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View Full Version : What a simply elegant exercise


NousDefionsDoc
02-12-2005, 12:50
There was a selection exercise they used for OSS operatives during WWII. The candidate was placed in charge and had two "helpers" under him. They were given a set of tinker toy-like objects and a schematic and told to build what was on the drawing. The catch was the candidate couldn't touch it, only give directions to the "helpers". And the "helpers" were instructed to be particularly unhelpful. One always had a better way and opposed the directions by the candidate. The other would do everything wrong. They would talk to themselves in a foreign language, etc.

I have been thinking about this a lot and I really like it. It teaches maintaining calm with increasing frustration levels. Good for working with indig. I also think it could be a valuable teaching tool for subordinates to get a taste of the burden of leadership without any real risk. Just have one of the "helpers" demonstrate the negative characteristics displayed by the person receiving the lesson.

As for the OSS, reportedly only one candidate ever got the thing built. A big Texan that apparently knocked the shit out of both the helpers as soon as they started their games. LOL

CPTAUSRET
02-12-2005, 19:13
There was a selection exercise they used for OSS operatives during WWII. The candidate was placed in charge and had two "helpers" under him. They were given a set of tinker toy-like objects and a schematic and told to build what was on the drawing. The catch was the candidate couldn't touch it, only give directions to the "helpers". And the "helpers" were instructed to be particularly unhelpful. One always had a better way and opposed the directions by the candidate. The other would do everything wrong. They would talk to themselves in a foreign language, etc.

I have been thinking about this a lot and I really like it. It teaches maintaining calm with increasing frustration levels. Good for working with indig. I also think it could be a valuable teaching tool for subordinates to get a taste of the burden of leadership without any real risk. Just have one of the "helpers" demonstrate the negative characteristics displayed by the person receiving the lesson.

As for the OSS, reportedly only one candidate ever got the thing built. A big Texan that apparently knocked the shit out of both the helpers as soon as they started their games. LOL


I like it!

Know any big Texans? ;)

Terry

Roguish Lawyer
02-12-2005, 19:25
I have been thinking about this a lot and I really like it. It teaches maintaining calm with increasing frustration levels. Good for working with indig. I also think it could be a valuable teaching tool for subordinates to get a taste of the burden of leadership without any real risk. Just have one of the "helpers" demonstrate the negative characteristics displayed by the person receiving the lesson.

Sounds like something I could use. Sometimes I want to strangle some of the lawyers who work for me. ;)

casey
02-12-2005, 19:51
Sounds like something I could use. Sometimes I want to strangle some of the lawyers who work for me. ;)

RL, Don't think so surgical - feel free to expand your horizons/similar target group!

Bill Harsey
02-12-2005, 20:02
I like that, as long as I'm never involved in the game/test.

I wish Col. A was around to comment further on this.

You can't take these Texas kids anywhere.

edited to add, " Bet the guys causing the trouble were engineers, you know, the forerunners of Geeks."

Roguish Lawyer
02-13-2005, 14:02
RL, Don't think so surgical - feel free to expand your horizons/similar target group!

LOL -- I already hunt plaintiff's lawyers for a living. :lifter

Razor
02-14-2005, 08:31
Yeah, but do you have any 'trophies' on your wall? :D

Roguish Lawyer
02-14-2005, 10:39
Yeah, but do you have any 'trophies' on your wall? :D

I actually do have a few trophies, but not the kind you are thinking about. Copies of judgments and sanctions awards and such.

Jimbo
02-14-2005, 10:45
I have experience with a similar type test. In the one I did, you had to guide assembly of a widget to a helper who was blindfolded. While the frustration levels produced were not as high as I imagine they would be with the OSS task, the exercise did help you learn to be very precise in your instructions and to try to understand the problem set as the blindfolded person understood it.

Razor
02-14-2005, 11:22
I actually do have a few trophies, but not the kind you are thinking about. Copies of judgments and sanctions awards and such.

Sorry, only heads count (scalps receive a 'good effort--maybe next time' credit).

Razor
02-14-2005, 11:27
The candidate was placed in charge and had two "helpers" under him. They were given a set of tinker toy-like objects and a schematic and told to build what was on the drawing. The catch was the candidate couldn't touch it, only give directions to the "helpers". And the "helpers" were instructed to be particularly unhelpful. One always had a better way and opposed the directions by the candidate. The other would do everything wrong. They would talk to themselves in a foreign language, etc.


NDD, isn't this test commonly referred to as 'parenthood'? :)

Roguish Lawyer
02-14-2005, 11:31
NDD, isn't this test commonly referred to as 'parenthood'? :)

Dude, be a man and tell her to stay out of the room when you're putting something together. Except when she's bringing another beer. :rolleyes:

:D

(Just kidding, honey! ;) )

Razor
02-14-2005, 11:38
Are you kidding? She's watching my back for ambush when I'm try to work with the mutinous little savages. :)

jatx
02-14-2005, 12:00
RL, I am very disappointed. No eagle feathers for the ego wall? :D

Sacamuelas
02-14-2005, 12:06
NDD, isn't this test commonly referred to as 'parenthood'? :)
LOL
I am with you Razor... my 18 mos twins perform this exercise on me daily. This would be no different than the battle I face every night after work. Try feeding and trying to teach twin monsters to feed themselves... of course, the hard part is completing the task without having to get out the pressure washer for the kitchen afterwards. :D

NousDefionsDoc
02-14-2005, 18:01
I have experience with a similar type test. In the one I did, you had to guide assembly of a widget to a helper who was blindfolded. While the frustration levels produced were not as high as I imagine they would be with the OSS task, the exercise did help you learn to be very precise in your instructions and to try to understand the problem set as the blindfolded person understood it.

I like this version too. Imagine both of them together. :eek:

SnafuRacer
02-14-2005, 22:11
I had a similar experiment in a sociology class I took in college. The professor sat me on a table with my back to another student who had a desk in front of him. The professor assembled a simple puzzle composed of 6 objects of different shapes and colors. He told me that the other student has the same puzzle, that was not assembled. I was to guide the other guy into assembling the puzzle by providing directions. So I start telling him to get the triangular blue piece here, and join the square red one there, and the green rectangle to the right and so forth. We stayed at this for a good 10 min. The other student was not to speak, only to follow my directions. At the end of the experiment, he told us to compare the results. His puzzle was a mess, but more importantly, his puzzle was composed of 6 objects of DIFFERENT shapes and colors than mine. He was totally confused when I was giving him directions, and completly frustrated with my "stupidity" until he saw what puzzle I had myself.
The professor's lesson from this was that top excecutives and managers must be aware that the people at the bottom might not have all the information needed to accomplish their tasks, as well as the necessary guidance to accomplish correctly.There has to be some middle manager to translate the orders from higher down to his men as well as provide direct management.
Of course, it's not always that academia relates directly to corporate america, but sometimes, some concepts are rather enlightening.