As the “dot” numbering gets deep into the 1900s, the number of the dot has started to remind me of significant events that occurred during those years – which reminds me of a favorite icebreaker in a similar vein.

The facilitator writes different years on strips of paper and tosses them into a basket. Years should be from last year back through the approximate age range of participants, with one year written separately on each strip.

Participants then draw a year out of the basket and share a story with the group of what they were doing during that year or what memory the year stimulates. There will likely be a lot of mental calculating involved as people try to recall how old they were or what they were doing during that year, but it just adds to the fun. I have also heard of people doing the same activity using pennies with different years (if you have the fortitude to assemble such a variety!).

An adaptation of this is to assign each person (or allow people to draw) a year in advance of a gathering and ask people to research what was happening within the organization during that period. It’s a quick way to infuse some stories of the organization and provide context for how things have evolved. You can do several assignments before a group event or have one per meeting over a period of time.

Or you can even play along at home for the next few months and think of what each dot number represents as a year in your world!



About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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