5 Tips To Saving Tons of $$$ on Business Simualtions

TonsOfMoney
When most people think about business simulations, they automatically assume mountains of money. This is definitely not the case. Some of the most effective business simulations we’ve seen are made out of simple paper and pen. The trick is to not let complexity get in the way of the learning. Here are our top tips to saving cash.

Top 5 Tips To Save Money On a Business Simulation:



1. Facilitate on Your Own- If you keep the business simulation simple, you’ll be able to facilitate the simulation on your own. This is probably the single best way to save tons of money.
2. Avoid Licensing Fees (if you buy one)- If you’re having a custom or tailored simulation created for you, you shouldn’t be paying licensing fees. It’s that simple. Paying licensing fees is like buying a car and then paying every time you start it up. Not nice!
3. Go Paper- You should really think about creating your own solution. Don’t automatically think of the computer, think about good old paper and pen. The trick is to start from the goals of your training program and then build the simulation around those goals. Keep it simple, keep it short, and keep it focused.
4. Keep The Simulation Small and Focused- Business Simulations have a strange effect on people. They cause people to keep adding more. Resist this temptation! Just focus on the top three goals of the training program, focus on a specific range of time, and focus on the training content. Anything more is glitter.
5. Ask Others- Find other companies that have already used a business simulation. Ask around at conferences and find out what has work and not worked for others. Learning from others can save you a ton of money.

We hope these help. Drop us an email if you’d like to learn more about using a business simulation.

Are you Kidding?!? Business Simulation For Soft Skills?

Abstract Background in Green Blue Vector Illustration
When you think of a business simulation, you probably think something along the lines of E=MC^2, right? Of course, most people do.

But how are companies successfully using a business simulation for the soft skills and are they using them at all for this? The short answer is, “Yes, companies are certainly using business simulations for the soft skills.” In reality, the long answer is that it depends (of course). Let’s take a closer look at the topic:

Business Simulations For The Soft Skills



Let’s start by all agreeing that effective behavior and leadership skills has a positive effect on business outcomes. We’re not going to go into the research, but this is a fair and proven assumption. The one problem is that people understand this, but they don’t really know how or how much. At the same time, today’s learners want to see impact, results, proof, and application. This is where effective use of a business simulation comes in.

A business simulation done right strikes an effective balance between soft skills and tangible business decisions. In reality, it doesn’t just balance them, it integrates them. Making a decision here has an effect there. This is what a simulation is all about... the experience without the risk.

Giving training and development participants the opportunity to experience the impact of effective management of the soft skills (communication, leadership, etc) is a fantastic use of a business simulation. When implementing this, it is critical to keep an eye on demonstrating the impact of the soft skills on hard outcomes. Otherwise, today’s learners will discount the content and focus more on tangible decisions.

So, in summary, companies are definitely using business simulations for the soft skills. But the simulations are not devoted strictly to the soft skills or the hard business skills. They are nicely balanced and integrated with one another.

Hope this helps!

What's The Difference?!? Simulations, Gamification, Serious Games?

Business Simulations and Games
Business Simulations? Business Gamification, Serious Games? What the heck is the difference?

This is a great question. In general terms, these are all forms of games. Marketing people love to change names of things. Let’s start by looking at Business Gamficiation:

Business Gamification. It's [was] all the rage, very catchy, and marketing managers just LOVE it. But what is it exactly? First of all, don't be overwhelmed.
Let's look at an example: Online forums... Ya know, those places you go to ask questions and get answers. You've probably noticed that certain people get points, prizes, or 'badges'. That's it! That's something that has been game-it-ized. What they've done is turned the use of a forum into a game via points and/or rewards. The goal is to get people to come back more and increase engagement. We're back in a technology boom so it's all about eye balls once again. Thus, if a company can keep people on their web site, the idea is this means they are an 'engaged' customer. This is gamification.

