Look under your thumb and share your reaction to whatever prompt lies beneath it. Thumball™ is a soft 6" stuffed ball with loads of applications!
The Team Dynamics Thumball looks like a cool soccer ball and has 32 panels pre-printed with cogent phrases suited for adults and teens.
Teams are everywhere – at work, at home, at school, on and off playing fields. From board rooms to church basements, we're thrown together with people we may or may not know well, and are challenged to achieve great results. Is your team performing to the max? How do you support each other? How do you develop consensus and manage disagreements? Team Dynamics Thumball is a playful way to raise these critical questions so that your teams can reach their full potential.
- Use Team Dynamics Thumball to stimulate conversation, promote team spirit, and boost flagging energy.
Team Dynamics Thumball prompts:
1. What's the best thing about being on a team?
2. What's most challenging about being on our team?
3. What inhibits trust in our team?
4. How do we build trust among team members?
5. How can we make sure everyone feels heard?
6. How do we make everyone feel included?
7. How do we show respect for one another?
8. How can we ensure we don't duplicate efforts?
9. How do we gain commitment?
10. What if someone isn't pulling their weight?
11. How should we manage disagreements?
12. Give an example of a goal we are all working towards
13. How can we prevent negative energy from bringing us down?
14. How do we celebrate success?
15. What happens if we admit mistakes to each other?
16. Give an example of a mistake we learned from.
17. How can we better support each other?
18. How do we show respect each other's role in the team?
19. When was the last time we had constructive conflict?
20. How do we check that we are working to the same goal?
21. How might we show appreciation of good work done?
22. How can we make our meetings more positive and productive?
23. Is our team good at solving problems?
24. Do we share our own weaknesses with each other? Why?
25. How can we inspire each other to achieve our goal?
26. Do you consider yourself a good team player? Why?
27. What teams are you a part of in your life?
28. What's been your most positive team experience?
29. How should we develop consensus?
30. How does our communication speed or slow our process?
31. How do we balance individual and team success?
32. What de-motivates our team?
©Trainers Warehouse – Trainers Warehouse holds the copyright for this set of questions. Reproductions cannot be made without express approval.
** TIPS **
EXPLAIN HOW IT WORKS: Someone throws the ball, another catches it and responds to the prompt under their thumb.
FACILITATION TIP 1: SET EXPECTATIONS AND EXPLAIN CLEARLY
In order to achieve greatness, sometimes teams need to take a step back and reflect on their relationships, communication, and their process of working together.
Tailor your Thumball game to meet your needs:
- Option 1: Have each player respond only to the prompt under their thumb, then toss the ball to another.
- Option 2: After the first player has responded to their prompt, invite others to share their perspective or discuss ways they could work together more effectively.
FACILITATION TIP 2: SET GROUND RULES
Explain that conversations about team dynamics can become emotionally charged. The goal of the Team Dynamics Thumball activity is to raise important issues and have necessary conversations in a positive environment. So that everyone can feel safe, have the group set up their own Ground Rules.
Here are some that you might want on the list:
- Only one person speaks at a time
- Speak only for yourself; Use “I” statements
- No personal attacks – critique ideas, not people
- Agree to disagree; disagree without being disagreeable
- Listen - make sure everyone feels heard and validated
- Be positive and non-judgmental; open to new ideas
FACILITATION TIP 3: BE PREPARED IF CONVERSATIONS GET STICKY
- Expert facilitators suggest these techniques to ease difficult or emotional situations:
- Pause the conversation so you can review the ground rules with the group.
- Redirect negative comments; ask “what can we do differently?”
- Focus on changes that can positively affect the team.
- If two parties disagree, suggest that they switch roles and make the counter argument.
- Keep a flip chart of difficult topics that can be addressed later.
- Be ready to share some of your own experiences.
- Take a break. Stop for awhile and regroup.
- Thank participants for sharing their personal stories.
FACILITATION TIP 1
EXPLAIN . . .
In order to achieve greatness, sometimes teams need to take a step back and reflect on their relationships, communication, and their process of working together. Tailor your Thumba
The Team Dynamics Thumball looks like a cool soccer ball and has 32 panels pre-printed with cogent phrases suited for
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Great way to get to know your team, and their strengths.
The ball promotes comments and discussions around topics that may not open during general discussion. I am using it to develop understanding the competencies of Developing Talent & Building Strong Teams.
During a "Building a High Performing Team" workshop that I facilitated to cross functional leaders, I would toss the ball after each section 2-3 times. It was fun and people liked to answer the question from their perspective/experience.
We recently started a book club for management to tackle nontechnical skills and ideas to create stronger leaders. These are not topics we have discussed in the past, and we are using the thumballs to start each meeting. It really helps get the conversation moving.