Black Bear 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.
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.
Part of the best-selling HRDQ Team Adventure Series, Black Bear 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. Black Bear is an especially effective training exercise for teams that work in high-pressure environments or must strategize under pressure. Black Bear Team Building Game,
On an early-morning hike in North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains, a group of hikers stops to enjoy some blueberries growing along the trail. Just then someone spots a small black bear cub, and before they knew what happened, the mother bear lunges at the Scout Leader from the bushes and attacks — with near-fatal results. He is lying on the ground, unconscious and bleeding steadily from deep lacerations on his chest, arms, and back. The group is concerned he will go into shock. Now that the trip has turned into disaster, the group must find a way to quickly work together to help the Scout Leader and escape the potential of another attack.Black Bear Team Building Game,
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Learn how to manage and resolve group conflict,
Hone group problem-solving skills,
Practice consensus decision making,
Learn how to work as a team under pressure,
Experience the concept of team synergy, and
Theory and Development .
Based on information from experts and HRDQ CEO Brad Glaser’s real-life experience on the Appalachian Trail, Black Bear 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. Black Bear 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).
Uses for the Simulation
Black Bear 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.Black Bear Team Building Game,
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
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How It Works:
Black Bear is a powerful roundtable simulation challenges teams to rank 5 strategy alternatives and 10 backpack items — first as individuals, and then as a team. As the facilitator, you begin the exercise by introducing the adventure scenario. Participants then rank the alternatives and daypack items on their own, using pressure-sensitive scoring forms. Next, each team conducts the same ranking process as a unit. Finally, you lead the participants into a group action planning discussion, providing the team with the opportunity to apply the learning to the workplace.
If you are planning to use Black Bear in a classroom training session, we recommend you allow approximately 1 hour for interpretation of scores, topic discussion, debrief, and action planning. The Black Bear 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 Black Bear into a 3-hour program.Black Bear Team Building Game,
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