Counter Intelligence ™ is a group problem-solving exercise that focuses on task supervision: establishing and controlling a process, giving clear instructions, asking for and summarizing inputs and setting out next steps. This activity works well at first line supervisor level and allows group members to exercise a range of communication and logic skills. It involves active participation from all group members as each is required to contribute their information in order to complete the task, and a leadership role can be assigned (or left to emerge from within the group).
A range of information is provided to the participants: some relates to the task performance and others to the process and ways that the participants behave; ‘rules’ are provided and the review will typically include to what extent these ‘rules’ were observed. The exercise can develop into an exploration of values -- is the objective to obey the instructions or to complete the required shape?
During the exercise, teams must:
- Exhibit strong task (and process) supervision skills
- Observe both process and task instructions to be considered ‘successful’
- Establish and control a problem-solving process that incorporates all players
- Give clear instructions to all players based on information provided
- Manage each other’s inputs and progress according to the information they have
The Activity Process
Each participant (up to 6 per sub-team) has a number of information/task cards which are dealt to them face-down at random. There are a number of colored counters provided which comprise the remainder of the exercise materials. The information/task cards are used to provide clues as to how the group should arrange the counters to form a specific shape and distribution of colors. Information printed on the information/task cards should not be exchanged or viewed by other players. The sub-team should provide their single, final answer within 15 minutes.
Sufficient materials are provided to run 2 sub-teams of up to 6 people per sub-team.
Counter Intelligence is an ideal activity to explore issues such as communications and project management within teams -- what types of communication processes work well, and which are less successful in a team problem-solving activity? It can also be used to consider task supervision/leadership, particularly in areas where 'compliance' is an important factor, or where significant 'change' is being introduced to an organization/team -- is it all about the achievement of the 'hard' task, or should 'softer' process issues be considered?
This activity would work well with large groups -- the materials are simple and portable, it is time bound (15 minutes of activity) and needs no briefing (all instructions are provided on the information/task cards).