Performance Management Company Blog

Ideas on People and Performance, Team Building, Motivation and Innovation

Category: business team building exercises Page 1 of 8

Teamwork: Things Can All Play Out with Everyone Being Comfortable!

You Don’t Have to Build, Shoot, Cook, Find Things, Find A Way Out, Be Physically Challenged or Be a Loser, Sing, or Even Be Especially Clever! You Don’t Even Have to Sit Still Unless You Want To!

The above points can all be true, however, given today’s climate for sensationalizing corporate adventures and team building scenarios, too many people are placed in situations that lead to personal discomfort and feelings of inadequacy, thereby creating scenarios that do not lead to organizational improvement or improve team effectiveness.

And why? What necessitates overdoing something that could so much more easily be handled with care and consideration for everyone’s comfort while also creating a fun and solid learning experience? Why not simply create a fun environment that supports teamwork and performance improvement? Why test individuals in a team building environment?

Learning happens best when people feel secure and the challenges presented are within their abilities. Of course, pushing people beyond what they think they can do may build confidence if they succeed, but this isn’t a necessary option for strengthening organizational culture or building a more collaborate workplace.

Thirty years ago, I was intrigued by a team building game for organizations that offered both fun and learning all done within a tabletop setting. This is the kind of stuff most of us grew up with—board games. Seeing this as a unique and purposeful learning tool, I enthusiastically became the first USA facilitator / seller for it.  However, with repeated developmental deliveries, I quickly realized that their game design fell short of reaching the full potential that I felt it could fulfill.

This is how The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine team building exercise came to be because after suggesting to the creators of the game that I was representing, that it needed more substance and a better design within in order to create that all important “ah ha!” that happens when a connection is made from one thing to another, they refused to make changes to their game. (more)

Recognizing the strength and inherent qualities of using a boardgame as an organizational learning tool, I began my journey with the designing and continuous continuous improvement of Dutchman. I wanted it to be the memorable game that I knew would work not only as a pleasurable experience but also one designed with the proper mechanics so that players would understand how their game behaviors and outcomes align with what happens in their workplace.

Now, all these decades later, Dutchman still remains a relevant and universally appreciated approach to getting people away from their workplace so that they can experience camaraderie, an engaging challenge, teamwork, group and leadership dynamics, competition and collaboration factors, strategic planning and elements of communication that happen though the play of a compelling game. (user survey) Its dynamic debriefing, however, is what truly makes Dutchman loved and trusted by our users because it gives participants insight into how their behaviors are crucial to organizational and personal change and improvement.

Our users love Dutchman. Many have run it for dozens of years
for a variety of developmental purposes.

Yes, lots of people enjoy the great outdoors and various types of challenges that offer a different twist from their day-to-day experiences, but the beauty of a game like Dutchman is that it doesn’t put people in a compromising position should they feel unsafe or unfit or too old to enjoy what is put in front of them. Everyone has played board games and while Dutchman would be described as much more than just a game, it is a more familiar setting than climbing ropes, shooting arrows, walking over hot coals or being locked in an escape room. And, it’s an easy bombproof tool to set up and deliver, as it includes all the instructions and ideas that will make it successful. You can even use your own personnel to facilitate the game!

A quick overview of Dutchman:

  • Everything needed is included in the game materials (you may wish to add your own props for décor to the room)
  • No need for participants to bring special clothing or equipment for the game
  • No physical challenges will be placed on anyone
  • Total time required for Dutchman introduction, play and debriefing is about 3.5 hours
  • No teams lose or die in this game; it’s about optimizing for the best outcome
  • The debriefing is flexible and can be designed to address specific issues or ideas
  • It’s inexpensive to run and can be either rented or purchased
  • Dutchman plays with any size group from 8 to 800+
  • It’s a valuable investment in organizational improvement

And, quite simply, it creates a feel-good-for-all learning experience for your organization without jeopardizing anyone’s comfort zone!

Here is the last bit: We FULLY support you in your purchase or rental of the exercise. You get unlimited free help through emails or calls to reach the point where you feel comfortable in running the exercise and focused with your key debriefing themes and targeted desired outcomes. Actually, we wish more of our users would talk with us, something that our very extensive included support materials seems to preclude.

Your goal is to, “Mine as much as WE can!
Our goal is to, “Make teams optimally successful.”

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products like Square Wheels®.
Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful effective learning tools.

See the powerful new teambuilding game, Seven Seas Quest, Saviors of Cultura

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company

 

Where can I buy The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine?

Performance Management Company is the designer and main distributor of the team building simulation, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. We started using the exercise in 1993 and decided to package and sell very usable designs of this game without the normally required certification or annual licenses or per-participant fees.

Users would buy the exercise at a one-time coast, receive the delivery and training information in powerpoint, pdf and other common formats and access as much free support as they desired. Over the 26 years of distribution, we have packaged the training and support information so that very few questions are directed our way.

(I miss many of those conversations and even the people who promise to call me after a purchase generally never call! I can name names, but I won’t…)

Performance Management Company was started in 1984 by Dr. Scott Simmerman and Joan Simmerman. PMC was initially a training and consulting firm focused on people and performance, with customer service quality being a driving theme. You can read a good deal of the biography and details at this link on LinkedIn. We became a home-based business back in 1998, the same year that we started our initial website, www.squarewheels.com.

PMC has been supported technically by our son-in-law, Chris Fisher, who operates the websites and fixes all sorts of technical issues that Scott and Joan generate when doing blogs, designing websites, doing security, and fixing emails and dealing with hosting problems.

More recently, Jeff Simmerman has joined the business.

Jeff’s responsibilities have been around the redesign of the old Seven Seas Quest team building exercise to design a brand new game, Quest, with a Dutchman-like interface and a focus on what we call Dis-Un-Engagement or Disruptive Involvement. That game is in final design stages and we do not even have a web page for it yet, but Jeff has completed the delivery materials and is working with the printer to make it available very soon.

You can find prices for our various team building simulations by clicking on the link:

The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building game

including our four different versions of the Dutchman game.

You can find solid information on the RENTAL version of the exercise on our website, also.

 

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See the powerful new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

 

Senior Managers SHOULD Deliver Team Building Programs

The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine (LDGM) was designed to allow the Expedition Leadership, the people delivering the game, to act very congruently with game’s goals and shared values.  User feedback says it accomplishes that elegantly and that Dutchman is the best leadership game on collaboration that exists in the world. Our initial design thinking was that untrained managers should be able to deliver the exercise because their choices in how to support it would be logical and straightforward based on the goals and the rules for play. They explain the rules (through powerpoint), allow teams to plan, support the play and then debrief around player and team behavior, performance, collaboration and engagement themes.

