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Need a high-energy business simulation
that works with very senior managers as
well as front-line employees? A game with:
• solid clean metaphors
• links to planning
• links to decisionmaking
• great debriefing
anchors
• links to improving
results & performance
• a solid focus on
collaboration and
engagement
The focus is on
• 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
Please let me share some thoughts around play:
You gather your people for a challenge to mine
Gold and to have fun! We need to find the lost
mine of Jacob Waltz, the Deutchman, in the
Superstition Mountains of Arizona.

First, separate players into
teams of 5 or 6 people.
You can choose to
play with LOTS of
teams, if you have
them.

Or just a few players…
People enter the room set
with round tables, with
colorful packets of
information, Grub Stakes
of Resource Cards, and toy
trucks, binoculars, and
little plastic cowboys!
There are hats and colored
bandannas, too.
Then, it’s time to sit back
and focus on learning all
the rules, processes and
objectives of the exercise.
We share instructions,
mechanics of how things
work, policies and
procedures -- all the
information they need to
be successful in the
journey forward.

Our goals are:
“To Mine as Much Gold as We Can” and
“To Maximize our Return on Investment.”
Their tabletop map
shows the key
location of the
mine as well as
possible routes
they can choose.
Tables have
possibilities to
discuss, risks to
assess, and
resources to
manage.
Our Goals:

•
•
•

Work Together
Get to the Mine
Mine as much Gold
as We Can
• Return to
Apache Junction
• Have Fun!
Our Goals:

•
•
•

Work Together
Get to the Mine
Mine as much Gold
as We Can
• Return most teams miss
Note the “We” – to
that and frame it: “My Team, My,
Apache Junction
Team, My Team” instead of overall
collaboration Fun!
• Have with the Big WE!
A final call to tell everyone they have only a minute
left before Day 1 of the journey begins ALWAYS
generates some energy. Then the chaos, confusion
and the FUN of Day 1 begins!
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 our success.
While Traders spend their days going back and forth to
the Provisioner’s Trading Post, the other team members
perform their given roles within the team. Players may
interact with the other teams for information and
resources; collaboration works and makes good sense.
Collaboration and teamwork generate more successes.
Poor planning will make some teams feel pressured or
experience discord when their plans don’t work. Many
teams work their plan well together and use available
information wisely. For those, it’s less stress and more
success.
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!
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!
Some debriefing questions and
themes are on the following pages.
We also use cartoons as visual
anchors to key actions.
The fast play of the game allows
for lots of tabletop and group
discussions about choices made
and real alternative choices in their
workplaces:
We give each team a vehicle and the resources
needed for success.

(Some of my narrative appears at the bottom of these slides.)
And some amount of discord and disagreement is what
will generate a better decision.

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.
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.
Even though everyone was seemingly on the same team
and riding in the same vehicle, it was hard to know if we
were all tuned in to the same channel. As Expedition
Leader, all I could do was hope that we were all heading in
the right direction. All the leader can do is hope!
But things didn’t 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 journey was NOT easy.
And there could be a lot of
pressure on team leadership
for getting things done
more, better, and faster…
We can easily talk about Motivation and Success

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?
This may be motivating, but it is NOT real success!
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.
But you might remember, “My Team. My Team, My
Team” and that particular dynamic mentioned earlier…
We hear teams
talk about They.

