The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine: An Organizational Development Tool

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Dutchman is a team building exercise that focuses on collaboration, alignment, teamwork and communications and that works for organizational improvement. It offers broad possibilities for debriefing on performance improvement, leadership, intrinsic motivation and other aspects of people and performance. It is simple, fun, effective and bombproof and is used worldwide by consultants and trainers. Since 1993. By Dr. Scott Simmerman

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  • The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine was designed by Dr. Scott Simmerman, Managing Partner of Performance Management Company. Artwork by Roy Sabean. MATERIALS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT AND TRADEMARK.
  • Unlike almost every other game we know of, this simulation is a business and organizational development exercise. Leadership gives teams information and resources and provides them challenges. Teams make choices about what to do based on their understanding of the goals, their tolerance for risk, and their desire for collaboration with other teams. Goals are clear, but often misunderstood. Teams can collaborate, but that is their choice based on their beliefs. The Expedition Leader is there to help them optimize results, but few teams ask for help or guidance and few teams collaborate with others. It is a powerful way to generate debriefing ideas on real issues that impact organizational and personal performance.
  • Unlike almost every other game we know of, this simulation is a business and organizational development exercise. Leadership gives teams information and resources and provides them challenges. Teams make choices about what to do based on their understanding of the goals, their tolerance for risk, and their desire for collaboration with other teams. Goals are clear, but often misunderstood. Teams can collaborate, but that is their choice based on their beliefs. The Expedition Leader is there to help them optimize results, but few teams ask for help or guidance and few teams collaborate with others. It is a powerful way to generate debriefing ideas on real issues that impact organizational and personal performance.
  • Lost Dutchman works across organizations and across cultures. Robin Speculand has been using the exercise throughout Asia since 1995, with senior executives working on defining strategy as well as front-line employees implementing it.
  • This simulation was designed to work at lower levels of the organization in addition to senior management. It is seamless in delivery and excellent for de briefing even low literacy work forces.
  • The game is designed for team building, leadership development and organizational performance improvement purposes. The main focuses are on issues of collaboration, alignment, communications, strategic planning and employee engagement.
  • Note the “WE” as part of the goal - plus the working together. These are the general GAME goals and we sometimes modify them to align slightly better to the desired outcomes of the client. A word or two, maybe, about a shared vision or something along those lines. These are the game goals, for sure.
  • .
  • We have used this cartoon over and over and over in the Dutchman as well as our other tools. MY TEAM is a good concept, a really solid and necessary component of working. But, at the same time, too much internal focus prevents collaboration from occurring with any other team that might exist. Often, other teams have non-aligned performance measurements or different feedback systems that measure behavior in competing ways. This is one of the issues that we see when there are problems between departments. And it is always funny when companies form DIVISIONS and then expect them to work together!
  • Dutchman is a really flexible exercise for use in a wide variety of different team building and organizational development initiatives.
  • .
  • It is about choices and about behavior, about the balancing of competition and collaboration. Information sharing, strategic planning and other aspects of The Collective are important to overall success. Often, you find pieces of what is needed, but seldom the whole pie.
  • There are a wide variety of debriefing alternatives, and over 100 different slides as well as a series of powerpoint bundles designed for different purposes.
  • Just a brief mention of the Main Goal of our debriefing, something we will get to at the end of the discussions… I use this framework to set the stage for other discussions, and I return to this at the end when we are discussing possibilities and choices and goals for change.
  • And we had to make decisions about what to do and how much risk we should take before we got things rolling.
    Not everyone agreed and it was important for the team to reach a consensus about what to do, where to go, what to take and how much risk should be managed. The disagreement is good, in that it insures that we have looked at things from a variety of perspectives.
  • And we NEED agreement! We need everyone on board and people have to feel that their ideas have been considered.
    Once we got agreement, we could focus on getting things done, planning, trading, and executing.
    AGREEMENT MEANS SHARED OWNERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT.
    Yeeee Haaaaa!
  • But things did not necessarily work smoothly. There was lots of mud on the journey that made a team’s progress difficult. There were a lot of things that simply made the task difficult.
