25 Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Activities for Your Team to Master

Your team’s ability to solve problems and make decisions well can make or break your company.

So, it is essential to invest a significant amount of time, money, and resources to improve team members’ collaboration, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities.

But then there are some things you can do implement quickly and without any cost to get such results, and that’s through some activities, techniques, and games.

Here are ten activities your team can try out to help them hone their problem-solving and decision-making skills at work.

Remember that no one activity works for everyone, so you shouldn’t force anyone to do something they don’t want to – simply let them try it out, and if they like it, encourage them to continue using it!

20/20 Hindsight

When it comes to problem-solving and decision-making, having 20/20 hindsight can be invaluable. It can help your team better understand why past decisions were made and identify potential pitfalls for future decisions.

Fortunately, you can use various activities to help your team hone its skills in this area.

The 20/20 hindsight activity requires participants to reflect on a particular past situation and discuss how they would have handled it differently if they had known then what they know now.

To begin, choose a situation relevant to the team, such as an example from a project they completed or one they are currently working on.

After providing some background information, ask the team to provide their perspectives on what they would do differently in the situation.

This activity can be an excellent opportunity for team members to think critically about their current decision-making processes and develop strategies for improving them.

Additionally, the activity encourages honest conversations and allows the team to learn from each other’s experiences.

Finally, it’s important to leave time for debriefing at the end of the activity. This will allow everyone to discuss what they have learned and how it can be applied to future situations.

By taking the time to debrief, you will ensure that your team will better understand the importance of problem-solving and decision-making and be more prepared to handle future challenges.

Legoman

Legoman is an activity that helps you develop communication between your team members. All you need for this activity is legos and your team members together.

Instructions

  • Divide your team into smaller teams of two or three members maximum.
  • Choose an unbiased person who is not on any team and can construct a lego structure in under 10 minutes.
  • Now, all the teams must recreate that same structure in under 15 minutes.
  • But there is a catch, only a person from their team will be allowed to see the system, and the rest of the team has to communicate to make it on different parameters like size, shape, etc.

Brainstorming

Brainstorming is one of the most essential problem-solving and decision-making activities for any team.

It’s a process in which a group of individuals comes together to generate new ideas and solutions to a particular problem.

Brainstorming is a great way to foster creativity, collaboration, and out-of-the-box thinking.
The key to successful brainstorming is to focus on quantity rather than quality.

The goal should be to generate as many ideas as possible without judging them too harshly. Encourage each participant to voice their ideas without fear of criticism and allow everyone to express themselves without interruption.

You can also encourage lateral thinking by asking questions like What else could we do? or What if we approached this from a different angle?

Once you’ve come up with several potential solutions, the team can then work together to refine them and decide which ones are the most viable.

Make sure everyone has a say in the discussion, as it’s essential for all members to be able to contribute their thoughts and opinions.

Brainstorming is an excellent way for your team to think outside the box and create creative solutions to complex problems.

What If? Scenario Planning

Problem-solving and decision-making are essential skills for any team to master to succeed. To help your team build these skills, it is important to create activities and scenarios to help them practice and develop their problem-solving and decision-making skills.

  • One of the best ways to do this is with What If? Scenario Planning. It is an excellent activity for teams to work on together. It involves creating scenarios for team members to work through and practice their problem-solving and decision-making skills.
  • This exercise can be tailored to suit any project or challenge your team is working on.
    Start by creating a scenario your team will have to work through together.

  • This can include any information you feel will help your team make a well-informed decision. Give your team all of the facts, including any available options or resources.

  • Ask the team to discuss each scenario and come up with possible solutions. After they have examined the various options, ask them to decide on the best course of action.

What If? Scenario Planning is an excellent way for teams to practice and improve their problem-solving and decision-making skills.

This activity helps teams work through difficult decisions and encourages creativity, collaboration, and open communication among team members.

With regular practice, your team will become experts at problem-solving and decision-making!

Ad Game

Ad Game is an activity for your team to lift their spirits and motivate them to speak freely.

What they need to do is every team member suppose to share an idea, and everyone else has to say ‘Yes! Outloud, and this continues.

The idea here is to allow all of your team members to be heard, speak their minds, and receive positivity, so they become habitual to it.

It is about re-programming their mind to understand that when they speak their mind, they will get positive feedback instead of negativity.

The idea is not very important here; it can be creative, unique, or entirely out of the box. Even they are allowed to say a concept that is at the top of their mind.

The goal here is to be building communication and collaboration among team members.

Move It!

This activity helps team members with their ability to collaborate and adapt to the situation or changes.

