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Teach the concept of team synergy with Cave Without a Name, a challenging adventure simulation that focuses on consensus decision making, problem solving, and managing group conflict


Cave Without a Name is a team simulation for management development training. Team members learn and practice the group process skills needed to achieve synergy, including problem solving, consensus decision making, and conflict resolution.

Most, if not all, organizations today look to teams to make important decisions, strategize, and solve problems because of the benefits of synergy. But in order to achieve peak performance, teams must be able to maximize a collaborative approach and possess group process skills that are well honed.

Part of the best-selling HRDQ Team Adventure Series, Cave Without a Name is an excellent training tool for developing the group process skills teams need to achieve synergy. The simulation provides a safe, non-threatening learning environment for teams to practice communication, problem solving, decision making, and conflict resolution. Teams also learn what it means to be synergistic. Cave Without a Name is an especially effective training exercise for teams that work in high-pressure environments or must strategize under pressure.

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The Scenario

An expedition begins innocently as a group of tourists are admitted to the Cave Without a Name. As they descend deep into the cave, they suddenly hear a loud “shoof!” sound, and without warning, the once quiet river becomes a raging torrent, obliterating the path and causing everyone to scramble. It quickly becomes obvious to the group that they are trapped with no easy way out. Now they are left to figure out a way to work together in order to escape and survive with only the contents of their daypacks.


Learning Outcomes Learn how to manage and resolve group conflict Hone group problem-solving skills Improve communication Discover the advantages of consensus decision making Experience the concept of synergy
Theory and Development

Based on actual explorations and named for a cave near Boerne, Texas, the Cave Without a Name team adventure simulation demonstrates the concept of team synergy — the belief that decisions made by groups are better than decisions made by individuals acting alone (Michaelson, Watson, & Black, 1989). Groups bring a greater sum total of knowledge and information to the discussion of a problem, as well as a greater number of approaches and perspectives. The simulation also demonstrates “process loss.” This phenomenon occurs when a knowledgeable group member outperforms the group, indicating that the member’s knowledge was lost sometime during the group discussion. In order for group decision making to work, unique information must be shared and absorbed by the group (Stasser, 1992). Click here to visit HRDQ



Uses for the Simulation

Cave Without a Name can be used as a standalone training instrument, or it can be incorporated into a more comprehensive program on teambuilding. It also makes an effective component in training programs for a variety of topics such as problem solving and decision making. Illustrate the concept of team synergy “Break the ice” among new or conflicted teams Give teams a nonthreatening opportunity to work together Help teams practice consensus decision making Improve active listening, probing, and confronting behaviors in a realistic setting Train team leaders in team facilitation skills Open or close a learning session Introduce an organizational change, such as the transition to self-managing teams Interject a fun activity into an otherwise serious agenda Supplement outdoor experiential learning


This powerful roundtable simulation challenges teams to rank 4 action responses and 10 daypack items in order to survive the disaster scenario. Individuals rank action responses and daypack items on their own, using pressure-sensitive scoring forms. Next, each team conducts the same ranking process as a unit. Group action planning and discussion follow, providing the team with the opportunity to apply the learning to the workplace.

If you are planning to use Cave Without a Name in a classroom training session, we recommend you allow approximately 1 hour for interpretation of scores, topic discussion, debrief, and action planning. The Cave Without a Name Facilitator Guide includes everything you need to lead a successful training session from comprehensive background information and activities, to reproducible handouts and even a professional PowerPoint presentation. The Facilitator Guide also offers an easy-to-follow workshop outline that expands Cave Without a Name into a 3-hour program.


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