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Overview :

Members of each team are tasked with passing blocks as quickly as possible in relay style to the team member next to them to move the whole pile of blocks from one location to the other faster than the other team. This is a fun competitive activity that's perfect for your customer service class or  call center customer service training .

Time :

10 Minutes


Tools/Items required:

20 wooden blocks ( 5 X 2 Cm blocks) that can also be substituted by 20 pieces of dominos , Stop watch

Setup :

Split the whole class into two equal teams  standing in two lines facing each other, Ask members of each team to line up next to each other shoulder to shoulder.

Put 10 blocks beside the foot of the players at one end of each line.


Rules :

The players at one end of each line must reach to the floor  to take one block at a time off their pile of blocks which is located on the floor beside him/her. When they have picked the block up they must pass it to the closest hand of the team member standing next to them. The second team member then places the block in the other hand and then passes it on to the third team member’s closest hand, and so on. When the final team member receives a block they must place it beside him/her on the floor forming a pile , so in brief each team is tasked with moving the pile of blocks one by one  from one end to the other.

If a team member drops a block the rest of the team must wait until the block has been picked up again before continuing. Each team member must not hold more than one block at a time.

All 10 blocks given to each team  must be used and are to be counted at the end of each round, the team who is able to move all their blocks from one end of the line to the other end is the winning team.

Teams will have 5 minutes to plan their strategies before starting time.

The team that completes the exercise first is  declared the winner

Round 1 :

In the first round you have the two teams with all team members doing the exercise , as soon as you shout start , each team should start to pass the blocks to the next team member till they reach the last person in line without dropping any blocks . as soon as each team finishes moving all the blocks to the floor next to the last team  member in line take note of the time and the winning team on this round.

Round 2 :

Ask half of each team to take  a seat (Do not participate) so now each team has half the number of team members they started with on the first round , It's important to ask the first and the last team member in each line to keep standing in the same place so that the blocks will need to travel the same distance to reach the end of the line,  Start another round of the exercise and take note of the  time each team took to complete is as well as the winning team.

Round 3 :

On the third round  ask more members to take a seat (Do not participate) so you have only two team  members in each team. keep in mind  that the blocks will need to travel the same distance  as  the first round , meaning the location of the piles of blocks should not be changed , now team members will have to run to transport  each block to the destination pile and beat the other team. take note of the time taken by each team and the winning team.


Discussion and debrief :

If you look at the time record  kept for each of the 3 rounds you will notice that during the first round , despite which team won ,  it took each team  the shortest amount of time and did the least amount of effort  to move the pile of blocks from where the first team member in line is standing to where the last team member in line is standing.

In round two when each team lost half of it's team members they took more time and exerted more effort to move the blocks.

On the third round since each team had only two team members who actually had to race and run to move block by block from one pile to the other and it took them the longest time and a lot of effort

What's  the point from this activity ?

Linking this activity to our service level and looking at the pile of blocks as customers who are waiting to be serviced or as calls on our call center que,   as per the rules each team member should handle one block at a time  as in reality we cannot handle more than one customer at the same time. On the first round when both teams had all team members present and in place working together on handling each block (Customer/Caller) it took the shortest amount of time and the least effort to handle all the customers and so our service level was excellent , while on the second and third rounds with fewer tea m members present ,  it was much different, it took much longer time and much more effort for members of each team to pass the blocks (handle customers/calls)

What this competitive activity shows clearly is the effect it has on the service level if only one or more of the team is not there in place helping out and supporting handling customers and calls otherwise it will have a great effect on  the time it takes to handle customers or answer customer calls  resulting in longer waiting times  for customers . Moreover the work flow will be much more smooth and easy as we have seen in round one and team members will be more relaxed and not overly stressed handling customers .   


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