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Leadership training games.

Volunteer leaders are not trained association managers. But at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Washington, D.C., we discovered member involvement is influenced by leaders' communication skills and knowledge of association management principles. We needed to reach our leaders with a new message and innovative training. We did it with interactive leadership training workshops. These are three tools we designed for the workshops.

Game board. "Member Services Lotto" is a catalyst for participants to develop services packages for specific members. We break the seminar group into teams of no more than six. Each has a game board - four pages designed on the computer, printed on regular paper, and fixed to cardboard. In each quadrant is a description of an NAHB member type (two typical builders and two types of associate members). The profiles identify personal and business information, including the member's reason for joining. Participants also have a deck of 18 cards listing association services. The team reviews a member profile to determine six key services.

They must come to consensus as a group. In debate and discussion, participants really teach one another. After 20 minutes, the teams share the selections each made and discuss why. Participants end with a greater understanding of the value of targeting services to specific member types and the link between retention and satisfying the member's reason for joining.

Card games. The "Committee Management" game explores organizational and interpersonal strategies for working in committees. Each of 21 cards describes a common committee problem and offers four potential strategies. For example, in one scenario a new chair inherits several old-timers who don't do much. Two options for the chair are to resign or form a core group of new volunteers who work toward committee goals.

Teams of up to five - plus a scorekeeper - compete in pairs. One team reads aloud a scenario and all four potential responses. Then they have 30 seconds to reach consensus. The correct answer wins the point; incorrect answers turn the option to answer to the other team. Usually, heated play continues to a specified score.

Here, participants talk about personal experiences and test their organization and interpersonal expertise. After the games, the facilitator asks them to identify appropriate and inappropriate strategies for working with a committee.

Puzzles. We had two sets of jigsaw puzzles constructed for about $225 - 250 nine-piece puzzles and 25 much larger puzzles. Puzzle competitions can teach several lessons about power and cooperation. This exercise shows the benefits of teamwork. First, participants are each given the small puzzle to assemble as fast as possible. Next, participants work in groups of no more than eight to assemble the larger puzzle, and the first team to complete it is rewarded.

Participants are asked to pay attention to how they feel during the exercise, and the most valuable part is discussion about how feelings changed. People have volunteered that during the individual puzzle they don't like the competition or feel bad because they aren't good at puzzles. Working on a team, often they feel less pressure or find they can rely on someone who is good.

We gambled that volunteer leaders would be receptive to interactive techniques: They now favor them to panels and presentations. We can develop and produce these products on a low budget. So we won - and we had fun.

Patricia A. Siegel, CAE, is senior director of training and education services, and James S. DeLizia, CAE, is staff vice president for association and council services at the National Association of Home Builders, Washington, D.C.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society of Association Executives
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Good Ideas
Author:DeLizia, James S.
Publication:Association Management
Article Type:Column
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Background and reference checks.
Next Article:Vision 2000.

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