Managers' Library Home

Continuous Improvement Training Activities


A Look Back


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

An opportunity to reflect - for example, at the end of a year or a project, and learn from the highs as well as the lows.

You will need:

You will need flipchart paper and enough red, green and yellow round sticky dots so that your team members have 5 of each colour. (If you can't source sticky dots, green, red and yellow marker pens will do.)


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Mr Sketch Scented Markers can be purchased from Trainers' Market.


In a nutshell:

What can we all learn from a shared experience and how can we apply that to our future behaviour?

An Eggs-acting Challenge


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

A problem solving challenge that tests a teams ability to work together to solve a problem and refine and improve their approach.

You will need:

Each team will need two postal tubes (stoppers removed), two golf balls, six eggs and a flipchart pen. You will also need plenty of clear space for the activity and a way of marking the start and finish of the race track.

In a nutshell:

Which team will work well together and come up with a winning strategy for getting their eggs over the finish line first?

Creative Brainstorming


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

Develops your team’s brainstorming skills. It has the added benefit of exploring what changes your team would like to see within your department and how to make them possible.


flagThis exercise can be run as a stand-alone exercise on brainstorming, or as part of a session looking to develop the continuous improvement skills of your team. If you choose the latter, it is recommended that you follow this activity up with Plan a Change.


You will need:

Flipchart, paper and pens and enough green sticky dots for all team members to have three each. (If you can't source these, a green marker pen will do.)


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Mr Sketch Scented Markers can be purchased from Trainers' Market.


In a nutshell:

Generate as many ideas as possible to improve your team’s performance and then look for ways to make the impossible possible.

Creative Drawing


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

The first step to solving a problem is articulating it and this is a creative way for your team to share their workplace challenges. Designed to be run at the start of a session to encourage your team to take a more creative approach to problem solving.

You will need:

Each member of staff will need A4 paper and pens/pencils to draw with.
Ideally, each member of staff will have a blindfold - though this is optional.


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Blindfolds can be purchased from Trainers' Market.


In a nutshell:

Can you draw your challenge without seeing it?

Getting SMART


Time required:

25 minutes.

What it does:

Brings to life what it takes for an objective to be SMART and enables participants to create their own SMART objectives.

You will need:

The Getting SMART PowerPoint and a copy of the handout for each team member from the Resources tab.

In a nutshell:

Can you learn from a poor timekeeper what it takes to set SMART objectives?

Jump


Time required:

15 minutes.

What it does:

Illustrates how motivation and self-belief can lead us to stretch our performance.

You will need:

A piece of flipchart paper, blu-tac and marker pens.


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Mr Sketch Scented Markers can be purchased from Trainers' Market.


In a nutshell:

Every participant completes a simple task to the best of their ability before then being encouraged to improve upon their first attempt.

Letters Get Better


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

Each team faces a challenge designed to put their problem solving skills to the test. Help them to discover what behaviours are effective, which may cause issues, and how they can work to make sure they make continuous improvements. 


flagThis is an extended version of the Problem Solving activity The Problem with Letters. This version includes a focus on Continuous Improvement.


You will need:

The Letters Get Better game boards and letter cards (provided in the Resources tab) are needed for the activity. Each group will need a copy of each of the star challenges and a stopwatch. 

You will need a copy of the solutions.


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Stopwatches can be purchased from Trainers' Market.


In a nutshell:

Which team will succeed in creating a star shape made up of two 5-letter words, one 4-letter word and two 2-letter words from the letters they are given? 

Which teams will learn from the experience and improve their performance?

Pieland Fling - Blind Communication


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

A fun packed way to explore how we communicate, how we can develop our communication skills and how this will translate to improved job performance.

You will need:

Each pair will need a blindfold, a bowl and set of tiddlywinks, which should comprise four of each of the following colours: Red, green, blue, yellow and purple. 


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Blindfolds can be purchased from Trainers' Market.



You will need a stopwatch and a flipchart to record the scores for each of the three rounds.


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Stopwatches can be purchased from Trainers' Market.


In a nutshell:

How well will team members communicate when one of them is blindfolded? Can they learn from their mistakes and improve?

Plan a Change


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

A practical exercise to demonstrate how to plan to implement real change or workplace improvements.


flagThis can be run as a stand alone exercise or part of a longer workshop on Continuous Improvement. If you are doing the latter it is recommended that you complete this exercise either after Creative Brainstorming or New Ways to Make the Ordinary Extraordinary.


You will need:

The Plan a Change Handout for your team members (provided in the Resources tab).


flagBefore the session you will need to ask everyone attending to bring with them at least three ideas they have for improving performance within the department or team. Alternatively, if you run the Creative Brainstorming exercise just before this activity, you will have plenty of ideas in the room.


In a nutshell:

Take a real-life improvement needed in your team and ask your team to plan how to make the change happen.

Problem Solving Quadrants


Time required:

45 minutes.

What it does:

An opportunity to reflect on the importance of addressing the problems/issues that matter and that are within your team’s capacity to resolve.

You will need:

The PowerPoint provided in the Resources tab and a flipchart paper with the grid described drawn on it. Pens and post-it notes.

In a nutshell:

Consider issues/challenges faced by the team and identify which ones to address based on the ability of the team to solve the problem and the need to do so.

The Appearance of Change


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

Introduces the concept of how change feels; how it can make us feel uncomfortable and as if we are being asked to achieve the impossible. It also reminds us how easy it is to undo the good work of changes we have made.

You will need:

A flipchart to document the key learning points and a timer or stopwatch.


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Stopwatches can be purchased from Trainers' Market.


In a nutshell:

What happens when team members are asked to change their appearance; will their colleagues spot the differences and will the changes remain?

The Feeling of Change


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

Demonstrates the normal emotions that occur when going through the process of change and allows your team to explore those feelings in a safe environment.

You will need:

A short sleeved t-shirt, a flip chart and the Facilitator Handout from the Resources tab. You'll also need to ask your team to each bring a short sleeved t-shirt to the meeting. Keep it mysterious, tell them that all will be revealed…


flagWe recommend spending some time mastering the folding technique beforehand, so you are able to comfortably and quickly demonstrate it to your team.


In a nutshell:

What does it feel like when we suddenly need to change our behaviour so we can perfectly fold a t-shirt in two seconds?
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