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Everest Simulation Report

Fan Yang

Z5113720

Executive Summary

Everest simulation is an online group task which requires participants to take a variety of roles, and collaborate for achieving both personal and team goals. There are two attempts of simulation, that one is completely virtual, and the other one is required to have face-to-face communication. The result of first climb was not satisfied by the team. Thus participants started to analyse the reason behind, and then recognised the issues such as ineffective communication method, lack of preparation and team cohesiveness, and so on.

For the second simulation, the team prepared a working environment and team contract which is used to solve any unexpected situation occurred. However, the result received was worse. In general, high group cohesiveness will lead to increased productivity. The shared leadership will also assist to encourage participants to work actively as a team, and take the responsibility. Although with an equal shared leadership, participants had slightly different leadership style. This is due to the impact which personality influences on participants.  The concept of growth mindset comes out when comparing two simulations and preparations. The reason of why things went wrong will be further investigated in the report with above issues.

The simulation experience provides chance for participants to reflect on their mistakes to find out why it happened and what can participants do to improve it. Also the team members are able to learn from the experience to stabilize the knowledge of theories and frameworks in MGMT1001 course. In conclusion, simulation is a good learning tool, and the Everest simulation experience is valuable as learning experience to the participants.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary ………………………….………………………….………………………….…………………………. 2

1. Introduction ………………………….………………………….………………………….………………………….…….. 4

2. Section I

     2.1 Simulation Experience………………………….………………………….………………………….……………. 4

     2.2 Issues Arose………………………….………………………….……………………..………….……………………. 5

     2.3 Simulation as Learning Tool ……………………………………………………………………………………… 6

3. Section II

     3.1 Communication ………………………….………………………….………………………….…………………….. 6

     3.2 Teamwork ………………………….………………………….………………………….………………………….…. 7

     3.3 Personality and its Impact on leadership ………………………….……………………………………… 8

     3.4 Growth Mindsets Development Leaders ……….…………………………………………………………. 9

4. Section III

     4.1 Recommendation ………………………….………………………….………………………….…………………. 9

5. Conclusion ………………………….………………………….………………………….………………………………… 11

6. Appendix

     6.1 Everest Simulation Goals Achieved ………………………….…………………………………………….. 12

     6.2 Team Contract ………………………….………………………….………………………….…………………….. 13

7. Reference ………………………….………………………….………………………….………………………….………. 16

1.Introduction

Everest Simulation is a virtual group simulation which requires 5 – 6 people working together to reach the summit of mount Everest. The team has given two attempts: the first simulation must be taken virtually via computer-mediated discussion, and the second simulation requires team members stay in the same room to work together. Each team member has a specific role and each role has their unique personal goals and same team goals. Therefore, communication, leadership, and teamwork are required to maximise the achievements.

The purpose of this report is to demonstrate simulations as a valuable learning method of developing managerial skills and leaderships from participants' experience in Everest simulation. Furthermore, the report will investigate the issues arose from participants' experience, and access learnings from experience which based on knowledge of frameworks and theories studied in the course MGMT1001. The significance of effective communication, leadership and teamwork are shown through the experience of things went well and went wrong in the simulation. Also, the concepts of growth mindsets development, and personality and its impact on participant's leadership will be explored relating to Everest simulation. At the end, this report will provide a personal reflective analysis and applicable development recommendation, as the learning results of Everest simulation.

Section I

2.1 Simulation Experience

The first Everest Simulation has been attempted by a team of six participants on Monday, 22nd August via the internet. The virtual simulation was planned to start at 8 p.m., however, started at 8.30 p.m. instead, due to problems such as website loading, time for watching introduction videos and so on. Face-to-face communication was not allowed at the first attempt, therefore the team used only defaulted chat box to communicate during the simulation. Six roles which have been assigned to participants are, leader, photographer, environmentalist, marathoner, physician and observer. During the climb, the decision made were agreed by every participant, that a general consensus had been revealed. At the end of the simulation, Leader, Physician, and Marathoner reached the summit of Mount Everest, while Environmentalist has been rescued. The percent of Team Goals achieved for the first simulation is 54% and Photographer received 50% for her personal goals.  The first climb took 2 hours to finish.

