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Chilean Mine Rescue: The Unstoppable Team

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In August 2010, people around the world were captivated by a riveting drama unfolding in the Chilean desert. A mine cave-in half a mile beneath the earth traps 33 miners. Teamwork and the ability to respond to shifting challenges provides a roadmap for all organizational teams.

Runtime: 20 Minutes
  • DVD, USB. or Streaming
  • Leader’s Guide
  • PowerPoint Presentation
  • Session Quiz
  • Handouts
Key Learning Points:
  • Effectively communicate the vision to keep your team united and inspired
  • Identify and leverage the capabilities of your team members
  • Forge alliances to expand your capabilities
  • Stay open to new ideas and alternative solutions


On August 5th, 2010, a 121-year-old copper and gold mine in a desolate Chilean desert suffers a cave-in. 33 miners vanish somewhere a half-mile beneath the earth3 miles from the mine’s entrance. 17 days of exploratory drilling turn up no sign of life. Hope is beginning to fade. Then a drill bit emerges after penetrating 688 meters. Taped to the tip is a note in red marker: 33 of us are inside the refuge and all of us are well. For the next 42 days, the attention of the world will be riveted on this remote corner of the planet. It will require inspiration, teamwork and the ability to respond to shifting challenges to accomplish one of the most dramatic rescues in history.

This program holds many lessons for teams everywhere. While few teams may address actual life and death matters, the key to their success lies, just as it did with the mine rescue, in three essential elements.

  • A clearly-defined common goal that unites and inspires the participants.
  • Appropriate skills and resources applied to project needs, along with a diversity of thinking to get the job done.
  • The ability to respond to the unexpected and turn disaster into triumph.