Generating real organizational change or aligning people to the new company strategies is always an issue – how does one generate real involvement and alignment and ownership among the management team and then among all of the key performers? Active involvement and engagement and understanding along with clear discussions about past and future choices for changes and behaviors is what generates impact and value.

The Design Idea:

  • Deliver a session as a team building event for the senior managers, knowing that you will need 3 of them for each 60 people in the main event. Debrief as to their group issues as seen in the play and then define their desired outcomes for the large event.
  • Spend 10 minutes on explaining the need for congruent behavior during game delivery, what constitutes how they operate to help teams be successful.
  • Spend 30 minutes on how to “bank” the game, how to process the transactions of each team each day.
  • Spend 20 minutes on how to “lead” the game from the floor, how to function as a co-expedition leader during the play of the main event itself, giving help, selling teams on the idea of getting a video, etc.

The idea is to allow the exercise to be used by managers with their people, to clarify the real goals and visions and to enable people to play as they should perform in daily work and to model desired leadership behaviors. It is great to have a presenter (trainer or consultant) deliver the game but so much more can be achieved when this is done by someone on the management team.

Note that we offer a very low-cost and fully-supported rental version of our Dutchman game for one-time use with large events. Contact us for more details.

Lost Dutchman is one of the truly great team building exercises, and one that works well with really large groups. My largest session is 600 people, but Wipro in India reported running a delivery with 870 people in one room at one time — and with a solid debriefing linked to their specific issues and opportunities. The exercise scales up nicely, needing only 3 people for each 60 participants. And, if the managers are actually demonstrating their active support for the lessons being learned and leading in a manner congruent with improving collaboration and teamwork, there are even more positive outcomes.Behavior changes when we can change behavior; people’s beliefs and attitudes will become congruent with the choices they make and what they do. Getting senior managers to collaborate will improve collaboration.

 

Generating real organizational change or aligning people to company strategies is a common organizational issue – how does one generate active involvement, understanding and alignment among the management team and cascade that to the key performers?

Delivering a large group team building event using the Dutchman exercise actually represents a unique and unparalleled opportunity to build executive teamwork:

  • Senior managers generally love challenges, and what better challenge than having them learn to facilitate a program that generates alignment of their own people toward the organization’s goals and objectives.
  • Senior managers often “talk team,” but they operate their own groups in a way to isolate them from real inter-organizational collaboration. We hear the term “silo” enough to know that it represents real organizational reality. So putting them into a situation where their teamwork together is required for effectiveness makes it easier to get these behaviors down the road. Working as a team generates teamwork, especially when there is followup and discussion about the impacts.
The image is called "My Team, My Team, My Team." You can see why...

The image is called “My Team, My Team, My Team.” You can see why…

  • Instead of some unknown people running around during a facilitated event, why not have managing managers walking the talk and supporting teamwork and sharing resources and behaving congruently?

In the Dutchman exercise, the expressed goal is, “To mine as much gold as we can and to generate an optimal Return on Investment.”

We get the managers aligned and congruent with the above as part of the game and as part of the debriefing on what changes need to be made to impact and optimize organizational results.

Dutchman was designed to be easy to facilitate — As part of my initial thinking about how it should play, I did not want my company to need a staff of people to do licensing or certification nor did I want to make the exercise too hard for players to understand. I also wanted non-training people (managers) to be able to deliver the game — we have had many line managers run the exercise over the years with great success. (You can see 30+ testimonials by clicking on the image below.)

A testimonial on The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold MineDutchman has had 25+ years of polishing Dutchman to make it into a very straightforward team building program. It is easy to prepare for and to deliver, with minimal surprises.

Dr. Scott Simmerman facilitating team building gameThis design gives me the ability to put my executive coaching hat on, debriefing them with the goal of improving the senior leadership teamwork with real purpose. It also enables me to run really large groups with only ME being required for delivery.

Imagine the staffing needs to run a typical experiential exercise for 300 people versus the ability to deliver a senior manager team building session plus the large teambuilding event with only my active involvement and participation. Simplicity and effectiveness!

We generate a much higher likelihood of behavioral change and implementation of organizational improvement after the event, since the managers have a really powerful hands on collaborative experience in working with each other to maximize the results of the event itself.

The debriefing of that senior manager session focusing on discussing the kinds of behaviors these senior managers would like to see from the people at the large event helps tie things together. The focus on the shared missions and visions and the generation of alignment to goals, objectives and expectations becomes quite clear. This can be done internally or with a trusted outside facilitator or coach. We can support many different scenarios.

Having these real Senior Managers in this game delivery role is a perfect leadership learning lesson on how to implement change and support high performance. One cannot simply TALK about what leaders and players should be doing; they have to behave consistently and congruently to actually generate results.

I hope that this framework has been informative and helpful.

We sell the Dutchman game directly to end users looking for a high-impact, low cost training tool and it comes in different versions for different size groups. We deliver the game to companies wanting outside facilitation. And, we rent the game for one-time use.Rent The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building game

Have more FUN out there!

Why is “Lost Dutchman” such a great team building exercise?

Active involvement generates ownership, and it is generally true that

Nobody ever washes a rental car.

So, if you are looking to generate commitment to change and to have better alignment to shared goals and a higher level of collaboration among work teams and departments, then it makes sense to use a business simulation to drive organizational improvement, right? And, we are not talking about some lightweight team bonding kind of activity that has little or no real connection to the workplace or that will have no measurable impact.

The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine was first released back in 1993 and since that time, it has proven itself to be one of the very best team building exercises in the world. Unlike so many other “team building activities” out there that are fun and interesting but that do not link well to organizational development and real change, the Dutchman game focuses on measured results and rewards the tabletops for planning and executing actions connected to optimizing impacts.

Tabletop teams can choose to gather information or collaborate with other teams and share resources and do the front-end work that leads to optimal outcomes. Or, they can choose to compete and work on their own. (Which of these would generate the best outcome in your organization?)

The design of the game is elegant and the behaviors that are generated are seen to reflect the actual operating cultures of the organization. The introduction, planning and play take less than two hours, leading to powerful and realistic debriefing discussions focused on actual issues and opportunities.

Game materials are sold at a one-time cost, with no required train-the-trainer or certification or annual licensing, making it a great package to incorporate into on-boarding kinds of events or for integration into leadership development or management training opportunities.

Plus, it is a really great exercise for events needing to get people talking about best practices or other kinds of approaches to optimize and implement organizational improvements.

Contact us if you would like more information. We have users of the simulation working on themes of strategy implementation, innovation and workplace creativity, selfless leadership and a wide variety of different kinds of developmental work.

