Why is time pressure necessary when running a business simulation?

Article by Ken Thompson, last updated April 2017


The ability to work under pressure is often considered an attribute. This ability to work under pressure often involves working within time constraints and highlights delegates or teams who are good at effective time management. When running a business simulation time is of the essence which means delegates and teams have to prioritise what areas they are going to focus on. I am now going to explore the reasons why time pressure is especially necessary when running a business simulation:

1. Reflects the real word The ability to respond to time pressure and meet deadlines is necessary in nearly all workplaces. How delegates respond can differ enormously, some people thrive off the pressure and perform better when put under a time constraint, others will crumble and become less productive. A business simulation allows delegates to become more aware of how they act in these situations and highlights delegates who may need to take steps to improve how they handle themselves under pressure. Business simulations should be as realistic as possible, so by having time pressure it adds to their authenticity, hence taking part feels like a real life scenario.

2. Teams stay focused If business simulations are run without time constraints then there would be no sense of urgency in the room. Delegates may become distracted or disinterested as there is no pressure put upon them to make decisions quickly. A lot of the time business simulations are about looking at the bigger picture, however if delegates are given too much time to make their decisions they may become fixated on only certain areas. This could be because they have had too long to analyse the simulation, therefore taking away from looking at the bigger picture!

3. Makes teams prioritise decisions If delegates have various decisions to make with limited time, they have to think on their feet more and decide what areas are going to be of high priority. This is very relevant to the real world as we often have too much work and not enough time to complete it, so prioritising is key!

It is important to remember that enough time has to be allowed for delegates to make reasonably good decisions. You don’t want them getting flustered and just hitting any buttons with no discussion behind them, as there is no learning when this happens. As long as reasonable time frames are given, time pressure should help the business simulation run smoothly!

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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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