Participants: 6 – 24
Location: Inside and Outside
DIY Team Center Access: Videos, photos, tips and tricks and more for this activity
Activity Level: Medium
Time Needed: 15 to 20 Minutes plus debrief – 45 to 60 minutes total
Objectives: Coaching, Communication, Problem Solving, Perspective, Leadership
Materials Included: 3 ‘logs’ (rollable fabric), mouse pads as ‘rocks’ and rope to mark the banks of the river.
River Crossing requires a combination of true teamwork, which rarely happens, as group attempts to accomplish a ‘simple’ task with little planning, especially for when things go wrong.
A glimpse into River Crossing:
The goal of the exercise is to have the entire team involved, demonstrate the power of teamwork and show the interdependence teams have.
River Crossing requires that groups must cross a ‘river’ using on the tools available. The entire team must cross at the same time.
At the beginning, the goal (the other side of the river) is clear to everyone. As the team moves into the middle of the river, everyone’s perspective changes – some are in front, some in back and no one can see the same thing, or have the same information, as everyone else.
Occasionally mistakes are made and the person in back, or the least likely to lead which is why they are in the back, must now take charge and tell everyone what to do.
Throughout the entire activity, everyone’s perspective is constantly changing and the information changes. Communication must be clear to cross the river in time.
Who should go for River Crossing?
Our best results have occurred in groups that are goal setting or at the beginning of a project – perfect for new project teams – or some kind of new initiative.
The planning, or lack thereof, before entering the river always needs to be changed and it happens in the MIDDLE of the river. This is exactly what teams experience!
What will the group learn from River Crossing?
The learning is always a bit different which is what makes this team activity so interesting. Just like the activity itself, you may plan on discussing a particular topic before it begins but you see that there is something very different that happens!
Change is NEVER static, much like a river. And many times, leadership must be shared by many to actually accomplish the goal.
What is the other side of the river for your group?
This is a fun activity that your group will not forget and relates easily back to work:
Coaching, a subset skill of communication can be seen on many levels in river Crossing. People can see what is happening with your small group on your ‘log’ that you may not be able to see yourselves. Coaching others well and being coachable are two key skills among good teams. This team activity will help people experience this part of teamwork.
The ‘problem’ is clear – you are on the wrong side of the river. The solution also seems clear. That perception of clarity is the undoing of the team. They do not plan at all and will typically get right into the river. However, once they do, it becomes NOW clear that it was not as simple as was thought. Except now everyone is in the middle of the river so everything is more difficult. Tell me – doesn’t this sound EXACTLY like many projects? River Crossing lets teams experience what can happen so they can be better prepared for ‘alternative’ outcomes.
The person who goes first is typically the one who wants to be in charge. It quickly becomes clear, however, that this ‘leader’ cannot see everything and will make a mistake. The person in the back, the person least likely to lead, can now see everything best and has a better view of the ‘big picture’. Because of this, teams who share leadership do MUCH better. This activity will help everyone take turns at leadership and see how sharing leadership can lead to success.
As soon as you enter the river, each person’s perspective changes. And it will change many, many times throughout the activity. Do you accept another person’s perspective? Typically, yes. So, why is it SO difficult to accept a person’s perspective when it comes to work issues? Because stakes are higher, ego is involved and consequences are ‘real’. Those are all certain perspectives too! Ah yes, you can now see where this discussion could go – into a very deep and personal place that helps build the foundation of trust that every team needs.
What comes with the activity?
The team building activity comes in an easy-to-use storage bag and will include the following:
- Comprehensive information on purpose of the game, how to set it up, the storyline and the safety measures necessary during the course of the exercise.
- Instructions on how to debrief the exercise and questions that you should ask the participants.
- Professional materials and props necessary to conduct the exercise. In this case, you receive 3 ‘logs’ (rollable fabric), mouse pads as ‘rocks’ and rope to mark the banks of the river.
The activity includes everything you need to provide a good quality, well thought out and meaningful team building experience for your organization.
DIY Team Center Access
Videos, photos, current tips and up-to-date activity usage is included on the activity page on our DIYTeamCenter.com website. After purchase, you will be emailed a login and password with a membership for the activities you have purchased. We couldn’t give you any more unless we were there in person to help you run it!
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FYI – a different, shorter activity with similar discussion points is Chain of Command.