Dutchman is but one of the amazing active experiential learning tools supported by me,

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

 

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

 

Strengthening Fellowship for a Healthy Workplace

Fellowship can be defined as that friendly feeling that happens among people who are joined for a common purpose. While many people may think of this in terms of their church, synagogue or temple, it should be considered a crucial element of workplace happiness and engaged employees.

Healthy workplaces happen when people are able to enjoy working together in an environment that builds camaraderie and supports the addressing of problems, finding new solutions, trying out new strategies and celebrating successes. Fellowship, therefore, fits right in as a cornerstone of workplace health and happiness.

You’ll find many suggestions for creating a healthy workplace but at PMC, we’ve enjoyed watching how our team building game, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, strengthens fellowship as people spend time together, share a fun and unique experience, work towards a common goal and enjoy being away from a typical day at the office. And, that includes the healthy aspect of getting away from the technology and screens encountered each day!

Energize teamwork with The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building exercise

The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine exercise is an experiential interactive board game that delivers an additional valuable team-based insights and discussions through its hands-on play. Players learn about collaboration, communications, strategic planning, leadership and other enriching information in an unforgettable way and the game structure allows for powerful business-improvement oriented debriefing discussions. It works exceptionally well with very large groups.

People play in team tabletops of 5 or 6 and there is energy, laughter, discussion, decision-making, movements, understanding and learning taking place during the game play and from its powerful debriefing session.

What are you waiting for? 

You’ll find that Dutchman is surprisingly reasonable regarding cost and planning time. You can either Rent or Purchase the exercise depending upon what works best for your situation. Another plus is that you can facilitate the game in-house, yourself, for any size group, without the need to hire a master presenter.

People love a non-threatening change of pace and research shows that fellowship and playing games improves physical and mental health, lowers stress and blood pressure, produces endorphins and boosts our immune system. Set up a fun and beneficial learning environment and increase fellowship and motivation with The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. It’s been used, worldwide, for over two decades and remains just as appreciated and relevant today as it was originally.

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See my newest teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
P
oems and performance haiku at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.S


Best Value for Big Team Building Event Simulation

This is about RENTING the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine exercise for a single large event. It has to be the Best Value Ever for such a situation.

Collaboration and Teambuilding with LDGM


It is common for my network of users to run highly interactive experiential team building events with very large groups of 200 people or more. Presenters purchasing Dutchman have the goal of doing events over time and making money from supporting performance improvement initiatives and we have supported people in this business for 25 years.

Dutchman is one of the very best games on Earth focused on organizational culture change through collaboration and alignment to shared goals and visions. It is a game designed for debriefing, with measured results and outcomes focused on optimization of overall results. (We have user surveys that are highly supportive of this view.)

We designed it to scale up for large groups and events from the very beginning, for it to be very straightforward to deliver and debrief and to generate significant positive outcomes.

Originally developed in 1993, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine team building exercise has been polished and fine-tuned to generate active involvement and alignment to key issues around leadership, teamwork and communications, with a major focus on collaboration between teams.

It has developed into a very unique program, delivered worldwide by consultants and trainers, some of whom have run more than 30,000 people through the exercise or who have used it for more than 20 years.

I will share some links to user-generated video testimonials at the end. What I wanted to accomplish here is to show you why the RENTAL of this exercise would make very good sense for your next large team building event. This is a full-blown business simulation with measured results and exceptionally clear debriefing frameworks unlike most things in the marketplace. This is something that YOU can deliver with our free support; the reality is that few people who get our delivery and support materials find it necessary to contact me for free support, which I would prefer they do so I can confirm some details. And it IS free! 

You will not be able to approach the low cost or the high likely impacts of such an event on the culture of your organization and the links to themes of alignment to shared values or to strategy implementations and communications.

This is fun, and easy to deliver. But it is an extraordinarily powerful team building event, one that can change the levels of collaboration within large organizations.

Why rent the game?

  • Very LOW per-participant costs as viewed against the marketplace
  • Very HIGH probability of reaching your desired outcomes of improving teamwork
  • Very HIGH likelihood of any negative outcomes or problems from a very controllable timeline for delivery and environmental issues.
  • There is no need to hire an outside facilitator and it is often better when one of your actual leaders plays the role of Expedition Leader.
  • There is no certification fee or licensing fee or per participant costs and ALL the necessary training materials are included with the rental, plus there is free direct support from ME, the developer of the exercise!
  • There are no long-term obligations or annual fees, but you DO have the option to purchase a version of the exercise for future use at a discounted fee.

The Benefits of Playing with a large group

  • Very few simulations support large groups of people and are easy to deliver
  • There are no “winners” and every team’s results count toward the goal of, “mining as much Gold as WE can.
  • Just as there are no winners, there are also no losers. Each and every team contributes to the overall results (as they do in the real world) and all the teams are engaged and have fun. These factors make the debriefing more engaging and all players are much more likely to be actively involved in tabletop and group discussions.
  • Some teams are more successful than others and you can talk about the underlying reasons for those successes as well as question them as to why they chose not to help some of the underperforming teams. It is a realistic but extraordinarily powerful dynamic for workplace improvement.
  • Debriefing is structured for tabletop discussions around issues and opportunities, and there can be sharing of key ideas if desired.
  • Ideas about improvements and implementation are a natural part of the discussion process and these ideas can easily be incorporated into strategic and communications plans.
  • Teams very often do not ask for any help or assistance of the Expedition Leadership team, which is a fundamental reality in most organizations. It is a really good connection to issues like Selfless Leadership and to overall organizational cultures. We generally want players to ask the leadership team when they can benefit by that help, right?

Here is a matrix offering prices — yes, we do publish actual prices! — and some thoughts on needed support based on number of tabletops of 6 people each.

Costs and staffing requirements to rent The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine

If you are running a large program, we can also support that. Our preference would be that you have already played through a delivery. Often, for very large deliveries, we will run an exercise specifically for the senior leadership team as a planning and team building program. Those senior managers then form the basis of your delivery team for your larger session. You can give them special white hats and all those kinds of things that increase the likelihood of them following up and implementing the best ideas. You can read more about these ideas in this blog post. We would package and price those frameworks on a special basis, so ask us for details if that represents an opportunity.

The largest delivery for one group at one time in one room was 870 players!

The above chart is for illustrative purposes only, insofar as how to staff the delivery support. The price is inclusive of all necessary delivery materials – you get what you need to deliver the program one time, plus extensive training and support materials. Online and telephone support is free!

Optional accessories like hats and bandannas can be purchased separately.

You are not purchasing the game for continued use and all rights regarding the Intellectual Property remain with Performance Management Company. You are acquiring the materials for a single session (plus any training of support staff) and ALL materials must be returned to PMC immediately after delivery. Purchasing options are also available, since this exercise is outstanding to integrate to ongoing team development and leadership training.

