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Team Everest Simulation MHR 300

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on 11 December 2014

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Transcript of Team Everest Simulation MHR 300

Mountain Lions
Everest Climb


Brady Sullivan: Team Leader
Lauren Wundrock: Environmentalist
Erin Wolke: Marathoner
Samantha Walter: Physician
Olivia Wirz: Photographer

Team Dynamic Challenges
Trying to Help Everyone Achieve His or Her Goals:

The Topic 10 podcast on Conflict Management states that it is commonplace for two or more people to have incompatible goals without conflict. Only when one individual
feels that another’s actualization of goals prevents their own
do interpersonal conflicts occur

Specific Example:

The leader had numerous goals, with the most important of which was to get every member to the top without needing to be rescued. However other team members had incentives to stay extra days at camps 1, 2, or 4. This was an issue because time was a very scarce resource during the climb.

To avoid conflict during the climb we decided to address our differences in goals right away. This was utilizing what we learned in the topic10 podcast that there are numerous negative effects of conflict including aggression, anxiety, and wasted time. This allowed us to move forward effectively and avoid further conflict.

Determining Which Resources Would be Allocated to Whom:

Drawing from the podcast of Topic 10’s
Conflict Management, a source of conflict can be scarce


We had a limited amount of health supplies throughout the simulation. We had to make objective calls on who received aid and who did not. This was specifically an issue in round 5 when Lauren and Erin both had severe asthma symptoms and we had to choose who to administer the last of the inhaler to.

We exercised the Collaborating Conflict Behavior Style in which we determined where each of us stood in terms of health, and identified all possible options to meet parties’ needs. Showing concern for all, we decided what was best for the group as a whole and helped those who were in critical condition.
Managing Potential Leader Substitutes
In Topic 7: Leadership, we learned that potential
leader substitutes are "factors that reduce the necessity for
leaders to exert influence." The most relevant examples of these are "task force" and "follower ability, training, and substitutes."

We were assigned a group leader, but as a team we were all trying to act as our own leaders for the interest of our own grades. This was poorly managed leader substitution, and we should have used Randy's advice on managing these behaviors.

Brady focused on a "participative (involving followers in problem-solving and decision-making)" leadership style throughout the remainder of the simulation so that we could all contribute, but still maintain a common direction in our efforts.

Moving Forward With Decisions

In topic 8: Group Development slides Randy Dunham states that "some group liabilities are premature decisions" and "compromise may damage decision quality." This relates to our issue because we were trying to move on to round 3 before we had realized that we received different information about health warnings.


During round 2 we all received different information about health concerns during mountain climbing. We did not realize this at first because we were failing to manage our group liabilities and had conflicting statements about what decisions to make.


We utilized Randy's "Leader-Oriented Remedies" to encourage all members to "evaluate ideas critically." This led to us successfully administering the asthma inhaler to Lauren and saving her from an asthma attack.
Any Questions?
Effective Actions
Communication and Deliberation
We used a "Member-Oriented Remedy" to avoid groupthink
that was outlined in the topic 8 podcast slides: "Make no decisions until
all ideas have been evaluated."

During the simulation, situations arose that if confronted alone, could not likely be solved. One of these situations occurred when
we decided to stay an extra day at camp 2.
We received a message that our meteorological equipment at base camp was malfunctioning and so we had to rely on past knowledge and experience to predict the next day’s weather. In addition to this, a group from camp 4 requested a forecast from our marathoner as well.

What we quickly realized after this challenge was presented was that each team member had a different briefing being presented to them on their screen. Each person had received a different bit of information regarding their knowledge of Nepalese weather in May and how best to predict it on Mount Everest. From there on it was more like a puzzle, in which each team member contributed their piece of information as we assembled it and correctly made the forecast for the following day.
Establishing our Unique Organizational Culture
An effective action that our group took to manage
team dynamics in this simulation was establishing our very own
organizational culture. We modeled our environment to reflect
Topic 9’s videos on Google’s culture. Like Google, we were a bunch
of young and imaginative innovators, constantly developing and discussing our ideas.

Being students, we intentionally created a casual space where others could pull out a snack, ask questions about each others’ weekends, and laugh together. We also set up a flexible and open culture, so that people felt comfortable voices their conflicts as they arose; we were all very accommodating and understanding of one another. As illustrated in the “Wegmans Best Place to Work” video, we had a lot of interdependence throughout our decision making. Different “departments”, or roles, that we had allowed us to asked a lot of questions to other members throughout the simulation. An example of this was when we realized Lauren was sick we had to research what acute mountain illness was, but we all felt comfortable speaking up when we had differing research.

