Need to Login? Click here for accounts
We enhance individual and organizational performance through the application of Personality Theories.

Group Exercises

Clock Card Exercise

Nov 14th, 2011

Overview and General Goal of Exercise

This exercise is designed to allow participants to physically simulate the dynamic nature of mental processes in a problem-solving context. Participants will literally "walk through" their psyche’s pattern for problem solving. As participants "move" from one mental process to the next, they will "see" how others with various reported Type Codes use a different dynamic to solve problems and make decisions.

When the exercise is completed, participants should have a new appreciation for diverse perspectives and an increased tolerance for thought processes that differ from their own.


1) Prior to the introduction of the exercise, post signs marking the four mental processes in the corners of the room. There should be one corner for each mental process and the corners should be set up in a clockwise pattern. The order of the processes should be:

a. Sensing

b. iNtuiting

c. Thinking

d. Feeling

2) Ensure that participants have a solid understanding of the problem solving theory and the "clock" model. Explain:

a. We are using a time model to represent the amount of energy dedicated to each mental process.

b. Notice that each of your clock cards indicates an amount of time that a person with your Type Code would hypothetically dedicate to a particular mental process. These are arbitrary times used illustrate a point. In real life, individuals will not follow this actual pattern.

c. Remember, models provide platforms for understanding complex concepts. They do not constitute reality.

3) Handout "clock cards" according to the participants’ stated Type Code.

4) Give participants the following instructions:

a. We are going to "walk through" an exercise that shows us how each person uses a different progressive pattern for problem solving.

b. To do this we are going to simulate a one-hour problem-solving period. This is an arbitrary timeframe used to illustrate the model.

c. Notice the signs posted around the room. There is a sign for Sensing, iNtuiting, Thinking and Feeling.

d. During this exercise, we will all begin the problem solving process in the Sensing corner and end in the Feeling corner. We will follow the progression provided in the problem-solving model: Sensing, iNtuiting, Thinking, and finally Feeling.

e. We will move at different times, according to the times indicated on your clock.

f. As facilitator, I will "speed up" the one-hour timeframe by counting off the time in four-minute increments. Example:
12:04, 12:08, 12:12 and so on.

g. Look at your clock. When your clock indicates that you need to move from Sensing to iNtuiting, move to the iNtuiting corner. Each Type Code shows different times. Examples:
The INTJ clock moves to iNtuiting at 12:04. The ISTJ clock moves to iNtuiting at 12:24.

h. Each Type Code shows different time patterns, so be sure to pay attention to each time shift.

i. I may interrupt the "count down" to discuss observations or process information.

5) Ask participants to move to the Sensing corner.

6) Begin the count down.

7) Interrupt the exercise to process as needed.

8) After all participants complete the full problem solving cycle, debrief on the exercise with the entire group. Then have the people go to the corner corresponding to their dominant (greatest time). Ask them to examine what that function provides and ask them what would happen if they used it too much. Then have them look toward the corner corresponding to their inferior (least time) and ask them what would happen if they don’t use it enough. If working with an intact team, ask them to develop a process for ensuring they use each function appropriately.


Normal times to interrupt are:

1) Before anyone moves have the participants look at the back of their cards and find the descriptions for each of the eight functions. Then have them look under their clock to see which type of sensing they prefer. Talk about the differences. (Add this type of discussion at each station when the majority of the people are at that station.)

2) When the first group moves from Sensing to Intuition. Talk about how the two processes differ.

3) When there are only one or two people at a process talk about how easy it is for them to feel disrespected or devalued and mentally check out.

4) When there are some people at Intuition and some at Thinking talk about the tension between seeking more information and trying to come to closure.

5) If wanting the work with the 8 functions instead of 4 preferences, have the participants hold their cards just below their eyes when the process is introverted and at their waist when it is extraverted.

Using the exercise without the clock cards:

            Give participants a 3x5 card or something to record when they are to move positions.

            Identify their dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior functions or provide material that shows them their dynamic patterns.

            Have the participants allocate 24 minutes to the dominant, 20 minutes to the auxiliary, 12 minutes to the tertiary, and 4 minutes to the inferior. 

            Direct them to start at 12:00 and add the time they would spend at Sensing.  Have them note that the new time is when they will depart the sensing corner and move to the intuiting corner. 

            Now they should add the time they are to spend in intuition to their arrival time.  This time is now their departure time from intuition and arrival time at thinking. 

            They should add the time they are to spend at think to their arrival time at thinking to determine when they are to depart to feeling.

            Once they have their arrival time at feeling they are ready to experience the exercise.

Purchase the Clock Cards.

[Group Exercises index]