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See the powerful new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

 

The landing page for the rental of Lost Dutchman is here: https://www.performancemanagementcompany.com/online-store/RENTAL-OF-THE-SEARCH-FOR-THE-LOST-DUTCHMANS-GOLD-MINE-p73093716

View the overview and the details of our survey of LDGM users here:

Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine Team Building Exercise – Survey Results

Read about how to actively involve senior managers and the benefits of doing that in this blog:  https://performancemanagementcompanyblog.com/2015/04/01/engaging-senior-managers-in-large-group-events/

 

 

 

Teamwork, Thinking, Learning and Active Involvement

Experiential exercises have significant impacts on individual and organizational learning and development. Experience, as well as research, says that participating and practicing is 15 times more impactful than sitting in a classroom. So, no wonder we are seeing more and more people use experiential exercised to generate reflection, teamwork and learning.

Being involved and engaged is, well, being involved and engaged.

The visual, auditory and kinesthetic anchors for memory are all hooked up and operating, making the connections needed for later processing, storage and retrieval of the experiences.

A temptation was to go off into a “neuroscience” kind of explanation, since that is all the rage these days. I have a doctorate in behavioral neurophysiology from Chapel Hill back in 1977 and have been consulting on people and performance since 1978, and

None of this neuroscience stuff is all that practical
when one needs to simply learn about behavior. 

Sure, it sounds really good, but is it really helpful to know how that amygdala you have is involved in your emotions or how the hippocampus is involved in distributing neuronal impulses or even how the Broca area of the dominant cortex or the Wernicke area of the posterior section of the superior temporal gyrus are involve in speech? (grin) . (This is all true, but so what!)

Motorola University in 1996 published an interesting chart that I reproduce here not knowing how to get permission for use but thinking that it can generate some useful thinking:

Learning Pyramid

Me, I would have flipped it upside down, so that Teaching Others was at the top but that is MY learning and memory preference showing up, I guess. And, there is a good deal of controversy over the numbers and the meanings, something I will choose not to get into for this post. Let me simply state the obvious:

Being involved and actively engaged in the learning process helps generate better retention and understanding.

Learning, linking and understanding are neurologically determined — the brain is what controls the process and it is good that it is semi-automatic (since if it required much thinking or typing, not a lot of us would ever get it!).

Our brain uses chemical and physical changes in proteins and membranes to build the electrical circuits that make all this “living large” stuff possible. It works pretty seamlessly, and when it doesn’t, we all realize the consequences (Alzheimer’s, dementia, aphasia, coma, and the like. Heck, even growing older has measurable negative impacts for most of us. I was going to cite a reference, but I forgot what it was…).

What our brain does is encode our experiences into memories. If there is some boring lecture going on, guess what is probably not going to be recalled? If you are energetically participating in some mental or physical challenge, doesn’t it make sense that more things will be remembered?

Knowing that something might be useful later adds an important touch — helping someone hang a backpacking hammock works quite well when you know that you will be hanging your hammock the next day. Learning to start a fire with fire sticks or a flint striker is remembered when you know you will head off on a survival venture that afternoon.

Memory is about storage and subsequent retrieval. It is about encoding and categorizing and accessing the meaningful information later. Knowing the context for that learning is generally helpful.

In some of my team building deliveries, the group might have been through a course or a series of lectures on something or other. Let’s say that the subject is Project Management and the participants are shown a methodology for gathering information prior to planning a program. When we play The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, the funny thing is that the “learned” information or skills are often NOT transferred to the information gathering tabletop processes required to produce high levels of game performance.

So, in the debriefing, we review the choices made, generate discussions as to how the tools could be used, and then often project future scenarios or even do some problem solving whereby those tools are used. This kind of active debriefing process generates a motivation to learn and the kind of VAK needed to anchor the skills in place. We also encourage a diversity of ideas and reinforce differences in thinking styles, since these generate better options so often. The debriefings often focus on divergent thinking and questioning ideas. And this is MUCH different than simply lecturing them on what happened and what they should have learned. Their reflection makes it theirs and not yours.

Most people in most organizations are not observed to actually apply things they learned into workplace performance change and improvement. This learning transfer issue is a common problem with classroom training — people KNOW how to do things but choose to keep doing them as they did before.

Implementing change without changing feedback and measurement systems is also pretty hard to accomplish. Coaching can work, but coaches are often not available immediately after training has occurred.

What we suggest is an active kind of situation to involve and engage people, one that sets up a solid discussion of behavioral choices made along with thinking about possibilities. That activity might include projection, team-based agreement on desired future behaviors, some discussions about how improvements might be measured, personal commitment to doing things differently combined with some level of followup and coaching, and other things to help to anchor in the learning as well as generate new, sustainable behaviors in the future.

Generally, people remember their own behavior, and they tend to remember their mistakes and bad choices a bit more easily than all their good reactions and responses. In Lost Dutchman, we try to generate energy and emotion in our activities by adding pressures of time and scarcity of resources or some level of competition. Ideally the competitive situation has a balance of collaboration and cooperation built-in.

If organizations can better use these kinds of engaging activities, they can expect more learning to occur and more commitment to change to result.

Some ideas:

non-agreement bliss poem

Thumbs Up teamwork poem

My team, My way poem copy

 

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See the powerful new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

 

 

 

Results Analysis of Typical Lost Dutchman Team Building Debriefing

Jeff heads off to Portugal to demonstrate The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine team building exercise at the International Business Learning Games Conference and he asked me to send him a typical “final results” summary. What I thought to do was to also share that as a blog post herein, for the benefit of our many users who might find a quick review to be of interest.

The game is about measured results and how collaboration, communications, and planning can work to optimize outcomes in the game and how those ideas can be implemented in the workplace. One or two teams can “beat” the game but it is also the overall results that are of interest to the Expedition Leader. It is great to have one team “win” but ALL the teams contribute to final outcomes. Collaboration is a key learning point from the deliveries.

So, below is a fairly typical analysis with a delivery for 5 tabletops (30 players). The critical factor, of course, is to link these game results to the behaviors that occurred and to debrief around considered alternative behaviors for their workplace after the workshop.

Results of teambuilding game Lost Dutchman

  • The final result was that the 5 teams collected $92,500 in Gold, averaging $18,500.
  • IF they chose to collaborate more and if they planned better, these teams could have collected $122,500 in gold and improved their average score to $24,500 with NO increased costs. 
  • Note that this 32% increase in gold mined is accomplished with NO additional resources. It results simply from better play by the teams, who are free to ask for help from game leadership but who generally choose not to do so. (“Nobody ever asks the Expedition Leader for advice!”)

