The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine -- Thoughts and details on use, delivery and application
This is a detailed overview that highlights key points of the simulation and shares general themes for your training and team building events or organizational development. This file is useful for those wanting an overview of the exercise, its approach and application. Information is kept current, but this file may not be depending on where you got it. Please contact us directly or visit our website for the most recent information. Hotlink to website - www.squarewheels.com Email - email@example.com
This material walks through main themes and ideas on applications. The goal is to help you understand why people think Dutchman is a great exercise and to help you make a good decision about our program and its possible fit to group dynamics, issues and opportunities.If beneficial, please contact us by phone . 864-292-8700 800-659-1466(USA toll free)
PMC has been offering training and development services continually since 1984. We created Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine and have sold and supported it since 1993. Dutchman is used worldwide * with great results -- we have 100s of testimonials and references. Rest assured this is a World Class team building training tool! (We also offer other exercises with different themes.) • French, Danish, German, Portuguese and Spanish translations are available. • We also have the program available in Chinese and Japanese settings.
Scott Simmerman is the developer of the exercise and active in the delivery and improvement of the exercise. He is an experienced presenter and workshop leader who has presented events in 30 countries. He has been consulting since 1978 and holds a Ph.D. in psychology as well as having senior leadership experience. He is a Certified Professional Facilitator of the IAF. He has developed a number of other exercises focusing on communications, innovation and collaboration.
Dutchman takes about 2 hours to play. We suggest allocating a total of 3 to 3.5 hours to introduce, play, and debrief it meaningfully. It has worked successfully with 6 to 600 people.
The exercise is designed to handle unlimited group sizes. It is a memorable experience. We can also deliver or lead the exercise for you or suggest other experienced presenters.
It has been run with as many as 890 people in one room; we regularly deliver it for 200+ people.
The delivery is fun. But it is designed with some serious learning frameworks. The issues of playing the game mirror the issues of working as an organization. The many metaphors in the exercise all link to real world situations and opportunities and the culture of the organization will reflect itself in the play. One goal is FUN but the real goal is learning. In the experience, we learn things about each other and decide what we might do differently to improve how the organization really works!
The design of the event it to generate opportunities for learning. There are many metaphors in the game that can be linked elegantly to individual and organizational improvement initiatives. Thus, it readily links to a variety of conference themes. It is a great way to kickoff organizational team building, focus energies on improving service or quality, or involve attendees on organizational change initiatives. The goal of this world-class exercise is to Mine as Much Gold as We Can!
The setting is the modern-day Southwest of the USA - the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. The situation is that teams have sufficient but not excessive resources for a 20-day journey to and from the famous Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine of Jacob Waltz.
Main themes for debriefing include but are not limited to: • General Team Building - we’re told Dutchman is the best exercise in the world focused on collaboration among team members and especially between teams. • Motivation - how to motivate people and organizations • Leadership training and supervisory skills development • Communications skills training • Personality / Thinking Styles Training - it’s easy to link MBTI, DISC and other instruments right into the delivery. • Project Management / Strategic Planning • Innovation and Creativity • Executive Development Retreats • Sales Management Retreats and Conferences • Staff Development Retreats and Celebrations • Realigning missions and visions to goals • Quality - TQM, and service quality improvement
The delivery of the exercise is simple and straightforward: • Introduction, description of the myth and our overall goal • Overview of the Rules, Processes and Procedures • 15 minutes of Planning and Strategic Planning time • Team selection of roles, route, resources, risk, etc. • 20 days of 2 minutes each, with changing weather patterns • Team summary of Inventory and Results • Break • Debriefing of results, behaviors and key learning points It can be completed in 2.5 hours, but that makes it more of a fun event than a learning opportunity and a discussion of possibilities for change and improvement. Smaller groups are inherently faster than larger groups.
Team can be as few as 2 people each but we prefer 5 to 6 people on a team. This way, themes of thinking styles, risk taking and strategy emerge. The structure of the exercise allows the flexibility to operate the exercise for 2 to 100 teams -- a really nice learning event is 6 teams / 36 people. Ideally, a collaborating group of 3 teams could work together to generate optimal success for each team, these 3 teams and the overall group. Generally, however, teams compete against each other rather than collaborating to maximize results.
The role of the Expedition Leader is to help teams be successful and maximize ROI
In many other exercises, the expedition leader is put into an administrative or even an adversarial role. In Dutchman, the expressed role of the leader is to be supportive and to help, as in the workplace. The goal is to optimize overall performance. Leadership is there to explain the game and support the teams, giving advice and support when asked. “Return on Investment” represents the resources and investment made in the teams to mine as much gold as they can -- overall. Leaders help if teams ASK for help. We structure delivery for collaboration and optimization and position leadership as a resource for improvement. This allows us to discuss team and organizational issues as well as model good leadership and motivational practices.
Generally, “Nobody ever asks Expedition Leaders for Advice!” It is a key leadership and team building learning point!
Another design feature of the game is that every team will be successful and all will mine some Gold. We also de-empathize “Winners” and “Losers” and focus on teamwork to optimize overall results. Of course, some teams mine more gold than others but every team contributes to our overall results. Thus, teams that made planning mistakes or other non-optimizing decisions “live to play another day!” They are thus more open to debriefing discussions. The focus on collaboration between teams is a focus on how your business really operates!
