Everest Simulation Reflection Report

Table of Content

Focus: Compare and contrast your individual and team’s experiences and results in the two Everest simulations using the following two course concepts:

  1. Groups & Teams
  2. Leadership

This report provides an executive summary of the evaluation of theoretical organizational and management concepts related to leadership, groups, and teams. It can be concluded that team processes directly influence how a team interacts.

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This report discusses the various roles and characteristics that an effective leader must possess, such as determining priorities, encouraging group interaction and cohesion, and providing a source of enthusiasm for team tasks. Additionally, we compare the leadership styles of two leaders. In the first simulation, a task-oriented leadership style was utilized while a relationship-oriented approach was implemented in the second. Both had perceived benefits and disadvantages which we critically evaluated to determine which one worked best and why.

It has been observed that our team’s development process somewhat resembled the processes outlined by Tuckman’s model of group development. Furthermore, although a team contract enabled us to draft a strategy to follow, the simplicity and incomprehensiveness of the contract and the fact that it was established after group norms had been cemented may have had an immaterial impact on the team’s overall performance. We discuss the issues of a virtual team, and although several advantages are recognized, we found that conventional face-to-face teams performed better on average.

The conventional face-to-face teams can be further advantaged by combining different aspects and elements of virtual teams into the structure.

Executive Summary


The simulation experience


  • Leadership
    • Style of Leadership
    • Role of Leadership
  • Groups and Teams
    • Group Development
    • Team Contracts and Planning
    • Team Structure and Communication


    *Reference List**Appendix A: Goals on Track (1)* *Appendix B: Goals on Track (2)* TEAM CONTRACTIntroduction

The Everest Simulation is a virtual game that involves students climbing a computer-based “Mount Everest” in pre-allocated teams of five to six members. The simulation aims to enhance the skills of students through challenges by enabling them to reflect and make clear decisions. This report was commissioned to critically analyze the extent to which a theoretical framework could be applied to a leadership and teamwork simulation. The main goal of the simulation is to maximize the total objectives met by both individuals and teams.

However, the simulation was designed with conflicting objectives for each member, which required prioritization and compromise. As a result, we had to work together as a team, combine our resources, and evaluate our decisions throughout the process. The simulation was completed twice to allow for different strategic approaches to be implemented and compared. Our team utilized a different strategy in each simulation. Although we introduced a team contract and shared leadership style in the second simulation, its performance was lower than that of the first.

The following report aims to present my analysis of my personal and team experiences, examining areas of leadership and effective team management integrated with theoretical organizational and management concepts. Through this analysis, we can gain a better understanding of the complex and dynamic processes that govern both individual and group behavior. The Everest Simulation experience serves as the basis for this report’s findings from observations and results.

Our team consisted of six people who had no prior group experience. Each member was allocated one of the following roles: team leader, physician, marathoner, environmentalist, photographer, and observer. The team members needed to progress through stages that required a clearly thought-out course of action. We recorded our results and identified similarities and differences from managerial theory.

During the first simulation, there was an overemphasis on individual task completion. Unfortunately, due to the lack of planning beforehand, we were oblivious to the fact that each group member had conflicting goals. There was minimal group discussion and decision making was centralized around the leader. We did not effectively use all available resources because of the ambiguity of each medicine’s purpose; as a result, we administered incorrect medicines to corresponding symptoms. Although there was a low level of conflict observed in our team.

A series of poor decisions resulted in the need to rescue one team member. Despite these setbacks, the team and individuals still achieved an average score. Individual goal achievement was 80%, while team goal achievement was only 65%. The second simulation required better planning and strategic decision-making skills. A more collaborative approach was introduced, encouraging democratic discussions and shared decision-making among team members. Team conflict remained low, and a team contract helped improve strategic planning, although this did not translate into improved simulation results.

During the second simulation, one team member had to be lifted off due to further decisional mistakes while the rest of the team successfully reached the summit. As a result, team goal achievement slightly decreased to 63%, but individual goal achievement improved to 86%.

Although I played the role of a physician and an environmentalist during both simulations and did not hold a formal leadership position, I was able to observe firsthand the different approaches taken by each leader and contrast their results.

