Serge’s Two-Minute Assessment Exercise

Why did I put together an Arithmetic Quiz Builder? It’s part of an exercise I’ve been doing with my teams over the past few years. For lack of a more clever name, I just call it the Two-Minute Assessment Exercise. The exercise is intended to help my folks quickly review, assess, and synthesize concepts around new websites and applications. All it takes is just two minutes a week. At each weekly staff meeting, we have a rotation wherein one of the team members will go to some random website or app (we use StumbleUpon for this). The team member then has:

  • 30 seconds to click through and explore the site
  • 30 seconds to explain the site to his colleagues
  • 30 seconds to share his impressions/likes/dislikes/suggestions
  • 30 seconds to propose a value proposition that an eBay company would bring to that site/app or vice versa

There’s an optional 1-2 minute discussion amongst the rest of the team afterwards.

Here’s where the quiz comes in. When working with a new team, I have them take a basic arithmetic quiz at the beginning of the quarter. Really simple addition, subtraction, and multiplication of single digits. I select enough questions so that it’s virtually impossible for them to finish in the time allotted (say 500 questions in 3 minutes). We take note of the score and do Two-Minute Assessments for a quarter. At the end of the quarter I have them take the exact same test. Here’s the crazy part. In the six years or so I’ve done this, my teams have consistently scored double-digit percentage better by the end of the quarter. Really trips them out. It’s got something to do with neural pathways, synaptic bridges, and synectics.

I have a bunch of exercises like this that I’ll share over the next few posts. The end result of these exercises is the development of a discipline amongst my teams to be able to look at seemingly disparate systems and synthesize novel concepts and solutions. Try it, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.