All you need is your team members and some item that can be used to mark any space, like tape, rope, and chalk.

Instructions

  • Start splitting the whole group into two different teams, and then you have to line them up so that they all face each other.
  • Use items to mark spaces and draw an area for each person on which they stand.
  • Leave some extra space between the rows where members face each other.
  • The objective of this activity is for team members who are facing each other suppose to switch places.
  • Team members need to follow these rules
  1. Only one member is allowed to move at a time.
  2. Team members cannot move backward.
  3. Any team member cannot move if they are facing a person.

Becoming Imaginary Character

This activity is more fun than others with the purpose of helping team members learn decision-making better.

Here you need to approach a problem as if you are some imaginary character. So team members are expected to set an imaginary character for themselves to deal with the situation.

Being an imaginary character will give them a different perspective to see a problem and find unique and creative solutions for it.

Assumption Busting

Are you looking for ways to help your team master problem-solving and decision-making? One great way to hone these skills is to practice assumption busting.

This exercise helps individuals and teams alike learn to challenge the most basic assumptions of a situation or problem to get to the heart of the matter and identify the best solutions.

Assumption busting is a simple yet powerful tool that can be used in any situation. It starts with team members identifying a problem, then brainstorming and challenging any underlying assumptions.

The goal is to re-frame the problem more helpfully by asking questions like, What if this weren’t true? Or What other possibilities exist here?

This activity can be used in many ways, from generating new ideas and solutions to a current problem to discovering potential blind spots in your team’s current approach. It also encourages creative thinking and better collaboration.

To start, have each team member take a few minutes to think of an assumption related to the issue or problem you’re facing.

Once everyone has had time to come up with at least one assumption, have each person explain their assumption, and then have the group discuss what happens when that assumption isn’t valid.

By working through the different scenarios and assumptions, your team can quickly gain valuable insights they may not have uncovered otherwise.
Through this process, you can help your team improve their problem-solving and decision-making skills while generating more effective ideas and solutions.

SWOT Analysis

One of the most effective problem-solving and decision-making activities for your team to master is SWOT Analysis.

SWOT also stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This activity helps teams identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within the organization that are relevant to their goals and objectives.
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By performing a SWOT analysis, teams can gain valuable insight into the company’s current situation and the external environment.

This activity helps teams to identify areas of strength and weakness within their organization, as well as potential opportunities and threats from the external environment. Teams can then use this information to inform strategic decisions and create a plan of action.

  • The SWOT analysis process involves identifying the Strengths and Weaknesses of the organization in terms of its operations, resources, people, processes, and other factors.

  • After these internal factors have been identified, teams should consider external Opportunities and Threats that could affect the organization. These may include economic factors, customer trends, competitive forces, etc.

  • Once the SWOT analysis is complete, teams can use the information gathered to decide the best action.

  • This activity provides a comprehensive picture of the organization’s current position and can be used to guide future strategy and decisions.

By using this tool, teams can ensure that they are making informed decisions based on accurate data and clear objectives.

Dumbest Idea First

Like the Ad game, this activity encourages team members to become more participative and comfortable speaking their minds.

Here, the rules are straightforward. Each team member needs to quickly think of the dumbest idea they can think of at that moment to solve a specific problem.

Then, you will enlist them together and apparently get to know that these are not as dumb as you think. Some will be, but then some of them could be out of the box and unique.

Others can inspire you to find creative solutions like that. You can shape those ideas into something more tangible and highly effective.

Pugh Matrix

One of the essential tools to help your team master problem-solving and decision-making is the Pugh Matrix.

This powerful tool can be used to compare different solutions to a problem by analyzing its strengths and weaknesses.

The Pugh Matrix helps teams identify the most suitable solution by providing an easy-to-understand visual representation of the options and allowing for comparison among them.

Instructions

  • First, write down the possible solutions to a problem using the Pugh Matrix. Then, for each solution, assess its strengths and weaknesses relative to one another.

  • Once the strengths and weaknesses have been identified, draw a table with each option listed along one axis and the features that you are considering listed along the other axis.
    Then, rank each solution according to its performance on each feature.

  • Solutions that score higher in performance will be marked with plus signs, while those that score lower will be marked with minus signs.

The Pugh Matrix provides a simple yet powerful way for teams to identify the best solution to a problem quickly.

The visual representation of the data makes it easier to compare and analyze different solutions, leading to more informed decisions.

Additionally, the matrix allows teams to quickly prioritize tasks as they can see which tasks need to be addressed first to make progress on the problem.

