The Glass-Clinking Method
This convivial experiment is a neat way to explain Euler's Law
- The model of a tetrahedron can help to explain the benefits of thinking in fours.
- Some find it helpful and fascinating, but others are intimidated by a geometrical figure.
- This playful experiment is an alternative that can be an icebreaker on many levels.
- Select at least 4 volunteers, preferably strangers representing different departments, interests, types or backgrounds.
- Give each volunteer a wine or beer glass, then ceremoniously fill each with a festive beverage.
- Ask an accountant/s to estimate the per capita cost of this experiment.
- Ask 2 of the 4 volunteers to clink their glasses together, then point out that:
- a) You still have the original investments (2 employees + 2 intact drinks)
- b) You may now have an additional level of synergy (e.g. rapport) between the 2 investments.
- c) Even if you can't see the additional asset yet (represented by the 'clink') it cost nothing to arrange.
- d) Emphasise that this is not a sales pitch for alcohol. It exemplifies how relational thinking can create a free gift.
- A plus B can give you C (which you didn't have before)...yet you still have A and B.
- Point out that, at this stage, you now still have more (tangible) assets than synergies, so we need a profit.
- Ask a third volunteer to join the first pair. Ask the audience how many clinks the toasting trio will make.
- Wait until everyone agrees the answer, then get the drinkers to confirm the theory by clinking one another.
- Point out that the company now has an additional 2 free gifts (assets) and ask whether we are in profit....
- Obviously, we have broken even (3 existing assets and 3 new ones). Ask how many clinks one more drinker will make.
- Wait until the audience agrees a number. Ask the fourth drinker to step forward....test out the theory.
- Point out that we all heard 6 clinks from 4 drinkers and that we are now 'in profit'.
- Another way to explain this is that a quartet makes 6 times more synergy than a duet....etc. etc.