When given the choice, I always chose to work by myself when I was younger and in school. However, after being in the workplace for years, I’ve learned that it is amazing what you can accomplish when you have a strong team. Every organization wants the strongest team possible, and is likely striving to find that perfect team constantly. Below is an example from NASA on teamwork. It’s a pretty eye opening experience. Try filling the exercise out on your own, and then ask a spouse or colleague to fill it out as well. Then fill it out together from scratch.
NASA Exercise: Survival on the Moon
You are a member of a space crew originally scheduled to rendezvous with a
mother ship on the lighted surface of the moon. However, due to mechanical
difficulties, your ship was forced to land at a spot some 200 miles from the
rendezvous point. During reentry and landing, much of the equipment aboard
was damaged and, since survival depends on reaching the mother ship, the most
critical items available must be chosen for the 200-mile trip. Your task is to rank
order them in terms of their importance for your crew in allowing them to reach
the rendezvous point. Place the number 1 by the most important item, 2 by the
second most important, and so on through number 15 for the least important.
Take five minutes and rank order the items by yourself. Then you will work with
your team for five minutes to develop your team ranking.
-Box of matches
-50 feet of nylon rope
-Portable heating unit
-Two .45 caliber pistols
-One case of
-Two 100 lb. tanks of
-Self-inflating life raft
-5 gallons of water
-First aid kit, including
Here are NASA’s answers. The example will show how effective teamwork is – 9 times out of 10, the team is going to outperform the individual. I scored a 40…how did you do?