Community-Building Business Simulation

Article by Ken Thompson, last updated December 2020

The Network Leadership Game (NLG) is an on-line Simulation game which is ideal for team-building events and for developing practical leadership skills in team-building, community development and network incubation.

The Simulation can be completed within 30 minutes or could run for a couple of hours - it depends on how much preparation, self-reflection and feedback you wish to include. NLG is also ideal for team-building events. The base version of NLG is available free, on request, to registered charities or voluntary organisations. NLG can also be customised for different types of network and community.

The Network Leaders Challenge

A critical skill for any successful leader or manager is to be able to quickly build the right kind of teams or groups around them. Sometimes these groups may be very small but sometimes a leader will need to build much bigger groups which feel more like networks or communities. Sometimes all the members of a leader’s group will come from the same department (reporting to the leader). Sometimes however as leaders grow more senior they will need to build groups made up of members beyond their own department (and reporting line) and even beyond their own organisation. 

Sometimes groups may be online, sometimes they may be face-to-face and sometimes they may be a hybrid of both. Sometimes groups will be local and sometimes they will be global with all the challenges of different time-zones and cultures.

The Dilemmas of Network and Community Building

The Network Leaders Game lets participants explore some of the rdilemmas and challenges involved in building a successful network, for example:

  • Should I recruit other leaders first or should I focus more on general member recruitment and then get (and convert) my leaders from that group later on?
  • Should I recruit members by running events or by one-one recruitment?
  • How important is leadership development in a network and what should its focus be?
  • Is group trust-building a higher priority than alignment-building around network goals?
  • To what extent should I make community development activities a priority compared with quickly starting work on the networks stated goals and required results? 
  • In terms of the community technology - should I focus on good content or good communications capabilities?

NLG Simulation Model

The essential dilemmas of network building and network leadership are succinctly captured in the systems model below:


NLG Simulation Screens

The Network Leaders Game runs for 6 time periods, in each of which participants have to decide the relative priorities in terms of their leadership time and energy to devote to the different activities.

The Simulation also includes a graphical results screen which is updated after each round and a comprehensive help section with useful tips and suggestions for facilitating an effective NLG session to achieve its required learning objectives.

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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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