Objective: teamwork, to accept ideas and build on other people’s ideas
Summary: experience the power of resistance (‘Yes, but’) and acceptance (‘Yes, and’)
Duration: minimum 15 minutes
Number of participants: unlimited (the exercise is done in pairs)
Description of the activity:
Divide the group into pairs. Person A makes a suggestion to do something together with person B. B answers “Yes, but…” and comes up with a reason for not doing the activity. (E.g.: A: Let’s go for a swim. B: Yes, but I haven’t got my swimming trunks.) Next, B makes a counter-suggestion to which A again responds with “Yes, but…” and comes up with yet another reason for not doing the activity.
In the second part of the exercise, A again makes a suggestion. This time, B answers with “Yes, and…” and adds to the activity. A, in turn, responds positively to the addition, and answers with “Yes, and…” and makes an extra suggestion to support the previous suggestions (e.g. A: Shall we go for a swim? B: Yes, and let’s also have a go on the water slide. A: Yes, and let’s come up with a new swimming stroke.). Ask the participants to also act out the activities — possibly using mime.
Tips & directions:
- Demonstrate the exercise to the whole group the first time.
- Be strict about the fact that the pairs have to accept and build on the idea.
- Afterwards, ask the participants how they felt about the different versions? What are the differences in energy? Did they recognize certain situations from their own work environment?