Using the Pugh Matrix is an excellent way to foster collaboration within your team, as everyone can easily contribute ideas and work together to find the best solution.

In addition, the tool gives teams a sense of ownership in their decision-making process, as everyone has a say in how the options are scored.

Using the Pugh Matrix, your team can develop their problem-solving and decision-making skills while working together to find the most effective solutions.

End in Mind

This is a great activity that allows you to backtrack your way to figure out the solution to a specific problem.

As the name suggests, you need to consider the end in your mind when you consider an idea and then move backward.

So, your team can create multiple milestones throughout the journey finding their way back to the start. You can also get dates of the respective milestone to help you know the project’s timeline.

A Shrinking Vessel

Adaptability in a team makes them sustain longer and tackle any problematic situation in the best way possible. And to develop it in your group, this technique is beneficial.

What you need to know is that adaptability is something that is inherently connected to cognitive diversity, and that’s what helps teams to resolve any conflict faster.

Instructions

Make sure to get a rope or a string to try this activity.

  • Use the rope to make a shape on the floor, big enough so everyone can fit in.
  • Keep reducing the size of this space as time passes on.
  • Do this continuously over 10 to 15 minutes.
  • The challenge here for your team will be to adapt to this consistent change and find out a way to keep everyone inside the space by working together.

Force Field Analysis

Force Field Analysis is a powerful tool for teams to solve problems or make decisions. Kurt Lewin developed the technique in the 1940s, and it involves examining both the forces for and against an idea to determine whether it should be implemented.

Force Field Analysis is a great way for teams to approach problem-solving or decision-making. It helps them objectively assess potential solutions and identify areas that need further exploration or discussion.

It’s also a valuable tool for breaking down complex issues into smaller components so that team members can more easily reach a consensus.

The basic premise behind Force Field Analysis is to list all factors that could influence a situation, such as pros and cons, costs, benefits, risks, and opportunities.

Team members then rank each factor on a scale of 1-5, with five being the most important.

Once all of the factors have been ranked, team members discuss the merits of each element and try to reach an agreement on which factors are most important and should be pursued further.

Using Force Field Analysis can be an excellent way for teams to improve their problem-solving and decision-making skills.

It allows them to identify what matters most, look at the bigger picture, and consider different perspectives before reaching a consensus.

Additionally, it encourages collaboration and can help teams avoid groupthink by ensuring everyone’s opinion is considered.

Egg Drop

This technique or activity boosts group members’ collaboration and decision-making abilities.

With this activity, your team gets to see how problem-solving is so much about decision-making and further how to do it as a team.

Especially at the moment, whether decisions can be made rapidly or not because indecision can paralyze a team, and when that lingers, it creates a snowball effect of unresolved problems.

The activity is to make your team make decisions faster and better.

Instructions

Get with you dozens of eggs and construction materials like plastic wraps, rubber bands, and balloons to start this activity.

  • Give an egg to each team and choose a random construction material.

  • Each team is supposed to build or craft a carrier for their egg and ensure it doesn’t break.

  • Once they build their carrier, they will be dropped off at a certain height, like over the balcony or a ledge.

  • Now, it is to see which carrier was most successful in protecting the eggs.

Devil’s advocacy

Devil’s advocacy is a great activity to help your team practice problem-solving and decision-making. In this activity, one person is assigned the Devil’s advocate role and is tasked with challenging any proposal that the team makes.

This activity aims to get the team to consider potential issues and challenges with their proposed solution before taking it further.

The Devil’s Advocate should strive to identify any potential flaws in the plan or any unintended consequences that could arise.

This can be done by asking questions such as: What could go wrong if we implement this plan? Or Is there a better way we could approach this?

Doing so will allow the team to develop better solutions and ensure that their decision-making process is well thought out and robust.

The team needs to remember that the Devil’s Advocate is not there to criticize the plan but to help the team see potential issues from different perspectives.

This will enable them to come up with more effective solutions. Additionally, the team must remain open-minded and constructively accept the Devil’s Advocate’s criticism.

By having a Devil’s Advocate present in every decision-making process, teams can ensure that all possible issues are considered, leading to better problem-solving and decision-making outcomes.

Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower

This activity or technique helps your team build collaboration among your team members. Collaboration is one of the most significant factors for a successful team.

Good collaboration can achieve higher productivity and more meaningful results. It is much more powerful than individual intelligence and capability as well.

It is always easier to resolve a problem or tackle a situation in a team than alone. But such collaboration skills need to be developed in a group.

Instructions

To do this activity, you need 20 uncooked spaghetti sticks, a marshmallow, masking tape, and a yard of string.

