Just Say No To Huge Sims!


I have had the displeasure of being hired to cleanup yet another oversized sim mess. It frustrates me to no end when I have to go into a customer's offices in order to cleanup the mess left behind as the result of hiring a huge firm that tried to create a monster sim. I feel bad for the customers and it makes me dislike my own industry (even though I love what I do for a living and couldn't imagine doing anything else). I want to be clear here:

Just Say No To Huge Sims (unless you have tons of money to waste).

Let's have a quick look why using smaller focused business simulation is more effective than monster sims.


Collaborative Simulations- What Are They?

Most people think of business simulations as a tool where participants either compete against other training participants or against the computer. These aren't the only useful solutions available. Do you know much about business collaboration simulations? These are tools that help leaders learn how to more effectively collaborate as a single entity instead of an individual business silo.

Business Collaboration Simulations are exceptionally useful as part of a team building and cross functional leadership development program. They are also exceptionally challenging to create because these solutions are multiple simulation combined into a single tool for corporate development. This type of business simulation breaks the group into specific teams where they all have to work together in order to achieve a common goal. Participants must learn to work together, work on the business, and effectively communicate in order to succeed. Read More...

Make Training and Development a Strategic Imperative


In general, most CEOs want training to influence one of three outcomes: Increase revenue, decrease costs, or both. Most training managers think more along the lines of knowledge development. They want people to learn a skill in order to do their jobs better. But the CEO and the executive team want to know how the training will influence the three factors. Here lies a slight disconnect. Executives want training that teaches the business of the enterprise. This isn’t to suggest that knowledge development isn’t important. Having a direct connection between how knowledge impacts revenue growth, expense reduction, or both is critically important to the corporate strategy.

Demonstrating these impacts can be challenging. Training managers struggle with how to help training participants understand the connection between the training content and its impact on revenue and/or expenses. In many cases, training managers have to bridge the connection gap with general examples and a leap of knowledge faith. This is usually where leadership training often breaks down and relevancy is reduced. When training managers are able to make the training part of the corporate strategy, the training becomes one of the central components of corporate strategic execution.


Game Theory: Applicability to Corporate Strategy and Training


I’ll get this opinion out right from the start: I don’t think Game Theory is very applicable to real world strategic planning and/or strategy testing. Like most knowledge labeling from Higher Education, this is interesting inside of a lab. Basic game theory is fun, and interesting to think about, but isn’t very usable for corporate planning. Once you get into more advanced game theory such as Nash Equiquilibrium, this becomes exceptionally useful when economics tries to predict behavior. But this is where I ‘go off the rails’ a little. I personally get frustrated with predicting human behavior. Don’t get me started on AI. Let me explain.

There are two elephants in the room with game theory. Game Theory assumes the following: 1) Human behavior is reasonable and predictable resulting in ‘rational and predictable behavior’ and 2) the assumption that all parties have equal information that has equal interpretation. I’m sorry, but c’mon! Since when are humans predictable and rational and since when does anyone not bring their experiences and bias’ into any situation.

In 1979, researchers Kahneman and Tversky wrote Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk. This looked at the impact of physiology on decision making. It's an amazingly interesting piece to read (a little thick though). Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his work developing Prospect Theory. Incredibly interesting stuff that will pretty much make you raise your arms up and say, “Oh man, then who knows what to do.” Absolutely right… we can only take an experienced mix of theory, experience, and tactics and do your best with what you think should be done (you can also gamify your strategy to see what happens).

Back to game theory: Again, I’m not a huge fan. It’s interesting and fun to think about. A little workout for the brain, but I see only a small spot for it in strategic development and implementation. As someone who has created and implemented strategy, I’ve yet to see anyone or any company be rational and predictable. - WPH

Business Simulations and Behavioral Economics


You might be saying, "Behavioral economics? I'm outa here!" But hang tight because it's actually pretty interesting. I'm going to pull everything from online sources and I won't get into the math or anything overly deep. It is worth reading because behavioral economics goes right to the core of the reason why relativity based business simulations are superior to static model based simulations. Let's dive it.

Behavioral Economics studies the effects of psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors on the economic decisions of individuals and institutions and the consequences for market prices, returns, and resource allocation, although not always that narrowly, but also more generally, of the impact of different kinds of behavior, in different environments of varying experimental values. (source: Wikipedia). I have to say that this is actually a pretty easy to understand and overall nicely laid out description of such a complicated topic.

Business Simulations are tools utilized to reinforce corporate training and development program material. In most cases, these tools are in the form of a game based method where teams are making decisions in order to see an outcome.

There is a substantial criteria that you need to think about when you think about business simulations: Relativity Modeling. This basically means the business simulation should be setup in order for participants to compete with each other. You are probably able to see why behavioral econ and relativity based simulation modeling go hand in hand.

By utilizing a relativity model, you are more in line with the advantages of behavioral economics. The nice thing about behavioral econ is that it takes into account the human emotion part of the economics equation(s). Thus, this is why business simulations is such a great fit for leadership development programs. Leadership, at its core, is a behavior. By implementing a business simulation that takes into account the behavior of the program, you are by default adding a real-real world scenario that can be found in no other place.

So yes, behavioral economics and relativity based business simulations are cut from the same cloth. This might seem somewhat esoteric, but the general gist is that when you're looking for a business simulation for leadership development, it is important to look for a solution where teams are competing against each other and not against the computer. Also, make sure they aren't competing against the computer and then comparing their scores. This is basically the same thing. Relativity based solutions are more real, more engaging, and proven to be more effective.

