One of the activities in the leadership curriculum is the
Perceptually Inverted Navigation Task (PIN) illustrated in the photo on the right. Chris Kelley is wearing goggles which make everything appear to be upside down. His assignment is to direct his colleague Laura Whitlock to place a sticker on the chart right side up.
In the task, Chris is placed in a novel situation. He is unable to just do what needs to be done, simulating Chris being at a headquarters location and Laura being on site at a development laboratory or in a field sales office. Chris cannot simply travel to Laura's site, because he is managing
equally complex tasks at six other locations in addition to doing his
own work at his headquarters location. Thus, he cannot just do it himself, he must work through Laura (though it would be easier to do it himself if he could). Likewise, Chris must remember to direct Laura to every movement the opposite of what seems intuitive, simulating a change in plan.
Laura is placed in the situation of receiving constantly changing information from Chris as he figures out how to complete the task himself. Simulating again, rapid changes in corporate plans as executives and managers try to figure out how to thrive as the world changes around them.
During the workshop we discuss how this task was constructed to make it very difficult, what Chris could do to maintain Laura's morale and complete the task with a quality product and what Chris and Laura can do to team and lead effectively.
(Chris and Laura are both Ph.D. Graduate Students at North Carolina State University.)
Laura is currently a member of the Education By Entertainment Presentation Team, having recently led this activity at the American Psychological Association meeting in Washington DC.