Whiteout Teambuilding Game
Whiteout is a team consensus decision making 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. Whiteout is ideal for any group that works in a high-pressure environment, especially those who must make decisions amidst conflict.
When it comes to synergistic teams, the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. This is why most, if not all, organizations today look to teams to make important decisions, strategize, and solve problems. But in order to achieve peak performance, teams must be able to maximize a collaborative approach.
Trainers can give their audiences the opportunity to experience team synergy with Whiteout. Part of the ever popular HRDQ Team Adventure Series, this classroom training exercise provides a safe, non-threatening means for teams to practice and develop the group process skills they need to reach synergy. The simulation challenges teams to work together to overcome a disaster scenario by engaging effective methods of decision-making, communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution.
On a trip of a lifetime, a work team is selected to pilot a new team-building initiative that starts with a dog-sledding trip through the wilds of Alaska. Normally this would be considered an exciting adventure for most people, but for the past year, the team has been struggling with interpersonal conflicts and frequent disagreements. Goals have been missed and projects have been poorly executed as a result. The thought of going on an Alaskan adventure is stressful for the team, but they go anyway.
The morning of the trip starts out bright and beautiful, but unexpectedly, the team encounters a horrendous blizzard. As if being stranded in the cold, frigid conditions wasn’t challenge enough, disaster strikes. One of the dog sleds – including the driver, guide, and dogs – crashes through the ice into shoulder-deep water. While the dogs quickly escape unharmed, the driver and guide are left hypothermic and semiconscious. Now it’s up to the team to put aside their differences and work together like they’ve never done before to save the injured and rescue themselves, with only limited resources and supplies.
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Learn how to manage and resolve group conflict
Hone group problem-solving skills
Discover the advantages of consensus decision making
Experience the concept of synergy
The Whiteout survival simulation demonstrates “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 can also demonstrate “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).
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Uses for the Simulation
Whiteout 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
How It Works
Participants work both individually and as a team to determine the best course of action in an emergency situation. First they are required to make a crucial strategy decision from a range of seemingly viable options. Then they rank the value of the few survival items available to them in terms of their usefulness to the group as it carries out its chosen strategy. This format is designed to stimulate typical organization behavior – make a strategic decision, then execute it with the resources available.
If you are planning to use Whiteout in a classroom training session, we recommend you allow approximately 1 hour for interpretation of scores, topic discussion, debrief, and action planning. The Whiteout 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 Whiteout into a 3-hour program
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