We hear teams
talk about Them.
So, what we talk about is that They and Them are
really US, and that teamwork and collaboration
offer benefits.
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. We did not mine all we could…
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!
Chaos.
Confusion.
Reality!
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…
Heck, we might even notice some NEW
possibilities for what we can choose to do!
Let’s have a
Yeeee
Haaaaa!!
After all, we were here to have fun and learn something!
We cannot
become what
we want to be
by remaining
what we are.
Max DePree
And we
have LOTS
and lots of
testimonials
about the
exercise
from users
worldwide.
These next few
slides represent
possibilities for
discussions...
What did you
learn from
your
experience?
What kinds
of Mud
must we
deal with?
How do we best
manage the mud
that often occurs
as we try to move
fast forward?
Expedition Leaders
can help teams
be more successful.
Why don’t teams
ask for
assistance?
Improvement is
about making
different
choices!
We cannot
become what
we want to be
by remaining
what we are.
Max DePree
The issue of
Alignment is a
critical one.
How does it influence what happens
during regular business in the
organization?
What can we
do to better
align our
teams to our
goals?
Teamwork and
collaboration free up
mental resources
and energy for
service, creativity
and improvement.
What can we
change to allow for
better
collaboration
within our
organization(s)?
Benefits of
Collaborating
are obvious.
Why do teams
compete?
In a flash
flood, each
raindrop will
claim its
innocence.
Why are
Clear Goals
needed for
effective
leadership?
Three play strategies are common:

Survival - Return Home ALIVE
Competition - WIN - Beat other teams
Optimization - Do the BEST we can

What was your team’s
start-up strategy?
If the focus
is on survival,
can one really
focus on
success?
How was the
competitive aspect
of the game helpful
to you and your team?
How might it be helpful
in an organization?
How was the
competitive aspect
of the game harmful
to you and your team?
How might it be harmful
in an organization?
Competition:
An Issue of
Balance.
It’s ALL
About
Teamwork
and Mining
What might
"Mining Gold"
Gold
represent
to our
organization?
Group Discussion
• Main Question: “What does Mining

Gold mean to us as an organization?”

• Each table has 5 minutes to come
up with one REALLY good idea,
something that we should
implement.
• Tables capture ONE actionable idea
on an easel pad and select someone
to present that.
What might
I consider
doing
differently?
It is all about choice and choices;
we generate considered alternatives.
Remember:

This was
only
a game!

But it is also a great learning and discussion experience!
And while this IS only a game, we have lots of supporters

It is a great learning and discussion experience!
Have FUN
Out There!
Thanks for your time,
energy and thinking.

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A Team Building Game on Leadership and Collaboration: Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine

