How to use business simulations for leadership training.


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An introduction to using business simulations for leadership development, including:
- Types of simulation programs available.
- How custom business sims work.
- Scenarios best suited for custom business simulations.
- Who is involved in custom business simulations.
- What to look for in a provider of custom business simulations.

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How to use business simulations for leadership training.

  1. 1. All about business simulationsfor leadership development. A starting place for talent management executives who’ve been asked to ‘find something that works.’
  2. 2. The problem:How to make leadershipdevelopment perform . All large companies engage in leadership development training— with varying degrees of success. Talent managers are increasingly asked to deliver applicable RESULTS: relevant and engaging experiences for emerging and established business leaders. Training and development must organize leadership programs grounded in real business decisions and problem-solving. Instead of sitting in a classroom, reviewing case studies that may or may not resonate, your top brass wants leadership development to apply directly to your business, your industry... your on-the-ground, on-the-fly, decision making. © Simulation Development Group
  3. 3. The choices:‘Solutions’ abound.Executive Education Business SimulationsTypically led by university professors, Business simulations are widely used amongexecutive education programs sequester the Fortune 500 to move learning from theexecutives and senior leaders for class- classroom to the real world. Simulationroom training. Content customization programs let teams practice decision-makingvaries by institution, and is highly de- about actual problems they face. Executivespendent on budget. Classes are typically experience in real time how their decisionstaught by business theorists (i.e. aca- affect one another and the bottom line.demics), not business leaders. Programs vary widely based on the serviceIn-House Solutions provider. Examples include:  — Live, team-based simulations thatSome organizations, fearing a service combine technology and liveprovider simply can’t understand their, or simply hoping to save — Virtual-only simulations for solomoney, will choose to develop a training.leadership training curriculum in-house. — Competitions in which teams use simulation programs to ‘win’ complex decision-making scenarios. — ‘Off-the-shelf’ solutions for immediate use, with no customization. © Simulation Development Group
  4. 4. 1 1 11 001 0100 1011 01 01 0110 0110 1001 010 01 10 011 1001 0100 1 00 000 0110 1 01 0100 0001 1100 001 110 0110 10 110 1010 0100 1 00 010 1 01 001 1101 1010 0010 110 11 010 0011 1010 0100 110 01 0 01 01 0110 0100 0100 1011 0 00 1010 1101 1001 101 1001 1 00 010 0100 101 11 10 10 001 0110 1001 0100 011 10 01 100 010 0010 1001 00 10 1101 1001 0110 1 11 00 0 0 10 100 10 01 01 101 0 1 100 10 000 110 11 0 0 01 0 10 0011 1101 100 0 10 11 01Business Simulation 0 1 0 0 11 10 1 0 11 01 1 1 01 00 0 01 01 01 00 11 1 0 0 0 00 11 0 0 10 10 10 10 00 010 10 Sounds futuristic. What is it? 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 00 0 We’re accustomed to hearing that business simulation sounds like an idea from The Matrix. But rest-assured, it’s highly practical; simulations attempt to duplicate the type of learning that happens on the job, over years of experience. How does it happen? Technology: Custom simulations will model the decisions your company’s leaders face every day, and the complex effects of those decisions. Simulators are able to capture all the possible decisions an individual will make and quantify them. Business Acumen: The very best simulators are designed by business leaders with C-suite experience, not business theorists. Working together with your in-house experts, highly experienced simulation developers will capture the essential issues that drive your organization to grow and out-matneuver competitors—and then map those issues to a complex web of decisions. Live team-building: Best-in-class simulations take place live, not in cubicles. Your company will host a forum—one-day or multiple days—and break participants into teams. The goal: to design an experience that allows each individual to live a day in the life of your CEO. Simulations help employees step out of their own silos and understand multi-faceted, business-changing decision-making. © Simulation Development Group
  5. 5. Business SimulationIn practice, it looks like this: 1. Teams make multi-disciplinary decisions in real- time, getting immediate feedback about how the group’s mix of decisions affects their colleagues, the bottom line, and intangibles. 2. Teams join together to see groups results, study how to improve strategic thinking and actions. 3. Each team regroups to apply what they learned and re-test decisions, results.Simulation participants practice making business-changing decisions, and see immediate results. © Simulation Development Group
