Professional Business Simulations are interactive workshops in which teams of employees work on challenging issues within a simulated environment. The environment can be the same or totally different context as the ‘normal’ working environment. In a simulation each participant will play a role and has specific tasks, responsibilities and authority. Participants must discuss and agree how they will work together as a team.
Business Simulations are usually facilitated by trainers who provide the team with support and instructions and who also helps the team reflect on their experiences and what they have learned. The facilitator may also help reflect on how to translate the learning points into the participants own working environment. Very often, the facilitator also plays roles such as customer.
Simulations are usually played in a number of rounds so that participants can see, feel and experience improvements as the simulation progresses. It is in the moments of reflection between rounds when people learn and make improvement choices that will have an impact in the next round.
Typical Daily Process
During a one day Business Simulation, the team of employees will receive instructions from the facilitator. Then the team will read their role descriptions and start organizing their processes. After this design phase, the team will be tested in the simulated environment. They will receive incidents, issues, assignments, projects and requests. They have to prove that their processes are effective. During this test phase the facilitator will challenge the team with realistic events. After this testing phase, the team will reflect on what they experienced and analyze their performance (related to the agreements, targets or objectives to be realized as part of the simulation). Based on their findings, the team will improve their processes to achieve a better performance in the next round.
Each Business Simulation needs to be well prepared, therefore an intake interview with the customer is an important step in preparation and ensuring success. During this interview, the facilitator and the customer will discuss:
- What are the objectives of the Business Simulations?
- Which employees will participate in the session, why, in which specific roles?
- What should be the learning objectives for the simulation?
- Is there an underlying problem that needs resolving for which the session is part of an overall solution approach?
- When is the session successful? How do we capture the results?
- How do we want the trainer to facilitate this session? How much help should the trainer give? Should the trainer be confrontational?
- What will be done with the results of this session and who will be responsible for the follow-up?
These results will be used to setup the session.
After the session the real learning takes place. Employees need to be supported to translate the learning results into their daily working environment. This means that the Return On Investment (ROI) will be achieved during the implementation of the results. It is through the daily practice that problems will be solved, processes will be improved, performance will increase and the knowledge and experiences gained are translated into new action and new behaviour.
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