Business simulations to develop existing and future leaders.
How and why companies have used business simulations to develop their current and future leaders ability to manage wisely and strategically.
I segment our business simulations into those that are suitable for specialists and junior to middle management (the Challenge Series) and those that are for middle through senior management (the Strategy Series). My business acumen page discusses how and why companies have developed business acumen and here I discuss business simulations to develop current and future leaders - leaders who are concerned with the strategic success of their business.
Why use business simulations to develop leadership
Strategic leadership requires an ability to identify external opportunities and threats and then align the company with the internal strengths while minimising internal weaknesses and do all this while overcoming the competition. It necessitates making wise decisions based on solid financial expertise while developing a distinct and overwhelming market presence and product offering and ensuring effective operational delivery.
Typically a business simulation used to develop leadership will involve learners strategically developing a complete business working in small teams. This means that they will see how the whole business functions in relationship to the external environment.
A business simulation allows leaders to experience the strategic development of a business over several simulated years over a day or so. During that time, working in a small team, they must transform their simulated business - entering new markets, developing new products, changing systems while continuously managing profitability, growth and cash flow - all in direct competition with several other aggressively competing companies.
Leadership simulations refresh and reinforce cross functional knowledge and financial understanding. They require developing a portfolio of markets and products each of which contributes appropriately to business success. The design of these business simulations need to allow a range of strategies - niche. high volume, opportunistic, high technology etc. - but for to be successful. each must be aligned properly.
My Strategy Series business simulations
......... a one-day business simulation to develop strategic leadership
......... a business simulation for high-tech company leaders to develop strategic advantage
......... a business simulation to challenge managers in a developing nation
......... a business simulation to assess future leaders
A problem with many leadership strategy simulations is that they have long durations - lasting for several days. However, because of my business and company training background I recognise that the amount of time that you can devote to learning is very limited and this is especially true for senior management. This causes a dilemma as strategic management is multi-faceted, challenging and complex and this means constraining the length of a suitable business simulation is difficult. However, by focusing on strategic issues and decisions and designing to fulfill strategic learning needs (rather than just modelling the real-world) I have managed to design and use strategic leadership simulations with durations from just a day to no more than two to two and a half days.
Because of their complexity and unlike many of my business simulations, my strategy business simulations are run by us or you after training.
My Global Operations takes just a day and consequentially is my most popular business simulation for leadership development. Over the last thirty years it has been used widely and progressively changed to utilise the capabilities of the technology for use at the end of a course, as a stand-alone event or at a senior management conference. Global Operations involves a startup company with decisions covering which markets to serve, how to serve each market, product development, capacity building and operational systems change.
After using my Global Operations business simulation for several years, a client asked me to develop a separate business simulation for a new senior management course - my Technique business simulation. Based on a notional electronics and software based product, teams have to position themselves in several different market during a period of rapid technological change. Beyond designing the right products to meet differing market needs they need to ensure that the designs and marketing strategy ensure that the products are made at the lowest cost. Because Technique is exceptionally challenging it's duration is two to two and a half days. But even so, it is still shorter than other, less focused business simulations.
When a client wished to develop the ultimate test of business for contestants in a major promotion in the Arabian Gulf they came to me to develop a business simulation that tested the leadership issues facing senior management in a developing nation. With individual members of the winning team being awarded a five figure prize, not only did the business simulation have to provide a comprehensive challenge but it also had to validly reward successful leadership.
For well over thirty-five years I have supplied business simulations to be used assessment and development centres. This practical experience led me to develop special versions of my Challenge Series business simulations especially for use this way.
Most recent update: 16/04/12
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