How many times have we been one of these people, if not all?
How often do we get lost in this assumption that it’s someone else’s responsibility and hence, we don’t need to take ownership of our work?
Sometimes, it just comes down to taking personal responsibility and an initiative to do things. That’s what I realized a few days back, during a Team Building Activity as a part of an exposure visit to Riverside school in Ahemdabad. Here’s about the activity:
- There were 15 people who were asked to divide themselves in two teams.
- As shown in the picture below, the stairs were to be considered as a boundary, and the area below as an Ocean.
- Two circles were drawn in the ocean, to be seen as islands.
- Both the teams were given a few cardboard pieces.
- The teams were asked to think of cardboard as boats, to cross the ocean and reach their respective islands.
- The number of boats given to each team was less than the total number of team members. One person could use only one boat at a time.
- Every team had to reach their respective island without getting drowned, which means that the feet should not get out of the cardboard. If any of the team members fail to maintain the balance on boat, the whole team loses.
- The team that reaches their island first, will be the winner.
- At the end, all team members should have all their boats with them in the island. They cannot leave the boats in water after reaching their destination.
- Five minutes were given to the teams to make their strategy.
I was in team 2, and we decided that the first person will take all the cardboard (boats). He/she will place one boat after another in water, and as they keep moving to the next one, they will throw the previous one out, and so on until reaching the island. Others will follow the same path and that’s how, one by one, people will reach their destination. While doing that, we had to keep in mind that the gap between two boats should be appropriate because if they are too near, there might be a possibility of facing a shortage of boats before reaching the island and hence, getting stuck. If, on the other hand, the distance is too much then that may create a problem for the next member in terms of moving ahead. The last participant, after crossing the first boat, needs to pick up the previous boat and pass it on so that the boats also simultaneously reach the island along with the participants.
As we finalized our strategy, the activity started. Everyone was cheering and enjoying. We got more excited with each step, and finally everyone reached their respective island with the help of each other’s support. During this activity, the way each of the participants showed enthusiasm was worth watching. If, by any chance, a team member would fall, that team would lose. The way each individual took the ownership and fulfilled their responsibility, was amazing.
With this activity, I realized what if Everybody had thought that it’s not their responsibility and that Anybody could do it or Somebody will take the ownership to complete the task, in the end Nobody would have reached their respective islands.
We can easily become any of these four people and not question ourselves on why I am who I am. It’s also the basis of collective action. Although the larger scheme of things can be overwhelming, it’s only by owning up and acting on it, can we expect things to fall in place. In words of Abraham Lincoln, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today”.