But, how does this relate to simulations or serious games? Great question. As has been repeated many times here, for simplicity purposes, don't get too caught up on the fancy terms. In many cases (not all) a business simulation is a form of game theory. Gamification is based on game theory. Serious Games are based on game theory. They aren't necessarily 100% all the same, but they share 98% of the same DNA.

A Business Simulation is going to be used to simulate a business or a function of a business. Serious games or gamification may not (but certainly could). This is why you shouldn't get too caught up on the terminology. If you are looking to simulate something in your business, call it a business simulation. If you're looking to engage people around a specific topic for marketing purposes, maybe call it gamification. It's up to you, but don't get too caught up in it. You probably have much better things to worry about.

Hope this helps!

Do I really Need a Business Simulation? The Basics Explained.

Business Simulations can seem like a daunting topic to learn about. But getting starting using business simulations can seem completely overwhelming. Are the too quantitative? Are they too technological? Do they have any personality at all? Do they really help?

But, the big question is, “Do I really need to use a business simulation?” Like any question this broad, the answer is: It depends. To help you get started, let’s look at the top questions to answer first:

1. Do you need to teach leadership’s effect on business results?
2. Do you have to teach some business acumen?
3. Are you looking for ways to connect your training content to the business?

In general (and this is a large in general), if you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you should begin to research ways to incorporate a business simulation into your training and development programs. The big question is: “How do I get started?” A very good place to get started is to do a little reading. There is a very easy to read and easy to understand book on Amazon that is a sort of entry level guide to business simulations for corporate training.

You can find a getting started book on Amazon here

But, in case you want the high level notes, here you go:

- Talk to peers in other companies about what they’re doing, how they did it, and what they learned
- Smaller simulations are usually better than large business simulations
- Some of the best business simulations are paper based... they’re not always computer based
- You might have to use a consulting company to start, but don’t let them take complete control away from you
- Focus on the goals of the training program and don’t let the simulation distract from those goals

The book goes into far more detail, but these are the high level takeaways. The book actually reviews game theory and game construction which is pretty interesting. No matter the case, this is an easy read and an easy place to get educated.

Hope this helps!

Business Simulations to Change Employee Behavior?!?

WomanInShock

A Business Simulation to Change Organizational Behavior?



When most people think of a business simulation, they think Net Income, Profits, Net Margins, EBITDA, and other quantitative topics. But in reality, Business Simulations are sensational tools to encourage open behavioral change within a simulation. How does a Business Simulation do this? Let's take a look:

1. People learn why- The first thing people ask when change is required is, "Why?" It's a very natural question. A business simulation helps demonstrate to people the answer to why.
2. People can experience the whole picture- When people see the whole picture, they have a better understanding how they fit in to the change. Once they understand where they fit in, they're more willing to change.
3. Fun, challenging, and applicable- Put people into training that is fun, challenging, and applicable to their jobs, they quickly experience experience why the training is so important to the organization. Once they understand the applicability and importance of the corporate training, they are far more willing to change in order to do their jobs better.

These are just a few examples of how a business simulation can create rapid and positive behavioral change within your organization. This is why some of the top fortune 500 companies globally use business simulations for leadership development.

Another question is, “Why type of behavior can be changed?” The answer here is, “Almost any.” But, let’s look at some examples:

- Reduce organizational Silos and increase collaboration- Rats! Those dreaded silos. Organizational silos slow down productivity, create competition, and are rarely in the best interest of the company. Using a business simulation to reduce siloed thinking has a huge benefit to the company as a whole.
- Organizational wide decision making- A business simulation helps individuals better understand the machine they work in. More often than not, people know their job, their division, and their responsibilities. Having employees run your business gives them a “whole picture’ view of how they fit into the entire company.
- Better understanding for the ‘why’ behind decisions- When employees live a day as your CEO, they better understand the ‘why’ behind business decisions. This creates a more nimble organization.
- Better Leadership- Giving the employees a day as a leader helps them better understand leadership’s importance, methods, and effects on an organization. This creates an employee base of leaders.

