Mario's Corner - July 2019.

Why Business Simulations Are The Best Way For Managers and Executives To Train, Practice And Learn Executive and Strategic Decision-making.

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I have recently resumed work in an area on which I worked extensively with my past consulting company a few years ago.  The area is Business Simulations.  Executives and managers, by using this type of training and learning, can experience and understand how and why good management decisions are made.  They can make these in a "safe" environment - without exposing their business to unnecessary risks.


Just like simulators help pilots to learn and to practice how to fly an airplane without losing a $100+ Million aircraft or worse, losing lives, a good Business Simulation helps business people to learn and to practice how to make multiple management decisions including how to manage a portfolio of products or how to make strategic decisions on their businesses without the risk of damaging the organization.


At my previous management consulting and training firm, I always stressed to clients that the important takeaway from participating in a simulation were not the results obtained in it, but the key learning points and experience acquired that participants could then apply to their business.


Luckily, we have partnered recently with one of the best leading global simulation-development firms whose client roster includes leading-edge companies Visa, Bridgestone, Peugeot, McDonald's, J&J, L'Oreal, Roche, and Nestle, among many others, and now can offer these services.


So why use a Business Simulation in your company or business?  Let's explain what it is and why it is so useful.


WHAT IS A BUSINESS SIMULATION?


A simulation-based business experience allows executives and managers to: learn by doing before applying it in the real world, gain experience before taking real-life risks, and gain insights into the future before it happens.  Just like flying simulators, business simulations offer many advantages.  They are focused and offer an integration of business concepts and best practices.  Rather than learning by reading books, participants learn by applying theory to "real-life" situations.  Because these simulations take place in a complex and uncertain landscape which contains both hard and soft variables and which have short -and long-term impact on the business, they offer an experience that cannot be duplicated in any other type of learning.  Finally, by showing how business revenues and profits need to be balanced with the needs of multiple stakeholders (customers, shareholders, government, and community), they permit executives to understand the profound impact of their decisions on a company or firm.


SO HOW DO THEY WORK?


Usually, a Business Simulation program consists of a group of 15-25 executives/managers (although it can be larger or smaller depending on the firm's objectives).  The participants are divided into small teams and are assigned to one of four or five virtual companies where they make decisions and compete against other companies managed by their peers.  At the end of each round of decisions (usually four or five), the decisions are input into a master computer and the result of all of these decisions in the "industry" is obtained.  Each company "wins" or "loses" on various business variables including market share, profitability, and return on investment, based on the decisions made by each "team."  The results are then shared with participants and the business rationale for these are given.  This leads to a plenary session where all participants share the strategies and decisions of their companies and the lead Consultant can share and show best examples of business theory applications and operations and how these impact decisions.  At the end of the workshop, each team prepares and presents strategies and results to the rest of their peers - who act as shareholders and decide whether they should invest in each company for the future.


IS THIS THE ONLY TYPE AND FORMAT OF SIMULATION AVAILABLE?


The short answer is "No" - there are different Business Simulations that can be used according to the industry and level of decision-making complexity desired.  Although most Simulations are used in a team-based approach in one physical location, there are also Simulations that are web-based where participants can log in from different locations and work jointly on them.  There are also single participant simulations where a manager/executive can compete against the computer.


HOW EXPENSIVE ARE THESE?


​Depending on whether an organization wants to use an off-the-shelf or a customized simulation, the costs can be as low as a few thousand dollars per participant.  Depending on the number of participants, discounts are also available.


WHY USE BLUE SAIL CONSULTING FOR THIS TYPE OF TRAINING/TRAINING?


There are four reasons why we feel we are the best company to help your company with Simulations.


1.  We have worked with both Fortune 500 companies (including The Boeing Company, PepsiCo, BMW, J&J, Abbott Laboratories, and many others) and small companies and start-ups doing Business Simulations and have more than ten years of experience in this area.


2.  We not only train executives in decision-making and strategic approach, BUT we can also work hand-in-hand with executives in strategic and operational business plans AND can help implement these with specialized tools that are learned during the Simulation.  Thus, we actually consult with, not just train companies.


​3.  We have held management and executive positions in multiple companies in operational and strategic areas.  Thus, we understand what issues the clients are facing and can help them not only to learn how to manage, but also to put these learnings into practice to solve their company’s challenges.  One question a client should always ask is whether the consultant has managerial/executive experience.  If not, clients might want to think twice about hiring the company.


4.  Unlike most Business Simulation firms that carry a very large infrastructure and a large workforce, we are very lean and can offer our Simulations at a fraction of the cost of our competitors with the same (or higher) quality and service.


To summarize, Business Simulations are a fantastic, fun way to learn management decision-making in a safe, risk-free environment.  Blue Sail Consulting can help clients to develop and deliver these in multiple settings - and then work with participants to apply these learnings in real time with their company.


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Please do not hesitate to call me at 1 (617) 391-0347 or e-mail me at mariocastaneda@bluesailconsulting.com to talk about this or any other subject.  I always like to hear from clients and readers.  

 

Also, please don't forget to read my interview with BostonVoyager magazine.  To read it, click here.

 

Additionally, please do not hesitate to contact us if you need help training your managers and executives using Business Simulations.  We can help you to do this and to apply these learnings in a successful, effective manner.

 

I look forward to seeing you here again in August.

 

​Mario

Blue Sail Consulting: Business Planning, innovation, And Execution