5 Steps to Skyrocket That Great Idea Into Market Launch

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5 Steps to Skyrocket That Great Idea Into Market Launch



When it comes to choosing between creativity or productivity, most companies consider them to be mutually exclusive. In reality, they shouldn’t be. In a study by Adobe Systems, 80 percent of respondents said that unlocking creativity was crucial to economic growth. However, nearly the same number noted that they were under pressure at their workplace to focus on productivity rather than creativity, and only a quarter felt they were living up to their creative potential.

Today, people are living in an age of big data and its cousin, data analytics, spawned by Google and IBM’s Watson and furthered by any number of Silicon Valley companies. Data crunching is crucial to the smooth running of a company. But when the focus on data comes at the expense of creativity and innovation, the company has the potential to lose forward momentum.

Click here to read the entire article at Entrepreneur.com

Image Source: NASA on The Commons | Flickr

What Steve Jobs taught me about leadership, genius, and success

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What Steve Jobs taught me about leadership, genius, and success



This is an article published in Business Insider by Bill Hall:

For 13 years I worked with Apple, and to say it was an incredible experience would be an understatement.

I witnessed a company losing and finding itself, and in the process, it inspired me to pursue an entrepreneurial path.

I was lucky to work at Apple from my time as a college student up until 2003. I was there while still in college during the John Scully years, which progressed to Michael "The Diesel" Spindler and on to Gil Emilio before Steve Jobs's fateful return.

For two years between 1999 and 2001, I had the amazing experience of working with Steve on various projects that included the development of Mac OS 10.0, his worldwide keynote presentations, and strategic partnerships with companies such as Oracle.

Click here to read the entire BusinessInsider.com article.

Note: Image Source: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Tips! Using a Business Simulation for Change Management Initiatives

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Almost all companies, big and small, go through change at some point. When a company is smaller, the business owner will often simply say, "We have to change a few things" and the change will usually happen relatively quickly. But it's obvious to most that the larger the company gets, the more challenging this becomes. Even throwing lots of money at change doesn't always speed things up. Depending on the size of the company, the idea of 'change' turns into a massive undertaking called 'Change Management'. In some companies, there are armies of people assigned to change management initiatives. In almost all large company change initiatives, very expensive 'change management' firms are brought in. In most cases, this complicates the initiative exponentially. But believe it or not, companies do change successfully and it's a lot more difficult than most understand.

Many companies have learned over the years that successful change is only successful if the employees a) understand what is changing (the why) and b) understand how they fit into the change (the how). Most of us have seen the companies that simply change direction and hope that the employees get in line. This doesn't usually work very well because no one really understands where they're going much less how to get there. Many of us have simply been told the direction in the hopes we know how to execute the re-direction ourselves. Again, this doesn't usually work exceptionally well.

Some of the most successful change management initiatives utilize business simulations to speed up the change. Why do companies use these tools? Because business simulations have the ability to let people experience on their own a) why the change is occurring and b) how they can help contribute to the change. It's very simple: When people understand the what, why, and how, they help out. Seems easy, but it can get tricky.

5 Tips To Utilizing a Business Simulation within Change Management



1. Engage Human Resources and Training and Development- We've seen companies skip this step and it's usually a disaster. Engage HR and T&D early. They are invaluable at helping build successful programs that create organization, alignment, and engagement around using business simulations within training and development initiatives. Don't wait, just do it.
2. Make Sure You Have a Clear and Comprehendible Strategy- Again, we've seen this mistake before: An overly complex strategy created by change management firms that fall apart under their own weight. Even if you have a very complex strategy, simplify it. Distill it down to the top three takeaways you want managers to understand. This will go a long way.
3. Use Business Simulations with Management, Not Individual Contributors- In most cases, using a business simulation with individual contributors is a waste of money. Focus on using business simulations for directors and above. This is money far better spent.
4. Ensure the Training Ties Back To The Strategy- This is important. We've seen training created just for the sake of teaching people things. This is a mistake. The training should focus on demonstrating the strategic advantages of the training content itself. Otherwise, this is theoretical training and will annoy the training participants.
5. Be Patient!- When implementing a business simulation, be patient! Do it right the first time. If you try to take cheap shortcuts, you'll usually get marginal results (at best). Take your time, focus on the goals, and work from the finish line backwards. This always pays the best dividends.

Utilizing business simulations within change management is more popular than ever. It's also more complicated due to the speed at which strategy moves. If you focus on the core, take your time to do a little planning, and utilize these tips, you should be fine.