  • 1.
  • 2. Need a high-energy business simulation that works with very senior managers as well as front-line employees? A game with: • solid clean metaphors • links to planning • links to decisionmaking • great debriefing anchors • links to improving results & performance • a solid focus on collaboration and engagement
  • 3. The focus is on • 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
  • 4. Please let me share some thoughts around play: You gather your people for a challenge to mine Gold and to have fun! We need to find the lost mine of Jacob Waltz, the Deutchman, in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. First, separate players into teams of 5 or 6 people.
  • 5. You can choose to play with LOTS of teams, if you have them. Or just a few players…
  • 6. People enter the room set with round tables, with colorful packets of information, Grub Stakes of Resource Cards, and toy trucks, binoculars, and little plastic cowboys! There are hats and colored bandannas, too.
  • 7. Then, it’s time to sit back and focus on learning all the rules, processes and objectives of the exercise. We share instructions, mechanics of how things work, policies and procedures -- all the information they need to be successful in the journey forward. Our goals are: “To Mine as Much Gold as We Can” and “To Maximize our Return on Investment.”
  • 8. Their tabletop map shows the key location of the mine as well as possible routes they can choose. Tables have possibilities to discuss, risks to assess, and resources to manage.
  • 9. Our Goals: • • • Work Together Get to the Mine Mine as much Gold as We Can • Return to Apache Junction • Have Fun!
  • 10. Our Goals: • • • Work Together Get to the Mine Mine as much Gold as We Can • Return most teams miss Note the “We” – to that and frame it: “My Team, My, Apache Junction Team, My Team” instead of overall collaboration Fun! • Have with the Big WE!
  • 11. A final call to tell everyone they have only a minute left before Day 1 of the journey begins ALWAYS generates some energy. Then the chaos, confusion and the FUN of Day 1 begins!
  • 12. 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 our success.
  • 13. While Traders spend their days going back and forth to the Provisioner’s Trading Post, the other team members perform their given roles within the team. Players may interact with the other teams for information and resources; collaboration works and makes good sense.
  • 14. Collaboration and teamwork generate more successes. Poor planning will make some teams feel pressured or experience discord when their plans don’t work. Many teams work their plan well together and use available information wisely. For those, it’s less stress and more success.
  • 15. 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!
  • 16. 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!
  • 17. Some debriefing questions and themes are on the following pages. We also use cartoons as visual anchors to key actions. The fast play of the game allows for lots of tabletop and group discussions about choices made and real alternative choices in their workplaces:
  • 18.
  • 19. We give each team a vehicle and the resources needed for success. (Some of my narrative appears at the bottom of these slides.)
  • 20. And some amount of discord and disagreement is what will generate a better decision. 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.
  • 21. 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.
  • 22. Even though everyone was seemingly on the same team and riding in the same vehicle, it was hard to know if we were all tuned in to the same channel. As Expedition Leader, all I could do was hope that we were all heading in the right direction. All the leader can do is hope!
  • 23. But things didn’t 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 journey was NOT easy.
  • 24. And there could be a lot of pressure on team leadership for getting things done more, better, and faster…
  • 25. We can easily talk about Motivation and Success 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?
  • 26. This may be motivating, but it is NOT real success!
  • 27. 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.
  • 28. But you might remember, “My Team. My Team, My Team” and that particular dynamic mentioned earlier…
  • 29. We hear teams talk about They. We hear teams talk about Them.
  • 30. So, what we talk about is that They and Them are really US, and that teamwork and collaboration offer benefits.
  • 31. 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. We did not mine all we could…
  • 32. 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!
  • 34. 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…
  • 35. Heck, we might even notice some NEW possibilities for what we can choose to do!
  • 36. Let’s have a Yeeee Haaaaa!! After all, we were here to have fun and learn something!
  • 37. We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are. Max DePree
  • 38. And we have LOTS and lots of testimonials about the exercise from users worldwide.
  • 39. These next few slides represent possibilities for discussions...
  • 40. What did you learn from your experience?
  • 41. What kinds of Mud must we deal with?
  • 42. How do we best manage the mud that often occurs as we try to move fast forward?
  • 43. Expedition Leaders can help teams be more successful. Why don’t teams ask for assistance?
  • 44.
  • 46. We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are. Max DePree
  • 47. The issue of Alignment is a critical one. How does it influence what happens during regular business in the organization?
  • 48. What can we do to better align our teams to our goals?
  • 49. Teamwork and collaboration free up mental resources and energy for service, creativity and improvement.
  • 50. What can we change to allow for better collaboration within our organization(s)?
  • 52. In a flash flood, each raindrop will claim its innocence.
  • 53. Why are Clear Goals needed for effective leadership?
  • 54. Three play strategies are common: Survival - Return Home ALIVE Competition - WIN - Beat other teams Optimization - Do the BEST we can What was your team’s start-up strategy?
  • 55. If the focus is on survival, can one really focus on success?
  • 56. How was the competitive aspect of the game helpful to you and your team? How might it be helpful in an organization?
  • 57. How was the competitive aspect of the game harmful to you and your team? How might it be harmful in an organization?
  • 61. Group Discussion • Main Question: “What does Mining Gold mean to us as an organization?” • Each table has 5 minutes to come up with one REALLY good idea, something that we should implement. • Tables capture ONE actionable idea on an easel pad and select someone to present that.
  • 62. What might I consider doing differently? It is all about choice and choices; we generate considered alternatives.
  • 63.
  • 64.
  • 65. Remember: This was only a game! But it is also a great learning and discussion experience!
  • 66. And while this IS only a game, we have lots of supporters It is a great learning and discussion experience!
  • 67.
  • 68. Have FUN Out There! Thanks for your time, energy and thinking.

