Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers: Sinking Ship

(You can see on one single page all of management games and icebreakers authored by me and continually updated on the site if you refer:

(Refer our High Quality Management Encyclopedia “Management Universe” at:

“Sinking Ship” is one of the most effective group exercises. It is quite participative too. This management exercise can be used by you as a faculty member or group facilitator or workshop leader for sessions in perception, intra-group communication, listening, group process, team work, decision making, consensus building, team work and team building.

Divide the participants into two equal groups randomly. Suggestion on how to make random groups is given in the earlier management exercise titled “Arrange” (please refer it). Tell the first group to sit around a round table or in a circle together. Same way, tell the second group to sit around another round table (away from the first one) or in a circle together.

Give a printed copy of the following exercise brief to all the participants in both the groups and instruct them to read it carefully.

Exercise brief

A ship with 12 persons is about to sink. There is only one boat available for survival and it can take only 6 persons. Now it is to be decided that of the 12 persons who shall survive.

The twelve persons are:

  1. Scientist
  2. Chief Minister of an important state (name it)
  3. Miss Universe of a recent year (give the year)
  4. Mother of 6 children
  5. Lady lawyer
  6. An important religious leader who is alive (name him or her)
  7. Executive
  8. Student
  9. Unemployed engineer
  10. 28 years old sweeper
  11. Escaped convict
  12. Retired Army Colonel

Instruct them (to each group separately if they are in two different rooms) that they should start a discussion among them to decide the 6 persons out of the total of 12 whom they will like to save. It should be consensus decision of the group as a whole.

Give them 20 minutes to start with. If they are not in position to arrive at a group consensus, extend the time by another 10 minutes.

Stop the exercise after lapse of 30 minutes.

Start getting their feedback first from the first group and then from the second group on how well did they do in the exercise, what went wrong and what are the learning points.

Wind up the exercise by giving your observations on their group process, intra-group communication, listening, team work, decision making, consensus building and team building. Provide further inputs on these aspects.

Get Hold of the Related Books

You can order the following books on “management games and icebreakers” as printed books and eBooks from Amazon online:

  1. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
  2. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers (Volume 2)
  3. Classic Team Building Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
  4. 101 Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers

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You may like to enjoy reading all the “Management Anecdotes” authored by Shyam Bhatawdekar at: or

And don’t miss to read his “Do This Today”

For Musings of Shyam Bhatawdekar on various topics refer

For “out of box thinking” articles by Shyam Bhatawdekar, refer: (Out of Box Ideas)


About Shyam Bhatawdekar

35 years’ industrial/business experience as a top executive & 35 years’ parallel academic/consultancy experience in general management, behavioral sciences & technology. Areas: general management, production, human resources, industrial engineering, systems, MIS, computers, corporate planning, audit, sales/marketing. Penchant for information technology & behavioral sciences; integrated with conventional technology makes him unique thought leader. Conversant with academic theories & realities of business, fuses the two into practical approaches. Was associated with Tata Motors, Hindustan Motors, Hindustan Aeronautics & ThyssenKrupp; held top positions as highflier executive. Presently Chairman & Managing Director, Prodcons Group associating with 250 organizations; providing management & I T consultations & conducting seminars/workshops. Been a faculty for IIM’s, TMTC, Railway & HAL Staff Colleges, Symbiosis. Speaker with 35000 hours’ experience benefitting more than 100,000 people. Published 35 articles in Economic Times, Indian Management & Computers Today. Authored 27 books. Invited as key speaker in seminars by AIMA, HRD Network, NIPM, QCFI, CSI, NPC. Widely traveled. Education: Engineering & Management.
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