The top team, Blue, spent 10 days in the Mine, mining $2500 in gold each day. The lowest team mined only 5 days because of their decisions and resource management. Ideally, ALL teams should have all returned on Day 20, but three teams returned earlier because of resource management and not asking for help.

The Lime and Yellow teams acquired Turbochargers at the start of the exercise by choosing to get “The Tortilla Flat Video,” presented to them as costing them to spend an extra day at Apache Junction before leaving but finding that the information in that video that, “teams find helpful.” One Turbo would allow them to move TWO blocks per day for the whole game; they received three of them and could have shared them with two other teams. (Only the Blue team got one of the extras, as noted by the dot on the far right side of the summary.)

The Yellow Team did what we call A Perfect Play, getting both of the videos and leaving fully informed on Day 3, returning on Day 20 and mining 9 gold, an optimal result for a single team. But they did not share information or resources, what we call “My Team, My Team, My Team” behavior…

But the Blue Team got the benefit of a shared Turbo without it costing them a day, so they were able to leave on Day 2 and return the last day. This gave them 10 gold.

But what of the Green and Pink teams? With all the information and resources available to Yellow and Blue, why were none shared with them? They could have mined more gold if they stayed in the mine more than their 5 days.

The results of teams NOT collaborating and competing to win is the sub-optimization of organizational results. Teams trying to WIN will often not help those teams trying to succeed; they will not freely share information or resources that other teams would find of benefit or that would help optimize the GROUP’s overall results.

  • The teams returned with $210 in inventory, enough for 7 more days of mining.
  • And only 3 teams used one of the 6 Turbochargers that were available.

This IS just a game. But it allows us to get into solid, substantial discussions about workplace issues of competition versus collaboration and to anchor to the idea that the goal is, “To Mine as much gold as WE can” in the workplace. Teams effectively choose to sub-optimize overall results because they fail to collaborate across tabletops and because they choose to not ask for help from leadership.

I know that this fast overview leaves a lot of questions unanswered and that it is not a complete description of how the results of Lost Dutchman can be debriefed and linked to real workplace culture ideas. More complete explanations of the scoring and debriefing can be found in other materials in the packages we sell and in other blog posts.

In an earlier blog, I included a much more detailed overview of how this works. You can download  “Linking Measured Game Results to Organizational Development Opportunities” by clicking on the link.

This blog post shares a good overview of how the results are captured and how they can be debriefed (https://performancemanagementcompanyblog.com/2014/01/24/optimizing-profit-through-collaboration/). 

Dutchman is fairly unique in the team building / team bonding world because it does have Measured Results, that capture the team’s choices and behaviors and that relate directly to improved workplace results and ideas for improvement. It is a fun and fast-paced exercise, but one that is not simply fun. It lends itself to powerful debriefings about organizational cultures and issues of expectations and feedback.

 

Contact me if I can help clarify any of the above or provide more information,

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See the powerful new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.


Find more information about Lost Dutchman at
https://www.performancemanagementcompany.com/the-search-for-the-lost-dutchman

Read more about Lost Dutchman’s team building game at:

Lessons from The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, a game on teamwork and collaboration

 

 

Flyers that Overview The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

Jeff Simmerman heads to the International Business Learning Games Conference in Lisbon today and he created flyers about the Lost Dutchman team building game and our Collaboration Journey Challenge exercise to share with judges and conference attendees. Both exercises are finalists in this competition and we are hoping to garner some recognition and feedback for their design and impact.

I thought that you might find a quick overview of Dutchman to be of interest and that it might be useful for you if you are an existing customer or user and need something explanatory to share with your decision-makers. We are in our 25th year of international distribution of this exercise and our other corporate team building products. Current owners can request a Word document if they wish to customize this for their own use.

The images below are reduced in size. Download full size pdf files using the link at page bottom.

A flyer about The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building gameA flyer for The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building exercise - back side

It has been a great pleasure to distribute, support and deliver this team building exercise over the past 25 years. It is also great that Jeff is coming on board to continue this process as well as develop some powerful new exercises and revise some of our older simulations. This is his first international conference and we are hoping for lots of positive impacts.

If you would like more information, feel free to contact me directly,

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See our powerful and newest teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

 

Full size game flyers:

LDGM Flyer Front A4

LDGM Flyer Front A4

Team Bonding. Engagement. Innovation – an Animated Square Wheels Icebreaker

Interested in a simple-to-use, engaging, experiential framework to generate active involvement in workplace innovation? Want to show a very short animation and then get people immediately talking about innovation and culture?

You will find our 40-second stop-motion animation about people and performance fantastic. Show it to facilitate people thinking about workplace improvement and then generating innovating ideas about workplace issues and opportunities.

This is a very simple discussion tool, one that operates very differently than most warm-up routines that focus on funny name tags or some silly effort to “warm people up for something.” It is a much more practical approach to filling this valuable time with relevant interactions and a generated focus on your desired outcomes.

Getting people focused on possibilities of implementing change and improvement has been the main focus of our Square Wheels® illustrations for the past 25 years. We give supervisors and managers, executives and trainers a bombproof and simple metaphor to enable people to share their ideas about what issues are at hand and what improvement ideas might be considered as alternatives to the way things work now.

How does this work?

At the core of the concept is the simple idea of a wagon rolling on Square Wheels with a cargo of round tires. It sets up the idea of choice and choices and considered alternative ways to doing things. PMC started with a line-art image and have evolved to using LEGO® as a way of enabling discussions:

Square Wheels team bonding image for team building and innovation

We would show the image and ask people, “How might this represent how organizations really work.”

Viewers would then project their beliefs onto the image and consider a wide variety of different possibilities. Collectively, a team of people would share very diverse views, which made discussions useful for team bonding as well as generating requisite team building if one moved to defining specific workplace Square Wheels and finding some Round Wheels to attempt to implement. Implementation of ideas is always a key to effective team building initiatives.

What we developed with a simple stop-motion approach with LEGO is a 35-second story, one that has no actual reality but one that would be interpreted differently by people viewing the scenario. Pulling those thoughts together through a simple facilitated discussion process is easy, and the projective aspect of different perceived realities dramatically broadens the ideas. They are quickly generating shared beliefs about what is happening, with shared thoughts on workplace improvement opportunities being one desired end result.

Watch the animation by clicking on the image below:

What do YOU think happened? 

Understand that the richness of thinking comes out when groups of people discuss their individual perceptions and thoughts about what transpired. A single person will tend to have a single view. A group will generate a shared consensus of what happened. (Note that this is a scenario and there is no reality!)

Note that there are general themes of:

  • Vision
  • Change
  • Resources
  • Innovation and Creativity
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Technology
  • Communications
  • Trust
  • Coaching and Facilitating

and that the facilitator’s comments and questions can push the group to focus on different aspects of this animation, depending on your initial framing of the video and on your desired outcomes.

