Mt. Everest Simulation Reflection Paper

In the course work concerning leadership, there is no better way to test the theoretical approach to team leadership than in the Everest Simulation. It is a team-based simulation exercise, where a team of five members climbs Mt. Everest to the summit. Therefore, the simulation aims at checking the member’s resilience to the challenges in teamwork and their response to them. There are both general goals for the team and individual goals. The simulation awards points for individual climbers’ success regarding their goals, which are averaged after the simulation, to award team-performance score. In our team’s simulation exercise, we were to climb for a maximum of six days, passing through four camps.

Our team comprised of five members; a leader, physician, photographer, marathoner, and an environmentalist. Tahila & Temara took the leadership position. The choice for the position was because of their mountaineering experience and the possession of leadership skills. Sarah was the group’s photographer; she would take pictures throughout the climb for future viewing. Peter was the team’s marathoner. He is in a good physique, although his mountaineering experience is limited. Yangli & Sandra took the environmentalist position, and they would be concerned about the environmental damage to the Mt. Everest. I was the physician, and my role entailed carrying the medical supplies for the team and attending to the team member’s health issues.

Team Leadership

Tahila & Temara have strong team leadership styles and skills that significantly impacted our success through the simulation. Our first meeting was at the base of the mountain, where we did all prior climbing preparations. In a leadership capacity, Tahila & Temara had a simple task to develop a team culture since all members appeared eager to learn and to cooperate. Firstly, Tahila & Temara reminded us of the goals and objectives of the exercise. That was an excellent way to build a team’s vision, which would guide us through the simulation (Thomas, 2011). We also formed ground rules which would guide us through the exercise (Stuart, 2014).

Further, each member listed their goals and objectives for the climb, making sure all team members understood them clearly. From that, all member’s goals were incorporated into the master goal list for the team. It created the first frame for collaboration since were all had to work towards the achievement of the team’s goals, and for teammates (Thomas, 2011). Also, all team members tweaked their goals to align with the achievement of the team’s goals—for instance, one of my goals to attend to injuries and health issues for members. However, the leader explained that one of the major goals would be to ensure no injuries and that we would do support one another to eliminate instances of rescue. Therefore, I tweaked my goal to “continually checking the health condition of members, ensuring that they were physically fit to continue, recommending the time for rest, and the provision of relevant prevention drugs and fluid.”

All team members had an adequate psyche that improved the team’s performance. During the first meeting, Tahila & Temara explained that we would be each other’s keepers. That is, the success of the team, and that of individual member heavily relied on our collaboration (Cappelli & Tavis, 2018). As a leader, Tahila & Temara played as a role model, making sure that the rest of us would follow. Besides, playing a role model helped to align all plans in the SMART model. At the end of every day, we would account for individual progress and compare it with the initial goals. Also, Peter and Yangli & Sandra kept a record of all issues in an excel sheet, from which we would reference the progress and make sound decisions. For instance, it helped us identify who needed rest or my attention.

I loved how each one of us encouraged one another to keep climbing and to achieve their goals. Since most of the meetings were online, through the video conferencing tool for the simulator, Tahila & Temara acted as the moderator, creating the right environment for performance review and recommendation from and by all team members.

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Communication is paramount for the success of a team. As a team, we had to ensure everyone was up to date and that the messages conveyed were received and understood appropriately. One of the ground rules adopted in the first meeting was that all communication would be through the chats and video calls on a common channel. The video calls would be made three times a day, in the regular meetings for discussion and practice sessions. We used the chatbox for regular updates. Also, we decided that to maximize inclusion, all team members would chat through one channel, so that all members would be up to date with the progress of one another.

The communication framework enhanced the group’s cohesion and collaboration, enabling all team members to pursue individual and team goals. The chatbox enabled regular updates through the simulation. Members communicated their progress and requested for help if they needed. The chat was of beneficence to everyone since, in one way, and they encouraged other members to keep up-to-speed with the team members, and secondly, they enabled the easy provision of assistance here needed. For instance, at one point, Sarah complained that her camera had become heavy. I became interested in and checked her health status immediately. We found that Sarah was had suffered fatigue, and she burnt out faster than the rest of us. Immediately, I suggested to the team leader that it was time for is to rest for a while, and I gave energy fluids to Sarah.

