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By: Kelsey McIntyre

Hello all! Today we will be playing the cross hands game and seeing how it can be beneficial when learning and applying lean principles.

Perseverance. Cooperation. Thinking outside the box. These qualities and approaches to problem solving are key to the success and growth of a business. The cross hands game exemplifies these values, challenging participants to quickly organise themselves and communicate in order to solve the puzzle.

In order to play:

  1. 8-10 people stand in a circle holding hands.
  2. Drop the hands of the people next to you and reach into the centre with your right hand, taking the right hand of someone
  3. Now reach in with your left hand, taking the left hand of a different person
  4. Without letting go, try to untangle the knot
  5. By the end, you should be back in a circle with no knots, though the order and direction you are facing many be different.

While playing, what part did each person play? Did someone naturally take charge?

Did you immediately start the untangling process or did you examine how to address the problem first? Would you do it that way again?

Did you manage to untangle the knot and, if not, why?

Is there a way to make the process more lean and what would you do differently the next time you play?

The skills gained and examined in this game can be applied to the workplace. It is critical that members contribute and work together towards a common goal. Effective teamwork, communication and cooperation aid productivity and decrease waste. When faced with challenges that seem unsolvable, members must remember to persevere, think outside the box and attempt the evaluate the most efficient and effective way to approach the problem. These skills will help participants engage their critical thinking abilities and work with their teams more productively in order to produce a lean workplace.

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