Monday, September 10, 2007

Nails, It's All About the Nails

Finally, I am writing about the first edition of Leadership Toledo. The day was gorgeous and went all too fast. There are 54 other people in our "class." I want to meet all of them and learn what makes them tick. But in the meantime we did some team building exercises during the morning and early afternoon.

We were so lucky to be at Secor Metropark for the beautiful blue sky day. After some initial introductions and welcomes, we spent the morning outside. We had to pass four tennis balls around our circle of about 27 people in two seconds. You had to be there watching us as we figured out how to do it.

After that, an inside exercise was set up for us. We were asked to form smaller groups. On the table was a block of wood with one large nail in it. The hole was large enough for the nail to come out, but small enough that it held the nail in place. Also, on the table was a bunch of similarly sized nails all tied together with a string.

I've got to tell you that my first thought was, "Great, this is all about tools, and the guys are just going to take over and elbow us women out of the way." Okay, slap my hand. What really happened was that the women solved the puzzle, which was to get all the nails balanced on the one nail in the wood. Directions were to leave the wooden block upright, and the balanced nails could not touch the block of wood.

What was really neat, was that one person got the solution started, and then a second person figured the next step and finally a third person thought out the ending step. It showed teamwork at its best. Even after we quickly "built" our solution and were asked to take it down so the other teams could not see it, another of our team members determined a way for us to put it back together that was easier and less awkward. I felt lucky to be part of this group. Sara Best, John Borrell, Matt McCullough, Kyle Pifher, Mandi Rahla, Luis Ramirez and Bunny Rossnagel all helped to make us successful.

Another time I'll tell you about the talk we received from the naturalist the last hour of the day. But for now, Leadership Toledo is a thumbs-up, so far.

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