Debriefing Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is where we continue to mine organizational development gold. And there is plenty of gold to mine if we can act to do things more collaboratively and with better planning, alignment, and communications.
People have fun playing the Lost Dutchman exercise and problem solving and even competing but when the sugar hits the fan in the debriefing, they realize how they missed the message of collaboration and optimization, and that they played well as a team but not so well as a group. And it is the overall group results that are most important — who cares who won if our overall success was sub-optimized?
With that as a framework and because I am working up a new powerpoint debriefing toolkit for our game, my thought was to share a feedback mechanism that has a wide variety of constructs and applications for impacting accountability and collective engagement. Since I reference it briefly in the powerpoint, I thought to expand upon it in here for my general readers, customers and colleagues. It is a general tool for driving more active involvement and feedback, one you can easily adapt to any training program with a slight twist of metaphor.
The goal of the Dutchman game is simply expressed:
This message happens repeatedly in the introduction and this visual is printed on business card stock used during the debriefing. We give these cards out as a tool to reinforce the overall theme — note the WE, because the game is focused on optimizing overall ROI.
The predictable result of play, though, can be expressed with this illustration:
Tabletops often choose to compete and focus on their own results and thus they do not collaborate much and focus on optimizing ROI for the group, the WE part of this is bigger than that tabletop. If collaborating, they can often improve overall results 20% or 30% with no other changes. If competing, they do not help the other teams improve their results.
In addition to tabletop and group discussions around issues and opportunities, it is often useful to generate a bit more kinesthetic feedback and accountability from the post-game review of play, so we sometimes choose to have people write on the back of those cards. We can do things like this:
- Pick someone in the room who you think could choose to improve their teamwork and give them a specific suggestion as to what they might do differently. Put their name on the top and an actionable idea in the body. You can be anonymous if you wish.
- Select one good idea from what we discussed and write it on the card. We will collect the cards and summarize the ideas back to you as part of our followup.
- Give ME (the actual company Expedition Leader and not the exercise facilitator) ONE GOOD IDEA about what I should do differently to help our organization improve its performance. It can be signed or anonymous but please make it valuable!
- Write down one good idea that you want to implement in the next couple of weeks and put that card into your wallet. Expect an email from me on (date) to remind you to look at your card and see if you have been able to accomplish that idea.
The cards are thus a flexible tool for getting one more behavioral commitment to apply to the group dynamics, and followup is certainly the key to installing any kinds of organizational change from a training results.
The cards can be randomly collected or the collection assigned to the Team Leader for gathering so that you can get a card from each player. If everyone contributes, it generates a bit more social pressure to actually do something differently; it is one more grain of sand on the scale of commitment.
The idea is to use these cards to stimulate thinking about specific desired behaviors that can be changed or improved and that would have impacts on the collective, on the entire group so that it can operate more better faster to improve overall results.
If we continue to do things the same way,
we can continue to expect the same results…
For the FUN of It!
Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.
One of the best teambuilding exercises in the world, as rated by his users, is The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, which focuses on leadership, collaboration, alignment and focuses on implementing the collective performance optimization ideas.
See user survey results for Lost Dutchman here: https://performancemanagementcompanyblog.com/2016/02/15/lost-dutchmans-gold-mine-team-building-exercise-survey-results/
See Scott’s LinkedIn profile here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/scottsimmerman
Also published on Medium.