Individual or Team?

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

-Food concentrate

-50 feet of nylon rope

-Parachute silk

-Portable heating unit

-Two .45 caliber pistols

-One case of

 dehydrated milk

-Two 100 lb. tanks of


-Stellar map

-Self-inflating life raft

-Magnetic compass

-5 gallons of water

-Signal flares

-First aid kit, including

 injection needle

-Solar-powered FM


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?

-Gordon Kelly, UDig Technical Account Executive

Gordon KellyIndividual or Team?

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