Orienteering: A Team-Development Simulation

Orienteering: A Team-Development Simulation

Orienteering is an engaging and powerful team-development simulation designed to create an immediate impact on how teams work together by assessing their strengths and areas of vulnerability using a creative, experiential approach. This hands-on business simulation takes teams (intact, cross-functional, special-project teams, and others) into the outdoors and replicates the common challenges that teams face on a daily basis.

Orienteering requires participants to use a simulation scenario, outdoor terrain, and navigational tactics to identify specified points on a map and then travel, by foot, to the designated locations. Once there, they must gather the resources needed to execute the simulation and return to the starting point in order to complete the task they have been assigned. By the end of the simulation, orienteering participants will have increased their awareness of the skills and knowledge necessary to develop a high-performing team and pinpointed opportunities for improvement in their own team environment.

The Learning Journey

The learning and development in this activity does not need to be forced; it will happen organically as the simulation progresses. Various issues will inevitably arise over the course of the learning event, and the issues that come to light will link directly to everyday business practices. The orienteering process demands a number of skills that are directly relevant to the business environment:

  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration and cooperation
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving and decision-making
  • Managing and utilizing team resources effectively
  • Creating a plan and following specific guidelines
  • Executing on team objectives
  • Managing differences

These are just a few of the topics that will emerge during the simulation, and at the end of the orienteering event, these same topics will provide valuable points for the group debrief and discussion about the experience. Participants will also have an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned during the simulation by using a learning journal to capture key learning points and create individual application plans. This simulation is a strong way to kick off team retreats and planning meetings, but it can be used for team-based learning initiatives of all kinds.

Objectives & Outcomes

While the focus and direction of the simulation can certainly be customized to the group’s unique needs and learning goals, the desired outcomes of this simulation typically include the following:

  • Create a strong, cohesive team that is capable of providing sound direction for the business.
  • Learn more about how the team operates and identify opportunities for the team to improve.
  • Focus team energy and engage in honest dialogue about relevant team issues (i.e., team direction, growth, innovation, engagement, differences and alternative perspectives, synergy, accountability, and so on).
  • Create a forum for discussing critical issues facing the team and create a climate that enables each member to contribute their ideas to the group without fear.
  • Develop and fine tune team-membership skills and explore best practices.
  • Resolve team issues, differences, and conflicts in a constructive and positive setting.
  • Discover opportunities to help the team change in positive ways.
  • Have a rewarding and fun experience that increases team unity and establishes a stronger team community.
  • Provide a visible and powerful model of effective teamwork in action.
  • Create strategies and actions plans that participants can apply to their own situations at work.

Orienteering events provide teams with a unique learning environment that delivers a lasting and memorable experience and drives higher levels of team performance. And to ensure that your team’s specialized learning needs are met, CMOE offers many options and variations on the orienteering process; we would be happy to tailor the event to your team’s unique requirements—just ask!

“I learned to respect each person’s strengths as different from my own and how to subordinate my individual needs to the needs of the group.”

- Orienteering participant

“We accomplished our goal because each of us learned how to give up our selfish needs and be concerned with the group’s performance.”

- Orienteering participant

“We cared enough to be honest with one another during our debrief discussions. As a result, people changed and the group was more effective.”

- Orienteering participant

“Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

- Andrew Carnegie

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