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September 21, 2012

Team building exercises unite local businesses

CHICKASHA — "Wait! My pants!" is probably not something often heard at a team building class. But things can get a little crazy when four people are in a hula hoop.

Leadership Chickasha took a low ropes class at the Canadian Valley Technology Center on Sept. 20 which involved rope, tennis balls, rubber duckies, a big rubber plastic mouth and moments of miscommunication.

Dallas Smith, CVTC rope course instructor, said that he hoped the exercises would help the members of Leadership Chickasha think outside of the box and build trust.

The first activity sounded simple enough: tie a rope in a knot. There was a twist, though. However the participant picked up the rope was how their hands had to stay while tying the knot. If the rope was picked up with a hand at each end, for example, the participants' hands had to stay at each end.

Next, the partners had to tie a rope around each other's wrists and get out without untying the rope. Some took longer than others but in the end everyone got it.

The "Chicken and the Weasel" game involved a rubber duck, the "chicken" and a large rubber mouth, "the weasel." The leader of the group was the only one, according to the game, who knew what was a "chicken" and what was a "weasel."

Every time a member of the group handed over the item, they said "this is a chicken." The person accepting the chicken had to ask "a what?" and the leader had to be asked again what it was.

The further along the circle the chicken or weasel got, the more chaos ensued in what was a chicken, what was a weasel and who was supposed to be asking the leader what it was.

While this may sound a little like Lewis Carroll inspired nonsense, the game had a message about micromanaging, according to Smith.

During the game, members would correct each other over what they were supposed to be doing, what was a chicken and what was a weasel. Smith said that if each person just concentrated on their link in the chain, the process would be more efficient.

Cooperation seemed to be the theme of another game involving hula hoops. Again, the group joined hands in a circle, with one hula hoop being passed clockwise and the other was passed counterclockwise.

Things really got interested when four people at a time had to be in the hula hoop at once before it could be passed to the next group of four. And here, one of the four team members in the hula hoop panicked when the hoop began to push on his waistband.

And here, there seemed to be a poignant message about communication in business. If everyone works together, no one has to lose their pants.

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