This is just an overview. The summary is that just because the word ‘business’ is next to ‘simulation’ does not automatically mean its all finance. A good business simulation has just as much, if not more, behavioral components to it.

More Than The Business Simulation

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When people think of a Sim training program, they often think of just the software itself. In reality, this is only a part of a leadership development simulation or business training simulation. A very important part of the solution is the case study. The case study often is thought of as secondary when it should be thought of equally important.

Importance of the Case Study for a Leadership Development Simulation or Business Training Simulation



The case study is where the corporate strategy, structure, uniqueness and details are revealed. This is important stuff! Because people often get over excited about the software part of the simulation, the case study is usually sent to the back burner. It is very important to keep the case study in focus or the foundation of your corporate development program will be diluted. Here are some key things to think about:

- Does your case study take into consideration your corporate development needs?
- Does your case study take into consideration the corporate strategy?
- Does your case study have enough information for participants?
- Does your case study have too much information (yes, this can happen)?
- Does your case study share a story and foundation?

These are some important parts of a case study when using a training simulation for corporate development. In many cases, its not a bad idea to hire a copywriter. Adding a sense of reality without duplicating your company verbatim is the balance you're trying to find.

So, in summary, don't put the case study in the background. You'll find its equally as important and needs ample attention.

Hope this helps!

Tailored or Custom Business Simulation?

Tailored_Simulation

Should I Go with Tailored or Custom Business Simulation?



This is a great question! But like always, it depends. As a general rule, the more budget you have to spend on a simulation, the better it's going to align with your training content and corporate development goals. But, there is a point where you only have so much to spend.

3 Reasons To Use a Tailored Business Simulation:

1. Limited Budget- If you're on a limited budget, tailored simulations are a great way to get into the world of very aligned, engaging, and applicable training programs.
2. Off the Shelf or Canned Business Simulation Just Don't Fit - In many cases, a canned solution just doesn't do the trick. Its hard to extract what is going on with your corporate development from a generic business that sells widgets. A tailored simulation removes this problem from the world of business simulations and corporate development.
3. Limited Time- You can bring a tailored simulation from concept to training in much less time than a custom business simulation

3 Reasons To Use a reasons to use a Custom Business Simulation:

1. Complex Integration of Corporate Strategy and Corporate Development Goals - When you are looking to combine corporate strategy with business acumen with leadership development, a custom business simulation is pretty much required.
2. Large Organization With A Deep Need For Effective Leadership - When you have a large roll out of a very complex initiative around leadership development, a leadership development simulation is pretty essential.
3. Highly Complex Business or Organization - If you are in a large complex multi-product global organization, a custom business simulation is probably going to be required to simulate your company’s solution and process.

So, in summary, it comes down to price and complexity. If you have a limited budget, it's a no brainer, go tailored. If you have complex needs within a complex organization, again, no brainer... go custom.

Hope this helps!

Top 3 Trends We See in Business Simulations Today

Business_Simulation_Trends


Are you asking, "What are the latest trends in the strange world of business simulations?" Of course you are :^). Well, since you probably aren't really asking that, we'll ask for you:

Top 3 Trends in Business Simulations



3. More Focus - We're seeing a trend towards people using a business simulation for a specific outcome or use. For example: Diversity training. This is an example of an application where a business simulation is deployed for 1/2 day. Gone are the monster multi-day business simulation training program. If you're considering getting a huge multi-day simulation, you either must have endless budget to spend or a consultant has taken over the steering wheel of your training program or leadership program.

2. Special Focus on Immediate Knowledge Application
- We've been seeing this for some time, but its happening more. There is an increased need to be able to have participants immediately use the skills they learned from practice within the business simulation.

1. More Accessible Business Simulations
- We're seeing greater and greater accessibility to business simulations. This is great news and primarily due to lower cost of development and platformization of the technology.

Hope this helps!

Computer Based Business Simulation or Paper?