The second Everest Simulation has been attempted by the team on Monday, 5th September in Law Library Room G07. A team contract has been prepared before the simulation and followed during the climb. The team contract is aimed to learn from the experience of the first attempt, and practice the learning outcomes in the second trial to improve the performance. The team used face-to-face communication instead this time. A general concord for decision-making has been shown again. Physician has been rescued at third round and stayed at base camp thereafter. At the end, only Leader reached the summit. Physician and Environmentalist have been rescued. The percent of Team Goals achieved for the second simulation is 46% and Photographer achieved 75% for her goals.  Every participant received a bonus point for Medical Challenge in Round 2. The second climb took half hour to finish.

2.2 Issues Arose

Compare the results of two Everest Simulations, there were several changes have been made. The communication method changed from defaulted chat box to face-to-face communication. Also, a workplace and team contract have been provided. On the other hand, there are things kept the same. The decision-making policy has been done via general consensus consistently between two attempts. There is a shared leadership (Taylor 2013) between team members. The issue of the realising importance of effective communication, leadership development and coordinated teamwork, arises from the experience of the first trial.

In the second climb, the participants communicated more effectively and cooperated together more deeply. However, the result has turned out worse than the first simulation. The unexpected outcome implies that the past experience now becomes to the barrier of the new trial. The over-confidence changes participants' attitude toward the simulation and causes them a rush of time, that eventually resulted in less percent of achievement.

2.3 Simulation as Learning Tool

Simulation is a valuable learning tool towards management studying.  In this experience, Everest simulation provides a context which let participants working together as a team to achieve the goals. During the simulation, participants cooperated together and coordinated with each other. Simulation makes participants to use knowledge learnt from the course in real practice, challenges participants' ability of decision making (Orta et al. 2014) and how to deal with unexpected variables. Though simulation has its limit that cannot suggest every situation which may occur, participants are able to learn from their mistakes, have a broad view of the issues and therefore improve in the future. Furthermore, simulation develops participants' leadership and leads them to have a growth mindset (Dweck 2014). The critical thinking way allows participants to be flexible to future obstacles in their career life.

Section II

3.1 Communication

Before the first simulation, the team discussed the date and time of participating first climb face-to-face in the tutorial time. However, no specific plans and strategies, which should be prepared, have come out before the climb. The only communication method during the first simulation is the defaulted chat box. Because of the simple function of the chat box, communication problems have then occurred. For example, the chat box has small space on the website, therefore participants missed messages frequently when team discussed in a fast pace. Also, text is easily misunderstood by each other due to unclear expression and lack of emotion. As the unsatisfied result came out, the team realised that improving effective communication is necessary to achieve a successful outcome for the second trial.

In the second simulation, face-to-face communication is allowed for participants and the team has booked a study room as the workplace. In the closed working environment, the emotions of belonging to the team has been emphasized and participants' team involvement has been reinforced. This closed working environment combines with the informal communication and all-channel communication network, created a relaxed atmosphere which allowed everyone to express the opinion openly and discuss in an enthusiastic mode. Furthermore, the non-verbal communication took an important role in creating effective communication. Sathik and Jonathan (2013 p.6) state in their research that by accurately interpreting other's emotions and body language, such as facial expressions and so on, misunderstanding of expressions are rarely occurred and valuable information can be obtained. Compare to the first climb, the effective Face-to-face communication speeds up the time taken for and quality of decision making.

3.2 Teamwork

A team is a group of individuals who work together to for a common purpose. In the Everest simulation, teamwork is the main concern to generate good performance. During the first simulation, without any plan and strategy to follow, the team did not share their personal goals at the start. Though participants discussed to make decisions, the lack of communication caused participants to have few knowledge about the simulation structure and task goals, that eventually ended in a long time of consideration and unsatisfied performance.

Between the two simulations, a Facebook chat group has been created and team name has come out. Also, the team produced a team contract. When deciding time and position, the position was quickly decided by booking a study room. The problem of time occurred since everyone has a different schedule and therefore it is hard to find a time which all members can participate.  However, by coordination, the problem has been solved. Members who have free time waited for members who have classes to finish. Willingness to work together is significant to team (Gupta, 2009) and closely relating to work performance. Such little things built a positive interpersonal relationship, connected team members together, and enhance their willingness.

