Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Spaghetti Towers of Forterocca

No, this is not a food post. 

We have been totally immersed in our 7-day leadership intensive, "EquipT: Training the Trainers." 

If I could sum it up in two words: holy guacamole. 

It has been amazing to watch 3 talented trainers bounce us through a stunning array of creative learning techniques, for seven days straight.  Almost no didactic training.  The reflective mind, which I have, went numb about day 5, but even our activists, pragmatists and theorists (the other learning styles we learned about this week) were all dizzy, dazed and offline but day 7. 

A glimpse: 

We were each assigned to teach two presentations and one learning activity, in small groups of 4-6 people.  For each of these, we needed to prepare a module, integrate some of the learning activities we had been taught, gather materials, set up the room, check technology (and have a back up plan in case technology failed), and then self-evaluate/receive feedback after delivery. 

I selected my learning activity from the books available, and then went off to gather materials, stopping  first at the trainers' office to plunder their goods.  Next stop: the kitchen to beg raw spaghetti from a perplexed Marco the Cook.  Onto the training room to set up, and then welcome my class for the exercise: Tall Towers.

The task: to construct the tallest possible tower given the materials provided: straws, toothpicks, tape, paperclips, Blu-Tack, yarn, miniature clothespins and rubber bands.  Oh, and spaghetti.  We are in Italy after all.  In 10 min.  The goal: to demonstrate what happens on a team given a challenging task.

Ooops....forgot my cell phone to time them...but gave instructions anyway, divided the team into two groups and set them off to begin. 

Can I just say, the spaghetti was flying?!

Within seconds, one group was standing on chairs, taping a long stream of spaghetti from floor to ceiling!  Wow - creativity!  Um...hadn't thought of that....The other group was looking on in dismay, but were soon on chairs as well, following suit. 

Before I knew it, both groups had their 'towers' not only as tall as the ceiling, but even pushing through cracks to the first floor.  Would I need a surveyor to measure these postmodern constructions to see who had the tallest?!? 

In the first group, the women were happily decorating their tower with colorful pins and straws, in a distinct sailboat design, while Mat stood back proudly surveying his handiwork.

In the second group, which actually came up with the idea first but were slower in execution, were trying to elongate their tower in a curvilinear design that had to be abandoned as the time drew to a close.  As I called, "Time!" they quickly taped their, um, tower, to the floor. 

I'm not sure any life lessons were learned, but the Trump Tower has nothing on these amazing spaghetti towers.  We are still picking spaghetti up off the floor, and had a lot of laughs, and next time, I will add a ground rule: no suspension from ceilings!

1 comment:

  1. great description of the tower challenge-someday I'll hear about the other 6 mind numbing days-we'll need a lot of time I predict!