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Made to Order

In a Nutshell
This is a fun, creative activity in which employees write their job descriptions in the style of a retail catalog. The activity helps employees to focus on the positive aspects of their jobs and on the value they bring to the organization.

Time 15 – 20 minutes
This can be done either in a group setting or an individual activity. If employees complete the activity on their own, get everyone together at some point to share results.

What You’ll Need
Several mail-order catalogs. Be sure to get ones that describe the merchandise in detail and that are aimed at a broad consumer base (e.g., a catalog for software will probably be too specialized). Catalogs for clothes, home furnishings, and general gifts tend to work best.

Make photocopies of the hand out (one per participant).

Participants will need pen and paper.

What to Do
Distribute the catalogs among your employees and tell them to use the product descriptions as a guideline for writing descriptions of their own jobs.

Tell them to imagine their own jobs as tangible goods-machines or objects-rather than people. They do not have to copy the catalog text; it’s just to give them ideas.

They should write as if they were looking to attract “buyers” to their job. Let them know that, of course, you are not looking to replace your employees. This is just a fun game to remind employees of the possible aspects of their jobs and of the value each person brings to the department and the organization. Encourage them not to be modest; they should highlight the key contributions of their jobs. Distribute the handout with the sample job description to all employees. After about 10 minutes, ask employees to read out their job descriptions, one at a time.

Tips for Success
Do this activity yourself-describing your own job ahead of time and share what you wrote with your employees.

Additional Ideas
Allow extra time for employees to draw a picture to accompany the written job description. Have enough colored pens for everyone to share. Collect the job descriptions and bind them together so you’ll have a light-hearted catalog of “jobs” in your department. Who knows when this might come in handy?

made to order


Date of publication: 2004

Publisher: McGraw Hill

Author: Vasudha K. Deming

Source: The Big Book of Leadership Games Vasudha K. Deming McGraw Hill, 2004 0-07-143525-5

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