Using simulations for own teams

Effective team working or learning to work accross organizational boundaries, whether they are internal boundaries are external are becoming critical capabilities for many organizations. The need for ‘effective collaboration’, ’empowered teams’. Yet many struggle to achieve this. Often it is unclear to teams ‘what is effective?’.

Many team leaders and managers are using Business Simulations to develop the skills and capabilities of their teams. They discover that a one day intensive workshop, capturing knowledge, skills and behavior are very powerful. In times of lowering training budgets, people still need to be trained.

Business Simulations really help to have an effective and efficient training focussing on team, knowledge and skills in a dynamic and challenging environment.

During a simulation a team, sometimes comprising of people from different departments who must work ‘end-to-end’ are brought together and tasked to ‘work’ as a team. They learn to challenge each other and team boundaries; learn to communicate and give feedback; to solve problems and design new ways of working together, learn to identify and deal with resistance, create a shared set of goals and values. A simulation creates a realiztic and challenging environment for teams to experiment and test behavior..

Transfer skills

One of the most important aspects of learning is the transfer of knowledge. Applying the lessons learned from the workshop to day-to-day work. The success factors to enable this:

  • The development of transfer skills. How do we apply what we have learned in our work environment.
  • Leadership. Does management empower employees to enable them to transfer learning, decisions, discoveries, behavior, to enaable them to transfer into the daily working environment? Are managers organizing short meetings? Are managers allowing employees to make mistakes, explore errors and fix them?

It is Important is to discuss and plan these activities before the workshop.

When can Business Simulations help?

We delivered many simulations throughout the world to a variety of different organizations and team. The most common reasons to run a one day Business Simulation are:

  1. We want to discover how to improve our team performance.
  2. We want to have one day with the team to improve the way we work as a team.
  3. We want to assess our team performance, how are we doing right now? What issues do we have?
  4. We started a new project or organizational change initiative and we want to create an overall awareness about this program, the expectations and the goals.
  5. We want to bring the whole chain of employees together to meet and to improve the way we work accross teams and boundaries.
  6. We want to have a 1/2 day session with our business to show what our plans are, and involve them in the plans.
  7. We want to create buy-in for new ways of working and identify and learn to deal with resistance.
  8. We want to learn to translate some theory into practice and develop new skills and capabilities.

What are the steps to realize a successful outcome of a Business Simulation?

Just running a one day workshop doesn’t bring success! We must embrace the Business Simulation with a BEFORE set of actions as preparation,  and an AFTER set of actions for transferring the outcomes. To guide you through these steps we use the ‘8-fields-model

During the BEFORE we take the following actions together with your team leaders or managers. We call this the INTAKE:

  • What is the problem or issue you want to focus on
  • What do you see as ideal dynamics and behavior during the session? How do you want to see people act and interact?
  • What kind of subjects you want to explore?
  • What do you want people to see, feel and experience during the simulation?
  • How do you plan the transfer of knowledge after this day?
  • Who will participate, in which role, what do you expect from the people?
  • What is the role of management during the session? at the start and end of the session?

We will explore these and many more aspects during the intake. We will make a report detailing these findings and decisions and share it with you to ensure we both understand the objectives and the set-up.

DURING the Business Simulation the facilitator will facilitate the team using the intake document and will use the reflection moments between each part of the simulation to explore all relevant subjects with the team. The facilitator will challenge the team and invite them to use their own solutions to improve the performance of the team. We always end the the Business Simulation with a ‘Lessons Learned’reflection,  and ask “What did you learn today that you can take away and apply to your work?”, or “what are YOU now going to do differently in your work?”.

Reflection document

This outcome and the personal observations of the facilitator will be documented in a reflection document. This document will be discussed during a 2 hours session after the Business Simulation.

AFTER the Business Simulation the team must transfer the knowledge to their day to day work. The reflection document can help. Actions that could be taken are:

  • Use meetings to talk about the outcome of the Business Simulation.
  • Prioritize the actions.
  • Make plans to apply lessons learned. Setting short, medium and longer term goals.
  • Agree how actions can be embedded in existing on-going improvement projcets or initiatives, agree actions to be embedded in the line organization or within specific teams. Agree actions for senior managers.
  • Agree the new behaviors and way of working after the Business Simulation.
  • Agree how the new behavior will be embedded in the organization and how to ensure progress and results can be measured and demonstrated.
  • Talk about it and do it…

If you are interested in using Business Simulations with your own team? Contact us