Desert Survival Situation™

Research and development by J. Clayton Lafferty, Ph.D., in consultation with Alonzo W. Pond, Survival Expert

Unlock the secret of team synergy with one of the most widely used exercises for team building and group development in the world. Do your teams have what it takes to survive?

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The Desert Situation

"It is approximately 10 o'clock in the morning on a mid-August day and you have just crash-landed in the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States."

Your task is to rank 15 items salvaged from the plane in the order of their importance to your team's survival.

Set in an unfamiliar location, this simulation takes the participants outside of their organizational roles and areas of expertise to a situation where only their synergistic problem-solving skills will help them to survive.

How it works

The Desert Survival Situation provides a unique opportunity to quickly and objectively measure whether your groups are achieving synergy—as well as demonstrate this otherwise elusive concept. Synergy occurs when the interactive efforts of two or more people produce a solution that is superior to their independent solutions. By measuring the quality of both individual and team performance on a single task, this simulation allows groups to quickly calculate the extent to which they are fully utilizing their resources—and doing so in a way that achieves synergy.

The benefits for your organization

  • Establishes a Constructive, team-oriented atmosphere in the workplace, at conferences or workshops, and in classrooms or training programs
  • Strengthens members' rational and interpersonal problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrates and promotes synergy within groups
  • Improves the efficiency and effectiveness of individual and group decision making

Make the Desert Survival Situation part of your teambuilding initiative

We offer two options:

  • A trained and experienced Human Synergistics consultant can facilitate the Desert Survival Situation for you. Simply contact us to find a consultant who’s right for you.
  • You can ‘do it yourself’.

The Desert Survival Situation is available in paper self-scored format and online. The simulation takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours. A streaming video with flexible facilitation options is also available to help you guide participants through the steps of the Desert Survival experience. Click here to view the video trailer. If you’re unable to use streaming videos for your simulation sessions, please contact us for additional options.

If you would like to know more about the Desert Survival Situation or any of our simulations and assessments, please get in touch and we will be happy to assist you.

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