NMA Leaderlabs

The LeaderLabs are exciting, fast-paced scenario-based learning. In one hour, you and your team will be presented with a leadership challenge that begs for innovative solutions.

In order to run a LeaderLab you need to have at least 2 teams of 5-8 people… the more teams the better. You also need about one hour to conduct the lab. You can offer prizes to make it more interesting. Click on the URL address for the handouts and more detailed instructions.


Challenge: Your leadership team is on a business trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas in your company jet when unexpectedly it crashes in the mountains. You have 20 minutes or less to evacuate the plane before it explodes, and to bring along any items you will need to survive afterwards. Fortunately, your team has quickly compiled a list of available items that could help you, but you jointly need to decide what items you will need first and why. Don’t forget that time is running out…
Skills to practice: Set direction, prioritize requirements and deliver results.



Challenge: To qualify as a participant on APPRENTICE TEAM, your team must first successfully demonstrate its ability to implement and sell its product. Each of the competing teams will be assigned a product, and you have the next 20 minutes to put together an implementation plan for your product. You will also need to select a LEADER who will then brief your plan and an OBSERVER who will take notes on and summarize the team planning process.
Skills to practice: Define your product and customers, develop your applications and select your production and sales approach.



Challenge: Your group has recently lost its manager who took a higher-level job; and your Human Resource (HR) department has identified five potential replacement candidates who applied for the replacement posting. Under your company HR rules, your team will have the ultimate authority to select or reject any candidate. You must do so by coming up with five questions, which each candidate must answer and which will form the sole basis for his or her selection or rejection. Your team has 30 minutes to generate the five applicant questions.
Skills to practice: What characteristics should a good boss have? Why are these characteristics important? How can you tell that a candidate is a good boss?



Challenge: Your leadership team has been given the job of organizing a new joint venture by Boeing and Lockheed which will merge all Delta and Atlas launch vehicle activities into a single United Launch Alliance (ULA) that will support all future U.S. government launch requirements. This merger will significantly increase ULA efficiency and lower launch-vehicle costs by combining engineering staff from both companies and consolidating all launch-vehicle manufacturing in a single facility to enable lower production costs and more effective development engineering with major attendant cost savings to the customer in the limited government launch market. However, implementation of the merger requires relocation of over 2,000 Boeing and Lockheed employees to new locations (Denver, CO for engineering and Decatur, AL for manufacturing), so the morale of the impacted employees is low….
Your job as the ULA leadership team is to come up with a compelling VISION, a rallying MISSION and effective VALUES for the new company. You have 20 minutes to come up with your answers….
Skills to practice: Focus on the big picture, define the key goals, and specify the expectations.



Challenge: It’s Friday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. Your small proposal team is about to wrap up its WIDGET proposal which must be sent to reproduction before midnight; and all members of the team but you, the LEADER, are getting ready to leave for their front-row seats at the final NBA Championship game – a once-in-a-lifetime reward for their hard work on the proposal. Suddenly there’s a phone call from your boss…he has found a fatal error in your proposal that must be fixed before midnight, or your proposal will fail and your company could lose several million dollars. You cannot fix the proposal without all their help, so you must convince you team to stay and help. You have 20 minutes to do so before their van leaves for the ball game…so you must ACT FAST!
Skills to practice: Offer opportunities, overcome obstacles, and achieve agreement.



Challenge: You are the LEADER of a small team of dedicated and overworked employees, who have a plethora of valid excuses why they simply CANNOT take on any additional tasks. Yet your job as LEADER depends on your ability to convince one of these employees to take on a new critical effort that’s essential for your company success, without giving up any of his or her other jobs. You will thus need to successfully address the employee’s concerns, and get him or her to accept the additional task.
Skills to practice: Cover concerns, suggest solutions, and build buy-in.



Challenge: Your team has been working on a highly time-sensitive project for a very demanding customer. You have just learned that one of your providers will not be able to supply components on schedule, which means you will be unable to meet your deadline. This is not the first time that you have had this difficulty with this supplier or this customer. You had previously promised the customer that this would never happen again. You have also learned that the supplier knew of this delay weeks ago and did not inform you about it until now. Your customer will arrive in 20 minutes for a briefing on your status and corrective actions. You must determine a means to tell the customer what has happened without damaging the reputation of your team or your organization, and identify the top five actions your team will take (in priority order) to make sure this problem is fixed and that you will make up the delay.
Skills to practice: Take full responsibility, jointly find answers, and work as a team.



Challenge: Amy is a recent graduate who is working in an office which is primarily composed of men. While in a meeting, she suggests a new way to record risk items, her area of expertise. The rest of the team acknowledges her input by saying thank you, but then goes on talking about other topics. After this happens repeatedly, Amy has decided this job is not for her, and begins looking for another assignment. You are the leader of the team and realize what has happened. You are responsible for bringing the team together and making sure each person is permitted to contribute. What five specific actions should be taken by the team to get Amy back onboard and ensure considerations of her inputs.
Skills to practice: Respect all team members, act on all ideas, and ensure closure.



Challenge: Your team consists of a LEADER (one of your participants whom you select to be a corporate executive), an OBSERVER (also selected by you to be the executive’s assistant and liaison with your team) and several local employees. The LEADER and OBSERVER for each team leave the room to receive an urgent instruction from your company CEO which is to be implemented by your team. After the LEADER and OBSERVER have discussed the best way of implementing the team task, the OBSERVER is sent back into the room to communicate resultant instructions to your team using your company’s prescribed Pantomime Role Observations (PRO) process, while the LEADER remains outside the room. Your team members must figure out what their instructions are and how to best implement these instructions once these are communicated by the OBSERVER.
Skills to practice: Follow the rules, find a way, and learn to communicate.