We are used to playing competitive games. Football, indians and cow-boys, poker or rock-paper-scissors are all competitive games. Whether I win and you loose, or the other way around.
Competitive games are useful for learning things like getting more than your fair share during a negotiation or like killing the enemies of your people.
For the last decades, war has decreased and Toyota taught us about the importance of win-win negotiations for sustainable business. You need to teach a new set of skills for cooperation instead of competition. That’s why you need more cooperative games… or turning our competitive games into cooperative ones.
Jenga is a tradicional basic game. A group of people take turns for removing little wooden bricks from the bottom of a tower and try to put them on top of it. The first person making the tower fall, loses.
In this competitive game:
- You want everyone else to fail, so you’ll make moves that let the worst case scenario for the next player.
- You are interested in the shortest possible tower. The faster someone fails, the easier you win.
How about turning competitive Jenga into cooperative Jenga?
Let’s say the rules are changed so the goal is building the highest possible tower between everyone. The rest of the rules are left the same. Now:
- You want everyone else to succeed, so you will do moves that facilitate the next person move.
- You are interested in giving advice, support and assistance to the others, so they make moves easier for them and also easier for a sustainable growth of the tower.
With Cooperative-Jenga you get longer games, cooperation and team building and a way of working based on sustainability and on helping others.
Help, cooperation, long-term thinking, sustainability… against rivalry, individuality and seeking for failure.
What are the skills you prefer learning and practicing today?
- The short game, the long game and the infinite game (Seth Godin): “In the infinite game, though, something completely different is going on. In the infinite game, the point is to keep playing, not to win. In the infinite game, the journey is all there is. And so, players in an infinite game never stop giving so they can take.”
- Don’t give up, don’t let others give up and absolutely never make others give up. “When a colleague is in trouble or has failed, you can always show up and offer some help, whether it represents a helping hand, a good piece of advice or just listening to some whining. As a team member, you always have the option to support the rest of the team.”
- Assertiveness (John Welford): “To be assertive is not, as some people imagine, to be overbearing and aggressive, but to be straightforward, open and honest. It means that you relate well to people, able to express your needs freely, take responsibility for your feelings and stand up for yourself when necessary. In conflict situations you seek, where possible, to reach a ‘win-win’ outcome, in which the needs of all parties are fully acknowledged.”