The following is basic information on the design of the game and the play of the teams. Here’s how Dutchman really works:
The Goal is to get to the Mine and “Mine as much Gold as WE Can.” Mine There are three possible routes Teams Start Here
Quick Summary Plan for weather and days Plan for fuel and shelter Free Videos of the Region • Tortilla Flat • The Mine and Its Gold Work together. Have Fun!
One key to success is “The Videos” - Teams can choose to take a day or two before starting out and get one or both of two videos (actually, paper booklets), presented as “Information that teams find helpful.” Both videos are useful to teams and are very much worth the day(s) spent not moving. In “The Mine” video, teams get information about weather as well as resources they can exchange to get additional Fuel and Supplies. With this, they manage resources more effectively and mine more Gold.
More on The Videos - In the “Tortilla Flat” video - teams get our “Best Practice” tool, a Turbocharger. Teams find that they can get a Turbo at Tortilla Flat and that Turbos enable a team to travel 2 blocks per day. They can mine 3 more gold if they manage resources well. Plus, they get 3 Turbos - they could give the 2 extra ones to other teams, enabling the Group to mine SIX more gold. This is our best practice on inter-team collaboration.
If teams ask for help, our design suggests that the Expedition Leader is a resource and will support the team or teams. But, in play as well as in the experience of many leaders, teams seldom really ask for help and are more likely to ask for clarification or permission. We wanted teams to learn that leadership will assist them and that this is, in reality, not really costly. In the real world, we want teams to ask for help and avoid mistakes that cost organizations money!
Some thoughts on using experiential exercises for organizational improvement:
What are the costs of poor team work to our organizations? Company objectives cannot be achieved • Increased Staff costs (unnecessary politics, poor internal communication, increased turnover and recruiting costs, increased training costs, poor internal relations, decreased morale, decreased trust / increased mistrust) • Increased Production Costs (time, increased waste, decreased innovation and efficiency, reduced quality, reduced productivity) • Reduced Profitability (loss of customers and image)
What are benefits of an experiential exercise in training and management development? • Gets team members involved and actively participating • Speeds learning and generates perspective • Will apply directly to real-world workplace situations • We can take others’ roles or styles and share their feelings • Fun and kinesthetic and thus very memorable • Makes people more open to other people and their ideas • It improves communications • It produces shared experiences they talk about afterwards • It stimulates thinking and reflection • People see themselves in the mirror of their own behavior • It increases power and impact of the key linked themes and ideas
What might "Mining Gold"represent to your organization? • Mining Gold is a great metaphor for organizational improvement. We usually ask teams what it might mean and link ideas such as collaboration between teams / departments. Gold can be found in: • 1. Vision • • A sense of purpose • • A clear Mission Statement, shared values and goals • • Leadership - involving and engaging • 2. Process • • Team building • • Planning and project management • • Communications - within and between people • 3. Results • • Profitability and Productivity • • Quality Improvement and Cost Reduction
Why do teams compete when collaborationobviously offers more impacts and benefits? • Evaluation / Reward Systems do not support teamwork “It’s a dog eat dog world…” • Organizational objectives are unclear • Human Nature - we are competitive • Past Experience precludes collaboration and has rewarded competition • Lack of a Trust or a positive relationship with others • Collaboration takes extra time and effort to accomplish • Benefits of collaboration not supported by leadership • Impacts and payoffs are not obvious to those involved • Teams do not have a history or experience with doing collaboration or generating better impacts by it
We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are. Max DePree
Why don't most teams get their Expedition Leaders actively involved? • We are conditioned by education, bad experiences and culture • There is a fear of losing Face or Status (ego, insecurity) • Personality (we’re not proactive but quiet) • We’re too involved in our own work and forget the existence of the Expedition Leaders • We’re afraid of losing time, thus we sub-optimize results • We are really not clear of our roles or the role of the Leader • There is an assumption that not asking means we get all of the praise and recognition for our good performance / ability • “Us and Them” mentality -- Leader is not part of team • No access to Leadership - we can’t get their time so why even ask • It’s not part of the rules of how we normally “play The Game” • Trust is the residue of promises fulfilled. And we have not built up much trust...
What do people learn about team work and communications from playing the exercise? Some feedback from a workshop: There is a need for networking Small teams work better than committees / larger teams Someone needs to take on the role of team leader We must compromise individually and collaborate collectively to succeed Don’t dominate - listen to others’ views THINK COLLABORATIONand Trust Share a common goal or goals Share Ideas and Information Plan before Acting, Check Have a division of labor and roles and think creatively Initiate support from others Have Empathy for others Identify others’ needs Be Creative Be a good listener Build on others’ ideas Recognize Interdependence Move quickly, take some risks We probably have sufficient resources - use them wisely
The competitive aspect of the game: How might it beharmfulin an organization? • Not sharing information for personal reasons will suboptimize overall results • Damaging to relationships and trust • Duplication of efforts • Not utilizing resources in best or optimal way • Sub-optimization -- Not seeing whole picture • Undermining the efforts of others Overall, we do NOT Maximize our overall Company Results and Efforts of our People.
We can easily generate a meaningful discussion of real possibilities by linking The Lost Dutchman exercise to workplace experiences, issues and opportunities.
We feel we offer the best game in the world focused on collaboration and team building. Users tell us Dutchman is extremely flexible, powerful and clean in its metaphorical links. It works well in a wide variety of developmental situations. We have lots of testimonials. We have been delivering and selling this game worldwide for over 12 years.