Metalog® SysTEAM Table
Sustaining Team Balance: Team member interactions tip the balance between success and failure
As a result of participating in this activity, learners will:
- Experiment with and manage a process of supporting all team members in a high-risk project .
- Support team members in their distinct roles in a challenging task.
- Collaboratively judge and select strategies in a high-risk, team-based activity.
- Assemble learners into a team of 4 to 12 using some method to ensure diversity/interprofessionalism on each team. Additional participants may observe, but will not be interacting during this activity. This exercise is about the success of the whole team, rather than individual members.
- This activity utilizes a SysTEAM table from www.metalogtools.com to create a higher risk learning environment for team experience. The risk is that the table, which is on a volatile pivot, may become unbalanced during team interactions and fall. The table must be set up in advance of the activity.
- Create pairs from the team such that there are at least four players at the table at a time. You can add additional team members in pairs such that there are eight players. An option is to add four additional players to step in to participate part way through the activity to replace the coaches or partners. If your group is larger than 12, have additional participants serve as observers, watching from a concentric circle outside the teams that are in play. Include observers in the debrief.
- Participants who are playing must decide which person in their pair will be sighted (“the coach”) and which will be blindfolded (“the partner”). Prior to blindfolding the partners, step up to the table so they know where it is. Distribute coach/partner pairs around the table as evenly as possible. Coaches may only address their partners, and may not tell other partners what to do.
- Coaches (all participants at the table are on the same team) discuss a strategy for removing play pieces from the table. Once an initial plan is in place, the coach in each pair will direct his/her partner in the process of removing one piece from the table. Only one coach/partner attempt this at a time. Nobody else may touch pieces or the table. Once a piece has been successfully removed, it is set aside, and the next pair of participants clockwise repeats the pattern of the coach directing the partner to remove a playing piece from the table. Coaches may not touch their partner, but must give all directions verbally. Play is repeated until the table topples, all of the pieces have been successfully removed, or time is called.
This activity requires minimal set-up, however, it should be in a space out of the way of human foot traffic as it is very sensitive to movement and drafts.
EquipmentMinimal Equipment - Metalog® SysTEAM Table
Run the activity as discussed above. You may wish to utilize a time limit. Don’t expect team members to be happy to give up the task if you choose the time limit option.
- What went well?
- What communication and encouragement strategies were used by the coaches? How effectively did partners feel they worked? What are your suggestions to coaches?
- What sensations and feelings did partners experience being directed by coaches, attempting to complete the complex task, and ultimately being responsible for actions that could cause failure for the team as a whole?
- Coaches, explain any challenges or possible frustrations you experienced, particularly related to the need to be precise, encouraging, and yet not being permitted to actively engage in the task before you?
- Partners, in what way do you feel your experience might relate to the experience of a patient on a healthcare team?
- Why is it important for team members to understand one another’s needs, particularly related to communication and mutual support?
- In what ways might this activity reflect healthcare?
IPEC CompetencyCC 1, 4-6
TT 1, 2 & 8
LessonElevating the Load, Extending the Risk
Variations: 1) Require partners to take two pieces off the board at a time (both hands), 2) Require coaches to coordinate removing pieces by all partners at the same time, 3) Rotate in or switch around coaches to work with new partners part way through the activity.
- What went well?
- How did you (in your specific role) feel when the task became more difficult? How transferable were previous strategies to accomplishing the more complex tasks?
- Partners, if you got new coaches during the activity, what did you notice about his/her individual strategies and styles?
- Partners, what did you wish your coach would have done to make your participation in this activity more pleasant, more successful, or just better in general? What did you appreciate about what your coach did?
Consider that you are on a team providing critical care to a patient.
- In what ways is this tipping table like the needs of your patient?
- How difficult is it to direct a plan for patient care if everyone is not on the same page, does not have the same skills, etc.?
- What are the implicit responsibilities of leaders in a critical situation? How does their communication change when the risk elevates, if at all?
IPEC CompetencyVE 9-10
RR 2 & 9
SummaryTeam members must work collaboratively to keep a table from tipping off its volatile fulcrum. The twist is that some team members are sighted and some are not, making communication and encouragement skills an essential part of mutual support.
For more information about how to utilize games, low-fidelity simulation, and interactive learning to teach concepts of teamwork and collaboration, contact Better.Teams@rosalindfranklin.edu