    This was NOT easy. MUD represents the politics, bureaucracy and other “sticky” things we find in organizations.
  • And leadership often feels the pressures of getting done more, better, faster…
  • The motivating goal was for people to get to the Top. We all want to be successful. We all want to have accomplishments.
    The challenge was to successfully manage the journey and work together as a team.
  • We could have been aligned and supporting between teams. We could all share the same goals and move in the same direction. We could have made some really good choices about working together and optimizing results.
  • But there is also an issue of what we can call, “My Team, My Team, My Team” where we focus too much on our own team and not enough on collaboration between the teams.
  • We sometimes tend to make this a “They” situation, where “They” are not “US.”
  • And THEY is really US!!
  • We could have then worked together to execute the One Best Plan.
    After all, this was NOT a race. Our goal was to Mine as much Gold as WE Can. We wanted to optimize our results.
  • But it WAS Fun!!
  • And it WAS Chaos!
  • So, let’s take a bit of time to sit around the campfire and talk about what we did, what we might have done, and what we till try to do in the future to Mine More Gold.
  • Let’s look for and discuss some new possibilities.
  • There are a lot of debriefing possibilities and these represent some of the main ones that Scott uses with management groups.
  • This is The Key Question – we use it to briefly talk about the game and then shift it to what did we learn from this experience that we can apply to our main Desired Outcomes and overall goals.
  • .
  • Mud is the gooey stuff…
  • Teams seldom actually ask for help, choosing instead to sub-optimize results. Strange, but true in so many situations.
  • Motivation is a great discussion topic for managers. We can discuss intrinsic motivation easily since it was so apparent in the play of the game./
  • Alignment to organizational goals is an important issue for most organizations.
  • Inter-team collaboration is an important issue for most organizations.
  • Why DO teams compete instead of collaborate and what can we do to help change this reality within an organization?
  • Each of us wants to do well. And none of us is to be blamed for what all of us do. Each of us will tend to claim our innocence… yet we must accept some level of responsibility.
  • Research shows that most people are unclear of corporate and departmental goals and objectives and simply do what is measured.
  • A focus on success is different than a focus on survival, along with the performance levels we observe.
  • Competition needs to be balanced with collaboration. Both are motivating and both can also be de-motivating to people. We need balance in things…
  • Yes it is.
  • It is about the choices we make and the alternatives that we can choose from.
  • This slide and the next one contain quotes about engagement and empowerment and moving things forward, step by step.
    You might find these to be useful, quick anchor points. They are optional.
    The world’s longest sentence of 2 letter words, maybe.
  • The 2nd slide with quotes about engagement and empowerment and moving things forward, step by step.
    You might find these to be useful, quick anchor points. They are optional.
  • This IS only a game, but it does give us some opportunities to talk about things that could be important to discuss and fix.
  • If you republish this anywhere, please allow PMC to retain the original attribution and please reference our website at
    http://www.PerformanceManagementCompany.com
  • The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine: An Organizational Development Tool

    1. 1. • teamwork and communications • inter-team collaboration • strategic planning and resource management • organizational alignment to shared goals • leadership and support and other aspects of team play and motivation The focus can be on:
    2. 2. Our Goals: • Work Together • Get to the Mine •• Mine as much GoldMine as much Gold as We Canas We Can • Return to Apache Junction • Have Fun!
    3. 3. Our Goals: • Work Together • Get to the Mine •• Mine as much GoldMine as much Gold as We Canas We Can • Return to Apache Junction • Have Fun! Note the “We” – most teams miss that and frame it: “My Team, My, Team, My Team” instead of overall collaboration with the Big WE!
    4. 4. A sense of competition and the natural competitiveness commonly caused by the “My Team, My Team, My Team” focus measurably sub-optimizes the group performance results. Collaboration rather than competition is a key factor for success.
    5. 5. Our expressed goal is to mine as much gold as WE can and to have fun while doing it! We also want to have a very positive experience to debrief so that we can discuss alternatives for improvement. THAT is the goal of playing this exercise. The Goal is to mine as much Gold as We Can!
