CREW Business Simulation can turn “resource schedulers” into great managers

Article by Ken Thompson, last updated November 2020

The CREW Business Simulation is very popular with medium/large organisations as it powerfully demonstrates the dramatic difference in results between managers who merely schedule their colleagues to work versus those managers who also recognise the importance of managing their colleagues as real people with motivations, skills, ambitions and challenges. Here is a quick synopsis of CREW.  

  1. The Value of Good Leadership

For example, a survey by Deloitte identified that good leadership can add a massive 35% to a company valuation (average 15%). It also showed that poor leadership can reduce a company’s valuation by as much as 20%!  

  1. The Challenge of CREW

The CREW Business Simulation offers managers and prospective managers the opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills by managing a small team or department of themselves plus 5 other colleagues. It’s a very hands-on role and the job is to resource important tasks in the most effective way by scheduling staff to work tasks. Each colleague has different levels of skills and motivations. Also the relationship and influence of the team manager on each colleague is uniquely different. The work tasks all differ in 4 important aspects:

  • Urgency
  • Priority
  • Size
  • Complexity
  1. The CREW Learning Model

CREW uses a proven Informal Learning Model which recognises the importance of learning things experientially and in conversation with colleagues so you play CREW in teams. To make the CREW experience even more like the real world you must also compete with other teams and be subject to strict deadlines and time pressure as you have to manage your team for 4 weeks all in a single morning or afternoon!  

  1. Key Decisions in CREW

As a Manager in CREW there are 4 main decisions you will have to wrestle with:

  • Which colleagues to allocate to which tasks?
  • Which tasks need an intervention to get them back on track?
  • What interventions you might need to make with colleagues to maximise their motivations and skills and nip developing issues in the bud?
  • What interventions you might need to make with your colleagues as a team? 
  1. Information available in CREW to support decision-making

To make good decisions in these areas you will need to take a number of things into account:

  • Information about your colleagues from their online CVs
  • Information about the task which you are being asked to complete from the online Task Summaries
  • Weekly updates with important changes in your colleagues circumstances which you will be given
  • Weekly updates on new tasks and important changes to existing tasks which you will also be given 
  1. Simulation Objectives

You have two crystal clear objectives you must achieve as manager of this team in the simulation:

  • Maximize customer satisfaction and all ensure tasks are on schedule at the end of the simulation.
  • Improve your team and staff motivation, productivity and effectiveness from what it was at the start 
  1. Special Features in CREW

CREW has some very powerful special features, such as:

  • Like the real world your colleagues can develop burnout and even go out on long-term sick leave if you push them too hard or fail to recognise developing personal issues
  • Timing is crucial for any interventions you make – if you spot something 1 or 2 weeks late it will be all the harder to fix
  • Information about your colleagues and tasks can be customised to closely fit your organisation

Find out more about CREW.

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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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