Editor's Notes

  1. The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine was designed by Scott Simmerman. Artwork by Roy Sabean.
  2. 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 mis-understood. 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.
  3. The game is designed for team building, leadership development and organizational performance improvement purposes. The main focuses are on issues of alignment, communications, strategic planning and employee engagement.
  4. .
  5. The exercise is very scalable. Scott has delivered this for a group of 7 people and for around 500. It was run with 870 people in one room by an internal consultant in India for a large software company/ It is used worldwide and it works great for every size group. Most of the sessions Scott delivers for clients are in the 100 to 250 size. One person with familiarity with the exercise can run this for 7 tabletops of 6 people with little difficulty.
  6. There are many ways to accessorize the tabletops, since the theme of American Southwest offers so many options. We generally add toys to the tabletops and bandannas and hats for the players, although those are just options.
  7. Note the “WE” as part of the goal - plus the working together. This exercise is designed to be congruent with good general leadership practices and is easily run by line management. It requires no special expertise or training or certification and its design is quite tight. Rules are clear and facilitation is straightforward.
  8. I use this slide just to highlight the main places on the map using a laser pointer.
  9. 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.
  10. .
  11. Those few moments at the end of the strategy and planning time and the beginning of Day 1 are generally pretty wild, because no one really knows what they are actually doing, but they know that they must do something.
  12. 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!
  13. .
  14. .
  15. .
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. I often start out playing with cartoons, upon which I can tell a story about the exercise and the play and highlight some of the funny things that actually happened in the game. It is a simple but effective way to set the stage for other discussions and I spend 5 minutes or so with this. We all started out with a great vehicle! And resources sufficient to get you out to the Mine and back. We gave players lots of information about how things were to work and to generate alignment to our goal of Mining Gold.
  20. 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 disagrement is good, in that it insures that we have looked at things from a variety of perspectives.
  21. 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!
  22. And, even though everyone was seemingly on the same team and riding in the same vehicle, it was hard to know if we were all tuned into the same channel. As Expedition Leader, all I could do was hope that we were all heading in the right direction, with the right stuff. All the leader can do is set the stage and HOPE that the expectations were clear. The tabletops need to get the job done. The leadership does not DO that.
  23. 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.
  24. And leadership often feels the pressures of getting done more, better, faster…
  25. 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.
  26. And it was fun to make some progress! But we need to really move things forward. We need productivity and performance.
  27. 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.
  28. But there is also an issue of what we can call, “My Team, My Team, My Team” where we focus too much on out own team and not enough on collaboration between the teams.
  29. We sometimes tend to make this a “They” situation, where “They” are not “US.”
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. But it WAS Fun!!
  33. And it WAS Chaos!
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. A quote from Max DePree in his book, “Leadership is an Art.”
  37. A quote from Max DePree in his book, “Leadership is an Art.”
  38. This is The Key Question – we use it to briefly talk about the game and then shift if to what did we learn from this experience that we can apply to our main Desired Outcomes and overall goals.
  39. This is The Key Question – we use it to briefly talk about the game and then shift if to what did we learn from this experience that we can apply to our main Desired Outcomes and overall goals.
  40. It is about considered alternatives, generated by coaching and perspective and experience.
  41. A quote from Max DePree in his book, “Leadership is an Art.”
  42. 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.
  43. Yes it is.
  44. The next slide shows more of the detail about how I generally facilitate this theme.
  45. These next two slides 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.
  46. These next two slides 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.
  47. This IS only a game, but it does give us some opportuinities to talk about things that could be important to discuss and fix.
  48. This IS only a game, but it does give us some opportuinities to talk about things that could be important to discuss and fix.
  49. You can delete my name and add yours. If you republish this anywhere, please allow PMC to retain the original attribution and please reference our website at http://www.PerformanceManagementCompany.com Thank You!
  50. You can delete my name and add yours. If you republish this anywhere, please allow PMC to retain the original attribution and please reference our website at http://www.PerformanceManagementCompany.com Thank You!