Business Acumen Training Gamification - Engaging and Educational

When most people think of business acumen training, they think, "Ugh, paper, slides, and BORING!" Ok, I'll admit, business acumen is not the most exciting topic to learn about. But the method in which you can learn it can be exceptionally engaging and even more educational. Think about the idea of no reading, no more than 15 PPT slides, and all hands-on. Doesn't sound so bad, does it? Better yet, imagine getting your hands-on being able to play with your company as a game while learning business acumen. Even more exciting, right? This is basically Business Acumen Gamification and it's amazingly engaging, educational, and strategic. Let's take a look at what this looks like:

Business Acumen Training Gamification

First, let's define gamification. According to Wikipedia, Gamification is: …the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts (source: Wikipedia.org). This tells us a little, but let's just think of Gamficiation as turning something boring into a game. Much easier. Now, let's just combine what we're talking about (business acumen training), and we're talking about making a business acumen training game.

Second, let's now take your company and add it to the game. I'm talking about your industry, culture, products, etc. Bringing this element of realism makes it more interesting for you and applicable for your company. Now that we have these two elements, lets look how it behaves:

In a business acumen training session we teach, participants are divided into teams. The teams then compete against each other in how effectively they can obtain profitability: Profits (at it's most simple level). Teams must control R&D, marketing, operations, people development, IT, etc.. Any decision they make has an impact on the business. This is basically a real-time business war games. Teams compete in real time business simulations that gamify the boring process of traditional business acumen training. This is training for this generation: Real, Engaging, and Applicable.

In summary, business acumen training gamification makes leadership, management, or even individual contributor corporate training exciting, applicable and incredibly valuable. Have a look soon. You'll love it!

Business Simulator for Leadership Training?

Can a business simulator really be used for leadership training? You'd be surprised how companies are using these solutions as a business strategy tool. Business training games such as these are valuable when it comes to putting leaders into the intersection of business and people. Training tools such as these are great at teaching topics such as:

  • Business Acumen
  • Leadership Development
  • Employee Assessment
  • Employee Management
  • Corporate Strategy
  • Business Management
  • A lot more

Using a business simulator for leadership development puts future leaders into management situations well ahead of their time. These leaders can practice and fail without introducing danger to the business. It is important to note that tools such as these do not need to be big, complicated, or expensive. Starting small and focusing on the learning objectives is important.

Creating a large and complicated solution is very unnecessary. Here are some tips to think about:

3 Tips to Getting Started With Business Simulations:

  1. Start small and focus only on what is absolutely necessary- You'll see great temptation to go big and include everything. Resist the temptation!
  2. Make certain to align behind clearly defined learning objectives- Don't stray from what you're trying to train participants. Stay focused on the objectives
  3. If you're going to spend money, spend it on your training content first! Don't be tempted to put a majority of your budget into a business simulator. You should spend a majority of your budget a great training and development content!

In summary, large companies have been successfully using a business simulator to training employees for many years. If you start small, focus, and build from the foundation, you'll do great!

How To Succeed Using Business Simulations: Focus!

How do you ensure success when using business simulations? The single greatest way to ensure success if to focus. Like almost anything today, there is opportunity for more, and more, and more. Business simulations are no exception to this trend. As a training and development manager, business manager, or head or HR, you'll find a strong urge to add more and more to your training simulation. Just remember: Focus!

Using a business simulation for leadership development, business acumen, or any other specific training program is great. Like other tools for learning, you need to make certain the solution is grounded in a solid foundation. Here are some tips to attain the correct focus when using sims and games for learning:

Three Simple Tips That Create Focus:

1. Write down the three reasons you want to use a business simulation- Make certain these reasons are very clear and detailed. A reason such as, "Because it will be engaging" is probably a little weak. Instead, how about, "Challenge learning participants to apply the training content in a level slightly above their current capability." Think hard about the details.
2. Write down and get buy in on the three measurable goals of your training program- This is important! Having very clearly and agreed upon goals of your training program will help create grounded focus for your business training simulation. Having these written down will decrease your chance of scope creep.
3. Keep the program goals and reasons in sight at all times- Keeping the goals and reasons for using a business simulation will ensure focus. If you create these and then put them away in a folder, scope creep is almost guaranteed.

Using a simulation for corporate development is a great way to reinforce your training content. Sims can also act a little like candy: Once you get a taste of it, you're going to want more. The single biggest reason programs fail is size. Once a simulation becomes too large, it falls under it's own weight. The trick to keeping a 'skinny' sim is focus. Just make sure the sim does not do anything beyond your focus and you'll be fine.

How College Recruiters are Mining Young Talent

Interns Article

How College Recruiters are Mining Young Talent

Recruiting top college students can be challenging. Gaining a future employee’s attention, differentiating your company from the competition, and learning the candidate’s real skills are no easy task. That’s why many Fortune 500 companies have begun to implement business simulations into their college recruiting and internship programs – and they’ve found that these simulations are paying huge dividends.

The Problem With Internships

Starting the recruiting process as early as a candidate’s sophomore year helps both the student and the recruiter better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship.

Click here to read the entire article at Recruiter.com

5 Steps to Skyrocket That Great Idea Into Market Launch


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


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

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

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

eBook About Effective Training and Development
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

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.