Team Building

by Brian Biro


When we hear . . . we forget

When we see . . . we're more likely to remember

When we do . . . we understand!

Games are infinitely valuable for transforming your Network Marketing organization into a Network Marketing team. Over the years, I have come to view the "blind date" game as one of the most valuable exercises you could ever experience because we are almost always in a state of either being guides or blindfolded.

When we work with prospects, teammates, or family members, we are often seeking to be great guides. We want to help them because we have more experience or knowledge in a particular area. They are somewhat "blindfolded" because they do not have much experience.

At other times, it is just the opposite. We need to be guided because often the greatest obstacle to discovering the truth is the belief that we already know it. The principles of being present, trusting, asking instead of telling, turning up our alertness, serving, and responsibility are enormously important elements in building great teams. This game helps you bring these ideas to life in 30 minutes of fun and awakening that can save you months of struggle!

The Blind Date Game

There are tremendous secrets in this simple, fun game. Here's the way it works: Have each player find a buddy. Hand out blindfolds to each player. Bandannas work beautifully. Each player will serve as the "guide" for five minutes and will also be the "blind date" for five minutes.

Give the following instructions at this point:

When I set you free, you can go anywhere you like during the blind date. At the five-minute mark, switch roles, wherever you are. If you were the guide, you will become the blind date, and vice versa.

Here are three guidelines:

1) Help your date discover more of the world than he or she ever would have with his or her eyes open.

2) Make it incredibly fun, creative, and vibrant: a truly enriching experience.

3) Take great care of your date.

GO!

Note: During the game, turn up your alertness as the coach - watch, listen, and play. Call out "Switch!" at the five-minute mark and give time-remaining announcements with two and then one minute to go.

To help the team integrate the experience when they're done, tell them, "Thank your buddy! How many of you had a great time on your blind date? Great! How many really enjoyed being blindfolded? (These are the adventurers!) How many really liked being the guide? (These are the controllers!) How many enjoyed both roles?"

Now you will help all the participants discover the secrets and powerful principles at work in this game. Your role as coach is to facilitate a question-and-answer session that will foster tremendous learning. Have fun as you guide the process and be sure to illuminate each key learning point.

Following are some questions you can include:

1) "What was it like for you to be blindfolded?"

Listen and enjoy the responses. Many will say they felt frightened and tentative - as if they were about to fall into a forty-foot hole at any moment.

Key Learning Point: Being blindfolded was about trust. Every participant had the opportunity to experience whether or not they fully trusted - at least in this context. Also ask, "Whom did you have to trust?" As this question sets in, it becomes apparent that the blind dates must trust both the guide and themselves. In fact, before the guide can begin to create a rich experience for the blind date, the blindfolded person must let go and trust their guide, or the date will never unfold.

2) "How many of you found yourself becoming less fearful and tentative as you went along? What happened to your experience as you trusted more?"

Key Learning Point: The more you trust, the richer your experience. Your senses come alive, and you notice much more of the world. By taking away the dominant sense of sight, the other senses become more acute. For example, the most underused sense is hearing. When we are in a conversation, what are most of us actually doing when the other person is speaking? The truth is, we are usually formulating our response. This keeps us from fully listening. People who make the most of their potential share a special characteristic - they have a heightened level of alertness. They use more of their senses to gather information and discover solutions and connections. We all have huge potential for this. One of the special secrets in this game is an "aha" about the benefit of increasing our alertness.

3) "When you were tentative and frightened as you began your time being blindfolded, what did you notice?"

Key Learning Point: When we are in the state of not trusting, we only notice our fear - everything else is blocked out.

4) "What was it like for you to be the guide?

Once again, listen and enjoy the responses. It's fun for the team members to discuss the experience of taking on this role, especially if there are some who tend toward the role of follower.

Key Learning Point: For most, being the guide is about responsibility. What would happen if each participant in the game accepted the level of responsibility with their teammates at work and at home that they willingly shouldered in this game? One of the great gifts of this game is to feel that level of responsibility for a teammate.

After this point has been made, ask how many guides focused their responsibility more on guideline #2 ("make it incredibly fun, creative, and vibrant: a truly enriching experience") and how many focused more of their responsibility on #3 ("take great care of them").

Key Learning Point: Where you focus your responsibility as a coach has a tremendous effect on the results you generate. If you focus too much on #3, eventually you teach and coach dependence. As a coach, one of your primary goals is to instill self-motivation. For example, as a parent, somewhere along the road it is critical that your children learn to believe in themselves, to develop their own purpose, and to feel inspired about their lives. This requires a shift in the focus of your responsibility from #3 to #2.

5) "When you think back to your experience as the guide, what happened to your discovery of the world?"

Key Learning Point: When people focus on being guides, they discover far more of the world than had they not accepted that responsibility. When you accept the responsibility to enrich another's experience, you can't help but enrich your own! This is the hidden gift of leadership and service. In other words, when you step forward to serve others, which is true leadership, you can't help but grow! Yes!!

6) "How did you help your date discover more of the world than with their eyes open?"

Listen carefully to the responses. Most will say they described things and had their date touch objects. Once you've listened to these responses ask this key question: "How many of you spent at least half your time as the guide asking your date questions?" You'll see few hands go up!

Key Learning Point: This points out a paradox of leadership. When we strive to take care of our teammates, we can easily get caught up in thinking we're supposed to do everything for them. We fall into the trap of telling instead of asking questions. When we tell instead of ask, what do we take away? The answer is discovery!

When you think about it, aren't there some great questions you could ask a blind date? For example, "What color do you think this is?" Or, "We have one minute left. How would you find your way back to the room?" Wouldn't that create a totally different experience? The key is not that the blindfolded partner answers these questions correctly; it's that by asking the questions you have helped them access a part of their insight and intuition they could well have missed.

7) "How many of you felt a real connection with your partner in this game?"

Key Learning Point: Though initially the blind date appears to be a game about trust, it is ultimately a powerful example of the importance of being fully present. You can't get away with not being present on this date or you'll run your partner into a wall! The truth is, during the blind date both participants are one hundred percent present with each other. They are not thinking about yesterday or the meetings they have next week. The outcome of this presence is wonderful connection, a feeling of closeness, trust, and importance that is unmistakable. This game gives each participant a true experience of being fully present.

Try this game at your next local group meeting - you'll develop a team culture of trust, fun, support, and solidarity that will keep more people involved and progressing toward their goals!

Brian D. Biro is one of the nation's foremost speakers and teachers of leadership, possibility thinking, and team-building. The author of Beyond Success, The Joyful Spirit, and Through the Eyes of a Coach - The New Vision for Parenting, Leading, Loving and Living, Brian was rated #1 from over 40 speakers at four consecutive INC. Magazine International Conferences and has been an influential and sought-after teacher and speaker in the Network Marketing industry for the past decade. Brian has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN's Business Unusual, and the Fox News Network. For information about speaking engagements, call (828) 654-8852.


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