Some examples of introductory, set-up comments might be:

Teamwork and Change: “I want to show you a very short video about a work team and I would like you to look for some key themes about how organizations really work to implement change.”

Setting up a Training Program: “Here is a short video. Let’s watch it and discuss. After we make some comments, we can look at it again. My goal is to relate the happenings in the video to our training…”

Innovation and implementing improvements: “In this short video, you are going to see a variety of things happening. Let’s talk about implementing improvements and change after you look at it.”

General warm up: “React to what you saw, let’s discuss those perceptions and then let’s show the video clip again…”

If you wanted to debrief this video into some actionable kinds of thinking or desired outcomes, you might prompt participants with some open-ended questions such as:

  • How did the action start? 
  • What might have caused them stop pushing and pulling, initially?
  • How did the action end? What was the last thing that happened?
  • What were their reactions to what happened? What did the Pushers see and do? What did the Puller see and do?
  • When did they feel most successful?
  • When did they feel most challenged?
  • What important things happened? What were the key points in the learning process?
  • What happened with the Square Wheel at the back of the wagon?
  • What might some of their insights have been?
  • What was the Wagon Puller’s reaction?
  • How might the people have felt about their efforts to replace a Square Wheel with a round one?
  • What was the Ranger semi-truck about? / What were their reactions to the truck?
  • What other possible endings were there? What might happen next?

If you think you might find this to be a very workable tool for your toolbox of engagement and innovation materials, hop over to our website by clicking on the icon below:

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See the powerful new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company
LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO® Group®


Two of PMC’s team building simulations are finalists in the 2018 International Business Learning Games competition, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine and the Collaboration Journey Challenge.

 

Price Increase on our team building exercise, Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

For many years, we have kept the prices of our excellent teambuilding exercise, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine at the same levels, even though we have made many packaging and design enhancements, including a complete redesign of all our versions earlier this year.

We are going to keep the prices the same on our two smaller versions of the exercise, LD4 designed for up to 24 players and LD6 designed for up to 36 players, at $1695 and $2895 USD, respectively.

The Professional Edition of the exercise will rise to $9995. That version is being used more and more for really large team building events and we are actually remaining the best value in the marketplace for a tightly designed exercise on collaboration, teamwork, strategic planning and leadership.

ALL of our exercises and toolkits are packaged with detailed instructions for use and we offer free, unlimited support via phone and email. And, these are total costs (plus shipping) – you pay no certification or licensing fees, no per-participant or annual fees. Nothing. (VERY unusual in our marketplace.)

And we are really pleased that Dutchman is a finalist in the 2018 BEX International Business Learning Games competition to be held in Lisbon in September. We entered the contest to get some feedback about our exercise in competition with other global products focused on learning and organizational improvement, even though we are in our 25th year of distribution of the program.

If you would like more information about the exercise, connect with me,

 

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See the powerful new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

 

 

TWO PMC Team Building Games are Finalists in International Business Learning Games competition

Twenty-five years after we first started delivering and selling The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, we decided to submit it as an entry into the Business Excellence Institute’s 2018 International Business Learning Games competition. After reading how carefully a panel of gaming and OD experts would be reviewing the exercise, we thought that the experience and the reviews might be informative and useful.

And we were even more excited when we found that we made The Finals, with more evaluation to be completed at the 2018 conference in Lisbon in September.

Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine makes the finals of the International Business Learning Games competition

Dutchman has a tremendous track record as one of the very best team building simulations in the world that focus on leadership, alignment and collaboration. Our customers continually share some amazing stories about organizational culture change and impacts on leadership development.

The other great surprise was that our newest exercise, The Collaboration Journey Challenge also made the cut and will be in competition with Dutchman and the other game entries. We do not yet have a lot of feedback and reactions to this product so the feedback from the judges and attendees will be of great interest. CJC is designed to play and debrief in 90 minutes, and is anchored to LEGO scenes and images to make it into a very flexible team building simulation to integrate with LSP (LEGO Serious Play) kinds of deliveries.

Collaboration Journey Challenge is finalist in International Business Learning Games competition

And, even better, my son Jeff will be able to go to Lisbon to support both exercises and then also present CJC at the Play14 conference in Porto that next weekend, something that will be a great experience for him and that will be his first international business experience. We are also working with the Play14 staff to support both events.

Collaboration is a great thing, and we look forward to the friendly gaming competition at the BEX conference, also. We hope to find some collaborators for some new game designs down the road.

If you are interested in LEGO and gaming and the use of metaphor in organizational development frameworks, please also consider visiting and becoming a group member at the Serious Playing with LEGO Facebook page. You can join up here: www.facebook.com/groups/227462904498264/

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company
LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO® Group®

 

What do Users think of The Lost Dutchman’s Team Building Exercise? It’s The Best!

We asked our customers a really tough True / False question about our team building exercise, an experiential learning exercise with a primary focus on collaboration and improving organizational performance:

LDGM is the best exercise I know of to work with senior managers on issues of strategy, alignment, and organizational collaboration.”

Fully half (53%) said this was TRUE! (We found that amazing! Read why.)


A bit of background about The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine and the survey:

Over the past 25 years, we’ve gotten a lot of comments from the consultants and trainers who have experienced or purchased the Dutchman teambuilding exercise. And many purchasers shared really outstanding testimonials as well as support for new spins and ideas. We decided to do a survey to try to get some quantifiable numbers as well as some across-the-board consistency in perspective. The results we got far exceeded our expectations, even though we know that the exercise is quite solid.

Let me add that, as a one-person design and development shop located in South Carolina, I cannot do the kind of global competitive analysis that would tell me who all the competitors are and what their products do, how they are priced and distributed, etc. I know that the costs of many of them are extremely high (compared to us) and that most require licensing and train-the-trainer fees for certification and that many have per-participant costs to use.

We sell our games at a one-time cost and have people who have continued using them after 25 years. Based on phone calls and email conversations with satisfied customers and interested parties, we feel we are a quality player in this competitive business gaming marketplace.

A survey was sent to our customers asking for their feedback and thoughts and comparing Dutchman to other tools they use for leadership development or team building. Responses were solid and there were numerous useful comments and clarifications. As a result of the survey, we are deciding to do NOTHING differently.

What users relayed through the survey was that the exercise was Most Excellent. There were no real suggestions as to desired changes, other than some requests for a follow-on exercise currently in development. And the impacts on desired results and outcomes still continue to be important and relevant in today’s organizational development initiatives.