In the course work, the professor had highlighted the issues that arise in teams due to communication breakdown. Therefore, ground rules required us to talk about mostly that which was relevant to the climb. Communication would be official to avoid ambiguity (McEwan, Ruissen, Eys, Zumbo & Beauchamp, 2017). Also, all members would make sure not to mislead one another. Our responsibility was to offer each the support through clarification and advice when needed. Nevertheless, all member would communicate their thoughts freely to input their opinions on the most efficient way up the mountain.


Besides efficient communication, the decision-making model for the group impacted our success positively. In a team, all members are experts in one area. Thus, the decision-making process may suffer resistance to change, too many opinions, inadequate support, lack of resources, or lack of time (Obioma Ejimabo, 2015). However, we knew these challenges from the course work, and we were ready to combat them before the climb. Therefore, during the formation of ground rules, we established a leadership structure, where final decisions would be endorsed by the team leader. That helped in ensuing all members were at per with the progress since we intended to complete the climb together and achieve most of the individual goals.

In that perspective, and noting the communication model for the team was frictionless, members voiced their opinions anytime it was convenient. The group leader would ask all of us to contribute our opinions regarding any emerging issues. In the end, the leader would make the final decision. For instance, at the second camp, Yangli & Sandra noticed to the left side of the mountain, there was much garbage. As an environmentalist, they were compelled to study the completion, collect data that would help in recommending intervention programs. The decision would delay out our timeline, and she was willing to sacrifice her points to gather the data. However, Sarah and Tahila & Temara had climbed the mountain through the same route earlier on. They explained that there was more garbage, fluorescent tents, human excrement, and cans at the third camp. There, Yangli & Sandra would obtain more data regarding the pollution, compared to that at the third camp, and increase her score. The team unanimously considered that going on up would be the best idea, the leader endorsed it. Yangli & Sandra agreed to move on for the greater good of the team and self. They camped at the third camp to collect the data. That illustrated the forgoing of individual goals in a team, to pursue the greater goals of the team (Pearsall & Venkataramani, 2015).


Effectiveness and Challenges Faced

I chose to reflect on the effectiveness of our team through performance, and the results we got amid the climbing and team challenges. Firstly, the communication model for the team was excellent. All members communicated their thoughts concerning the project, and the thoughts were analyzed effectively to come up with a decision. Though it took longer to collect all member’s opinions and make the decision, we were okay with the process. In the beginning, Peter seemed to dislike the process and requested the group leader to make final decisions immediately. However, Tahila & Temara reminded us of all the beneficence of a horizontal leadership style. In that light, the team’s leadership style was excellent. Nobody felt offended, or their goals got compromised entirely. The leader allowed us to participate in creating the ground rules; hence, all the rules were fair.


Overall, our team scored 98%, which we celebrate since it was above our target. Our goal was that at least 75% of teammates would climb to the top and achieve a 100% individual score. All of us scored 100%, except Yangli & Sandra, who stopped at the third camp to collect pollution data. Overall, we all climbed to the top without significant health issues. However, we used more oxygen than expected and moved slowly than our expected time due to harsh weather.


Cappelli, P., & Tavis, A. (2018, March). The New Rules of Talent Management. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review:

McEwan, D., Ruissen, G., Eys, M., Zumbo, B., & Beauchamp, M. (2017). The Effectiveness of Teamwork Training on Teamwork Behaviors and Team Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled Interventions. PLOS ONE, 12(1), e0169604. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169604

Obioma Ejimabo, N. (2015). The Influence of Decision Making in Organizational Leadership and Management Activities. Journal Of Entrepreneurship & Organization Management, 04(02). doi: 10.4172/2169-026x.1000138

Pearsall, M., & Venkataramani, V. (2015). Overcoming asymmetric goals in teams: The interactive roles of team learning orientation and team identification. Journal Of Applied Psychology, 100(3), 735-748. doi: 10.1037/a0038315

Stuart, A. (2014). Ground rules for a high performing team. Phoenix: Project Management Institute.

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