Debriefing The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine

The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine

Powerfully Linking Game Play to Workplace Performance


The Debriefing part of Dutchman is what makes this exercise truly unique and extremely powerful as a tool for change and improvement. It is much more than just a fun team building experience. For anyone wondering why Dutchman is worth investing in or why it is a tool for improvement, the answer lies within its powerful Debriefing capability.

Flip through this SlideShare for an overview of the Debriefing:

                     dsc04203.jpg                           Debriefing Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine--An Overview 

The various metaphors built into the exercise will allow you to link to themes of Leadership, Planning, Motivation, Teamwork, Collaboration and Performance Improvement.

Play is described elsewhere. But these behaviors are fairly common to most sessions:

  • Players bond quickly into a focused team
  • Teams don't plan well and resist spending time on planning and information-gathering
  • Teams do not share information or ideas with other teamsldgm-testimonial-bubble-de-nordwell-a-100.jpg
  • Teams do not ask for help during planning, nor will they ask for goals or possibilities
  • Teams will do bartering and take advantage of other teams
  • Teams do not ask for help during play, generally choosing to sub-optimize results 
  • Teams choose to compete, even though collaboration is stressed and rewarded
  • Players are highly motivated to succeed (but winning generates competition)

This mix of behaviors allows for a quite solid debriefing of practical ideas for improving workplace performance and the themes of competition versus collaboration for motivation and optimization of results.

Dutchman is packaged with extensive debriefing materials. 

All versions of Dutchman have large compendium files of questions and debriefing ideas. The game is built around metaphors such as Mining Gold and themes of mud and Square Wheels and maximizing ROI (of the Expedition Leader, not so much each team!). It allows for a lot of team choices regarding risk and routes and resource management and every team is successful.

Typically, the Debriefing session begins with a cartoon show of some of the general characteristics of play, followed by tabletop discussions such as:

  • What did you learn from your experience?
  • What made the game energizing (What are the motivational factors in the design)?
  • What does, "Mining as much gold as WE can" mean to our organization (insofar as collaboration and change)?
  • Why do teams choose to complete rather than collaborate (when collaboration improves results)?
  • What might we choose to do differently in the workplace?

Some sample slides:


Included in the materials is "The Perfect Play," a PowerPoint file showing optimized results based on planning and collaboration for an individual table as well as for a pod of 3 collaborating teams (best), as well as other ideas for discussing individual, team and overall group performance.

Some specifics of the design:

There are a variety of simple design features that are congruent with positive leadership and intrinsic motivation in the workplace. For example:

When mining, teams get 10 ounces of Gold for each day in the mine.

  • Thus, managing resources and information to spend as many days as possible mining gold in the Mine is a primary objective.
  • Teams can maximize their results when they collaborate and share information and/or get the Expedition Leader involved in helping them.
  • "Mining as much Gold as We can" is a great metaphor for maximizing organizational effectiveness and cooperation.

Teams are told that they can acquire additional information at the cost of one or two days of time.

  • If teams thus plan, they can acquire Turbochargers -- a best practice metaphor -- which enable them to move twice as fast.
  • They can also share Turbos with other teams if they so choose; this generates more Gold, overall.
  • Often, however, these resources are unused and results are sub-optimized.
  • We can measure this result and provide that analogy to the group for discussion of similar opportunities in the workplace.

Play, generally, will find teams competing much more than collaborating.

  • They find that they work together as a tabletop team quite well but that they want to act now rather than plan.
  • Their competitiveness minimizes planning as they rush to get going.
  • They focus on only their own team and its productivity rather than developing a collaborative approach.
  • This, and many other factors, causes them to lose sight of the larger objective of maximizing overall results.

 corporate team building games- Lost Dutchman

 Debriefing can be for 30 minutes or for two days

The exercise can be debriefed as a stand-alone exercise, such as at a large team building or organizational development event. Or, the content can be readily integrated into multiple-day programs. All of the metaphors and the basic overall design are "clean" from an instructional viewpoint.

The Expedition Leader/Facilitator has many choices as to the focus of the debriefing and can readily link the behaviors in the exercise to situations for workplace improvement.

We guarantee you will find powerful and effective links from the play of Dutchman to actual workplace improvement themes that will lead to purposeful discussions of possible improvements and tactics for implementation.


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