In the second simulation, the participants learnt from past experience and shared personal goals at first. During the climb, team members participated actively and coordinated their personal goals to achieve the best result for the team. Because of the dedication of one for the others, there was no conflict and decisions were made by consensus. Group cohesiveness is the degree that how members are attracted to the team. In general, high group cohesiveness and knowledge sharing will increase the productivity and achieve better results (Huang 2009). The fact that second simulation took less time to complete, has proven the influence in increased productivity. However, participants were familiarised to the task this time and therefore became over confident. They drew upon the past experience and took less consideration on making decisions, that led to unexpected result – received a worse percent of goals achieved.

3.3 Personality and its Impact on leadership

For both simulations, a shared leadership approach has been adopted. The choice of approach is due to the fact that decision is made by participants' mutual consent. Also, shared leadership principle can create increased efficiency and task focusing, lead to contribution on team achievements (Taylor 2013). Despite the shared leadership beyond participants, personality influences differently on leadership styles. The Big Five Model (Judge & Bono 2000, p. 752) shows that five basic personality dimensions in human personality are extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness to experience.  There are researches show that an important relationship exists between leadership and personality traits. For example, Mohammadi (2015) concludes in his work that sensational and thinking extroversion relates to relationship-oriented leadership.

The simulation experience has proven the existence of a relationship between leadership style and personality more precisely.  During the two attempts, Environmentalist and Leader who have high extroversion implemented a participative leadership style that encourages team members to participate in decision-making and policy-making (Mohammadi et al 2015, p. 305). As the result decision were made by collective ideas. Marathoner, Physician, and Photographer trusted decisions made and shared knowledge in the team, that adopted a supportive leadership because of their high agreeableness. Though Observer didn't participate in the decision-making during the climbs, she also contributed to the team by facilitating the team discussion, and took the responsibility and leadership. The fact that leadership styles of the path-goal model which developed by Robert House, varying on each team member, established the impact of personality on leadership.

3.4 Growth Mindsets Development Leaders

Dweck (2014) indicates in her TED Talk that growth mindset is the thinking way that individuals understand their abilities can be developed, and be willing to overcome the challenge. When working in a team, leaders will face a variety of unexpected situations happened and obstacles that need to be solved. Compare to the simulation, in reality, there be more issues arose due to both fast-changing society and people's minds. Therefore, it is important that leaders need to be flexible with the changes and have the ability to challenge and improving themselves. Namely, the development of growth mindsets is vital to leaders for succeeding in the future career.

In the Everest simulations, the team goal is reaching the summit of Mount Everest. However, the success or failure of the task is neither based on reaching the summit or not. Every achievement made accounts for the points and makes up the result. The way of praising for the process rather than the result is a part of developing a growth mindset.  In the first simulation, a 54 percent of team goals is achieved with a list of which point has been received for what goal. The list let participants know what they lost and what they gained, and make them clearly understand the room that they can improve. The structure designed for simulation causes participants to evaluate and reflect on their experience, then prepare for a better result in the next. Growth mindset has been developed here as participants believed that they can improve and took action to overcome the challenge. Although the second simulation did not produce an ideal result, the learning experience is valuable and construct the pattern of cautiously working for the next better performance. The perseverance revealed here is the key to success.

Section III

4.1 Recommendation

After participating the two Everest simulations, I realised the importance of effective communication, teamwork and leadership to a team in various aspects.  The Lack of communication and ineffective transport of message can cause serious issues. Without valid information, the decision made will be inappropriate and inefficient. For example, by not knowing each other's' personal goals, we lost a sizeable amount of points that could be easily received if we coordinate before. Thus, a good communication contributes to succeed. To achieve this purpose, I would encourage people to share knowledge at first with clear expression, by using aids such as body language to improve comprehension.  