You can download a full summary of results by clicking on the link below:
Dutchman Survey Results Summary

Our users are a highly experienced group, with 70% of respondents having experience with 6+ other team building exercises over their organizational development work. Most users (89%) have run Dutchman multiple times and 36% have run it more than 10 times. (One customer has run it with 50,000+ participants and the largest session of 870!). Half reported that their very first delivery was “wonderfully successful” while nearly everyone else reported success. (And I really do wish they would simply call me before that first delivery!)

We asked a really tough True / False question:

LDGM is the best exercise I know of to work with senior managers on issues of strategy, alignment, and organizational collaboration.”

Fully half (53%) said this was TRUE! (Only 9 people said this was False, which given the highly experienced and global nature of our users, is pretty fantastic. (We are NOT the slickest nor most expensive exercise out there but, apparently, the best value!) And comments were all supportive of the Dutchman’s design, packaging and pricing.

Another tough question was about being the best exercise for OD and 30 people (55%) responded that LDGM is “the best overall team building exercise I have used.”

Awesome! Fully 100% would recommend the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine game to others for purchase and use, with 63% saying they would recommend it to ANY trainer or consultant. It seems to be that useful and that powerful for people’s toolkits, given its price and flexibility.

As to value, 64% strongly agreed that the purchase of the exercise represented an excellent value to their organizations and 11 merely agreed, with 5 people sharing a neutral response. Purchasing LDGM seemed to represent a good decision, in their view. And remember that these are all active internal trainers or consultants using the game to generate organizational change, collaboration and engagement. Many use it for general leadership development or implementing strategy.

The exercise was specifically designed to be useful for organizational development, strategic alignment, communications, leadership and team building. It was designed for impact.

  • Fully 7 in 10 agreed or strongly agreed that the simulation was effective in generating observable, “desired changes in behavior after the session ended, back on the job.” One person disagreed.
  • 96% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that, “the exercise linked well to our issues of workplace collaboration and performance management” with two people being neutral.
  • As to, “representing the Best Value for a team building exercise in the global marketplace,” 21 people strongly agreed and 16 others agreed of 52 registered responses, or 71% of our users.

Overall, we framed questions to be a real test of perceived  and actual value and even the neutral responses were supportive in their comments! It seems we are doing well out there, and no one would actually name an exercise they thought was better than ours.

We asked some tough questions and we got some great answers.

If you are looking for a really solid team building business simulation, one that does real building (rather than focusing on “bonding” like so many other exercises in the marketplace), check out our Lost Dutchman.

It is powerful and yet inexpensive. After all, fully three quarters of our users shared that it represented a Best Value in the global marketplace of tools for organizational improvement and communications.

a team building simulation exercose

If you call the office, you are highly likely to reach me directly. If you want to chat about the exercise, I really love doing that. If you have any questions at all, please bring them on!

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. 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.

+1 864-292-8700

 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

Scott’s blog on themes of People and Performance is here.

Here is an example of reactions from the delivery of Dutchman to a client’s organization, run by my colleague Solomon Salvis from SimuRise in Mumbai:
Dow Chemical playing The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine testimonial video

Note: we would love to engage in a discussion about team building simulations, costs, and all that so please feel free to comment.

—————–

The specific wording of the questions on value appeared as follows:

10 – The purchase or rental of the exercise represented an excellent value to my organization.

11 – I saw desired changes in behavior after the session ended, back on the job.

12 – The exercise linked well to our issues of workplace collaboration and performance management.

13 – As far as I am aware, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine represents the best value for a teambuilding exercise in the global marketplace for business simulations and designed exercises.

14 – If I moved to another company, I would consider purchasing the exercise if they had the need for improving teamwork, communications, engagement or leadership.

Breaking Down Workplace Roadblocks for Increased Productivity and Happiness

If you’re a manager or supervisor, you can easily dis-un-empower yourself and the people you work with and easily gain new perspectives and successful outcomes for dealing with perceived workplace roadblocks — those things that hinder our production or completion of jobs/tasks.

Our Managing Workplace Roadblocks Toolkit is designed around an easily communicated Roadblocks Management Model that categorizes roadblocks into 4 types and shares strategy for dealing with each.

This Toolkit is a great coaching tool and works elegantly in a team setting. Along with introducing the Roadblocks Management  Model, the idea is that some people are better roadblocks managers than others and when they are given the opportunity to share their exemplary strategies for managing their roadblocks, the likelihood increases that others will become more adept and confident with managing their own.

We include facilitation tips and all the resources you need to actively involve and engage your people in workplace improvement.

This complete Toolkit is $49.95 and contains:
  • Leader’s Overview and Guide
  • Roadblocks Management Model
  • Presentation PowerPoint
  • Handouts and Worksheets for Participants
  • Other Pertinent Articles and Slides

Lead people to better success with the Managing Workplace Roadblocks Toolkit that works to increase productivity, workplace happiness and personal satisfaction as people learn how to better manage roadblocks hampering their successes.

You might also find this article on Positive Disruptive Engagement to be related, relevant and interesting:

AND, like all of our other products, you can contact me directly if you desire to chat about issues and opportunities,

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See the powerful new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

 

Every Company Should Own One – The Bombproof Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine Teambuilding Exercise

We can start this blog with the simple thought that:

Motivation and collaboration require improvement in most organizations and making those improvements offer Big Impacts on actual results.

Even in the very good, highly collegial workplaces, one can always make additional improvements or re-energize things, generating even more alignment to shared goals and objectives.

This post is about how EASY it is to facilitate a real team building program, not some (oftentimes silly unfocused) team bonding process. There is a big difference: team building will impact organizational results and help to change actual behavior and commitment to doing things differently. Bonding activities can be fun, but change nothing.

Team BUILDING exercise generate change and improved results. Bonding does nothing.

Let’s talk about teamwork and apologies for the length and breadth of this post, but I felt that clearly stating the details would enable better understanding of what we are doing and why we are doing it:

It is clear that workers and supervisors and managers are basically un-involved and un-engaged in so many workplaces, worldwide.  Management effectiveness AND the workplace environment / culture that are behind this problem. Better teamwork and alignment are solid solutions.

These are NOT some “senior management leadership issue” that can be corrected by doing more engagement / motivational surveys or skill assessments or by doing more senior executive development. These are problems at the shop floor, at the interface between supervisors and workers, that drastically needs improvement to really impact performance.

A few statistics and bullet points:

Rick Bell shared some statistics in the March 2017 issue of Workforce magazine about how badly workers are being supervised that are truly mind-numbing:

  • 35% of US workers would forgo a raise to see their boss fired
  • 3 of 4 workers say that their boss is the worst / most stressful part of the job

Gallup added a somewhat different framework supporting these same issues related to performance and teamwork

  • only ONE IN FOUR employees “strongly agree” that their supervisor provides meaningful feedback to them, that the feedback they receive helps them do better work.
  • Only 21% of employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.

