Pegged – The Strategic Planning Systems Thinking Game

Method: All participants divide into 5 or 6 groups of equal sizes and each group gets its own peg board. The facilitator puts out a large # pegs of various heights and colors in the middle of the playing field. The simple goal of this innocuous game is to get as many sets of pegs in a row on your board at the end of the game. This is done by taking and swapping pegs in a variety of ways.

Looks pretty easy, but watch out, just when you think you’ve figured out the system out, the system that you are supposed to be managing may takes over and can easily take control away from individual players and teams. Finding the delicate balance between task and process is one secret to success.   

Objective: To manage multiple, complex variables, to think in a systems manner, to plan ahead and anticipate your own moves and the moves of others while predicting how these moves will affect your team, To consider the impact of Big team – Small team efforts, To consider whether collaboration (or competition) is most beneficial, To manage the task while forecasting the process, To use communication at all levels to leverage your position and achieve your goal in a competitive setting.

Learning Outcomes: Practicing systems thinking, anticipating the needs of others and strategically deciding how your teams movements will impact others, Balancing small team and big team effort, Assessing the reality of the situation and adjusting your course in a timely manner to influence the end results in your favor, listening to other team members and communication skills, leadership and risk taking, systems management and forecasting, short and long term planning and execution.

# of Players: 5 to18 participants per game, no limit on # of games
Length: 50 minutes + Debrief