Paper_Business_Simulation
When most people think about a business simulation, they automatically have visions of computer screens, tablets, phones, mice, and keyboards. They also begin to think about data management, modeling, game theory, equipment setup, financial modeling, reporting, and more. This creates that hot feeling of being completely overwhelmed.

As Bill Hall wrote in his book about getting started with business simulations and serious games, have you ever thought about starting small and starting with a paper based simulation? If not, this is definitely something you should think about. Paper based business simulations can be incredibly compelling and very easy to manage. You don't have to create a board game, game pieces or anything fancy. Just print out some materials and you're on your way.

Paper based simulations are a very effective way to get started using business simulations, strategy simulations, or business gamification. Here are 3 tips to get you started:

1. Clearly define what the participants need to teach. The more tangible and clearly defined the better
2. Work from the goals of the learning backwards. Create all simulation exercises from the goals.
3. Create units of measurement. What this means is there needs to be a means to measure. In very simple terms: Scoring :^)

If you do a search for paper based business simulations, you'll find quite a few examples out there. This might be a great place to start.

Hope this helps!

Top Tips To Getting Starting With a Business Simulation

Are you looking to get started using a business simulation? Great! Here are some of our top 5 tips to getting started:

Top 5 Tips To Using A Business Simulation



1. Start Small! Don't try to do too much too fast. A tightly focused and highly content aligned simulation is the way to go! You might be tempted to do too much too fast. Try to take a step back and make sure you are staying core to the top 3 reasons you're using a business simulation. Or better yet, the top 3 metrics you'd like to measure success against.

2. Go Paper? This might seem strange, but are you sure you really want to go with a computerized business simulation or software business simulation? I'm sure you already know how hard it is to manage technology, now try to imagine creating a business simulation on top of that and then having it all work. Yikes! In many cases, a good solid paper based simulation might go far. It will also potentially save you money as well.

3. Get Aligned. What does this mean? It means to ensure the reasons you think you need a business simulation align with the solution you are looking at. This might seem like common sense, but we can't tell you how often we've seen people far from where they thought they'd be just due to the confusion of getting started using these action learning tools.

4. Get Buy-In. You're going to find that there might be some resistance (or curiosities) about using a business simulation. It is a good idea to get people involved. Getting people involved does add complication up front, but it will make the process easier down the road.

5. Create a budget. Yes, this seems obvious, but it is important. This will automatically create focus for you when getting started using business training simulations.

We hope this helps. Happy New Year!

Top Tips To Getting Starting With a Business Simulation

Hello World!

Happy New Year! Hope you're well. Let's dive right in!

Are you looking to get started using a business simulation? Great! Here are some of our top 5 tips to getting started:

Top 5 Tips To Using A Business Simulation


1. Start Small! Don't try to do too much too fast. A tightly focused and highly content aligned simulation is the way to go! You might be tempted to do too much too fast. Try to take a step back and make sure you are staying core to the top 3 reasons you're using a business simulation. Or better yet, the top 3 metrics you'd like to measure success against.

2. Go Paper? This might seem strange, but are you sure you really want to go with a computerized business simulation or software business simulation? I'm sure you already know how hard it is to manage technology, now try to imagine creating a business simulation on top of that and then having it all work. Yikes! In many cases, a good solid paper based simulation might go far. It will also potentially save you money as well.

3. Get Aligned. What does this mean? It means to ensure the reasons you think you need a business simulation align with the solution you are looking at. This might seem like common sense, but we can't tell you how often we've seen people far from where they thought they'd be just due to the confusion of getting started using these action learning tools.

4. Get Buy-In. You're going to find that there might be some resistance (or curiosities) about using a business simulation. It is a good idea to get people involved. Getting people involved does add complication up front, but it will make the process easier down the road.

5. Create a budget. Yes, this seems obvious, but it is important. This will automatically create focus for you when getting started using business training simulations.

We hope this helps. Happy New Year!

Top 10 Uses For a Business Simulation

How about a Business Simulation list to start the day?

