Why Should I Use a Business Simulation?

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.

Book About Business Simulations For Corp. T&D

Do you know about business simulations? Have you taken a look at them lately? Or are you one of those that says, “Ya, I looked at these a few years ago and they’re not for me.” If you fall into that category, you should take another look. Here’s why:

What You Should Know About Modern Business Simulations

- The cost of simulations for leadership development or business acumen has come down substantially
- The time to develop these tools is far less than it was before
- Today’s workforce requires and demands applicable, challenging, and engaging training
- Business Simulations are not as broad as they used to be
- Getting started utilizing business simulations is a lot easier than it used to be

Like all technology, business simulations have come a long way in the past few years. The tools to develop these solutions are more robust, more mature, and easier to utilize. As a result, creating leadership development simulations is far easier and quicker than it used to be. Many people took a look a few years ago and discounted them due to a) their cost, b) their applicability, or c) both.

It might be time to take another look. In William Hall’s book titled, “Shift: Using Business Simulations and Serious Games”, he outlines easy ways to get started that might take little or no money. Mr. Hall outlines the idea of starting small, simple, and even outlines using paper based solutions as an effective tool to engage today’s learners. It’s worth taking a look (at $3.99), it’s a no brainer. (side note: we’re told its free to download from Amazon on Sept 13 and 20, 2015.

Sometimes, you just got to do some research and now might be the time. The book is available on Amazon here.

What The Heck is a Business Simulation Anyway?

Have you ever wondered to yourself, “What the heck is a business simulation?” Believe me, there are times when I still ask that question. In reality, the terms business simulation, business game, and gamification, all have similar definitions, but with slight differences. The greatest outlier is business gamification. This was a term marketing people loved and even TedTalks got involved in the hype. It has since died down significantly, and in a lot of ways, is disliked by many. So, as a result, I’ll focus on Business Simulation to keep things focused and simple.

What the heck is a business simulation?

To pull directly from Wikipedia (if its on Wikipedia, it must be true, right?): Business simulation is simulation used for business training, education or analysis. It can be scenario-based or numeric-based.

I’m not really sure this helps a whole lot. In general, we like to tell people: A business simulation is a game based action learning module that take parts of your business, mimics them, and combines this with your training goals and objectives. Still not helpful, ya, we understand. The super easy definition is: Business Simulations are scenarios that are created in order to let training participants practice your training content without the risk of doing it in real life.

The reason these definitions are so grey is that this means many different things to many different people. Let’s look at an example:

Training goals: Leadership Development- A business simulation will be used here to let people live a few positions above their current level. For example, a VP might live as the CEO. This forces them to think like a leader and practice being a leader before they are actually ready to do so. This will require them to be good at business, management, strategy, execution, and change management (to name just a few things). As a result, participants can practice your leadership development training content and really get to know it.

Hopefully, this helps just a little.