Thursday, September 25, 2008

Roles & Responsibilities in a Treasure Hunt team

From my past hunts experience, I compile here my version of roles and responsibilities in a motor treasure hunt team. I hope it can help you to prepare for the upcoming hunts.

Normally in a drive hunt, a team is usually consists of 4 persons maximum in a car. Each team member has his/her own role and responsibilities to play. Normally there are 4 roles, namely: Driver, Navigator, Passenger 1 and Passenger 2. Here I explain their responsibilities. Primary responsibilities refer to essential tasks that he/she has to perform well. Secondary responsibilities refer to extra tasks that this person is encouraged to perform, or only when not compromising his/her primary responsibilities.

Role: Driver

Primary Responsibilities:

1. Drive the team safely from start to end. The driver has to think safe and drive safe. Treasure Hunt is meant to the fun. Remember treasure hunt is not meant to be a race. Driving recklessly and irresponsibly, endangering people in the car and on the road is not accepted.

2. Control the pace and timing of the hunt. Driver must keep in mind the hunt finish time and keep the correct pace in the hunt. Driver must drive the vehicle at the correct pace when in question sector. Driver should aware of the time needed (plus buffer) to get to the next sector, or to the end station. In the event of the team taking too much time in one sector, the driver should alert the team of the time. This is to avoid rushing at the end when finish time is near.

Secondary Responsibilities:

1. Spotter. Driver can assist in spotting the answer, if the answer is straightforward or shout out the candidate answer to team members while scanning the question sector.

2. Solver. Not many people can do this. Keeping concentration on the road and still thinking about the clues and how to crack it. But in the event that the driver is out walking with the team in a sector, then he/she can be a bonus to the team if he/she can help to solve clues.

3. Challenger. Since driver is not required to solve clues primarily, he/she can question the validity/suitability of the answers proposed by other team members. This is to make sure answers are to not taken for granted as there may be red herrings.

4. Navigator. It is good if the driver can read tulips as well. In the event of wrong turn made, or plan route, driver can discuss with navigator what is the best way to proceed.

Attributes to look for: Responsible, Good Driving skills/experience, good sense of direction, good concentration/focus.

Role: Navigator

Primary Responsibilities:

1. Read tulips and navigate the team from start to finish. Navigator is probably the most important role in the car. If the navigator lost his/her way, it will cost the team precious time. Navigator needs to alert team mates when the question sector is near. When arrive at beginning of the sector, it is always a good practice to shout out how many questions in the sector and for how far.

2. Keep time. Together with the driver, navigator has a good sense of how long distance left and hence the time needed to solve the remaining questions and get to the finish station in time. If the team is taking too long to solve a sector, the navigator may be entrusted with the final decision to drop the question(s), if the other team members are too involved to let go.

3. Plan route with driver. Some hunt tulip will start with a tulip that is far away from the actual start station. Or sometimes there may be a better route to avoid traffic jam to get to the next sector, the navigator must work with driver to explore other options for the best route.

Secondary Responsibilities:

1. Spotter. Navigator can assist in spotting the answer or shout out the candidate answers to team members while scanning the question sector.

2. Solver. Keeping concentration on the tulips and still thinking about the clues and how to crack it is not easy. This is especially true in local hunt when the distant traveled is around 50km with 30-40 clues to be solved. This leaves little time between sectors for the navigator to read the clues. But in the event that the navigator is out walking with the team in a sector, then he/she can fully concentrate on solving.

3. Challenger. Since navigator is not required to solve clues primarily, he/she can question the validity/suitability of the answers proposed by other team members. This is to make sure answers are to not taken for granted as there may be red herrings.

4. Driver. In a normal local hunt, the driver needs to drive about 5-6 hours. In outstation hunts, it can be up to 7-8 hours long. If needed, the driver and navigator can switch role.

Attributes to look for: Good sense of directions, good time-management, good adaptability.

Role: Passenger 1 and 2

Primary Responsibilities:

1. Solver (including research). The solver has to read the clues and break them. Once the solver has an idea on what to look for, he/she has to inform all team members on what to look for. E.g. if the clue is a sounds-like clue, he can ask all team members to look for some words that sounds like the intended meaning indicated in the clue. There are also treasure questions that need to be solved. Passenger 1 & 2 needs to coordinate on how to divide/share the tasks on the road and treasure questions. E.g. who is suppose to do research on internet, dictionary, thesaurus; who is suppose to take care of the treasures; who is suppose to etc.
2. Challenger. As there are two main solvers in the car, the solvers have to challenge each other’s thought and agree on the answers. If there is no agreement on the answers, then the candidate answers must be written down. Then the decision needs to be made after discussion with all other team mates. At the end, when the answers are written down by one, another person has to double-check them before submission.
3. Spotter. Since the passenger 1 and 2 are fully focused on the clues, they should shoulder the main responsibility as a spotter as well. Of course, all members in car can be spotter as well.
4. Buy treasure. This task seems obvious but you will be surprised that some people just didn’t manage (or forgot) to buy the treasures even though they can crack the clues. A good practice is to work on the treasures early and buy them as soon as possible.

Secondary Responsibilities:


Attributes to look for:
Good analytic/problem-solving skill, good English/Malay proficiency, creative, attention to details, good observer/spotter, resourceful.


Cornelius Koh said...

Don't get too caught up in assigning roles and responsibilities in a hunt. It is more important to have flexibility.

Firstly, everything may appear perfect on paper, but out there in the field, the so-called roles and responsibilities may need to be changed at a moment's notice.

Secondly, although assigning roles and responsibilities is a sound strategy in treasure hunts, there is no hard rules to follow. Different teams have different sets of configurations. It takes time to fine-tune the team synergy. Don't attempt too hard to set the perfect assignment of roles and responsibilities, because you are not likely to achieve it, ever!

Finally, what appears to be perfect in theory may not be perfect in reality. Take the roles of driver and navigator, for example. I can tell you that in most master teams, those two roles are both undertaken by a single person. It works very well, because the 3 other hunters in the team are then free to crack the questions and treasures.

blaze said...

Thanks Cornelius for your feedback. I understand the need for flexibility in assignment of roles and responsibilities. It is not easy to follow 100% what seems to be good on paper. There could be many situations that warrant change in the R&R of any person in the team during the hunt. That's why flexibility and adaptability is vital.

There is also no hard rule to assign R&R. I see the need to have and fine-tune team synergy (a topic that I plan to discuss in more detail later). This posting is meant as a guide, rather than a gospel.

In my thinking, the R&R may not necessarily have one-to-one mapping. Perhaps this was not clear in writing. It is up to the team to decide how this should be done. I remember in LexisNexis hunt in August 2008, I saw one team hanged up a clipboard below the rear mirror in the car. Is it your team, Cornelius? :-)I thought for a while then, it was either meant for the tulips or the questions. Now probably I know for sure. Like you mentioned in your comment, the driver role and navigator role can be in one person. It has its pros and cons. But I guess that is not the point here.

Thanks again for your valuable feedback. I will improve with your comment.