Leadership Inspirations Activities

Jet Fighter

Navigate challenges in communication and figure out what symbol everyone has in common

Duration

30-45 minutes

Team Stage

Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity

Materials

1/4 Sheets Of Paper For Memos, Pens Or Pencils, Copies Of Role Instructions, Post-Its Or Index Cards For Symbols

 

SUMMARY

Explore communication systems and the ways that messages are or are not delivered in a group.

SET UP

  • Divide into groups of 5-6 people. You can break into groups of 7 if you would like to have an observer. If you have a group of 5 people, remove a chair from the C-E row or share messengers with another group.
  • Arrange groups of 5 chairs so they are in a “Jet Fighter” formation (1 chair at the front, 1 chair behind, and three chairs next to each other behind the middle chair). If you don’t have that many chairs, you can have them sit on the floor in this formation.
  • Put a stack of ¼ sheets of paper and pen at each seat.
  • Prepare the following rules on poster paper or whiteboard:
    • Seating Chart (as indicated above. Omit “O” if you do not have an observer.)
    • {The following information can be on a flip chart, or it can be for your information only}
      • ABCDE are Participants
      • M is the Messenger
      • A can communicate with B (that’s what the arrows represent)
      • B can communicate with A, CDE.
      • CDE can communicate with B and with each other.
    • All communication must be in writing, in memo format (see below). You must use participants letters, not their names, in all communication. Messages that are incorrectly addressed may not be delivered in a timely fashion.
      • TO: Person A-E
      • FROM: Person A-E

ROLES

Person A
  • In this exercise, you are Person A. The reporting structure is as follows: B reports to you; C, D, and E report to B.
  • Each of you have been given five symbols, each of which is one of six familiar symbols. Your job is to find out which one of the six symbols is held in common. You must finish this job in 20 minutes. You may communicate with B only through the exchange of written notes. B may exchange notes with you and C, D, and E. Persons C, D, and E may exchange notes with B and with each other. No other communication is permitted.
  • To Elaborate:
    • There are six unique symbols.
    • Each person has five of these six possible symbols.
    • There are five symbols that appear 4 times each
    • There is one symbol that appears 5 times.
    • You are to determine which one symbol all five people hold.
  • Your symbols are as follows:

= ÷ ∑ & ?

  • There will be no questions at this time. Write down your symbols only and sit quietly in the room until I begin the activity.
Person B
  • Instructions:
    • A & B may exchange notes.
    • C, D, and E may exchange notes with B, and with each other.
    • No other communication is permitted.
    • You will find five symbols below. You may not show them to any other person.

∑ ÷ = & Ψ

  • There will be no questions at this time. Write down your symbols only and sit quietly in the room until I begin the activity.
Person C
  • Instructions:
    • A & B may exchange notes.
    • C, D, and E may exchange notes with B, and with each other.
    • No other communication is permitted.
    • You will find five symbols below. You may not show them to any other person.

Ψ ÷ ? = &

  • There will be no questions at this time. Write down your symbols only and sit quietly in the room until I begin the activity.
Person D
  • Instructions:
    • A & B may exchange notes.
    • C, D, and E may exchange notes with B, and with each other.
    • No other communication is permitted.
    • You will find five symbols below. You may not show them to any other person.

÷ ? & Ψ ∑

  • There will be no questions at this time. Write down your symbols only and sit quietly in the room until I begin the activity.
Person E
  • Instructions:
    • A & B may exchange notes.
    • C, D, and E may exchange notes with B, and with each other.
    • No other communication is permitted.
    • You will find five symbols below. You may not show them to any other person.

Ψ = ∑ ? ÷

  • There will be no questions at this time. Write down your symbols only and sit quietly in the room until I begin the activity
Messenger
  • Instructions:
    • Please move as quickly as you can.
    • You must correctly deliver all messages which are properly addressed, although messages can be delayed. You are encouraged to delay messages to the extent that you wish.
    • Do not deliver messages, if not properly addressed.
    • If you have any questions, raise your hand
    • All communication must be in writing, in memo format.

TO: Person A-E
FROM: Person A-E

  • If incorrectly addressed, the Messenger can either return it without saying anything, put it in their pocket, or throw it away. You can be dramatic or subtle. You do not have to tell them why you are returning or throwing it away. The point here is that sometimes messages are given incorrectly, not addressed correctly, or given to the wrong person, with the result being that they don’t get “delivered.”

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • The easiest way to set this up is to have posters prepared for each role, and then call the people in those roles out of the room to give them instructions. If you do this, give them a post-it to write their symbols down.
  • Once you have given each group their instructions, tell the whole group that they have 20 minutes to complete the activity. If they need more paper, they can request some from their Messenger.
  • Cover the rules (above) then stand back and watch what happens. Do not answer questions or engage with participants.
  • Facilitator Notes: Person A will have all of the instructions and information. Persons B-E will have very limited instructions

VARIATIONS

  • You as the facilitator can participate as a Messenger if you so choose.
  • This activity can be done using pieces of a project or event instead of symbols. Give different parts to plan to different roles and tell them that they need to complete their project together, the only way they can communicate to each other is through a messenger.
    • Example: Plan a birthday party. Person A – needs to decide on a theme, Person B – plans food, Person C – needs to choose vendors, etc.

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?

Alignment

  • Are we the only ones that define our purpose? What or who influences our purpose?
  • How do we communicate our purpose to new members or people outside of our group?
  • Why is it important that we all understand the purpose of our group/activity/etc.?

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?
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?