At Performa, we like to mix things up and our Friday Afternoon Live! is just one way we do that. About once a month we gather on Friday at 4:00 pm to socialize and share. It is a break in our day, week and month that we can come together and share what is happening at Performa, celebrate life’s milestones with our teammates, participate in an activity or two, and have some fun.
Recently, we were led through the “Helium Stick Challenge” by some of our leadership. Our teams had a hard time not talking during the first round, which supports the importance of communication within a team. We did have a few instances where team members blurted out directions when their team struggled. During the second round, teams were allowed to talk. Here there was still a struggle to quickly lower the stick. Teams realized the need to have a leader and that the leader’s place on the stick made a difference (middle vs end). There were healthy discussions on teamwork, group performance, roles on a team, and the importance of communication.
At Performa, we are a competitive group and played the game multiple times to improve our performance.
Helium Stick Challenge
– A simple, powerful and QUICK team experience!
– This deceptively simple game is easy to facilitate and gives your group a common experience through which to discuss issues of teamwork and leadership.
– The “stick” is actually a series of corded tent poles that fold up easily, so you can easily transport it.
How it’s Played
Form two lines facing each other. Lay the “stick” on the group’s index fingers. At either end place an oversized washer to ensure the stick is lowered at an even pace, not dropped).
Goal: Lower to ground.
Reality: It magically rises up!
- Line up in two rows which face each other.
- Introduce the Helium Stick.
- Ask participants to point their index fingers and hold their arms out.
- Lay the Helium Stick down on their fingers. Get the group to adjust their finger heights until the Helium Stick is horizontal and everyone’s index fingers are touching the stick. Place an oversized washer on both ends of the stick outside the last participant’s index finger. Explain that the challenge is to lower the Helium Stick to the ground.
- The catch: Each person’s fingers must be in contact with the Helium Stick at all times. Pinching or grabbing the pole is not allowed – it must rest on top of fingers. The washers must remain on the stick without being touched if one falls off the stick, the task will be restarted.
- Reiterate to the group that if anyone’s finger is caught not touching the Helium Stick, the task will be restarted. Let the task begin.
- Warning: Particularly in the early stages, the Helium Stick has a habit of mysteriously ‘floating’ up rather than coming down, causing much laughter. A bit of clever humoring can help. For example, act surprised and ask what are they doing raising the Helium Stick instead of lowering it!
How Does it Work?
The stick does not contain helium. The secret is that the collective upwards pressure created by everyone’s fingers tends to be greater than the weight of the stick. As a result, the more a group tries, the more the stick tends to ‘float’ upwards.