Group Juggle

Group Juggle:
An application of the DISC personality profiling system
By Andy Pan

In brief, Group Juggle is an activity that involves the throwing and catching of different objects while participants are standing around in a circle.

Activity objective:

- To pass an object around a circle of participants from start to finish without anyone dropping the object

- Progressively, more objects will be added into the circle.

Elaboration:

  • One participant would have to be selected as the start and the end point.
  • He/she would have to pass an object (e.g. tennis ball) to another person. However the receiver must be someone who is opposite him and MUST not be on his immediate left or right. This applies to everyone.
  • A sequence must be established until the first person receives the object again to signal the end of the round.
  • Ask the group to practice with 1 object again.
  • Introduce a 2nd object (e.g. stress ball) and have it passed around in the same sequence immediately after the 1st object has left the first person’s hands.
  • Subsequently, introduce more objects, 1 or 2 more at a time, which still MUST be passed around simultaneously until the last object reaches the first person.
  • Whenever an object drops onto the floor, the process would have to be restarted.
  • Whenever an object is passed, the thrower must call out the receiver’s name first.
  • Whenever an object is received, the receiver must say “thank you”.

Observations:

  • This activity is preferably done with small groups of not more than 20 pax, because behavioural observations can be performed effectively and debriefed upon.
  • Group Juggle is commonly used for experiencing team elements like the ability to multi-task and communication.
  • However, observable behaviours that arise from the DISC personality styles can also be discerned. For example, when a second object is added into the circle, a team would usually fail almost immediately. It gets tougher when a third object is added.
  • At this moment, the facilitator can interject and ask the team about some possible reasons for the difficulties that the team is now facing.
  • More often than not, one main reason for dropping objects is that some people are actually more concerned with objects coming towards them, while some are more concerned with objects going away from them. The former is a tell-tale sign of being task-oriented while the latter being one of people-oriented.
  • Why? Because the task-oriented folks would place priority in performing their individual task well by catching the objects that come their way but place less emphasis on throwing the objects to their intended targets. On the other hand, people-oriented folks would place priority in making sure that their intended receiver is ready before they release the object, hence placing less emphasis on objects coming towards them.
  • Therefore, due to this behavioural contradiction, objects start dropping and the objective seems impossible to meet. It is only when a mutual understanding is established among all members that the job becomes easier.
  • Often, after a sharing of these observations, teams would succeed even as more objects are added.
  • This activity highlights and reinforces the personality differences between a D/C and an I/S. It is only when a team is completely aware of their individual differences and work on them, would it be able to achieve team goals and objectives.