Beyond the Valley of the Kings

by Christine Glaser and Rollin Glaser

There's one reason why training simulations are a popular choice for team development training. They work. That's because they're an effective way to introduce the concept of synergy and help team members quickly develop vital group-process skills such as consensus decision making, problem solving, communication, and conflict resolution in a nonthreatening learning environment. 

Each adventure simulation in HRDQ's Team Adventure Series starts with a suspense-filled scenario that challenges teams to work together to escape danger with only limited resources - and each other. While most people can rest assured knowing they'll never encounter these survival situations, they do experience the similar feelings of stress and conflict that accompany everyday organizational life. 

The Beyond the Valley of the Kings Scenario 
In the early morning hours, an urban redevelopment group climbs into the basket of a hot-air balloon. None of them have ever been up in a balloon before, and they are excited to get an aerial view of Egypt's Valley of the Kings. Liftoff is smooth, but about an hour into the flight, the balloon suddenly lurches and plummets to the ground. After a bone-crushing landing, the basket finally comes to rest and the dazed group members find their pilot lying motionless. Stranded in the desert, the group must pull together to care for the pilot and survive the elements of the Sahara. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Hone group problem-solving skills using a five-step process
  • Learn how groups make decisions
  • Discover the advantages of consensus decision making
  • Learn the three elements of synergy
  • Understand how to use team judgment

Beyond the Valley of the Kings is an excellent training tool for any team, and it's particularly effective for groups that need to make decisions under pressure.

Following the introduction of the survival scenario, participants are challenged to rank six action strategies and 10 duffle items - first as individuals and then a second time as a team. Participants compare their Team Scores to the Best Individual Score and expert rationale to determine if synergy was achieved. 

The two-hour workshop explores the concept of synergy and helps teams to develop vital group-process skills such as decision making and problem solving. The exercise also includes an introduction to three elements of synergy, a five-step problem-solving technique, four critical group maintenance skills, and the importance of consensus decision making. 

The Beyond the Valley of the Kings Facilitator Guide includes everything trainers need to lead the simulation and classroom training workshop, from comprehensive background information and expert rationale to a step-by-step workshop outline, expert rationale, alternative training designs, and a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. 

Uses and Applications 

Beyond the Valley of the Kings can be used as a standalone training instrument or incorporated into a more comprehensive programme on teambuilding. It's also effective as a component for problem-solving and decision-making training programmes. Use the survival simulation to:

  • Illustrate the concept of team synergy.
  • "Break the ice" among new or conflicted teams.
  • Give teams a nonthreatening opportunity to work together.
  • Help teams practice consensus decision making.
  • Improve active listening, probing, and confronting behaviors in a realistic setting.
  • Train team leaders in team facilitation skills.
  • Open or close a learning session.
  • Introduce an organizational change.
  • Interject a fun activity into an otherwise serious agenda.
  • Supplement outdoor experiential learning.

Target Audience 
All teams 

Product Type 

Consensus decision making under pressure 

Time Required 
Administration: 15 minutes 
Workshop: 2 hours

What to Order

Facilitator Set: Order one per trainer. 
The comprehensive facilitator set includes everything trainers need to deliver Whiteout, including background information, administrative guidelines, a step-by-step workshop outline, expert rationale, an optional activity, alternative training designs, a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, and sample participant materials. 

Participant Guide: Order one per individual or participant. 
The Participant Guide includes the adventure scenario, pressure-sensitive scoring, background information, five-step problem-solving process, how to improve team discussions, team reflection, and action-planning worksheets.

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