Best Talent Development Training Program Award for Save the Titanic



Learn2’s Save the Titanic Leader and Team Challenge – an official selection for the Canadian Awards for Talent Development Excellence – received an Honourable Mention in the Best Internal Talent Development Program category during the awards ceremony.

Winners included CIBC, City of Toronto, and the Golf Institute of Canada to name a few.  The Awards for Talent Development Excellence are held by the Institute for Performance and Learning.

Wonder what all the excitement is about?

Participants in Learn2 Save the Titanic Leader and Team Challenge experience their leadership and teamwork in a high-pressure situation they never forget. The experience begins when participants receive a letter from E. J. Smith, Captain of the Titanic. Confirming the participant’s role as a Senior Officer, the letter also identifies their port assignment (team assignment) for Titanic’s maiden voyage. This generates anticipation prior to the program, and sets the context for a powerful learning experience.

When participants arrive for the program, they join a team of 4 to 7 fellow crew members, all Senior Officers. Suddenly and emphatically, the participants are asked to “All rise!” Captain Smith (the main facilitator, in an Officer’s uniform) enters to brief the participants about the grave situation. After a 5-7 minute briefing, he concludes “You are the finest officers on the finest ship ever built, and we need you to save the passengers, the crew and the ship herself. Good luck!”

At this point the teams obtain the necessary tools from the emergency supplies table. Each team receives an R.M.S. Titanic Emergency Resources kit. Enclosed is one R.M.S. Titanic Operation Manual containing briefing notes, ship manifest, supplies, Team Action Log, record of lives saved, four technical cards, and Senior Officer’s Journals for each team member to record personal notes in the areas of key learning, outcomes, coaching, reflection, and debrief.

Groups organize information, plan their approach, choose appropriate actions to carry out their plan, and communicate those actions to their facilitator.

Once a team chooses an action, they document it the action in the Team Action Log and share it with their facilitator or coach. The outcomes from the team’s choices are communicated using outcome cards including coaching cards, technical cards, emotional level cards, and telegrams.

Obviously, some actions require previous action(s) before being possible. For example, many teams seek to fill their lifeboats when the passengers and crew have not even been informed about the situation. The facilitator ensures outcomes get accomplished when all necessary actions have been implemented. Many actions produce unintended outcomes for which the team has no plan. This causes the team to constantly refine their approach.

Learn2 Save the Titanic provides a unique opportunity to learn by doing. Participants confront their preconceptions and limitations in the area of team, communications and leadership. Based on their actions and outcomes, a comprehensive briefing reinforces the business and learning outcomes and the focus on building the leaders and teams capabilities. Participants then choose best practices they take back to their work and results.

An Original Leadership and Team Experience

Getting it. Everyone appreciates teamwork and clear communication. Yet we often do not adopt it in our work together. Often we do not even know how to adopt specific behaviors and approaches that produce results. Typically, the first thing teams notice is what’s missing in their team. This is a helpful outcome. By noticing what’s missing, you have the opportunity to create behaviors that were not there before. After saving the Titanic, participants are united by the experience of creating a high-performance team.

Immersion. Our intention is to create an environment where the participants’ ways of communicating and conducting themselves become completely overwhelmed. Their true colours shine through. Having forgotten their typical approach, They can see what worked and what did not so the participants create new practices to empower themselves and the team.

Stress. We do not seek to make the program stress-free. We actually structure and manipulate the environment so participants deal with stress. This more accurately represents the work place and environment which exists currently. This environment tests their ability to create and implement many innovative solutions in a short period of time.

Results. This training program is not about achieving success by saving lives and the ship. It is about creativity, managing information and a host of other skills that deliver relevant capacity to leaders and teams who want results. Participants apply these concepts during the debrief where we focus on how they communicated and worked together as a team during the experience.

Historical. Clearly, the participants are not at their place of business. They operate in a historical period before their birth. We put them in a historical playground. They remain free to come up with creative solutions without the constraints of their regular way of working. There is virtually no risk. This gives them, and us, the freedom to challenge, practice and discover alternative ways of communicating, leading and creating results as a team.

Identities. Stress can produce unexpected behaviour, regardless of hierarchical level. By having all identities on the same level – in this case – Senior Officers, the participants to determine how they achieve results. The Captain does not provide direction due to the stress of the situation. Sometimes clients want hierarchy because their participants deal with hierarchy as a challenge to work through so this is a configuration option. The importance of actions becomes evident through the group dynamics and their results. For example, one person may take the lead while another is only concerned with saving him or herself.

Motivating. Participants get rewarded each time they save lives with Lifesavers® candy. It is next to impossible to not save more lives than the actual Senior Officers did in 1912. We give participants an opportunity to rewrite history. They leave motivated and full of confidence having rewritten history. Accomplishing the impossible often frees groups to solve unsolvable problems in their organization.

Interactive. The process focuses on the participants, not the facilitator. Each team has complete freedom of choice in each action, and only after their choice do the facilitators provide them with the outcome. Some groups get stalled when given this responsibility or stalled because of a flawed aspect of their leadership or team decision-making process. These groups receive coaching cards to support them through their challenge, such as looking for the right answer or layering of ideas.