Free Book from Amazon- Business Simulations for Corporate Training

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On Wednesday, June 8, 2016, Amazon will have a book about utilizing business simulations and serious games available for free in Kindle version. This is an Amazon #1 best seller in training and has been very well reviewed. It will only be available from 12am -12am pacific time on Tuesday.

Utilizing business simulations and games in corporate training can be very tricky. This is an easy to digest and utilize book to get you started. The book, titled: Shift: Using Business Simulations and Serious Games also answers questions like: How do you know if you need a business simulation or serious game? What are some uses for business simulations and serious games? Can I use simulations to improve the performance of top executives? Should I find a developer or design one in house? What’s a good budget for something like this? Even if you are already using business simulations and serious games, this guide will help you be more effective and save money.

Author William Hall assisted Steve Jobs prepare keynote presentations, and he delivers this topic with brevity, impact and charm. This is an easy to read, easy to digest, and easy to use introduction to business simulations and serious games.

You can download the book from here - You can also download other eBooks from this location too.

The eBooks cover generational training, tips, tricks, etc. William Hall writes for Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, Business Insider, and more so they should be pretty helpful.

Enjoy and we hope this helps!

How to Train Millennials to Lead the Next Generation

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Millennials Want Training They Can Use

Millennials are very pragmatic. They want to work on things that matter. If you want to irritate a Millennial, just show them some training slides that are all theory and hard to apply to their jobs. You’ll hear comments like, “This doesn’t help me.” In a reality, they are correct.

Create training that introduces them to skills they can use in order to advance right away. Giving them a hands-on experience to skills they can use to ‘make things better’ is critical for this hands-on generation.

Make sure your training content introduces skills that are easy for them to apply to their jobs.

Millennials Also Want To Get Their Hands Dirty

Giving this hands-on generation the capability to try, learn, and apply your training content is golden. This generation lives by the ‘let’s try’ and don’t fear failure like previous generations.

Creating a contemporary learning environment where they can touch, play, and apply your training content will produce far greater engagement. Challenging training participants to apply your training content and see tangible business results from decisions is critical. This creates training that is tangible, applicable, challenging and engaging.

Make sure your training offers the ability to try it out.

This eBooks reviews topics such as training applicability, tangibility, strategic alignment, and solution execution.

Utilizing a business simulation for leadership development of Millennials is an ideal way to challenge, engage, and increase corporate training effectiveness.

You can download the eBooks here

Free eBook Available: How To: Create Action Learning Your CEO Will Love

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Looking for ideas, direction, and a little inspiration on how to create strategically aligned action learning your CEO will love? Great! There's a free eBook available online that provides methods to create action learning that will not only engage your managers, but will also delight your CEO. This eBook reviews:

- Training content development that aligns with the business
- Types of outcomes that should be measured and applied within training
- How and why training is critical to the business

At times, it can be tough to create new ideas, new methods, and new approaches. This free eBook is a great way to get some ideas, new approaches and some inspiration in an effort to align the training and the corporate strategy. This free eBook is an easy read and has simple guidance on how to create action learning that is strategic, aligned, and important to the business.

Click to download the free action learning eBook or click the image above. Enjoy.

Free Amazon Book: Business Simulations in Corporate Learning- This Sunday

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This just in… The author of Amazon #1 best selling book in training and development "Shift: Using Business Simulations and Serious Games in Corporate Learning and Development" is going to put the Kindle edition up for free this Sunday, January 24th and January 31st. It's a great book if you're interested in learning about utilizing business simulations and serious games within corporate learning.

This is a great no nonsense and non-technical book about how to get started. It is not designed to teach you how to build one (this would be a massive book), but it will give you guidance on how to integrate the solution into your corporate training without spending and arm and a leg.

You can find the book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CMBP1TA - Enjoy!

Simulations to Teach Innovation?!? In Leadership Development?!?

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Have you ever thought of using business simulations within innovation training? If you haven’t you should! Today’s generation thinks innovation is common. Some innovate well while some could use a little training on the formal (yet relaxed) process of innovation. Business Simulations offer a great opportunity for participants to brainstorm, try, learn, and apply. This is hard to do without the aid of the advanced learning tool(s).

More and more, leadership development is requiring an innovative component to the curriculum. The challenge has been how to give the participants the opportunity to not only learn the process of creative thinking, but to also apply and practice it. This is where business simulations come in.

Business Simulations: Teaching Innovative Thinking Within Leadership Development. Why?



