Friday, December 21, 2007

Thinking vs. Feeling Activities for Trainers

Thinking-Feeling (T-F) (style of making decisions)
distinguishes a preference for deciding via objective, impersonal logic (Thinking) versus subjective, person-centered values (Feeling).

1. Divide group into smaller groups w/ all Ts in one & all Fs in other (if possible - could also mix them). They all receive and read a business/employment scenario, then have to reach consensus as a group re: what to do. Basically, the group is the board for a large company, and face a critical deadline to deliver on a product for a major client (client responsible for 40% of annual revenues). Their production manager reports he/she cannot meet this deadline, even though the client is firm and must have the product by then. A consultant has promised to deliver the product by the deadline, but the board cannot pay the consultant and the production mgr. both! The board must decide what to do re: the production mgr. I throw in other "F" info to enliven the discussion - i.e. the production mgr. is a loyal employee of 25 years, w/ solid work history & strongly respected in the co., but has been having personal problems lately & has used a lot of leave, resulting in a drop in performance, etc. Having the groups report out their decision/recommendations leads to a nice discussion of the contrasting decision-making preferences in action. Often, the groups reach the same conclusions, but the Fs generally get there by a far different route!
2. You have just been advised by your company's top management that a layoff is required ..... you are in charge of planning the downsizing and you must get it done in a short period of time. How would you go about it ? Have them flip chart brainstormed comments from their group.
3. Deal with a problem employee. (Give them facts, including both performance information and personal information.)
4. Explain to a new employee why this is a good place to work.
5. Define "marriage," in a group breakout session format (this one usually yields great examples of the differences!)
6. Deciding who gets to attend a conference in the Caribbean, or other great location.
7. I've had some problems getting a clear difference in this one. I've used a similar activity using kids - like a girl scout trip that suddenly there are not enough seats and they have to decide who gets left out. The hang-up is they get way too much into problem solving and generating alternatives and just deny having to make the decision at all. If you watch very closely you can often get the T/F stuff from the reasons they use - do they say, "It's not fair" or do they say "I don't want her feelings to be hurt", for example.
8. "That building must go" where like types play the role of building administrators who have to plan out an eviction process for all the remaining tenants because the building will be demolished in a month.
9. Ask them to define conflict. The feelers have a hard time getting started, but once they do they are in agreement, while the thinkers enjoy arguing about it and never quite reach an agreement. T sees conflict when there is
10. emotion occurring while F sees it when someone is merely critiquing the issues.

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