Multi-National Leadership Development Program

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This seven-hour program was created to complement a week-long leadership development program for a global manufacturing organization. The participants were eight global leaders (two each from China and India, one from Germany and three from the USA).

All facilitation, language, and initiatives were customized to amplify and strengthen the existing organization’s leadership training curriculum.

*Mike Cardus was provided with all the content and leadership development programming for the organization.

Following research and interviews with the senior leadership, a fully customized leadership program was developed. The focus was on Global Communication and Collaboration and dealt with leadership relationship building, both inter- and intra-personal, team development skills, the ability to analyze others’ skills, and decisions made while in action.

  • Enhanced leadership capabilities, with an emphasis on collaborative skills
  • Increased reflective capacity, including self-reflection on their behavioral choices and the impact of those behaviors on their teams
  • New techniques and competencies for motivation and increased team effectiveness
  • Fun!

Leadership Development Program Activities


Gutterball served as an opening activity for the group. It offers insights into the needs that different team members have for information and detail, how people like to work in either a structured or unstructured approach to problem-solving and change, and how quickly and slowly people are willing to move ahead with a plan based on how much they know and understand about the solution.

Each team member is supplied with a piece of 1-1.5 foot long piece of PVC piping and a small ball. The group is challenged with rolling the ball by passing it through the piping around the entire circle in the fastest time possible.

Infinite Loops

Infinite Loops explores the leadership team communication process to direct reports and those that are being led. Creative, outside-the-box thinking is required, with a focus placed on the shared leadership amongst the group. The concept of working through a problem that seems to have no obvious solution is a valuable work skill. Retracing the steps between the initial formation of the puzzle, and finally solving the puzzle, provides a roadmap for future investigations and solutions to other problems.

This is a 2-round activity. In Round One, participants are placed with a partner; each partner has loops around their wrists connected by a 1 ½’ rope; the ropes are intertwined so that the partners are connected to one another. The object is to get free from your partner without taking the loops off your wrists. Round Two involves the entire group. The entire group is connected. The challenge is now a team challenge and includes getting free and also getting the entire team to be successful and to complete the task under a time constraint.

Key Punch

The team is challenged with solving a problem from which they are physically removed. Key Punch is used effectively in exploring quality problems from a leadership perspective; it is uniquely suited to this content since the participants are physically removed from the “problem” during the activity. The focus of this activity is on developing a plan that will allow the team to accomplish the task in the fastest time possible.

A series of numbers and letters are laid out in a square called the Key Punch. Participants must touch a random sequence of numbers and letters in the fastest time possible. They will next be asked to diagram and chart the defects in the analysis of the sequential touches. They will use data gained from the Key Punch to chart their progress and then resolve the causes for slow cycle time and defects per round.

The Great Nail Puzzle

This activity is presented as a think tank process. The group is divided into teams of three. Each sub-team is told that they must balance thirteen nails on the head of a single nail sticking out of a block of wood. They are given five minutes to experiment and come up with a plan for successful completion of the project. Then all groups are pulled together to discuss the sub-teams’ ideas for completion. The group must agree on a plan and complete the challenge as one team.

Circles of Influence

Negotiation is an issue that needs a good activity for practice. Circles of Influence was designed to drop leaders immediately into a situation with many possible solutions and approaches.

Leaders are separated into three or more locations. Each small leadership team must acquire resources and capital for their global region. The perceived inequities and the time pressure create a rich arena for experience and discussion. The leaders can choose to fight and steal internal resources and not dialog about an effective negotiation strategy, or they can realize that they are one organization and develop the most effective strategy for success.


The group is challenged to replicate a workplace environment. Instead of making high-quality products to be delivered to customers they are using mousetraps that must be arranged according to strict customer guidelines. The team is given tools (spoons, plates, mousetraps) and has time to delegate their responsibilities amongst team members for maximum success.

In processing, the leadership team will explore how they created their team goals, as well as what accountability structure was utilized to deal effectively with successes and failures.
The Path to Enlightenment

This activity focuses on leadership language, communication and explores global leadership communication, internal leadership communication, clarity of messages sent and interpretation of messages received.

The group is shown a large grid and handed the Path to Enlightenment riddle. The riddle uses a complicated code, somewhat like the word systems used for job descriptions, or organizational metrics. The team must decipher the code, using the riddle to cross the entire team through the grid. The riddle serves as a guideline that is set forth by leadership; the guideline is confusing, especially for those who are of different cultures and location (globally and physically) than the leader.

Puzzle Connection

Puzzle Connection served as a culmination of the day; it focuses on collaboration and decision making. Leaders practice problem solving and communication skills and increase their understanding of the need for constant communication between existing teams.

The group is broken into two or more teams, and is shown a puzzle they must complete by switching jobs and locations; the teams must act as one to succeed.

Good Bye Sudden Survey

This final activity involves all participants collecting and sharing useful information about what they have learned, how they plan to apply it, and how the workshop can be improved.

The group is split into teams; each team has a question about the Leadership Development day. The entire group has a limited time to gather and analyze data from all participants and present the information to the full group.