  6. 6. Scenarios best-suited for sims.Aligning To Change Silo-Busting A company undergoing Organizational silos are change—whether due to inefficient and expensive. reorganization, a new sales Simulations are an excellent initiative, or new marketing way for employees from strategy— may need to align different disciplines to under- their employees under a new stand the unique challenges of strategic directive. their colleagues.Leadership Development Business Acumen Many large companies use For organizations seeking very simulations to engage emerging specific skills development and current business leaders. related to their business and Simulation tools teach practical industry, simulations can help to business skills, as well as the model complex business intangibles of leadership scenarios, and test out excellence. decision-making under duress. © Simulation Development Group
  7. 7. Business Simulation Examples, please!CASE STUDY: Fortune 500 Pharma Company Faces Talent CrisisTalent management has become a critical risk for the com- Executives gather and are organized into teams to considerpany; a cohort of dozens of so-called Boomers within the highly complex business problems: company—all senior executives with decades of pharma- — What effect will regulation have on the lifetime value of theceutical management experience—is readying to retireover the next 10 years. Management wants to identify a existing drug portfolio? program that will accelerate learning for targeted emerging — How should sales and marketing adjust to these changingleaders within the organization. conditions? Talent development leaders study executive education pro- — What pressures will R&D face given a smaller drug pipeline.grams, but find that many of the lessons are consistent with an — How will pricing strategies change in the coming decade?MBA curriculum—which at least half of the targeted “emergingleaders” are already pursuing or have completed outside of Rather than attending a classroom discussion about how, inwork. What’s more, the academic curriculum lags real-world theory, these issues will play out within their industry, execu-changes in the industry. Management wants a training program tives are practicing decision-making by making adjustments tothat will contend not only with the intangibles of leadership de- pricing, for example, and learning how these adjustments mayvelopment, but also the real-life, complex decisions facing sen- affect other areas of the organization.ior executives. And because executives are practicing their skills, rather thanThe company hires a business simulation provider to develop a engaged in a more passive memorization of skills, their lessoncustomized solution that can manage the complexity of devel- retention is higher, and their level of engagement is higher.oping leaders in a fast-changing industry such as pharma. Aftera short time period of development, the company is ready to golive with their first simulation executive forum. © Simulation Development Group
  8. 8. Who’s involved from your org?Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) Your simulation developers will solicit help from your internal subject matter experts. The actual people involved depend on the industry and training. For example, a simulation focused on operations optimization may include product engineers, manufacturing, logistics, and sales & marketing.Business Strategists Include ‘big picture’ thinkers on your review team, whether from the C-suite or other senior, strategy-setting roles. These individuals will offer a better sense of how your organization’s disciplines (or ‘silos’) work together and how they malfunction. The simulation should try to uncover and combat some of these organizational ‘sticking points.’Human Resources & Talent Development Your talent management team will likely serve as project managers, ensuring the var- ious stakeholders--both internal and external—maintain strong communications and ensuring the project is developing at the right speed.
  9. 9. What to look for in asim service provider. This isn’t hard... You may think hiring the right vendor is complicated because sim technology seems like a ‘black box.’ Actually, the hiring decision should be straightforward. Make sure to ‘check’ these three boxes Business leaders, not business ‘theorists.’ Hire simulation developers who have on-the-ground business experience. These individuals will be responsible for knitting together all the issues your company faces, and delivering a highly functional, realistic decision-making simulation. Client references. The company you hire should have at least dozens of simulations completed, across many industries. Building simulations is an art and a science, and only companies with strong experience—and clients who believe in their work—should be on your short list. A great user experience. The best technology solutions are barely noticed by their users. Ensure your provider offers an easy-to-use interface, with rave reviews from client subject matter experts and users. © Simulation Development Group
  10. 10. Want to learn more? Sign up for our weekly blog about business simulations and talent development. - OR - Call us to find out more about customized leadership simulations.