Performance Management Blog

Big Company Team Building Events
Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine teambuilding game room layout for 24 teams

This short blog post is about what Big Companies do for big team building events and what kinds of programs for team building and organizational development exist. It is also about Big Events for Big Companies, with a few general ideas focused on some thoughts about making these events more effective. Frankly, there seem to be a lot of strange and sometimes seemingly irrelevant things done in the name of team building and organizational development that make some of us scratch our heads in wonder.

How does a big paintball event do any teambuilding? Sure, there will be a winner or winners, but a lot of losers, also.

Hang out at a large hotel and wander about the meeting area and you will see a lot of people sitting, just there inactive when the doors are opened. It gives rise the notion of Death By Powerpoint, or at least death by non-involvement. One wonders why there are not warnings about deep vein thrombosis for some of these sessions where there is so little activity!

People at came across my blog while researching Team Building and sent me a link to one of their articles. The title was, “How the Top Companies Take On Team Building” and I liked the way it started, since I pretty much agree with this:

Few corporate-culture business phrases are as potentially groan-inducing as “team building.”
Visions of cheesy performances and “inspiring” activities like fire walking and trust falls immediately spring to mind.

I’ve posted up before on some of the more ridiculous or hard to seriously consider team activities such as golf, paintball or fire walking — maybe there are some positive individual impacts from that but I just do not see the team aspects unless we get into the discussion about peer pressure forcing people to do things that they don’t really want to do. (Sorry, I meant “encouragement” instead of similar words like coercion, intimidation or force in the above…)

Heck, even Dave Berry weighed in on Burger King’s toasty experience with that firewalking kind of activity — see my blog post on that here.

But the OnlineMBA article mentioned above is a pretty good one. It talks about some different activities that DO have positive organizational impacts, many of which are not costly. Some are a bit off-the-wall, like hiring a comedy troupe to come in and cause people to laugh. I have actually seen that backfire but that is a whole different conversation. And the article also shares the idea of doing Personality Tests as a team building exercise — I guess maybe that could work but it does not sound like a lot of laughs. Maybe they could let the comedy troupe do the testing?

And I can just imagine a company doing a group session with 360 degree feedback
as a team building exercise, with that being an actual management roast, I guess…  Or not.

Me, I will just stick with offering games such as The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine that are fun, controllable, inexpensive and actually link directly to workplace collaboration and performance improvement. We know that it has a lot of long-term impacts on participants and gets everyone involved and engaged.

We can run really large groups by creating pods of up to 10 teams each. Each pod has an Expedition Leader and a Provisioner Post for banking and the game plays fast and smoothly. because of how we engage each tabletop in the debriefing discussions, we can generate meaningful interactions and individual participation in sharing ideas for improvement. It is the best group teambuilding event that we know of.

Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine teambuilding game room layout for 24 teams

AND, it can be used for very large groups of 200 or even more. The biggest actual live in-person session was Wipro’s delivery with 870 people in one room at one time. I wish I have some pictures or a video of that one!

Click on the icon below to see more details about how this game can work for your organization.

The Large Event board game version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine


You can find user review survey by customers about Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine impacts here. The feedback about the effectiveness of the exercise is pretty amazing. Here is one client’s response:

User testimonial about The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine teambuilding event

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools.
Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who is trying to retire!! He now lives in Cuenca, Ecuador.

You can reach Scott at

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Here is a 2-minute overview of the virtual team building game:

logo for Lost Dutchman Virtual online edition


Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant, earning CPT and CPF credentials. -- You can reach Scott at and a detailed profile is here: -- Scott is the original designer of The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine teambuilding game and the Square Wheels® images for organizational development.

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