The Experiential Learning and Training Company

Desert Survival

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Desert Survival

The Situation

"It is approximately 10 o'clock in the morning on a mid-August day and you have just crash-landed in the Sahara Desert in the central west India." Your task is to rank 15 items salvaged from the plane in the order of their importance to your team's survival. Set in an unfamiliar location, this simulation takes the participants outside of their organizational roles and areas of expertise to a situation where only their synergistic problem-solving skills will help them to survive.

Team Synergy

The Desert Survival Situation (by J. Clayton Lafferty and Patrick Eady with Alonzo W. Pond, 1970) provides a unique opportunity to quickly and objectively measure whether your groups are achieving synergy -- as well as demonstrate this otherwise elusive concept. Synergy occurs when the interactive efforts of two or more people produce a solution that is superior to their independent solutions. By measuring the quality of both individual and team performance on a single task, this simulation allows groups to quickly calculate the extent to which they are fully utilizing their resources -- and doing so in a way that achieves synergy.

Use the Simulation to....

Establish a Constructive, team-oriented atmosphere in the workplace, at conferences or workshops, and in classrooms or training programs Strengthen members' rational and interpersonal problem-solving skills Demonstrate and promote synergy within groups Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of individual and group decision making

How Simulations Work

Compare Individual versus Group Performance

The Desert Survival Situation requires participants to solve a specific problem in a limited period of time -- first individually, then as a team. As participants work together in this team building activity, they will draw upon their experiences and knowledge in search of the best answers. They are challenged to successfully integrate the expertise of all group members. By comparing individual and team solutions to the recommended solution, participants can see whether, as a group, they were able to take advantage of what each member had to offer and contribute.

Strengthen Synergistic Problem-Solving Skills

As members work to complete the Desert Survival task, they begin to see their own role in shaping the quality of the team's performance. This understanding deepens as the simulation is scored and the impact of group processes on performance is discussed. Equipped with these insights, members can decide what they can do to enhance the team's functioning -- and get the results the team needs to succeed back at work.

Hammerheads simulation series provide a unique opportunity to quickly and objectively measure whether your groups are achieving synergy. The simulations can be used for team building and the development of more effective group processes.

We have been offering simulations to number of clients who have found this as an effective measure for detailing team dynamics.