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Experiential exercises

Management MahjongTM Teamwork Experiential Exercise

The 4-hours Management MahjongTM session focuses on encouraging participants to inspire a shared vision through team building on the basis of trust, teamwork and effective communication, as well as devise strategies to deal with uncertainty and failure. In this exercise, participants will learn to identify obstacles to teamwork and communication which are likely to hinder innovation. In the post-exercise discussion, we will highlight these obstacles and identify potential solutions.

Note: The Management MahjongTM Game uses mahjong tiles as props, but do not require knowledge of mahjong by the participants.

Overview of the exercise

In this role-playing game, every team should consist of Senior Managers, Middle Managers and Workers. The facilitator takes on the role of the CEO. The CEO assigns a task to the teams in the company. Different levels and teams must work together to complete the task while dealing with issues of teamwork and communication.

Ideal group size

25-50 people

1st Hour

3rd Hour

Leadership and management.

Management Mahjong.

Team, team, team.


Key areas for learning and discussion are

  • The difference and similarity between leadership and management;
  • The importance of trust and teamwork;
  • The relationship between communication density and innovation (high communication density leads to more innovation);
  • The relationships among organizational hierarchies, communication and teamwork (more hierarchical versus flat structure);
  • The relationships among organizational structure, communication and teamwork (silos versus matrices);
  • Impact of various communication methods on productivity and efficiency;
  • Relative levels of noise and clarity in various communication methods;
  • Differences between horizontal and vertical communication in organizations;
  • The importance of trust for clear communication and good teamwork;
  • Impact of differential and incomplete information on teamwork and communication
  • The potential disconnect between team and organizational goals and the need to balance these two when fostering teamwork;
  • The roles the various levels play within the organizational framework;
  • How the various levels view one another and the impact on teamwork and communication;
  • Responsibility of each level to communicate both good and bad news up and down the chain;
  • Challenges and benefits of cross-cultural teamwork (when exercise includes cross-cultural teams);
  • The necessity to think outside the box; and,
  • Willingness to request additional resources to complete the task.