LLOYD I. SEDERER, M.D.
is Medical Director of the New York State Office of Mental Health, Medical Editor for Mental Health for The Huffington Post, and Adjunct Professor at the Columbia/Mailman School of Public Health.
Full bio can be found here.
The six-minute TED talk, "Build a tower, build a team," by Tom Wujec, has been viewed well over 2 million times. In the video, we see small teams, from CEOs to recent kindergarten graduates, given 20 sticks of spaghetti, a yard of string, a yard of tape, one marshmallow, and 18 minutes to build the tallest, free standing tower they can with the marshmallow on top -- typically in competition with other teams.
This exercise has been used for team building around the world by organizations and management gurus. Teams that do the best found ways not to get locked into one idea or to wait until mounting the marshmallow until the very end because, untested, it was very apt to collapse the structure so laboriously built (and then time's up!). By the way, the kids did better than the CEOS.
Recently, in a day-long team building meeting of some 60 of my clinical colleagues, doctors and hospital administrators from 24 New York State public psychiatric hospitals, we used the tower building exercise to warm the group to problem solving about the challenges facing our hospitals and clinics (and to promote their leadership capabilities). After declaring the winner among the teams, and having a good time with the exercise, we talked about what we experienced and learned.
Real-life scenarios and authoritative information are written in a compassionate, reader-friendly way, including checklists to bring to a doctor’s appointment so you can ask the right questions. For readers who fear they will never see the light at the end of the tunnel, this book gives hope and a path forward.