Black Bear

by Bradford 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 Black Bear Scenario 
On an early-morning hike in the Great Smoky Mountains, a group surprises a mother black bear - with near-fatal results. Their scout leader is quickly attacked and he is left lying on the ground, unconscious and bleeding steadily from deep lacerations. Now the group must work together to make vital strategy decisions and find the most effective way to rescue their scout leader. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn seven behaviors of effective consensus decision making
  • Hone group problem-solving skills
  • Practice a model for consensus decision making
  • Learn how to work as a team under pressure
  • Experience the concept of team synergy

Black Bear is an excellent training tool for any team, especially those that must make critical decisions or thrive in a high-pressure environment.

Following the introduction of the survival scenario, participants are challenged to rank five strategy alternatives and ten backpack items - first as individuals and then a second time as a team. Teams compare their Team Scores to the Best Individual Score to determine if synergy was achieved. The exercise also includes an introduction to the concept of team synergy and the importance of consensus decision making under pressure. 

The Black Bear Facilitator Guide includes everything trainers need to lead a two-hour classroom training workshop, from comprehensive background information and expert rationale, to action planning, a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, and sample participant materials. 

Uses and Applications 

Black Bear 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 
Team members at any level, especially those who work under pressure 

Product Type 

Consensus decision making and decision making under pressure 

Time Required 
Administration: 15 minutes 
Workshop: 1 hour and 45 minutes

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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