    6. 6. The play of the game is our anchor point for serious discussions about the choices we make and the issues of communication and teamwork. Collaboration offers much higher payouts than competition, but players often choose to try to win rather than optimize overall results. This allows for great debriefing!
    7. 7. Our debriefing questions focus on such themes as the following: (Note: We also use cartoons as visual anchors to key actions and the fast play of the game allows for lots of tabletop and group discussions about choices made and real alternatives in the workplace.)
    8. 8. The game generates some amount of discord and disagreement as to what are the best decisions. Not everyone agreed and it was important for the team to reach a consensus about what to do, where to go, what to take and how much risk should be managed. Disagreement is good if it insures that we have looked at things from a variety of perspectives.
    9. 9. And reaching agreement and making good decisions is what will generate better teamwork, planning and results. And we NEED agreement! We need everyone on board and feeling that their ideas have been considered. Once we got agreement, teams could focus on getting things done: planning, trading, and executing. AGREEMENT MEANS SHARED OWNERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT.
    10. 10. Things didn’t necessarily work smoothly. There was lots of “mud” on our journey that made team progress difficult. Journeys never seem to be easy, but talking about issues and opportunities is a key to improvement.
    11. 11. And there could be a lot of pressure on team leadership for getting things done more, better, and faster…
    12. 12. Employee engagement is an experience to be lived not a problem to be solved. It’s really neat, getting to the Top, one wonders if success will ever stop. Collaboration is one real great key as is planning things, it seems to me. We see the goal, we see the top. What pushes us to never stop? We can easily talk about Motivation and Success
    13. 13. We can readily talk about organizational alignment and the need to have shared goals and objectives. All of the teams could have chosen to work together.
    14. 14. But remember, “My Team. My Team, My Team” and that particular dynamic mentioned earlier…
    15. 15. We hear teams talk about They. And we hear teams talk about THEM:
    16. 16. So, what we talk about is that They and Them are really US, and that teamwork and collaboration offer benefits.
    17. 17. We could have then worked together to execute the One Best Plan. After all, this was NOT a race; we just had time limits. Our goal was to Mine as much Gold as WE Can. We wanted to optimize our results, but we did not mine all we could have…
    18. 18. But, Nah! And Yeeee Haaaaa! Let’s Get ‘er DONE and just have some Fun! So many teams just took off flying toward The Mine. And it WAS Fun!
    19. 19. Chaos. Confusion. Reality!
    20. 20. So, after the play has ended and the gold has been mined, we have the chance to sit by the fire and chat about what we could have done, what we should have done and what we might choose to do now that we are heading back to the workplace…
    21. 21. Heck, we might even notice some NEW possibilities for what we can choose to do!
    22. 22. Here are some key slides representing possibilities for discussions...
    23. 23. What did you learn from your experience?
    24. 24. Let’s have a Yeeee Haaaaa!! After all, we were here to have fun and learn something!
    25. 25. What kinds of Mud must we deal with?
    26. 26. Expedition Leaders can help teams be more successful. Why don’t teams ask for assistance?
    27. 27. What can we do to better align our teams to our goals?
    28. 28. What can weWhat can we change to allow forchange to allow for betterbetter collaborationcollaboration within ourwithin our organization(s)?organization(s)?
    29. 29. Benefits of Collaborating are obvious. Why do teams compete?
    30. 30. In a flashIn a flash flood, eachflood, each raindrop willraindrop will claim itsclaim its innocence.innocence.
    31. 31. Why are Clear Goals needed for effective leadership?
    32. 32. If the focus is on survival, can one really focus on success?
    33. 33. Competition: An Issue of Balance.
    34. 34. It’s ALL About Teamwork and Mining
    35. 35. What might I consider doing differently? It is all about choice and choices; we generate considered alternatives.
    36. 36. This was Remember: But it is also a great learning and discussion experience! only a game!
    37. 37. Have FUN Out There! Thanks for your time, energy and thinking. www.PerformanceManagementCompany.com

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