As a management training consultant, I talk to people about the power of positive feedback. It’s important to give employees both positive and constructive feedback. I think we all understand why. But I was chatting with a colleague of mine recently and he shared with me a training activity he’s using to actually show participants why it’s important.
I thought it was a neat activity and asked if I could share it with you. My thanks to Jim Gallo, SPHR, associate director at The Center for Organizational Effectiveness at Florida Institute of Technology for sharing his expertise.
TRAINING ACTIVITY: Golf ball activity
Group size: any
Material: golf ball, instructions (click to download), deck (below)
Time: 30-40 minutes
[SLIDE 1] Explain to participants that they are going to work on an activity that deals with feedback – and golf. Then ask for four (4) volunteers.
[SLIDE 2] Of the four volunteers, ask the one in the group with the ‘thickest skin’ (i.e. most insensitive to criticism) to participate during the second round and then allow the others to choose the remaining order (first, third, fourth). Tell them on their turn, they will be asked to enter the room have 3 minutes to find the golf ball. They can stop looking at any time. Then ask them to leave the room.
Once they have exited, ask for four (4) more volunteers and designate who will hide the golf ball first, second, third and fourth. Give the first person time to hide the golf ball.
While the first person is hiding the golf ball, show [SLIDE 3]. Do not read it or explain it. Once the first person had hid the golf ball, blank the screen and allow the first volunteer to enter the room.
If the volunteer finds the ball, the group should act according to the slide.
If the volunteer doesn’t find the ball, the facilitator should thank them for their time and then give them the option to stay or join the other volunteers outside the room. The golf ball is hidden for the next person.
[SLIDE 4] Repeat for second volunteer using negative feedback. This should be done by the volunteer with the ‘thickest skin’.
[SLIDE 5] Repeat for third volunteer using positive feedback.
[SLIDE 6] Repeat for fourth volunteer using specific feedback.
Ideally, the volunteer’s ability to search and find the golf ball should increase as the level of feedback becomes more positive and more specific. The participants should also find it easier to help the volunteer and feel the excitement of the volunteer’s success.
[SLIDES 7] Bring the entire group together for a debrief session.
[SLIDE 8] Direct questions 1-5 to the volunteers. Make sure each volunteer gets adequate time to talk about their experience.
Direct question 6 to the participants.
Thank the group for their participation. This could have been a very tough exercise for some participants, especially when asked to give negative feedback.
Image courtesy of HR Bartender1