequences in teams.

The activity can be run purely as an engagement activity or as an activity with a purposeful debrief at the end. When debriefed, the activity is brought to a close with participants sharing their different thoughts, experiences and insights from the activity and connecting the experience back to their different workplace situations.

A few key parameters:



Is this workshop right for my team?
Communication or the lack of it is often the reason for conflict in teams. When done well, it is the grease that keeps teams working smoothly. However, good communication requires thought, planning and intent. The Grapevine Challenge brings this learning to the fore in an experiential manner.

When debriefed, a few themes this activity always throws up are:
• Clarity of communication in a team
• Working towards a common organizational vision
• Clarifying roles and responsibilities while communicating
• The importance of over communication

If you are looking for a powerful experiential activity that can act as a prop around which you can have a conversation around communication with your team members, FocusU suggests that you try The Grapevine Challenge!

Contact Us today - we will be glad to meet up and discuss the possibilities for your team!

 
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Download the The Grapevine Challenge One Pager