Learn About Business Simulations and Strategic Acceleration

3 Great Articles To Read For Business Transformation


Hello!- My sincerest apologies for very sporadic posts. Been making all sorts of changes within SimStudios (all for the very good) and updated the web site.

So, in the meantime, I've decided to post 3 articles that I think are very worth the reading. As you know, I chew through tons of articles each week. I usually post ones I like on twitter (twitter account here). For easy consumption, I'm posting 3 recent articles that I particularly like. Here you go….


Whoo Hoo! Updated Web Site

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Helllloooo World! The original SimStudios site has been up and running since around 2003. There as a lot of cruft and it needed a good cleaning. So, we took the time to do a massive simplification while we were at it. Trends have changed and moved more towards simplified messaging and more clean feel to web site.

As of May 11, 2017, the SimStudios site is updated. I'm sure you'll wind up hitting bumps here and there so be patient. Let us know what needs to be fixed and let us know if you have suggestions.

Bill Sig


Entrepreneur Article: 4 Steps to Build Strategically Critical Leadership-Development Programs


By Bill Hall: Your business is growing and hiring people at an amazing rate. Customers love your product, and it’s gaining greater and greater attention. At the same time, you’ve noticed yourself growing ever more nervous about the byproducts of this success: Increased competitive pressure and employee fragmentation. In fact, these two realities have you concerned whether you can effectively sustain this level of success.

As we all know, success is like blood in shark-infested waters: It creates competition at an amazing rate. To fend off competition, many companies expand within the market faster than others, gaining a larger foothold and raising the barriers to entry. In many cases, this works. But such rapid growth creates an employee base with widely varying skills and focus. As a result, the company’s strategic alignment looks like a spilled package of dried spaghetti. Employees are pointing in an infinite number of directions.


Entrepreneur Article: You've Had the Annual Strategy Development Meeting. Now What?


By Bill Hall: Most executives know the drill. Fourth quarter rolls around, and it’s time for a strategic-planning session once again. This is a time-consuming process in which business leaders create exhaustive (and exhausting) slide decks outlining the strategy for the following year.

The results are usually a couple of days of presentations, discussions and analysis at an offsite location (or maybe in a meeting room). Managers often arrive at the meeting energized, enthusiastic and motivated to drive results into the next year. But most of us know that the energy fizzles, and most things drift back towards business as usual. Why does this happen?


Entrepreneur Article: High-Tech Startups Need to Ditch the 'Engineers Rule'


By Bill Hall: The high-tech startup world is leaning a bit toward the overly hubris. I'm well aware it's a little controversial to discuss in public. I come from many years in Silicon Valley and currently run a high-tech software and services company based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I see and read about this issue every day.

And ladies and gents, it's out of control.


Entrepreneur Article: The Futility of 80-Hour Work Weeks


By Bill Hall: Let me say up front that from experience, if I had to choose, I believe a 30-hour work week is more effective than a long work week. I’ve lived both worlds for years at a time so I have non-theoretical first-hand knowledge. Time spent in the trenches of a large scale, high-tech turnaround that married me to my desk night, day and weekends versus a clearly architected lifestyle work environment has produced scars of different shapes and sizes. But taking a step back and looking at the debate creates a common sense question -- Why does everything have to be so extreme? Isn’t there a common sense, moderate in-between somewhere. Whoa, wait, what about a 40-hour work week? Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of each.


Combining Behavior, Business, and Impact In Leadership Development


When most people think of 'business simulations' they automatically think of two things: Highly quantitative financial management or they think of something similar to the Sims®. Many leadership "purists" will balk at the idea of combining the needs of the corporate strategy with pure leadership behavior. When I talk with corporate leaders, they are looking for a combination of both and the trends appear to be clearly moving in this direction. Corporate leaders are looking for leadership development that combines three ingredients: Behavior, Business Acumen, and Impact on Outcomes. Let's have a look more closely.


Entrepreneur Article: How Flight School Can Prepare Leaders

By Bill Hall: A student pilot is taught to expect changes and work to stay ahead of any that might come. Business leaders should take note.

Life as an entrepreneur is never dull, always busy and filled with hourly surprises. After working at Apple for many years, I began my own journey to becoming a small business owner, starting with my pursuit of an MBA. But, today, when I look back, my one year of flight school was better preparation for life as an entrepreneur and small business owner than any MBA class.

Have a look at the article here: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/287079

Corporate Stategy and Training & Development- Driving Change

Corporate Strategy and Training & Development

With a new year can often come a renewed sense of changing and/or implementing a new corporate strategy. The group of people that drive this corporate strategy often know the entire enterprise's business landscape better than anyone. It is here where the problem with getting the strategy off the ground resides. As a business strategist, we fail to understand that most managers don't know the landscape as well. This is where the frustration comes from: The managers within the enterprise are unable to drive the strategic change they are being asked to drive. This is simply because they don't have the knowledge necessary to feel confident in the change. But, the good news is that there are ways to alleviate this fundamental problem.


CEO Interests From Corporate Training & Development


I don't think it's necessarily fair, but for the most part, execs think that T&D professionals are still very focused on T&D 'best practices'. They talk about things like the Kirkpatrick and other models and methods that impress other T&D managers. As a past non T&D executive, I can tell you from experience that this usually frustrates executives. I used to have an understanding that the T&D manager is doing his/her job, but there were time where I just wanted to simplify the discussion.


5 Steps to Creating Business Acumen Training for Today's Learner


With the aging boomers and the lack of experience of the current middle managers, companies are scrambling to build the corporate talent bench. A large part of building this bench is effective business acumen. I'm not talking about the generic, theoretical business acumen traditionally taught in colleges. I'm talking about the real sticky stuff. The 'finance meets people meets marketing meets operations, meets IT, meets leadership, meets corporate strategy meets the impact on the bottom line performance' type of business acumen. The real stuff leaders used to learn over the course of many years. The real-deal business acumen.


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