Top 10 Uses For a Business Simulation


- Business Simulation for Leadership Development
- Business Simulation for High Potential Leaders
- Business Simulation for Business War Games
- Business Simulation for Sales Training
- Business Simulation for Strategy Testing
- Business Simulation for Operational Excellence
- Business Simulation for Strategy Exploration
- Business Simulation within Business Gamification
- Business Simulation for Business Strategy Gamification

"What can a business simulation actually be used for?" There you go: Just 10 ideas. Of course, there are many more, but this guideline should inspire some ideas for you to think about. We've even heard of using a business simulation to teach fifth graders about money and business. Interesting....

Let us know if you have other ideas of how to use these valuable tools and we'll add it to the list.

Have a great weekend!

Business War Games: Business Simulation for Strategy Testing

This has been written about a few time, but thought it was worth bringing up again.

Using Business War Games



What: What is a Business War Game? Business War Games are a tool that is used to test and 'play' with a potential future strategy. These don't necessarily have to be a simulation, but they often share the same characteristics with a business simulation. Business War Games also don't have to be computer based either. In many cases, these can be simple paper based solutions. This helps save money. But what these tools are is effective. They are also complex to create. There are a lot of moving parts to a business war game. The same is true for a business strategy simulation as well. Business War Games let executives test their strategy before they commit to it 100%.

How: How is a business war game used? Business War Games are used like this: Traditionally, you'll bring in a few executives that are involved in creating the strategy. You don't need many. Just a few. You'll have each person take on the role of a different company that only includes 1 ‘version’ of your actual company. You'll actually begin competing against each other testing your strategy. You can see why it's similar to a business strategy simulation.

Why: Why use a Business War Game? This is to enable you to squeeze out strategic elements you hadn't considered while creating the strategy. Most importantly, this includes the human reaction to a new strategy. This is often the least thought of during strategy development.

As you can see, a Business War Game is very similar to a Business Strategy Simulation or a Business Training Simulation.

Hope this helps!

Business Training Simulations for Leadership Development

Once again, it's been too long. We've simply had too much work than we can handle. Sorry! The good news is that we've just hired 3 people to help work on things. Thanks for your patience. Ok, the topic of the day:

Business Training Simulation for Leadership Development Overview



Isn't this a leadership development simulation you might ask? Well, yes it is. But there seems to be a misunderstanding about what/when/where/how. Let's take a look.

First, the definition: A leadership development simulation is simply a business simulation that has been customized to a specific leadership development program. This includes utilizing specific leadership competency and tools. In many cases, these business training simulations will have a business portion of the simulation as well. There has to be a business to use the leadership tools, right?

These tools are traditionally used within corporate leadership development programs. In some cases, they might be used for strategy training. Why? Because there is traditionally a large people component of business strategy. While we're talking about tools, business simulations are often used to help people learn HR people development tools such as assessment and more. Business training simulations for leadership development is a great development tool to get people up and running quickly using your models andor tools.

You'll start to see more and longer posts once we get the people up to speed.

Have a great August!

Business Simulation for Sales Training or Sales Conferences

Once again, too long between posts. Sorry about that!

We've seen quite the uptick in companies using business simulations for sales training and/or within sales conferences. These sales training simulations are a lot of fun and very educational for the sales managers. What happens in many cases is that the head of sales wants to introduce their sales force to the challenges above or across from their position. Doing so gives sales managers a far wider perspective of what it's like to manage a sales team or company.

Three Components to a Successful Sales Training Simulation



1. Competitive business simulation is preferred - A competitive sales training simulation aligns with the position of a sales manager. This makes the game relevant and real.
2. Ensure you have the customer needs- As a sales manager, you're often focused on quota. Don't forget to integrate a strong focus on meeting customers needs and demonstrating why this is important.
3. Have fun! A sales training simulation should have a spirit of competitive fun. If it's serious and boring, sales managers will probably disengage.

Sales training simulations are a great use of time at a sales conference. Utilizing a business simulation can make the content of the conference relevant and unforgettable. It will be the part of the conference participants won't forget.

Hope this helps!