On Monday, Dec 15, 2014, several FLAMEL students and faculty participated in several leadership challenges at the GT Leadership Complex on campus. The complex is an innovative educational lab designed to explore, elevate and expand human potential by converting team and leadership theory into action. They were taught group leadership, team productivity, effective communication, adaptability, and analytical problem solving. The purpose was to draw parallels between what happened during the challenges and our work together as a group.
For our first challenge, a 15 x 30 “keypad” was marked on the ground. We were challenged to work together to design a process for “touching the keys in sequential order” as quickly as possible. We were given 5 “trials” to continuously improve our time. After each trial, our group looked at the problem analytically and discussed new approaches to improve our time for the next trial. Through this exercise, we learned to discuss focus on innovation, execution, and the importance of the re-thinking processes. Our first trial resulted 1 min and 30 seconds, and by the time we reached our final trial, our time had improved to 50 seconds.
Our second challenge was object retrieval. A 15” diameter circle was mapped on the ground. In the center was a pedestal with a ball on top of it. The task was simple: retrieve the ball three times in 30 minutes using three fundamentally different approaches. No one or no thing could touch any of the space within the circle or the entire exercise ends in failure. We were provided access to a closet full of ropes, buckets, boards, etc. and were reminded that there was no room for failure. Any of the materials in the closet could be used once. This challenge inspired creativity and shared leadership amongst our group. We were able to successfully remove the ball three times in a record breaking 12 minutes.
Our final challenge was a vision walk. We were given 30 minutes to devise a strategy to retrieve a bandana suspended from a tree 100 yards in the distance—blindfolded. Every member of the group was blindfolded for the retrieval part of the process. This exercise involved seeing the problem, devising a plan as a group, and then working together to implement the plan. Our discussions focused on using resources wisely, and the importance of having a shared vision for the future. At the end of the exercise, when the bandana was successfully retrieved, our group each held the bandana and discussed our goals that we want to achieve while being part of FLAMEL.
By the end of our challenge, our group had shared experiences of trust and better relationships with each other. The challenges we faced moved us in the direction of higher-performance, which is needed as a FLAMEL scholar.