Resilience – avoiding the “last straw”

Here’s an activity to get your team thinking about resilience and supporting others before they reach the “last straw”.

Start by asking whether people have heard the story of the Arab camel owner who was rushing to market and because he wanted to sell as much straw as he could, he loaded the camel’s hump higher and higher and higher until finally with one last piece of straw, the camel collapsed – it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Then ask them to stand in a circle and tell a shared story about a day in the life of the team, i.e. each person describes one incident (and each must be different and true). You can start the story with a bit of a warm up: Just last week I got out of bed and the first thing I did was kick my toe on the door jamb, ouch it hurt …and then, in the shower I splashed soap in my eye, boy it stung …and then, I burnt the toast, yuck I had to throw it out and it was the last two slices of toast …and then, I rushed off but just as I turned the corner, my bus pulled away from the bus stop and I had to wait 20 minutes for the next one …and then, there was an accident on the motorway so I was half an hour late into the office …and then, I tripped on the way to my desk and spilled coffee on my shirt …and then …. [hand to the next person who has to think of a situation and so it goes around the group].

Keep going until everyone groans, then ask each person to point to “the last straw” for them.

Then get them in small groups and discuss whether and how they notice the mounting distress in themselves and others and capture strategies for de- stressing and support that are appropriate to the team.

Create a mind map and put it in a prominent spot as a reminder for the team.

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