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How the Game is Used


Our natural instincts, family upbringing, formal education, work and life experiences, religious and political affiliations, our gender and race, and many other factors make each of us a unique individual who sees the world differently than others. Performing in a team requires that we adjust our behaviors and attitudes to those of the team, that we change the way we do things, and do them the way the team requires. How do we take a diverse group of participants and lead them into the attainment of a uniform purpose? Yan-koloba requires that people harmonize. Moving the blocks around the circle, each player understands that success depends on his/her concentration and personal commitment to team success, regardless of the cultural and physical appearance of who passes the block to him and whom he passes his block to.

The end result is the smooth, continuous, simultaneous and rhythmic circulation of blocks that we observe from one player to the other. The game does not highlight a looser therefore everyone wins. In Yan-koloba, there is no single individual’s way. There is only one way, the team’s way.

Understanding Each Other
After a training session during which I used Yan-koloba to demonstrate cultural diversity understanding, an African-American man approached me and shared a discovery. He told me how he loved the game and asked if I remembered the lady who was sitting at his left. I told him that I did. He added, “That’s my boss and I thought she did not like me at all.” I asked why he had that impression. He said that she barely responds to him when he greets her in the morning, that he thought she did not like him. He asked me, “Did you see how during the game we were laughing together and she touched me a couple times on my shoulder?” He finally admitted that he was wrong to think that his boss did not like him. She just had not had an opportunity to express herself differently. Yan-koloba created the opportunity for colleagues to better know each other. That is the power of Yan-koloba. It helps revise and put various workplace issues into the right perspective.


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