Hello All!

Anyone who has every gone fishing with children, or who has owned a pair of headphones knows that there are knots and there are KNOTS. Knots are a part of life, just like conflict. The measure of a good team member is in how they engage with conflict. In this activity, Knot or Not a Knot, team members will work together to decide if something is a knot or not. Confused yet? Uh…me neither.

Knot or Not a Knot
Another old-y gold-y, not sure who created this game.
Find a piece of string, rope, head phones, etc. and loosely create a mess with it–could be a knot, or not. You don’t even have to know the answer. Instruct your team that they have two goals for this game:
  1. To be right. Is this pile of rope a knot or not? When both ends of the rope are pulled tight, will it end up a mess or will it pull straight?
  2. Convince everyone else that you are right.
The game is over when everybody is right.
Facilitation Tip: You may get to a point in the game when discussion is stalled and nobody is switching sides. At this point you can offer to pull on both ends of the rope pile just a little bit–this may offer more information for the group to work from.
Facilitation Tip: If you have a group that tends to concede for the sake of harmony rather than debate you might offer some buy-in by giving the team a Starbucks gift card or let them quit work early if the group can all agreed if the rope pile is a knot or not AND be correct.
Debriefing Questions:
  • What did it take for you to convince others to join your side of the debate? What tactics tended to work, which didn’t?
  • What did it take for you to be convinced to join the other side of the debate? Was the responsibility all on the convinc-er? Or did you have to engage in the conversation a different way?
  • Was there ever a moment when you were too deeply entrenched in your side of the debate that it didn’t matter what the actual answer to the debate was? Why do you think that is?
  • Where in your work is conflict and debate important?
  • When your team is in those situations, how can you approach the debate so that the end goal is what is best for the team or organization rather than ego or status?

 I look forward to the day when the challenge course can be available to help your teams reunite. Until then stay safe, stay healthy, stay connected!

Thank you,

“Jesso” Watson
Challenge Course Manager
(503) 538-2763, ext. 105