Object of Play
Sitting through status meetings is boring, right? Well, then why do many of us go home and watch status reports for an hour or more every night?We watch news shows, ‘fake’ news shows, Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, ESPN’s SportsCenter, and many more. Something about those status reports must be working better than the ones we sleep through at work.StatusCenter is a ‘macro’ game structure that aims to apply the ‘rules’ of the TV status report game to the business status report game. The StatusCenter macro-game is populated with stand-alone games that can be linked throughout the meeting, following Gamestorming’s ‘opening, exploring, closing’ model.
Number of Players
4 to 40
Duration of Play
30 to 60 minutes for a weekly meeting; up to 4 hours for a quarterly or annual review
How to Play
Like TV, StatusCenter will link short game segments, in a manner that is interesting and time-efficient. While the segments are modeled after sports, news, or other television formats, they are equally effective for people who aren’t familiar with those metaphors.
- Question Balloons: Simulating the controlled question-asking mechanisms of status shows like Larry King’s ‘email questions’, this game lets attendees literally float a question. As questions are answered, balloons are popped, and any questions still remaining at the end of the meeting are visible at a glance.
- Top Scores: Simulating the ‘Headlines’ or ‘Scoreboard’, this game delivers business metrics quickly and succinctly, acting as a teaser for the rest of the meeting.
- 60-Second Update: Mimicking a ‘Highlights’ segment, this game delivers short updates by each member, aligning everyone. More questions can be ‘floated’ here.
- Project Jeopardy: Allows one or two in-depth updates on key subjects, while creating audience involvement for those who may already know the answers. Rotating the ‘host’ from meeting to meeting gives everyone a chance to say a little more about their own projects or progress.
- Crossfire: This segment provides drama, while giving a ‘safe’ environment for those that like to argue. Meeting attendees select a topic of interest during the previous week, and two people prepare to discuss it from two different viewpoints. This segment is a great way to explore potentially controversial ideas, learn about new products or technologies, or assess the competition’s latest move.
- In-depth Analysis <link here>: This longer segment provides space for an investigative report, formal presentation, or guest commentary. Consider inviting speakers who are of interest to the group but don’t typically come to the meetings.
- Trade Rumors: What are the hot rumors? Clearly delineated from the facts that are delivered in the status updates, these rumors generate interest and energy. Again, keep it short – 15 seconds each. Remember that a juicy rumor could become next weeks’ Crossfire or In-depth Analysis topic.
- Coming Attractions: What hot projects or decisions are coming up in the next week? What meetings should I attend? Give each participant 15 – 30 seconds to provide these ‘teasers’ that are quick and to the point.
- Question Balloons <link here>: Close out any questions that have not been addressed during the meeting.
- Cliffhanger: Use a suggestion box to choose the Crossfire and In-depth Analysis topics and participants for the next (or future) meeting. This builds drama and anticipation for the next meeting.
- We cannot recommend strongly enough that most status information should be pushed outside of the StatusCenter game. Dashboards, email updates, and the like should be used to distribute information that does not need to be reiterated with a captive audience.
- Alternate short ‘highlight’ games with longer ‘analysis’ games to satisfy audience members who want depth, while keeping the pace engaging.
- Stick to status subjects. Decisions, brainstorming, and other topics – no matter how legitimate – should taken off-line. Even Crossfire, which can be used to present two different opinions, should be seen as a way of exploring ideas, not as a way to come to a decision.
- Add, delete, or replace these games based on time and need.
- There are many proponents of standing status meetings (often called ‘huddles’). Try this method.
- Try ‘co-hosts,’ like many news shows.
StatusCenter will be most successful if roles are clear and attendees have prepared in advance. Consider creating a template for 60-Second Update and Project Jeopardy to help attendees understand what kind of information to include. By moving basic status information to pre-meeting communications and then breaking the meeting itself into fast-paced chunks, you can transform a meeting that people tend to tune out of into one they will definitely want to watch.