We knew this was an important aspect of our teamwork, so we immediately set the stage to create the most caring and comfortable organizational culture possible during this stressful time of year.
Working Collaboratively as a Group and Distributing Leadership
Understanding the Big Picture with Common Goals
This connects to the week 8 required reading "Building and Leading High Performance Teams" by Chris Mussel White. The article states that "three characteristics of highly effective teams" are:
Understanding the big picture
Having common goals
Working collaboratively as a unit

When we started our simulation we realized that we could not complete each team member's goals. We decided to maximize our total group points by choosing the highest point value goals from each group member. A specific goal we decided on as a group was to stay together because the would gain us five points as a team from Brady's goals.

From this we developed a sense of a unified goal which allowed us to successfully maximize our team point total during the simulation. This also aided in faster decision making and reduced conflict.
What did we Learn?
Individual Goals May Conflict With the
Goals of the Team as Whole
In topic 10 podcast slides Randy states that
collaboration is appropriate when "an integrative solution must be found because both sets of concerns are too important to be compromised" and when "our objective is to learn".

In this simulation it was impossible to complete each team members goals, as stated earlier, and we made the decision to focus on a team goal rather than individual goals. We avoided conflict by doing this immediately instead of putting it off

This simulation has taught us that as leaders, it couldn’t be more important to work and solve these conflicts right away, so as to not disturb the team’s progress. Also, as individuals it is also important to realize that while your goals seem to be the top priority, it is helpful to conceptualize others’ goals so that conflict can be avoided if possible.
Importance of the Orientation Stage in the Stages of Group Development

: In week 8's podcast on Group Development the "Orientation Stage" is described as a stage when "Members do not know each other,
members are uncertain about their own roles, and members exchange information through asking questions."

We went through this stage using the pre-simulation team planning template as we introduced ourselves to one another, listing our majors and telling the group a little about ourselves personally. At first, we underestimated the significance of this stage, but after we took the time to know more about each other, our cohesion improved as a team. Our ability to make good decisions in the simulation also improved as represented in the Stages of Group Development chart. For example, when we had to make tough decisions about whose health to respond to in round 5, we all knew where we were coming from, and were able to work through the conflicts that presented themselves; our cohesion, thanks to a well developed orientation stage, helped us be successful.

In the future, we will take more time getting to know our team members and building personal relationships. We now know that this is important, and that it has important impact on how the team will function later in a project.

The Practice of Making Goals and Using Goal Theory

As described in topic 6 Motivation, "a goal,
if expressed appropriately, gives information about the
intensity and direction required to be accomplished." And topic 10 describes the collaboration method, which involves combining goals together to make even better ones.

In this simulation, each of us were presented with a set of individual goals, and as a group we created goals that all of us wanted to strive to receive as a unit by using the collaboration method. We addressed these targets specifically and actively discussed the best ways to go about achieving such goals.

There are multiple circumstances when goal setting will be a useful tool in the future whether creating goals to communicate to your boss, express goals that employees should strive to achieve, or setting personal goals for oneself.
The Benefits of Group Assets
In Topic 8: Group Development, Randy states that a key asset of working in a group is a "Broader perspective on issues."

Having a variety of members who are experts in various areas, we had a broader perspective on the challenges at hand. The uniqueness of our members provided us with a large base of knowledge, skills and abilities to the group that allowed us to reach the summit

This simulation taught us how to effectively use our own assets in a group environment. Each member had to find ways to implement their unique skills and knowledge to benefit the group.
The Importance of the PCFW Meeting Method
In the topic 8 video "How to run Team
Meetings" the PCFW method for running meetings is
covered. This is a helpful tool to keep on track when
working with a team. It focuses on "preparing,
communicating, facilitating, and wrapping it up."

When we went through each round we would have been able to process decisions faster if we had a plan beforehand. We wasted a lot of time going into round six trying to calculate how many oxygen tanks each group member needed, and had we developed a plan this would have been handled better.

This will be helpful in future work meetings with keeping conversations on track and effective. Meeting effectiveness is extremely important especially during finals week to save time, so this is a takeaway that applies to all of us.
In Topic 8: Group Development, it states that an effective team "works collaboratively as a unit." We worked collaboratively but had a
keen sense of interdependency as well. Topic 8 also discusses how
being both independent leaders and collaborating "diffuses blaming
behavior and can stimulate opportunities to learn and improve."

Our group established roles and distributed leadership equally among each member successfully. A specific example of this was that we would focus on leaders for specific decisions. i.e. Erin always had the final say on what we thought the weather forecast was, and Brady would ultimately decide if we moved forward to the next round or stayed.

Due to our collaborative efforts, everyone was able to learn about each other’s decision making process and potentially improve upon our own decision making techniques. As a result, our team was extremely effective and successful when completing the simulation and most of the decisions made resulted in a positive outcome.
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