This episode of Monday Mastermind originally aired May 18th on WTAQ 1360.
The Barrel Exercise
Wish the people in your organization were a tighter team? Here’s a quick tool you can use to get you and your associates on the path to understanding one another: the Barrel Exercise.
Once annually, you should sit down with your entire staff or department (depending on the size of your organization) and complete this exercise. First, gather your team together and set aside at least an hour or two to complete the exercise. Gather somewhere comfortable and non-intimidating, if possible.
Step 1: The President/CEO/Owner should begin by explaining the exercise and offering him or herself as the first volunteer. All associates are encouraged to take turns expressing any items they feel the President/CEO/Owner can improve about him or herself. This is an opportunity for each associate to air any grievances that have come to affect their work in a safe, non-threatening way.
For example, one associate may say, “John, I feel you could work on your timeliness. You tend to run late for most meetings and it may make clients feel unimportant.” John can only respond by asking for more information to clarify his associate’s statement. John is not allowed to defend himself, only to consider the suggestion.
This continues until every associate has had a chance to air any grievances they have with John, whether it be aspects of his behavior, uncomfortable situations that have happened, or nearly any issue.
Step 2: Then, the process is repeated, but everyone then offers a positive trait of John. For example an associate might say, “John, I appreciate how you keep us informed of all aspects of the business. It means a lot to me to know how we’re doing financially.”
Step 3: Finally, the process is repeated for each and every associate until everyone has completed the Barrel Exercise.
Outcome: We’ve found that this exercise is a great way for people to get things off their chests and move on. Everyone walks away with knowledge of some things they can work on and also a pat on the back for the things they already do great.