|Exercise & Learning
|Outlines of some exercises
and their relevance
to management issues.
|Ankles Away: All
team members are linked in a line by having their ankles tied –
effectively forming a ‘worm’. The task involves the whole
team ‘walking’ a route led by a safety person. The complexity
can be increased by having the two ends also being tied off…
This activity serves well as an ice-breaker and is quite exciting,
helping in setting the tone of the programme in a fun way
and drawbacks/problems of working together in an organisation; and
is it easier to work when we ‘come together’ (which happens
when the two ends are tied off), care & concern, etc.
Trust games: These proceed in stages, incorporating a few
or all of them.
The whole group forms a circle and holds on to a rope the ends of
which are tied off to each other. Individuals are asked to gradually
lean back without leaving the rope to an extent where they are being
held upright in a tilted position only because they are leaning away
with the rope in their hands.
The next stage involves people leaning inwards, then alternate people
leaning inwards and outwards, etc.
Discarding the rope, the group is split into pairs. One person supports
his/her partner who takes a ‘dead fall’ in a pre-determined
The next stage involves one person standing in the middle of a circle
of 4-5 persons and taking a standing ‘dead fall’ in an
undetermined direction with the circle preventing a fall to the ground.
These two stages help people understand how to take a dead fall, which
prepares them for the last stage.
The ultimate stage involves a team of at least 8 people. Three pairs
stand next to each other with the partners facing each other in a
formation with their hands and feet in a defined position. One person
stands at one end of this group of pairs and co-ordinates the fall
of the last team member into the hands of the three pairs from a height
of at least 3 feet.
Relevant themes: Trust,
Team work, Overcoming of real risk
Feelings & emotions like fear, anxiety & sense of achievement.
Intensity Exercises Top ^
‘cobweb’ is of ropes built between two supports, with
the number of spaces in it equal to the number of team members. Objective
is to have the whole team cross from one side of the web to the other,
within certain operational constraints.
Formation of team, strong bonding, Communication, Emergence of roles,
Operating within constraints, Resource utilisation
Management processes (planning, organisation, ….)
Personal attributes like assertiveness and initiative
Raft - building:Two or three teams build rafts
from available kit (bamboos, tubes, strings) – this can be
conducted variously involving planning, delegation, etc. Objective
is to prove water-worthiness of each raft by doing a route in the
Relevant themes: Teamwork, Project management,
Trust, Emergence of roles, Overcoming of risk, Sense of achievement,
Team of 5-7 people is supposed to pitch a tent with there being
only one sighted person (the rest blind folded); and the sighted
person operates under the constraint of not being to touch anything
This exercise can be offered in many forms: e.g., all team members
first understand the tent before getting blind folded, or only the
sighted co-ordinator is shown the tent while the others are getting
blind folded, or there could be two co-ordinators,…
Relevant themes: Task clarity, Constraint clarity,
Role clarity, Leadership styles, Initiative & responsibility,
Resource management, Planning, Delegation
Exercises Top ^
Rappelling is coming down steep (rock) faces with the help of ropes
& other equipment. Very simple & safe method, but with a very
high perceived risk factor.
Relevant themes: Personal
performance, Feelings: intense fear, overcoming of same, intense
joy, sense of achievement, Self-confidence, Self esteem,
Self-awareness, Tackling stress, Trust (on partner, on operating
Issues of organisational support and responsibilities
Map & compass navigation exercises:Generally
spread over an area of 4-5 sq. km or even more. Could involve night
operations, climb to a destination (like a fort or a hill-top temple)
or camping out in tents.
A lot of planning of operations goes into this (on the part of
the participants). The whole group gets split into a few teams.
Each team does an independent task, which fits into a larger picture.
Drawing a parallel to the organisational set-up, teams can be needed
to collaborate. Complications like crises, the need for negotiations,
etc. can be designed. This exercise could well develop into a miniature,
intense model of a simple organisation.
Relevant themes: A very ‘comprehensive’
exercise, delving heavily into team dynamics and management processes.
Project management, Single objective perspective, Team dynamics,
Communication, Leadership, Emergence of roles, Resource management
Interpersonal relationships, Physical & mental stress, Sustained
Sense of achievement, Crisis management
|Note the safety
aspects during the programme Top ^
Any programme conducted
in the outdoors for novices does not allow a place for risk. A development
programme relies on perceived risk to play the desired role. Every
high intensity activity incorporates two mutually independent safety
systems. Only high quality equipment is used for these activities
(latest designs, high breaking-strengths, etc.).
Participants have the option to drop out of an activity, though
every effort would be made to encourage them to experience the programme
to the full. This should not preclude a person from joining the
programme - the programme design offers several roles for a participant
who chooses to stay out of physically doing an activity. Countryside
organizes for, & sponsors many of its outdoor leaders to undertake
a refresher course & first aid course every year. Though any
government authorities do not recognize these courses, it helps
our team to update with latest techniques & knowledge.