A novel way to sort people into groups during a workshop or class involves the use of silverware. I purchased a bag of plasticware that came in four colors which allowed me to quickly and easily break the group into several configurations:

  • By the same color
  • All forks, all knives, all spoons
  • One place setting per group (a fork, a knife, a spoon)
  • Paired with a different utensil
  • Light blue & dark blue together // reds & yellows together

I have written before about the power of utilizing different methods of group division (see dot 2475). By deploying such tools, it forces people to mix with others they may not have chosen, removes bias from the pairing process and facilitates speedy group formation.

Next time, try silverware – or one of the many other options – to interject some energy into your pairings.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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