1. Innovative thinking is becoming a required topic within leadership development.
2. Business Simulations engage employees around applying innovative thinking curriculum.
3. Today’s employees demand a method to try, learn, and apply training content. Slides are dead.
4. Innovative process is only good for creative thinking. Business Simulations help participants put the creativity to use.
5. Your training could become the next cog in the wheel of innovation and creative thinking within your company.

If teaching people how to be more innovative is important, you should think about utilizing a Business Simulations within corporate training and development. The train left the station some time ago within fortune 500 companies globally. Implementing these valuable solutions is not complicated nor are they expensive. It’s worth investigating.

"I'm Going to Challenge The Heck Out Of Trainees in 2016!"

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Why not make it a resolution to put training participants in the their place in 2016? We all know that corporate training participants come into training thinking they're wasting their time because they know everything as it is. Heck, they could be CEO, right? This is something we’ve all heard time and again. So, let’s put them in the their place!

How to challenge trainees like never before in 2016



Have you thought about utilizing a business simulation in 2016? Are you a little timid due to lack of experience, fear you’re over your head, or you think sims are just too darned expensive? You needn’t worry. Business Simulations are a lot less expensive than you think. Also, in many cases, the provider will be the ones facilitating along side of you (Yes! You’ll still be very involved). Here are some tips to getting started challenging the heck out of training participants:

1. Start off with a solution that you are involved in, but don’t have to facilitate solo.
2. Start off with a solution that isn’t too expensive straight away. Off The Shelf Solutions that combine business acumen and leadership development are a great place to start.
3. Start off with a solution that is slightly more broad. This will help keep costs down and keep participants engaged and challenged.
4. Find a provider you’re very comfortable with. This will help you learn more and grow quicker.
5. Read about business simulations before you get started. A great resource is here: Shift: Using Business Simulations and Serious Games in Corporate Training and Development.

Have a happy and fun New Year!

Radio Program: Mid Market Companies Adapt Enterprise Level "War Room" Simulations

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It looks as though the popularity of using business simulations within small and medium sized companies has grown a lot of attention. So much so that a very popular business radio program did a special program on the topic. The Price of Business, one of the most listened to business radio talk shows recently did a segment about business simulations within smaller companies.

It’s a quick piece, but it might provide an easy to digest overview.

Business Simulations No Longer Just For the Fortune 500

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Business Simulations have traditionally been reserved for the largest companies. This has all changed! It’s time for the little guy to gain access to these valuable tools. This levels the playing field when it comes to advanced corporate development or strategic development. The time has come for the little player to compete on a level playing field. Let’s start with defining these tools. What is a business simulation and what is it traditionally used for?


Business Simulations: Most Common Uses



- Leadership Development, Corporate Development, or Executive Development- This is the most common place to utilize a business simulation or serious game. These tools are traditionally used within training and development in order to teach managers effective leadership, business acumen, corporate strategy, or all of the above. Business simulations are highly engaging and today’s learners love them!

- Business War Gaming - This is where leaders within a company utilize a business simulation to test the corporate strategy before it’s implemented. Utilizing a business simulation for business war games gives executives the opportunity to test their strategy in a real time war game setting in order to test the corporate strategy. This enables the human element that traditional strategy development usually lacks.

These are just two examples of ways companies most commonly utilize business simulations and/or business war games. There are many more. If you are just getting started, we recommend picking up a copy of “Shift: Utilizing Business Simulations and Serious Games Within Corporate Learning’ at Amazon. It’s a very easy read and inexpensive. It will not give you step by step instructions on how to build a simulation, but it does give you great guidance on how to use them within corporate learning.

How To: Low Budget Scenario Based Learning That Excites Sticks!

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It’s hard to teach behavioral topics such as conflict management, negotiation, or leadership. It is also expensive to create (or re-create) a setup to enable people to practice these important managerial skills. Most companies let the natural course of time and experience hone these skills. A little intro theory mixed with some time hopefully creates the right outcomes. In today’s business environment, this is expensive! But how do you create scenarios without the time or expense (or all the resources)?

How to Create Scenario Based Learning That Sticks!



Lets assume you have a scenario based training topic that needs to be practiced by a lot of people. Go with a branching story! Branching stories are easy to create and are more engaging than people give them credit for. Here’s how a branching story works:

User logs into the computer and starts the ‘game’. As a result, the user reads something like: You walk into the company break room and two of your employees are having an argument. Do you a) turn around and walk out? b) Ask them politely to find a conference room and work it out? or c) Ask them to join you in a conference room in order to settle the issue?

