Swamped Facilitator Set


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Swamped 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. Swamped is an excellent ice breaker and energizer for any audience.

Trainers can give their audiences the opportunity to experience team synergy with Swamped. 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.
The Scenario
Deep in the wilds of Northern Minnesota, a group of friends are paddling across a scenic lake in three separate canoes. On the second day of the trip, it suddenly it begins to rain and the winds pick up. Aware that the gale force winds could cause them to capsize, they head for the shore from the center of the lake. Just then a strong gust flips each of the canoes. Everything – and everyone – is dumped into the water. Some items sink and others float away, including the paddles. With only a few items that were retrieved from water, the group must find a way to work together as the struggle to survive on the deserted shores of Lake McEwen.
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
One of our best-selling simulations, Swamped was born out of extensive research and the input of Jim Roadcap, an experienced canoeist, wilderness camper, survival skills trainer, and Boy Scout leader.
A true-to-life adventure tested out in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) by a group of experts, the Swamped 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. Swamped 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
Swamped 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
This realistic roundtable simulation challenges groups to rank 10 salvaged items. As the facilitator, you introduce the simulation with the adventure scenario. Participants then rank the 10 items on their own, using pressure-sensitive scoring forms. Next, each team conducts the same ranking process as a unit. The simulation concludes with a group action planning discussion, providing the team with the opportunity to apply the learning to the workplace.
If you are planning to use Swamped in a classroom training session, we recommend you allow approximately 1 hour for interpretation of scores, topic discussion, debrief, and action planning. The Swamped 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 Swamped into a 3-hour program.
What to Order
Initial Rollout
You will need to order a Facilitator Guide per trainer and 1 Participant Guide for each individual learner. Additional Participant Guides may be purchased separately. Purchasing all of the participant materials you need at one time may qualify you for quantity discounts that can save you money and simplify ordering.

Additional information

Weight 0.156 lbs
Dimensions 1.25 × 10.00 × 13.00 in


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