Marshmallow challenge – What is team collaboration?

Learn about yourself and the forces of collaboration
Have you ever participated in the “marshmallow challenge”? You will get a lot of learnings from this experience, even if you have a look at the videos about it. But I recommend to go into it without consulting the wikipedia or watching videos about.

photogrid Empathy at work

I had the opportunity to take part in the context of Peace Innovation Lab – Berlin – Meetup (more precise “Empathy at work – Collaborative Sandbox”) and I learned a lot about attention, conflict and leadership.

Idea of a “lead stick”
The group has been reflecting the team processes and insights in the circle. Realizing the structural problem of “unclear leadership” I thought, that there is a simple tool, that should be tested – the lead stick.   It is a simple concept to rotate team leadership in a frictionless way under the condition of high time pressure. The rule is simple: if you think, that you have a good idea in a team process and you want to take the lead, then you take the stick on your side of the table. If you realize, that you are lost, then you put it into the center. Another one can take the lead then.
Why that? Typically if in the first minutes a leader “emerges”, just since he is talking more about his solution idea then others, then he feels a pressure, to be in this position all of the time – the role becomes static. This increases stress and makes the others feel to be in a kind of hierarchical setting (“tragedy of the lead” 🙂 ). The stick liquidifies the roles, allows easy rotation without talk. People feel and are more participatory, more ideas get into play. At least in theory. So let us test this the next time, when we are in a similar team setting.


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