Management meetings are necessary for many companies, especially companies with a lot of employees. Management meetings are primarily used for communication of operational, strategic and results-oriented information. However, management meetings don’t have to be dry to be effective. By including a few games in your management meetings, you can improve relationships between your managers, lighten the overall tenor of the meetings and turn them into something managers enjoy attending.
The colors exercise is a quick game that you can use with small or large groups of managers at your next meeting. The exercise shows managers that people view the same event or receive the same information in different ways. Explain that emotions are triggered by different things for different people. Suggest that being an effective manager requires the ability to understand an employee’s viewpoint. Use the following illustration to help managers see how mental associations can influence, or “color,” opinions. Ask everyone present to close their eyes and imagine the days of the week. Ask them to assign a color to each day and write those colors down. Split people into groups of four or five and ask them to discuss their responses as well as the reason for each chosen color.
Place a large jar of marbles on a table outside the entrance to your next management meeting along with slips of paper and pens. Ask managers to write down their guesses for the number of gumballs in the jar on the slips of paper (one guess per manager). Tell managers to keep their slips with them. Once all attendees are seated, split managers into groups and ask them to share their guesses with each other and reach a consensus as a group as to which guess is closest to the actual number of gumballs. Give the jar of gumballs to the group with the closest guess. Use the exercise to show how peoples’ brains estimate units differently and how using each other as resources by working in groups can reduce the likelihood of error.
Split managers into groups of five to eight people (you may alter your group size based on the overall number of managers at your meeting or just have one group if your management numbers are less than 15). Create “Bingo” cards with numbered squares filled with trivia questions about your company. Vary questions from easy, such as: “Name our first President,” to hard, such as: “How many countries (or states) do our employees hail from?” In order to place an “X” in the square, managers must agree within their groups as to what the right answer is. Give groups 10 minutes to complete as many questions as possible. Choose numbers from a hat and read answers to those numbers. Teams must have the right answer to place an “X” in squares. The first team with a row of “X’s” wins.
Start off meetings with a short, five-question quiz about company figures. Ask all attendees to write down their answers on a piece of paper. Prepare three tie-breaker questions but don’t ask them unless necessary. After giving managers a few seconds to answer the final question, ask all attendees to stand. Start with the first question, reveal the answer and ask all who got the answer wrong to sit down. Continue on through questions until there is only one manager left standing. If necessary, use harder tie-breaker questions to get to one winner. Give the winner a gag gift or funny “trophy” that can be passed from winner to winner each time the quiz is taken.