Teamwork is another key component. By evaluating the two simulation experience, I learnt that high group cohesiveness can lead to increased productivity (Huang 2009). After the failure of the first trial, we became more willing to participate and achieve the goals. Also, a successful team should have a clear objective, specific approach to achieving the goals and a well-designed policy for responding possible outcomes.  We prepared more carefully before the second climb, and during the simulation, time is taken for decision-making also largely decreased. This demonstrates an increased productivity. However, my language problem becomes the barrier to communication and my introverted personality affects the performance. I should become more outgoing and participate more actively in the future, in order to contribute to the team. Active participation can influence the atmosphere and leads to a positive interpersonal relationship. Therefore, harmonised team cooperation can be achieved.

Furthermore, I learnt that personality can influence leadership differently, and understood the necessity of growth mindset development towards leaders. The properties of growth mindset are important to leaders as they will face the variety of challenges and changes in future society. The simulation provides me the opportunity to develop a growth mindset. We worked harder in simulation 2 by evaluating the mistakes we made in the first climb. I got an increased percent of personal goals achieved from 50 to 75. On the other hand, our team result went even worse. However, from what we learnt, we know we need to take more patience and consideration on every step and look carefully through the information given. The vital point here is to not give up or cheat, instead to work hard to improve and grow.

The Everest experience is useful as a learning experience to me. While working with the team, I recognised my disadvantages on communication and participation skills. After the simulation, the reflection of experience provides an opportunity of investigating me. I then understand what went wrong and how can I correct it. This process of noticing problems, defining issues, finding ways to improve and actually working for development, helps me to find the potential to better performance. Also, the experience combines theories learnt in the course with practice by simulation and makes them become fully my knowledge.

5. Conclusion

Simulation is a valuable learning tool for participants. It creates a context for participants to work on and set goals for them to achieve. During the simulation, participants are able to experience a variety situations and work as a team to overcome it. From the attempt of two Everest simulations, participants discovered issues which they are unable to find out in the daily life. With evaluation and analysis of the issues, participants understand the significance of effective communication, leadership, and teamwork to goal achievements.

To solve the lack of communication and teamwork in Simulation 1, participants have given a trial of booking workplace, changing communication method, sharing knowledge and so on. Although the ideal result did not come out and in fact, it went worse, the problems behind have occurred. The personality and its impact on leadership and performance are the other key concept that participants need to be considered and studied of. One more key concept for leaders is the development of growth mindset. Without theoretical studying, the participants understand and practice the concept during Everest simulation experience.

In conclusion, simulation is a good learning method that it encourages individuals to evaluate themselves from own mistakes, and develop improvement approaches. Simulation experience is also a valuable learning experience to participants. The team members have found out the issues and learnt from the experience for future.

6. Appendix

6.1 Everest Simulation Goals Achieved

Goals

Simulation 1 Points

Simulation 2 Points

Complete climb without needing to be rescued

3

3

Spend extra day at Camp 1

1

1

Spend extra day at Camp 2

0

1

Your Points for Personal Goals

4

5

Round 2: Medical Challenge points

0

1

Round 3: Weather Challenge points

0

0

Round 4: Oxygen Tank Allocation Points

0

0

Your Total Points

4

6

Your Total Possible Points

8

8

Percent of Your Goals Achieved

50%

74%

Percent of Team Goals Achieved

54%

46%

6.2 Team Contract

Team Name:

Name

Role

Contact

1

Nicholas Reinke

Leader

Facebook

2

Fan Yang

Photographer

Facebook

3

Steph Teh

Environmentalist

Facebook

4

Danny Tran

Marathoner

Facebook

5

Patrick Przybylski

Physician

Facebook

6

Jess Karmokar

Observer

Facebook

Team Procedures

1. 1. Day, time, and location of team members for Everest 2:

Monday, 5th September 2016, Law Library Room G07

1. 2. Preferred method of communication before and during Everest 2 (i.e., e-mail, mobile, chat function, face-to-face in a specified location).

A. A. Before the climb

Facebook Messenger as a group chat.

A. B. During the climb (Note: Everest 2 has to be conducted face-to-face in a specified location during the exercise)

A mix between Facebook Messenger and the chat box provided by the Everest simulation website.

A. C. After the climb

Facebook Messenger as a group chat.