Alive. Enthusiastic, free, fun. During the experience, participants go from being cautious, polite and organized into experiencing everything required to create a high-performance team. What becomes obvious as the experience unfolds is that fun and excitement are not by-products of the experience. They are themselves critical to achieving the extraordinary results.


Immersion. Research shows adults engage and learn best in an immersion experience and participants remain more likely to apply the learning in their day-to-day environment. This forms the basis of many of Learn2’s program designs because leaders and teams remember what they learned.

Responsibility. Adults are responsible for their own learning in our programs. They determine the insights within the environment we create together. Learn2 Save the Titanic allows participants to discover for themselves those skills they most need and what they want to improve. The immersive simulation runs in the morning and they apply their insights to produce results in the afternoon. They discover their resistance and work through resistance as individuals and a team committed to an outcome.

Participant-focused. Rather than focusing on the facilitator who knows a lot about the subject and the participants who do not, this program places the participants at the centre of the learning. The experiential nature of this program continues throughout the debrief and application where the participants generate what they learned and how they will apply it to improve their team, their work and their results.

Relevant. Participants are encouraged to bring their life and their work into the experience with them. We constantly relate the experience back to their day-to-day life. In the debrief, participants create practices and projects around implementing specific innovations or initiatives to empower the team to high performance. The outcomes are configured by clients like you. To further this action, we support many clients with follow-up coaching and application sessions at their request.

Empowerment. Learn2 Save the Titanic leaves participants amazed at their own resources and creativity. They depart having solved a well-known and well-documented historic disaster and, in essence, having rewritten history. They move forward with their ability to collaborate enhanced and appreciated, and with the renewed confidence they can accomplish the extraordinary.

Team. For most people at work, they accomplish everything on their own. It never occurs to them to make requests and involve others, particularly when having a problem. People believe they must do it all. In this transformative program, participants start to see their team as a powerful resource and learn how to cause their team. They experience this – rather than being told it by the facilitator. Which means lasting behavior change.

Acknowledgment. By ringing the Captains bell and making an announcement, the participants acknowledge lives saved. A new best practice which identifies the first teams who implement specific actions enables coaches to acknowledge something about every team. This is based on our belief and the adult engagement principle that acknowledgment and appreciation provide the foundation for capability building and achievement.

Freedom. This team building program encourages and rewards creativity. There is great latitude for participants as their potential solutions are limited only by their own ingenuity, ability to align as a team, and the ability to implement. Just like real life. The starting point for ingenious solutions often lie inside improbable ideas. Freedom to engage your team in ideas and be heard provides the foundation to produce extraordinary results.

Evaluation Levels Available

Reaction. Each participant evaluates the program and facilitator(s). The Net Promoter Score is often 100 for the facilitator and program. The average is 94.3 currently meaning that nearly every participant would like their family and coworkers to complete the experience. Participants rate the program on the outcomes achieved and if how they implement what they’ve learned to improve their current team’s performance. The written comments and numeric ratings are summarized and returned to the client.

Some organization request a poster-sized replica of the front page of the New York Times dated April 16th, 1912. The headline reflects the participants’ success. “Lifeline Systems Saves the Titanic!“. This poster reinforces the power of team.

Growth. The debrief identifies what the participants learned and how it pertains to their day-to-day team culture and operations. The debrief focuses on those intended learning outcomes the client and Learn2 identified during your needs impact identifier, your design conversation and configuration options.

Transfer. During the application session, participants determine the specific actions they commit to taking back to their organization. Participants then take responsibility for ensuring the completion of the specific actions. Given that good intentions last only as long as people remain in the room, we ask them who, what, where, when and how. Who will be accountable and do they need support? If yes, then from whom? How will we know that the action has been taken? Where specifically the action must be taken? Where the impact will be seen? By when will this be done and who will report on the impact of the action?

Impact. Learn2 Save the Titanic impacts the performance of the participants long after they leave. To measure this impact, you can choose to run a follow-up survey asking the participants to what extent the program impacted the intended outcomes and unintended business outcomes. The client identifies the intended outcomes in advance of the program and describes them in behavioural terms. Some organizations choose a series of follow-up sessions, or our Learn2 Coaching Cycles to support the application of the learning.

Here is what Dara Boyer of Canada Post said, “A great experience, the simulation was very effective and revealed a great deal about the strengths and weaknesses of our team.” Two months later she said, “My supervisor asked me what happened at that ‘Titanic training session’ because since the group returned the communication and teamwork has improved immensely.”

Packaging Immersion

Our clients look for a unique and engaging learning experience. The entire experience is themed around the maiden voyage of the Titanic in April of 1912.

Prior to the experience, participants receive their personal assignment from Captain Smith. The care taken with the invitation generates interest and excitement. Upon arrival at the program, the role of participants as Senior Officers gets reinforced. The attendance of senior members of the organization increases and the Women Entrepreneurs Conference increased their average attendance from 40 to over 100 using an invitation from Captain Smith. The sponsors of these programs were incredibly pleased because, “to make an impact you have to get them in the room”.

