3-Minute Activity to Boost Performance

This 3-minute activity will help you boost performance and positivity for your team as you kick off the New Year!

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Two weeks ago, as I finished a training session with a group, I did this quick 3-minute activity I’d read about, but never executed before. I took a risk…and it paid off! When we finished, everybody was SMILING, LAUGHING, TALKING, and walking out of the conference room INSPIRED to intentionally be better going forward. Do you want that for your team?!  If so, I’m sharing the all details below of exactly what we did. I hope this will serve as a great tool for you. Know that I’m wishing you even greater success than we had!

The client I was working with this day, we’re on session 11/20 with them. Once a month, I come in and lead four sessions with this client. Every single employee is exposed to the same content, applied at their particular level of responsibility in the organization. I share that detail with you so you know that I had the opportunity to do this activity MULTIPLE times in a row and every single time it was successful. Here’s how it went down:

3 Minutes to Boost Performance

1.  I ask for a volunteer. 

In all cases, some people were MORE THAN READY to volunteer. And while some people were looking at me, a few even raising their hands…many others – in an intentional effort to BE OVERLOOKED – stared a hole through the concrete floor being sure NOT to make eye contact with me for fear of unintentionally sending the message, “PICK ME”!

Here’s the deal, you can take the volunteers if you want. Or, you might try another technique I’ve used successfully several times..it usually gets a laugh and lightens the mood.

I quickly say to the group: I need a volunteer! To identify a person, I want you to look around the room and figure out who is wearing the most blue. 

Everyone starts looking at themselves (taking inventory of their own clothing). Then, they laugh (and sweat), as their eyes quickly dart across the room HOPING to find someone else wearing more blue than them. 

Once the person with the most blue on has been identified, they typically smile and shake their head, often even backing up their chair as if they are going to come up to the front of the room.  However, quickly I ask them to “hold on.” 

The room gets quiet.

Slowly, I tell the person that “because you wore the most blue, you – in fact – do NOT have to participate in this activity. Instead, you now get to pick the person who will be participating!” And the whole room bursts into nervous laughter every time! 

2. Once the participant is selected, let’s name them “Jeff” for today’s purposes, he comes to the front, and then I deliver directions. I hand him a sticky note and ask him to place it as high as he can on the wall. 

He looks at me, shrugs, and says “Okay.” Jeff walks over, raises his arm above his head, and places the sticky note on the wall, then turns back to me for approval.

Outwardly curious, tapping my chin, I ask him, “Is that as high as you can reach?” 

Typically people shrug their shoulders and say “Eh, maybe a little higher.” However, in this particular case, before Jeff can answer, I turn to the group, “Do you think that is as high as he can reach?!”

Now, aside from a few jokes cracked in all good fun by Jeff’s colleagues, I hear: 

“Jump, Jeff!” 

“Can he stand on something?!”

And ultimately, the group agrees that YES, Jeff can reach higher.

3. To raise the stakes, and add a little more excitement, I don’t answer their questions. Instead, I respond by sharing that I have a PRIZE for Jeff if he can place another sticky note higher on the wall than the last one (insert your own prize; make it worth it! Amazon gift cards, cash, a day off, whatever they would all agree was increased-effort-worthy.)

Then, with the stakes now higher… goodness – the crowd goes wild! Jeff is now smiling, shaking his head yes, motioning for me to hand him another stick note so they can try to get it higher to win the prize. Everyone is into it at this point…it’s all good fun!

4. I ask the group to help me cheer Jeff on as I hand him another sticky note. In unison, everyone starts clapping, hollering, hyping Jeff up – “You’ve got this! I know you can jump, Jeff!” 

My favorite thing that happened in every single class that day was that someone in the group brought Jeff a chair to stand on. So, Jeff stands on the chair, sticks the note up higher, and everyone cheers. He comes down, and walks over to me so I deliver on my end of the deal – the prize. 

As Jeff makes his way back to his seat, everyone congratulates him, pats him on the back, and laughs…they’re all just having a good time at this point. 

5. Then I finish this short exercise by saying, 

“The world isn’t waiting on us – we’re all moving into the New Year. Now, NO, I’m not finishing this session off by asking you to make a New Year’s resolution. Just the thought of that makes some of your skin crawl! LOL

The reality is that you still have breath in your lungs, people to impact, and opportunities to take advantage of while you’re here.

THIS can be your best year yet…and don’t let the thought of achieving that stress you out because you don’t have to totally uproot and radically change your lifestyle. 

Instead, simply choose to be more intentional about being better, and choose to reach higher going forward. And, make your commitment known to all the people around you! 

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Consider this… if you simply chose to be more intentional going forward, how much higher could you reach? How much more could you achieve? What could you win? How many more people – just like in this room – can you make smile and laugh? 

And, what you may also see is that when you choose to be better, choose to reach higher, when you commit to it – MOST of the time…

— People will cheer you on. They’ll support you! Heck – it’s likely that people who hold the door to a massive opportunity for you get up, come over, and give you a tool or an opportunity or “stick a chair right under your feet” so you can step up, go faster, and get further than you ever could on your own.

You can choose to do better, choose to be better, and choose to lead yourself, your coworkers, your employees, your organization, your family, your friends, and your community to a better place. If you simply choose to be intentional about being better, through one choice, you’ll lead yourself, and boost performance for yourself and everyone you interact with to a better future. 

And I don’t know about you, but that’s a life worth living, a life to be proud of. I’m rooting for you and believing the best is yet to come for you!”

The reality is that I BELIEVE THAT FOR YOU, TOO!!! All you have to do is CHOOSE! 

will you choose to boost performance?

If you use this activity to boost performance, I’d love to hear how it goes–shoot me an email at alyson@vanhooser.com. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

Alyson Van Hooser

Alyson Van Hooser, Pres & CEO, Van Hooser Leadership. With the grit that only comes from tough experiences, Alyson has learned a thing or two about personal and professional success. From her management experience with Walmart, as an elected city council member, bank manager — all before the age of 30 — Alyson has wisdom well beyond her years! Her podcast, Stake: The Leadership Podcast, offers a fresh perspective on leadership and helps multiple generations successfully work together! Connect with Alyson on LinkedIn.


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