The solution involves improved communications, collaboration and teamwork. Helping people focus on a shared mission and vision with appropriate expectations, and basic leadership at the front lines can have broad impacts. We need to do something differently in the workplaces to make positive impacts and generate the momentum for organizational improvement. Having a pot-luck lunch or going go-kart racing will do nothing to generate change.

There is a simple, bombproof, inexpensive solution to many of these issues, and that is our proven team building exercise, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. It is inexpensive and dynamic and it focuses on collaboration to impact measured results. Here is a 2-minute video from a session with Dow Chemical:

Teambuilding with interactive experiential exercise, Lost Dutchman

This “game” neatly models a collaborative organization and a Selfless Leadership approach to involving and engaging people. It gets players to make choices and then allows for a discussion and debriefing around what really needs to be done differently by the group to improve results. The play generates real opportunities to discuss and resolve real workplace issues, creating “considered alternatives” to what has been happening.

There are also powerful links to workplace motivation and communications themes.

People that are uninvolved and frustrated need solutions that involve Dis-un-engagement and Dis-un-empowerment. Those problems need to be discussed, changes made, and new solutions implemented. The Lost Dutchman exercise allows for real discussions about choices and possibilities because dealing with team problems is what makes teamwork effective in the workplace.

Team Building with Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine

So, we think every organization needs to have a go-to team building program they can use throughout the organization to set up shared goals and common expectations about collaboration and innovation. And unlike most such exercises, we sell this exercise with a one time cost and a satisfaction guarantee.

My colleague in India, Mr. Solomon Salvis shared some good reasons why people have bought the Dutchman simulation and will continue to run the game:

  1. To develop the internal capability of the Learning and Development team. Most organizations are not equipped with an awesome experiential learning tool like Dutchman, which makes their training dull and boring, or probably sub-optimized.
  2. Most programs conducted internally in an organization are classroom training sessions. There is no fun element. Dutchman creates awesome personal and team-based learning and is awesome fun as well.
  3. Most senior managers in an organization do not want to sit through a long and dragged-out training session.  Our Dutchman’s simulation which is just a half day, works very well to keep the engagement and energy levels high for the seniors and demonstrate the many positive impacts of alignment to shared goals and plans. Senior managers can readily play in mixed groups of management, too, which has a variety of positive impacts.
  4. Most classroom training sessions can take only 20 – 30 participants at a time, beyond that the program/training becomes ineffective. Dutchman’s is one of the rare simulations which can accommodate 50 / 100 / 200 / 300 +  participants at one go and still have the engagement/excitement levels as high as possible.
  5. The scalability of Dutchman allows for sessions that can contain front line workers as well as managers and even senior managers as active participants in an effort to optimize results. This IS a reality in organizations and these kinds of interactions are impactful, but few take the time to build this kind of overall collaboration and shared goals. These debriefings are powerful.
  6. Most training teams / trainers / training leadership who have used Dutchman in the previous organization tend to buy the game kit when they move into a new organization, since they know the product and its impacts very well. They are comfortable with the many flexible designed outcomes and it is tried and tested. The exercise is 100% bombproof (and it is 100% satisfaction guaranteed!).
  7. Lastly, apart from just the fun element, Dutchman debriefing brings incredible learning and reflection for the participants, making the transition to implementing improvements more likely. This kinds of discussions should be part of any debriefing:

Teambuilding debriefing questions for implementation

These are some of the transitional debriefing slides to improve discussions about accountability.

Solomon also added:

Yesterday, we conducted the simulation for 125 participants of Sapient, a leading IT consulting company. The participants haven previously gone through many training sessions and various simulations, but when they experienced Dutchman’s Gold Mine, they gave us an awesome testimonial and acknowledged this was by far one of the best sessions they had attended and that it was quite different and unique from all the other simulations they had attended.

Sapient Technology Lost Dutchman Team Building Video

Sapient’s game testimonial – 120 players

For most organizations, one of our versions supporting 18 or 24 people should make solid economic sense. Dutchman is sold at a one-time cost and can be used repeatedly. It’s easy to learn how to deliver and has a variety of expected outcomes:

  • Tabletops choose not to plan very well or use all the information available to make their choices and decisions
  • Teams generally choose to compete against each other rather than to collaborate. Collaboration optimizes overall group success while competing generates a winner and losers
  • Nobody asks the Expedition Leader for Assistance.” Teams choose not to ask for help or perspective or advice, even though that is one of the key themes of the introduction. They essentially choose to sub-optimize results and not keep leadership involved in their work
  • Tabletops come to agreement quickly on their strategy and they are not very open to changing their approach if new information becomes available.

The flexible debriefing focuses seamlessly on the benefit of planning to improving results and the choice of collaboration with other teams and leadership to optimize results in the exercise and the results in the workplace. It is quite easy to use the examples from the play in the players discussions about what workplace improvements can be made and how supportive leadership can help improve impact and results.

The exercise is packaged with extensive training and orientation materials, so much is included that very few purchasers ever bother to contact us for the free coaching that is available to support the delivery. New users tell us that about 2 hours of preparation is needed for their first delivery.

For an organization, the very most senior leadership might have a team building program for all of their direct reports. Issues of communications, collaboration and alignment to missions and visions would be made clear. PLUS, this would be fun. It does NOT require outside facilitation nor the involvement of organizational training staff. (And you can see the obvious advantages of developing ownership involvement.)

Those players would then be able to run the game with their staffs. The transfer of training is straightforward and the desired outcomes for their debriefings can directly result from the top management team and their discussions.

Lost Dutchman is a very inexpensive, high impact organizational tool that translates neatly and effectively into any organizational improvement and communications / alignment process.

Coaching support for delivery is freely available and our 25 years of experience with supporting organizations globally would be beneficial and impactful.

Click on the image below to see a 2-minute video about how most senior managers think about the exercise (this one delivered for Kaya Limited by SimuRise and Solomon Salvis). It is but one of hundreds of examples about how people feel the exercise can impact their organizations:

This is my game, one first played in 1993 and continually updated and improved through play and debriefing and continued redesign. I personally believe that every organization should experience The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine.

And many of us think that every organization should OWN their own exercise for internal use. (The cost/benefit to you would be outstanding and it can help organizations accomplish so many of your goals around active involvement and engagement of your people toward collaborative accomplishments, shared objectives and active ownership involvement, which translates to motivation and teamwork.)

We will support you in that, for sure, and we have been at this for a very long time. Teamwork and support are what I do,

 

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools focused on people and performance. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is a globally experienced presenter and consultant.

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.comRead Scott’s blogging on people and performance improvement

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

 

 

 

 

 

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