The evolution of leadership has generated two major leadership styles: the relationship-oriented approach, which focuses on developing teamwork, confidence, and trust within the group; and the task-oriented approach, which aims to maximize quality and performance by providing direction. (Collier & Esteban, 2000, p208)

In the first simulation, our leader adopted a task-oriented leadership style that promoted efficiency, productivity, and reliability. (Yukl & Lepsinger, 2005, p363) Although we were able to achieve a higher result under this leadership style, we lacked cohesion and interaction within our group.

The excessive stress on task achievement may have negative effects, such as discouraging risk-taking and diminishing motivation. In the second simulation, the leader adopted a relationship-oriented style with the intention of improving team relationships (Yukl & Lepsinger, 2005, p. 363). This was achieved through increased collaboration and interaction between members, which was evident in the form of more group discussions and consensus voting.

Furthermore, it can be observed that the leader is attempting to create a more shared leadership approach. Shared leadership is defined as a dynamic and interactive influence process among individuals in groups, with the objective of leading one another to achieve group or organizational goals. The leader’s perception towards leadership is further supported by Collier and Esteban (2000), who state that shared responsibility implies shared purposes and a commitment to pursuing the common good.

Leadership is crucial in determining the success and performance of a team, as demonstrated by the effectiveness of the team leader (Trent 2004, p. 94). According to Nienaber (2010), an effective leader must possess the skills to provide judgment and direction while also prioritizing tasks. Observing both leaders’ performances during two simulations shows a clear correlation between team leadership and performance.

Team leaders have a strong impact on group effort, cohesion, goal selection, performance norms, and goal attainment (Trent, 2004, p94). In this particular case study, the team leader failed to uphold these responsibilities. As a result, the team’s performance was inconsistent with some members scoring significantly higher than others. This was due to ineffective communication of direction and judgment and prioritizing objectives at the expense of some team members.

Leaders have a responsibility to improve group interaction, discourage member complacency, and provide enthusiasm for team tasks (Trent, 2004, p95). Our team overcame the problems associated with the first simulation by implementing shared leadership in the second simulation. We utilized team discussions which aided in understanding our assigned task and allowed us to reflect on variables that affected the quality of our team interaction. This reflection helped us formulate performance strategies.

Effective leaders play a crucial role in creating an environment that promotes group effort and constructive engagement among members (Trent, 2004, p.95). This was evident in our team’s increased participation during discussions. Although we scored higher in our first simulation than the second one, there was a significant improvement in the interaction within the team, which was further enhanced by better communication channels and greater autonomy. Our formal group, created to complete both Everest simulations, underwent group development as a task force.

Tuckman’s model of group development incorporates five sequential stages that resemble the evolution of our team. This model can be applied to our team’s experience to a certain degree. During simulation one, we observed the three stages of forming, norming, and performing within our Everest team. These stages are consistent with what Tuckman’s model advocates.

The forming stage is characterized by pre-Everest activities where we had the opportunity to meet and bond with each other. We also discussed strategies we might utilize during simulation one.

During the first Everest simulation, our team had already established a set of well-defined norms and expectations. We agreed upon a specific time and location for meetings, democratic in-class discussions, and email communication as our primary means of contact. According to Kozlowski and Bell (2003, p. 350), these norms were the result of various work-based and social interactions that occurred during the group development process. As a result, we transitioned into the performing phase described by Tuckman (1965, p. 90) as a period of mutual task interaction” with minimal emotional interference as our group entity sought to “support rather than hinder.” Since Everest groups began as task forces classified under natural group settings, we entered the adjourning phase after completing the second simulation with an emphasis on debriefing and discussing outcomes. However, it was observed that there was virtually no storming phase during either simulation which marked a distinct deviation from Tuckman’s model.

The absence of group conflict may have been more detrimental than beneficial to our performance. It hindered our capability to generate a wider range of strategies and opinions, resulting in a substandard performance strategy. This could be mainly attributable to the fact that we were unfamiliar with fellow members, and thus, we were reluctant to share and voice out dissent or disagreements.

Team Contracts and Planning

The first simulation was flawed due to a misunderstanding of the team objective, lack of planning before the simulation, and an overemphasis on individual goals rather than team goals.

We neglected and were oblivious to the bonus point challenges, as we were blinded by the given information and went ahead without evaluating other sources of information. This demonstrates the anchoring effect (Kahneman & Tversky, 1974). Furthermore, collating individual success is essential in determining overall team performance (Wolfgang & Morhart, 2008, p.103), which is reflected in the fact that a few group members performed significantly better than others.