Once someone selects an option, the computer adapts and changes the story depending on the option chosen. Let’s say you chose C. The computer then responds and says, Ok, you are in a conference room and the two employees refuse to talk. What do you do? a) Tell them to work it out or they will both be suspended without pay. b) Ask that one of them explains what happened. c) Tell them to go back to work and work it out after hours.

As you can see, there are “right” answers and “not so great answers”. They are all viable choices, but some are just better than others. Once the participants go through a series of choices, they will come to an ending. From this, they will learn what works and doesn’t work. They then have the option to try again in order to be better.

Voila! You just created an action learning module. These can easily be done in powerpoint or MS word. Very very easy!

Branching stories are a type of business simulation and are sometimes used as a leadership development simulation. Very easy to get started and you can find many resources on the web.

Excite People About Business Acumen?!? Here's How.

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Is it really possible to get a group of training participants excited about business acumen? Are people really willing to join a waiting list to get into a business acumen class? Yes, you can get people excited and you can create a wait list for business acumen! How you ask? You need to create a course that gives people a chance to apply the business acumen. There are many ways to do this. You can create board games, computer games, or paper based exercises. Getting started is easier than you might think.

3 Tips to Excite People About Business Acumen



3. Provide 30 minutes of theory and then let the participants loose practicing- Don’t lecture all day and then give them a piece of accounting paper and say “go!” Break it into pieces and give them some action learning modules. How about something like, “You have 10 minutes to put the correct expense into the correct income statement category.” Very simple exercises go a long.
2. Break the participants into teams- Business acumen training is lonely enough. How about putting the group into teams of 3 people. When you apply the learn-and-apply method above, the teams will work together. As a result, the participants will begin to teach each other.
1. Make it a game- Of course, you could use a business simulation, but this might be a little challenging to create yourself (even though people love it!). No matter the exercise, create a method of measurement (scoring), a sense of friendly competition, and a way to push people beyond their comfort zone and you have yourself a game!

As a result, if you turn your business acumen training into a game, create teams, and give action learning a real opportunity, your participants will be more engaged than ever.

3 Tips To Challenge and Engage Millennials

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Training in the 2010s is nothing like it was in the 1990s, and if you want to stay ahead of the game it’s important to understand why. The Baby Boomer generation is on its way out (10,000 are retiring each day, according to Business Insider) and the Millennials are taking their places.

The Millennials are the first generation to grow up in a connected world, and this means their attitudes and expectations have been fashioned by the Internet. They despise stale, non-interactive training methods; they want training that is hands-on and keeps them engaged. Furthermore, they expect training to be ongoing: according to Pew Research, 89% of Millennials agree with the statement “It’s important to be constantly learning at my job.”

Here are 3 Tips to Engage Millennials in Corporate Training



1. Stop Telling People What to Think—Leave off on the preaching. Instead, focus on creating action learning modules in which participants can discover lessons on their own. And remember to leave time for participants to share with others what they learned.

2. Show People Why—Learning for the sake of learning is passé. People need to understand why a subject is important. If training participants recognize the importance of the training topic, they will be more willing to take the time to learn it.

3. Challenge Them—If your participants are bored, your training is a failure. Use Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s “flow concept” to get optimal performance from your participants. According to Csikszentmihalyi, people do best when the challenge and the ability to achieve the goal are in balance.

Digital connectivity and rapid advances in technology have ushered us into a new age, transforming the workplace and business models. Training must adapt to the shifting landscape. By using the six tips above, you can make the transition a positive experience.

Why Should I Use a Business Simulation?

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By now, most training and development managers know about business simulations. Most have at the very least heard of a business simulation. Many times, people ask, “Why should I use a business simulation?” This is a good question, and a tricky one to answer. But let’s give it a try:

Let’s be very clear here, a business simulation should only come after you have solid training content. If you have a specific budget for your leadership development program, make sure you spend enough on your training content. No matter how great a business simulation is, if it is built to reinforce poor training content, it won’t be very good.

Business simulation consultants will do their best to tell you that a business simulation is the best thing since sliced bread. The real fact is that great training content is still the best place to spend your budget. A business simulation should be tight, focused, and easy to implement. With that out of the way, let’s look at why you should use a business simulation.

Why Should I Use a Business Simulation?



- A business simulation enables trainees to practice and “play” with your training content. This naturalizes the learning
- Your training content will become more strategic. By combining the corporate strategy and your training content, your training content automatically becomes a strategic requirement.
- Today’s learners expect something highly relevant. Today’s learners want to understand why the training content is important and be able to see its immediate applicability.

An important thing to remember is that a business simulation does not necessarily have to be expensive or computer based. It is always a good idea to start small and focused. This will help ensure success within your leadership development program.