  • Teams are expected to build or construct the tallest tower using the given materials in a specific time period.
  • To add more challenges, you can ask teams to add the marshmallow on the top of their tower.
  • This activity allows them to collaborate together and figure out a way to build this tower quickly without making it fall.
  • Definitely, some have to take the lead, some people need to assign the task softly, and all of them need to ensure the foundation is strong.

Fishbone Diagramming

Fishbone diagramming is a great problem-solving and decision-making activity that can help your team become better at working together to identify potential causes of a problem and make informed decisions.

A fishbone diagram is a tool that visually helps teams identify potential causes of a problem, analyze the data, and determine which solutions to pursue.

The diagram looks like a fish skeleton with the problem listed at the head and potential causes branching off into different categories. The categories are determined by asking why questions such as: why did the problem occur? What are the potential causes?

By brainstorming and analyzing the data, teams can develop root-cause hypotheses and decide which solutions to pursue. This helps teams identify solutions that may have been overlooked or dismissed as irrelevant.

The fishbone diagram effectively allows teams to work together to identify causes and solutions for a problem. It can be used for any type of problem, from technical issues to workplace conflicts.

It is also great for teams to practice collaboration, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Idea Trial

This is another fun activity for problem-solving or decision-making for team members you can do, and this is – Idea trials.

You have to create mock trials about the issues and concerns currently exist. All members can create a ‘court’ structure to project their ideas where they will face opposition and counterarguments.

They are supposed to present their arguments with opening and closing statements and even call witnesses to back their solutions and ideas for the given problem.

Stranded

This one is a collaborative activity or technique that helps you develop strong communication among the team members.

And you must know that effective communication is the bedrock for a team’s intelligent, rapid, and collective decision-making.

Communication between team members is essential for efficient problem-solving and adaptability, and you want that in your team.

Instructions

To do this activity, you only need an office or workspace.

  • You need to keep your team stranded in the office area or space.

  • Make sure to lock the room’s doors across the office space so no one can go through doors or windows.

  • You must give your team 30 minutes to select ten things they require to survive.

  • Individuals in the team are expected to rank these items in order of their importance for their survival there.

  • This activity is about allowing every member to pick only ten things and rank them under the given period of time.

Idea Mock-Ups

Idea Mock-ups as it sounds, is an activity for your team where different solutions for the most significant problems can be shared.

Since these various solutions for a given problem will be considered mock-ups, everyone can try all kinds of solutions to resolve an issue.

Every member supposes to come up with solutions creatively using the available resources or supplies within reach.

Brainstorming Ideas

One of the simplest yet effective activities to do to promote problem-solving within your group is brainstorming ideas.

It is the most common and obvious way to resolve any problem or conflict at hand, where a team or group comes together and sits to brainstorm.

Frostbite

This activity helps your team with their ability to adapt and make decisions, and you only need these few things

  • An electric fan
  • A blindfold
  • A packet of construction things like card stock, rubber bands, sticky notes, etc.

Instructions

Here’s the scenario for this activity:

  • You need to give your team the scenario that they are onto this arctic exploration.

  • Make sure to break them down into four or five team members.

  • Then, choose a leader among the team who can lead them to the adventure.

  • Each team needs to create a shelter, so they don’t get hit by a storm coming in 30 minutes.

  • The only catch to their scenario is that their team leader cannot do the work due to frostbite, and the rest of their members are temporarily blind due to snow blindness.

  • After the given set deadline, you can just use fans as a storm. Just turn on a fan to see whose shelter can still make it till the end during this ‘storm.’

5 Why’s

The 5 Why’s technique is an effective problem-solving tool that can help teams identify the root causes of issues quickly and efficiently.

The technique works by having team members ask why questions five times in a row to arrive at the most likely root cause.

This is a straightforward way for teams to break complicated problems into manageable components and figure out the best possible solution.

To begin, have team members brainstorm to define the specific problem that needs to be solved.

Once a problem has been identified, the team should ask why questions five times a row. This process helps narrow down the problem’s scope and determine the most likely root cause.

For example, if your team is trying to solve a customer service issue, you could ask, Why did this customer have a bad experience? Then you might ask, Why was this customer dissatisfied with their service? And so on.

Once the root problem has been identified, your team can devise potential solutions and decide on the best action.

This approach helps teams think through problems more thoroughly and encourages collaboration and creative thinking.

Using the 5 Why’s technique as part of your team’s problem-solving and decision-making process can help them become more effective and efficient.

Encouraging team members to ask questions and come up with solutions can also help build strong relationships and trust within the team.

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