The room set up resembles the hull and deck of Titanic herself – lifejackets, images, uniforms, hats, Emergency kits, life buoys. Our packaging reflects the method of immersion. Participants quickly realize this day of learning differs from other training programs and their attention is captured immediately. The audio-visual experiences supports the theme with images of the Titanic and crew being projected on the wall; ship sounds like creaking, splintering wood, groans from the stress on the ship, water gushing; and authentic music identical to music actually played by the actual band. Program materials too, look as though they came from the Titanic herself.

The business objectives typically focus on:  achieving 10x results, culture transformation, setup for organizational change, identifying ways to optimize working together, and implementing change projects.

The talent development outcomes typically focus on: improved collaboration, teams owning results, improved communication, expanded creativity, implementing actions, and leading for results. You get an extensive needs impact identifier process to identify the purpose of your session, including business objectives and talent development objectives, sometimes participant or leader interviews ensure the accuracy of the needs impact identifier. This pre-work culminates in a design/configuration conversation to configure your simulation and application session. The packaging of the experience sets up a clearly-defined team and our communication before and after the program reinforces the concepts and the highly-creative materials communicate to the participants that this session is different. And worth attending.


Language. Learn2 Save the Titanic™ is currently being around the world. Deliveries in France, Quebec and Mexico, hence, French and Spanish versions are available.

Organization. Learn2 Save the Titanic organizes around a major experience or simulation where the participants work in teams to solve a problem. The time is fixed at 2:20 minutes which is the actual sink time for Titanic. Breaks occur to support the engagement level of the participants.

Client-specific application exercises, inspirational briefings, debriefs, and reinforcement activities are built around this core time period. This timing ensures involvement and engagement stay high. By recording their actions, participants track and analyze their ability to translate their ideas into action. This enables the facilitator to deliver key messages and coach participants with every action. The simplicity and organization of the process enables one facilitator to service several teams at the same time. Coaches are added to empower more participants with the same messages at the same time. JnJ had a group of 850 participants complete the challenge before embarking on a major SAP project.

Configuration. Each program is customized around what the you and your organization wants. You determine the intended business objectives and talent development outcomes so we can make sure your leaders and teams practice the behaviors that exhibit your outcome. We configure and design the application process to achieve the intended outcomes and create practices to create and support the behavior in the leaders and teams.

User-Friendly. Learn2 Save the Titanic puts the participant in the driver’s seat. Instead of sitting and trying to pay attention to a speaker, participants take an active role in the experience. Participants love being involved in creating the experience with us as facilitators. Getting involved is easy and enjoyable. A group of participants from Nokia did not sit down during the entire experience, because they were so involved.

Continuous Learning

Participant. Participants report a personal impact – they see aspects of their approach which do not produce the results they desire. They do not just learn new skills to benefit their employer. They practice skills to empower participants to produce results throughout their life.

Participants report a new appreciation of how to work effectively with other people to achieve a common goal. Participants report a new confidence in contributing and listening to others. Participants appreciate the approach as they leave empowered by the ownership and sense of control and ability to impact the results within the experience. Finally, participants describe the program as fun, engaging and worthwhile with several participants in every session claiming, “the experience was the best I’ve ever had!”

Client. Clients report participants return to the work environment more committed to results, more confident in contributing, and more capable of handling the dangers and opportunities in their workplace.

Clients also report challenges become opportunities to apply what they learned. Clients report communication within the organization is enhanced especially when teams take on the behaviours of not killing off ideas, layering on others ideas and taking responsibility for being heard.

Clients report the program as efficient – meaning it provides a high-impact in a short period of time. Another powerful outcome is a much easier ‘buy-in’ for future programs because the participants found this session so valuable. This is one reason for our 92.5% repeat and referral business.

Talent Development Best Practice. Learn2 Save the Titanic remains the “high-water mark” for several organizations such as Elizabeth Arden, JnJ and Xerox. Many organizations seeking out experiential programs have the same concern – after the fun, where is the impact? Learn2 Save the Titanic provides an interactive experience and transforms business skills at the same time. The contribution to the participants and application to business goes beyond the frame of the simulation. The real contribution is in the respect given to the participant’s work style and responsibility to work and lead as a member of your team.

Before you walk away, here are some things you can do to take action:

1. If you are eager to learn more about how Learn2 can transform your leaders and team, book a 45 minute with Doug Bolger, our Chief Learning Officer to talk about your business objectives.

2. If you already know that Learn2 is a good choice for your business and would like to book a 45 minute appointment with a strategist, send an email to who will coordinate your meeting.

3. If you would like to know more about Learn2 and see a few of our solutions, click here now.

4. If you would like to speak with someone right away, call our Learn2 Hotline at 877-4LEARN2 x 229.

5. If you would like to run this program in your company or in your geographic area – get certified.

More about Learn2’s Other Award-Winning Training Programs

Learn2 has received numerous awards for its various talent development programs, initiatives and industry impact. View the full list.



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