The 5 key dynamics in a team business simulation

Article by Ken Thompson, last updated April 2017


There are 5 key dynamics for a business simulation to be truly successful; Collaboration& Teamwork, Competition, Time Pressure, a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Customisation. The main reasons why I have chosen these 5 key dynamics are highlighted below:

1. Collaboration & Teamwork It is vital within a business simulation environment that delegates establish collaborations with each other so they can work as a team. This will enhance their learning experience as delegates can learn from each other in an informal way. This is especially useful when people from different departments in a company are put together as delegates are given the opportunity to work with different types of people. Each delegate will have their own specialties, strengths and weaknesses, by collaborating with each other it allows individuals to focus on what they do best so that the whole team can benefit.

For more on this checkout:What are the benefits of collaboration and teamwork in a business simulation?

2. Competition Competition is necessary in this environment as it motivates teams and individuals to perform their very best as everyone wants to be in the winning team. With delegates all working towards a common goal it persuades them to co-operate with each other better. For any simulation to be realistic it has to have an element of competition as life is a competition, and no-one likes to be the loser! The competition element will have to be managed so that it doesn't get out of hand and distract delegates from their learning objectives. It is also important to remember that there should be no real losers in the simulation as this can make people feel isolated, discouraged and they can become disillusioned with the simulation.

For more on the importance of competition check out:Why is competition vital in a business simulation game?

3. Time Pressure Time pressure is important when running a business simulation to ensure the simulation reflects real life as much as possible, as the ability to respond to time pressure and meet deadlines is necessary in nearly all workplaces. This added pressure ensures that delegates stay focused on the task at hand, if deadlines aren't put in place team members may become distracted or disinterested as there is no sense of urgency put upon them. However facilitators must be realistic when setting time constraints as enough time has to be allowed for delegates to make reasonably good decisions.

To find out more about the importance of time pressure take a look at my blog:Why is time pressure necessary when running a business simulation?

4. Subject Matter Expertise (SME) The Subject Matter Expert (SME) is crucial as they provide the experience and expertise when running a simulation. They will help enhance the learning experience for the delegates by providing real life business examples from their own experience to help explain the simulation. The absence of an SME can be detrimental because if the facilitators aren't able to answer questions or give good explanations for certain behaviours within the simulation, delegates can quickly lose confidence in it!

Check out my blog:Why is a subject matter expert vital for a business simulation to succeed?

5. Customisation Customising business simulations automatically improves the relevance of the simulation to a particular company as its own products and data can be used. The rules in the simulation can mirror more accurately what would happen in a real-life situation within the company. The documentation used, such as market updates can also be more relevant to delegates as can accurately reflect situations which may arise in their everyday job. Customising a simulation will obviously take longer to design and is usually the more expensive option for a business than an off the shelf simulation, but will often be more engaging for delegates as they can relate to them better.

For more on customisation take a look at my blog:Is customisation the key to creating a business simulation that triumphs against the rest?

In conclusion, I believe that it is the combination of these 5 dynamics together which create a successful business simulation not just one by itself!

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More about Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson

Ken is a practitioner, author and speaker on Leadership, Collaborative Working, High Performing Teams, Change Management, Project Management and Business Acumen. His work has featured in major publications including The Guardian , Wired Magazine, The Huffington Post and The Henry Ford Magazine. Ken has also spoken at many international events including TEDx, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Learn Tech (London) and NASA.

Ken is Founder of Business Simulations Ltd.

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