Leadership Inspirations Activities

Zen Counting

Get the group to cooperate and focus by counting together without speaking simultaneously

Duration

10-20 minutes

Team Stage

Storming, Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity

Materials

None

 

SUMMARY

The task is for a small group to count to ten, collectively, without any two people saying a number at the same time and with no verbal planning. The group will need to cooperate and focus in order to be successful.

 

SET UP

  • Ask your group to form a circle.
  • Your group will count to the same number as there are people in the group so that everyone is responsible for one number. Example: There are ten people in a group, they will count to ten, 23 people then have them count to 23 together.
  • The timing of this activity will depend heavily on the size of your group. Groups of 10-15 people will take 10-20 minutes. You should allot larger groups 20-30 minutes.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Explain that no talking or planning is allowed.
  • The task is for the group to count (to the number determined above) collectively without any two people saying a number at the same time. For example, one person starts by shouting “one,” and another person shouts “two” and so on.
  • Each number must be called out clearly by one person, and no one else may talk when a number is called.
  • When two or more people speak simultaneously, the entire group starts back at zero. For example, if two people call out “five,” the group restarts.
  • Every member must say a number.
  • The group cannot go in any order or pattern (can’t just go around the circle, same people can’t start by saying ‘one’ each time etc.)
  • The group must work out an informal solution to accomplish this task.
  • Facilitator Note: It may take awhile but group members will work out creative solutions together!

VARIATIONS

  • If your group is successful try a larger number.
  • If you have a large group, split them up into smaller groups to start and then bring them together to try with more people.
  • Have them turn their backs to the inside of the circle to make the communication even more difficult.

SAMPLE DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS

What?
  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?

Accountability

  • Who are you currently accountable for as an individual and a group? Who holds you accountable?
  • What is effective accountability? Are our methods as a group effective?
  • What role do you play in your own accountability and the group accountability?

Feedback

  • Why is feedback important? What kind of feedback is important?
  • What does constructive/effective feedback look like?
  • How did positive/negative/or no feedback affect your success?

Inclusion and Involvement

  • What does it mean to be inclusive or exclusive?
  • What did we do as a group that was inclusive? That was exclusive/not inclusive?
  • Why is inclusion and involvement important for our group?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?