1. 3. Team goal for Everest 2:

¥ - The whole team reach the summit

¥ - Improve the results of Everest simulation 1

¥ - Try and get the bonus points

¥ - Revise original decisions and improve based on what the outcomes of our original decisions were

¥ - Work well as a team, by communicating well and sharing all information

1. 4. Decision-making policy (By consensus? By majority vote? By team leader?):

Ideally, decision making will be done via general consensus and the fact that everyone agrees, however if it is necessary for a majority vote to take place this will occur. Decisions will also be based upon individual roles (i.e. physician deciding who to disperse medical equipment to).

Team Participation

1. 1. How will we resolve conflict?

¥ - Allow everyone to put forward an opinion on the matter

¥ - Use consensus to try and arrive at the correct solution for the team, and worse comes to worst the leader will make the final decision

¥ - As soon as conflicts occur, try and resolve it as quickly as possible. This will amend task conflict so it does not escalate into relationship conflict

1. 2. Strategies for encouraging/including ideas and debate from all team members:

¥ - Leader to encourage discussion on all matters so that all the positives and negatives of various outcomes can be understood before a decision is made

¥ - Brainstorm out loud or by using a whiteboard

¥ - Conversation between all members, not just having the leader direct the conversation

¥ - Everyone should be encouraged to share their personal goals, and ways to achieve them in unison with the team goals

1. 3. Strategies for achieving our goal:

¥ - Read all information that is given to us during the climb

¥ - Share all personal goals

¥ - Focus on what decisions will best benefit the team

¥ - Always reassess the current situation to see if we are heading in the right direction

1. 4. Preferences for leadership (team leader only, shared leadership):

The preference for leadership is to adopt a shared leadership approach, as our decisions should be arrived at by a general consensus, not one person’s idea of what is correct. We also want to resolve dilemmas as a team. Ideally, the leader can act as a facilitator for discussion and decision making, but is not the one to make the final call every time.

Personal Accountability

1. 1. Expected individual attendance, punctuality, and participation at Everest 2:

It is expected that everyone arrives at the meeting on time, prepared to engage in the task and give it their best effort. If someone can’t make the meeting, they should notify the group in advance and propose a new meeting time and place.

1. 2. What are the consequences for lack of engagement in Everest 2?

The guilt that comes with letting the team down, which will lead to relationship conflict between the members of the group. If a team member doesn’t engage or doesn’t show up, everyone’s marks will suffer as they will not be able to complete the simulation.

7. Reference

Dweck, C 2014, <The power of believing that you can improve https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve?language=en>

TEDxNorrkoping November, viewed 18th Sep.

Gupta, P 2009, ‘What makes a team work?’, Management and  Labour Studies, Vol.34(4), pp.596-606, DOI:10.1177/0258042X0903400409, viewed 21st Sep.

Huang, C C 2009, ‘Knowledge sharing and group cohesiveness on performance: An empirical study of technology R&D teams in Taiwan’, Technovation, Vol.29, Issue 11, pp.786-797, viewed 21st Sep.

Judge, T A & Bono, J E 2000, ‘Five-factor model of personality and transformational leadership’, Journal of AppliedPsychology, Vol.85, Issue 5, pp. 751-765, viewed 21st Sep.

Mohammadi, S, Mohammadi, I & Moniri, S 2015, ‘Studying the relationship between personality types and leadership style’, European Online Journal of Natural and Social Science, Vol.4, Issue 1(s), pp.303-317, viewed 21st Sep.

Orta, E, Ruiz, M, Hurtado, N & Gawn, D 2014, ‘Decision-making in IT service management: a simulation based approach’, Decision Support Systems, Oct 2014, Vol.66, pp. 36-51, viewed 20th September.

Sathik, M & Jonathan, S 2013, ‘Effect of facial expressions on student’s comprehension recognition in virtual educational environments’, SpringerPlus, Vol.2(1), pp. 1-9, DOI:10.1186/2193-1801-2-455, viewed 20th Sep.

Taylor, G 2013, ‘Implementing and maintaining a knowledge sharing culture via knowledge management teams: A shared leadership approach’, Journal of Organisational Culture, Communication and Conflict, Vol.17(1), pp. 69-91. viewed 20th Sep.

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