Despite the environmentalist needing to be rescued, our team managed to score 65%. According to Mathieu and Rapp (2009, p. 90), in order to enhance team performance, it is necessary for members to produce superior work and engage in positive intra-group interaction. The introduction of a team contract in the second simulation played an important role by assimilating expectations regarding leadership, communication, and group processes while holding members accountable to a comprehensive framework.

Through efficient utilization of our communication systems, we were able to conquer the problems faced in the first simulation. We channeled strategic information and dispersed our knowledge and thoughts (Alge, Wiethoff & Klein, 2003, p. 29). By developing a strategy that calculated the tradeoff between achieving one team member’s goal compared to another’s and allocating weights to each objective, we reached a consensus that our main priority was to gain as many points as possible while minimizing compromise of team goals (Kahneman & Tversky 1974). However, even with well-developed team performance strategies (Mathieu and Rapp, 2009, p. 90), the incomprehensiveness of the team contract may have contributed to our lower team score. This is consistent with Mathieu and Rapp’s findings (2009, p. 90) that team contracts are meant to solidify group norms during a team’s foundational stages.

In actual fact, the team contracts were introduced after the first Everest simulation, during which group norms had already been established. Therefore, implementing a team contract at that point would have had no significant impact on the team’s overall performance.

Regarding team structure and communication, during the first simulation we decided to adopt a conventional face-to-face approach and use technology as a complementary aspect (Arnison & Miller, 2002, p.170).

By utilizing this structure, we were able to enhance team communication without hindering working and social interactions between members. Conducting our Everest simulation face-to-face was an important factor that demonstrated the link between communication quality and resulting team performance. This approach supported our need for negotiation, discussion, and decision-making throughout the simulation.

We recognized the inconvenience of virtual networks in regards to discussions and information sharing. We also acknowledged the unique aspects of face-to-face communication, such as the transmission of values, attitudes, and commitment (Alge, Wiethoff & Klein, 2003, p. 29). Our choice of medium definitely worked to our advantage as it enabled clear transfer of information, interpretation of non-verbal communication and instantaneous modification of decisions (Huebner, Varey & Wood, 2008, p.207).

In an attempt to replicate the simulation conditions of the first trial, our team encountered an unexpected setback. One member was unable to meet at the specified time due to personal issues. As a result, this member completed the simulation solely through virtual networks. Unfortunately, this virtual structure impeded our ability to interact both professionally and socially as a team (Arnison & Miller, 2002, p170).

In the second simulation, collaboration was limited to non-verbal and face-to-face communication. This restriction worked against us because we were unable to infer the perception of our missing group member. As a result, we could not understand or empathize with his perspectives on decisions made. This was particularly problematic as he held the important role of physician, and decisions regarding medicine administration were not properly communicated.

According to Arnison and Miller (2002), a lack of productive interaction among team members can hinder the effectiveness of the team. This accurately reflects the situation at hand, as one team member was not proactive in using the in-system chat box, making communication difficult at times. Additionally, Arnison and Miller (2002) state that team members working from home may feel isolated due to their location, which can lead to a loss of identity as a team member.

In conclusion,

Despite the decline in the performance of the second simulation, we are satisfied with other aspects of the experience. The interaction among team members was positive, and there was a significant increase in group cohesion. This reflects the minimal amount of conflict that was observed. All members were able to express their ideas freely within the group, and everyone contributed suggestions that brought benefits to our simulation. The Everest simulation provided a highly valuable experience for students to understand processes at both individual and group levels.

Through our experiences with both simulations, it can be shown that elements of leadership and teamwork theories can be applied with varying degrees of success. Furthermore, reflecting on my performance has enabled me to identify weaknesses in my techniques and strategies, giving me the opportunity to refine them.


  • Alge, B., Wiethoff, C., & Klein, H. (2003). When does the medium matter? Knowledge-building experiences and opportunities in decision-making teams.” Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 91, 26-37.
  • Arnison, L., & Miller, P. (2002).

Virtual Teams: A Virtue for Conventional Teams

Collier, J., & Esteban, R. (2000). Systematic Leadership: Ethical and Effective. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 21, no. 4, p207-215.

Huebner, H., Varey, R., & Wood, L. (2008). The Significance of Communicating in Enacting Decisions. Journal of Communication Management, vol. 12, no. 3, p204-223.

