The Integrative Exercise: When push comes to shove

I didn’t know they were called “Integrative Exercises”, but I had heard before coming to IMD about the infamous 48-hour-straight assignment that  encompassed much more work than humanly possible, blood, sweat and tears. Or so I thought!

A friend from the 2015 class about a month ago said to me that I would love the integrative exercise. I thought to myself: “Either he is crazy, or he doesn’t know me at all.” Guess what? He was right! I did love it!!!

By saying I loved it, I don’t mean that it was easy, simple or that I’d do it again on my free time 🙂 but it is definitely something I’ll cherish from my IMD memories.

Our group tried to enter the exercise with full power and a clean slate. We had feedback sessions prior to the start and tried to learn about what worked better for us as a group as we advanced through the regular class assignments. We agreed that it would be tough and we would get stressed and committed to help each other cool off if things got ugly.

I won’t say it never got ugly, but considering the situation and lack of sleep (2,5 hours each night, plus a 2hour break mid exercise) I think we did a great job at keeping together as a group.

One of the high points was right after the second night dinner… we felt the energy going low and still had a LOT of work to do. We decided to put a power song to cheer us up and get the energy going. Then one of my group mates had the idea of going around spreading the energy to the other groups and we did a chair tour:

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Not everybody loved it though hahah but it took us just 10 minutes and when we were back, the group was energized and ready to start another long shift! (I’d definitely recommend it to future classes.)

Nicolas had the cool idea of shooting us the entire time! Here’s a peek at our room – or should I say our home – during the exercise:

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This experience taught me so much! I learned a lot through the board’s feedback and pitfalls that were absolutely real life applicable. Learned about myself and how far I can push my body. Learned how my actions can trigger unintentional consequences in the group, and the other way around. Learned about the incredible power of collaboration and trust.

And my final lesson came later with the grade:

During the exercise I really felt we were doing great work. We were very much committed to it and pushing to get the best out of every part. The first board meeting seemed to have gone well and we worked super hard on the changes for the second board. However, I felt from the board’s final feedback that they had not liked it very much. I had spent 47:30 hours happy and excited and after the final presentation I was super down…

Guess what? I was wrong yet again. We got a very high grade! And I learned I should trust myself and my group yet some more 🙂

Thank you so much, guys. You rock!

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The team: Roraj Pradhananga, Philipp DeAngelis, Vladimir Petrenko, Luca Gianaschi, Nicolas Martinez and me 🙂

Au revoir,

Sílvia Simões