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Rocky Mountain Institute

Through Action-Learning

"Learning often occurs best through play..."
- Peter Senge, MIT Sloan School of Management

One of the most powerful tools that we use is the experiential or action-learning simulation - due to its speed and effectiveness in achieving results. Action-Learning is based on the premise that people learn best from experience - and from reflecting on experience to gain insights for personal, professional and team development. While on the surface they often appear to be simply "games", the team and leadership simulations that we use are a form of action-learning that serve as powerful "practice fields" to sharpen critical skills for on-the-job application.

All of our action-learning programs are highly customized to address your organization/team’s objectives and desired results. Following a thorough assessment process, we will design a program that targets your outcomes. Programs can be designed for an indoor or outdoor setting, at your facility or at a conference off-site, and vary from 2 hours to 5 days - depending on your objectives and the action-learning exercises selected.

Whether focused on team building, leadership development, personal empowerment or simply celebration - we guarantee an experience that is powerful, results-oriented and fun.


All of PEI's programs are highly customized around specific goals & objectives. The following are a few examples of simulations that we use. Following a thorough assessment process with you and your team/organization, we will recommend & customize one or more simulations that will best achieve your desired outcomes.


Objectives (Sample)
¨      Examine group dynamics related to different "silos" (i.e. departments) within your team / organization.
¨      To promote collaboration & support between departments & functions.
¨      To foster a collective vision of success.
Have fun.

Your group is divided into three or four sub-teams (representing different functions / departments). Each is given a specific project to accomplish (i.e. getting a ball into a bucket while blindfolded, solving a set of riddles, creating a bridge using wooden beams). You are also given an overall objective for the entire team to accomplish. Success is measured by each sub-team achieving their goal - as well as everyone achieving the common goal.

1-2-3 GO!  (aka Keypunch)

Objectives (Sample)
¨      Have fun participating together in a physically active challenge.
¨      Sharpen your collaborative decision-making & problem-solving skills.
¨      Improve your strategic planning process.
¨      Foster out-of-box thinking.

Lying on the ground approximately 60 feet away from your group lies a rope on the ground tied into a large square. Within this rope square lie numerous plastic squares, each labeled with a different number. Your challenge as a team is see how quickly and efficiently you can reach the roped area (from your starting line), touch each of the plastic squares in sequence, and then return to the starting line. You will have four separate attempts to create the fastest time possible.  You may engage in strategic planning time at the beginning as well as following each time trial attempt. Additional client requirements will be shared with you by your facilitator.


Objectives (Sample)
¨      Identify the key ingredients for high performance teamwork / leadership.
¨      Increase the trust, support and cohesion within your group.
¨      Deal with unexpected change.
¨      Laugh and have fun!

|Your challenge in this activity is twofold:
(1)   To come up with a list of key ingredients for high performance teamwork / leadership.
(2)   To complete a project - while putting into practice those ingredients.

The Project:  Your entire group is standing on top of four 8-foot wooden beams that form a square. Your mission is to rearrange yourselves on these boards (i.e. according to height, etc.) - without ever stepping off the boards. Your facilitator will inform you of additional client requirements.



Objectives (Sample)
¨      Sharpen strategic planning & collaborative decision-making processes.
¨      Enhance effective communication & listening skills.
¨      Examine individual accountability vs. teamwork for maximizing performance.

A tarp that looks like a checkerboard lies on the ground in front of you, containing 72 squares. There is only one successful path through this "maze" - and your "maze master" (facilitator) holds the key. Your task is fourfold:  (1) To discover the successful path through the Maze; (2) To move your entire team from one end of the Maze to the other, using only the successful path; (3) To turn the highest profit (through avoiding penalties and rework); and (4) To demonstrate high performance teamwork.  Your facilitator will inform you of "customer requirements" for completing this project. Good Luck!


This activity is excellent for addressing a number of team, leadership and organizational issues. The following are examples of objectives that you may choose to target:

§         Sharpen strategic planning skills.
§         Clarify your vision.
§         Foster effective processes for communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and conflict management.
§         Manage time & resources efficiently.
§         Examine collaboration vs. competition.
§         Promote understanding & appreciation of differing leadership styles.
§         Understand the importance of balance between a “bottom-line” focus and sustaining positive team relationships.

The Corporate Orienteering Challenge engages participants on many levels: intellectual, emotional, and physical. It is an activity that requires the practice of both technical skills and people skills to ensure success – the same as in any business endeavor. After learning the technical skills of map and compass use, your team (divided into sub-teams) will strategize on how to find the most markers scattered around a landscape – within a prescribed amount of time. Each marker is valued at a different dollar / point amount – based on the difficulty of reaching that marker. Strategy is crucial. At each marker there may also be additional challenges to be met or problems to be solved – thus adding a multi-tasking element. No one skill alone – physical, mental, or social – will ensure success. One group may be physically stronger than another, but if they are moving in the wrong direction they’ll just get lost faster!  One team may have an expert in the technical skills of navigation, but if the whole team has not “bought in” to the strategy & goals – poor morale and drop-outs may result. Welcome to the orienteering “practice field” for high performance leadership and teamwork!

 TEAMFEST!     Click Here To Find Out More!

See Also:  Team Building   Team Fest!   Corporate Adventure Training   Leadership Development and Training     Leading From Within    Meeting Planners Resources    Diversity Training     Organizational Development    Our Process and Tools    

4128 South Grant St.
Englewood, CO 80113
(303) 503-1914