Kahneman, D., & Tversky A. (1974). ‘Judgement under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases’. Science, vol. 185, pp.1124-1131.

Kozlowski S.W.J., & Bell B.S.(2003).

Work groups and teams in organizations. In W. C. Borman & D. R. Ilgen (Eds. ), Handbook of psychology: Industrial and organizational psychology (Vol. 12, 333–375). New York: Wiley. Mathieu, J. E. & Rapp, T. L. (2009). ‘Laying the Foundation for Successful Team Performance Trajectories: The Roles of Team Charters and Performance Strategies. ’ Journal of Applied Psychology. 94 (1), p90-103 Nienaber, H. (2010). Conceptualisation of management and leadership. Management Decision , vol 48, no. 5, p661-675. Trent, R. (2004). Team Leadership at the 100-foot level. Team Performance Management , vol 10, no. /6,p 94-103. Tuckman, B. W. (1965). ‘Developmental Sequence in Small Groups. ’ Psychological Bulletin. 63 (6), p-384-399 Wolfgang, J. , & Morhart, F. (2008). Navigating towards Team Success. Team Performance Management , vol 14 , no. 1/2, p102-108. Yukl, G. , & Lepsinger, R. (2005). Why Integrating the Leading and Managing Role Is Essential for Organisational Effectiveness. Organizational Dynamics , vol 34, no. 4, p361-375. APPENDIX A: GOALS ON TRACK (1) Goals| Points| Reach Summit | 2| Complete climb without needing to be rescued| 3| Avoid getting frostbite| 1| All climbers spend extra day at any camp| 1|

Your Points for Personal Goals | 7| Round 2: Medical Challenge Points| 0| Round 3: Weather Challenge Points| 1| Round 4: Oxygen Tank Allocation Points| 0| Your Total Points| 8| Your Total Possible Points| 10| Percent of Your Goals Achieved| 80%| Percent of Team Goals Achieved| 65%| APPENDIX B: GOALS ON TRACK (2) Goals| Points| Complete climb without needing to be rescued| 3| Spend extra day at Camp 4 during ascent| 1| Your Points for Personal Goals | 4| Round 2: Medical Challenge Points| 1| Round 3: Weather Challenge Points| 0| Round 4: Oxygen Tank Allocation Points| 1| Your Total Points| 6| Your Total Possible Points| 7|

Percent of Your Goals Achieved| 86%| Percent of Team Goals Achieved| 63%| TEAM CONTRACT TEAM CONTRACT Everest 2 Team Name: Team 135 | Name| Role| Contact| 1| Casey Robinson| Leader| 2| Edward Yeun| Marathon Runner| 3| Edwin Cheung| Photographer| 4| Jennifer Kong| Observer| 5| Josh Abbott| Physician | 6| Andrew Collignon| Environmentalist| Team Procedures 1. Day, time, and location of team members for Everest 2: Monday 6pm 23rd April. 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) Before the climb * Email

B) During the climb: Face to face
C) After the climb: Email / Face to face

Team goal for Everest 2:
– To maximize our team goal percentage in comparison with the first simulation attempt.
– To achieve more than 65% of team goals.
– To communicate all relevant ideas, issues, problems, and solutions that arise during the simulation.

Decision-making policy:
Group discussion with team leader making final decision. Team participation is encouraged.

How will we resolve conflict?
Discussion and sharing of thoughts between conflicting team members. The team leader will act as a mediator.

Strategies for encouraging/including ideas and debate from all team members:
Brainstorming sessions and open discussions are encouraged.

Strategies for achieving our goal:
Individual goals for each member will be identified, and which goals will be most beneficial to the entire team communicated. A forum for ideas from each member will be provided. The team leader will act as a mediator to ensure everyone contributes equally to discussions.

Preferences for leadership (team leader only, shared leadership):
One leader (team leader) as per voting. Decision making involves the entire group; however, in cases of indecision between members, the team leader makes absolute decisions.

Personal Accountability:
Expected individual attendance must be punctual throughout Everest 2 simulation; respond promptly to emails from other teammates; share opinions before moving to the next stage.

What are the consequences for lack of engagement in Everest 2?
Observers will report any non-compliance to the team leader, who will address it with offending team member.

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Everest Simulation Reflection Report. (2016, Sep 28). Retrieved from


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