Balance The Nails: A Simple Team Building Activity

A couple weekends ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Vital Signs EMS conference in Syracuse, NY (thanks to Tri Community Ambulance).  This conference is put on every year by the New York State Department of Health Bureau of EMS to help EMTs from Basic to Paramedic sharpen their skills via a variety of classes and workshops, as well as accrue their continuing education hours.  One of the classes I took was on team building within the organization.  I picked up a lot from the class, but one thing that stuck with me was a simple activity that helps small groups come to a solution to a simple problem, and really starts to show the dynamics that develop early in a group.

To build the kit, you’ll need a small plank of wood (4″ x 4″ or so), 10 nails of the same length, and 3 nails that are longer than the other 10, but the same size as each other.  One LONG nail should be driven in to the center of the board, and the group should be handed the remainder of the nails. This works best in groups of 3-5.  Any more than that, and space becomes too crowded, which forces people out of the group.  Give the group 10-15 minutes to pin down the solution.  Some will get it instantly, and some may not get it at all, but you’ll see leaders and followers develop almost immediately.  You’ll also start to see the introverts and extroverts of the group.

I won’t post the how to here (though it isn’t hard to find online), but here’s the final result:

Don't bump the table!

Be Sociable, Share!

One comment to Balance The Nails: A Simple Team Building Activity

  • Norma C. Roberts  says:

    I encounter lots of team building activity like this and I always enjoy it. Now, I already have an idea how to do this. Thanks for this post!

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>