Leadership Simulations: Your Game-Changer in 2020

Businesses today are facing a leadership crisis.

Traditional business models are being disrupted and the future is uncertain. 

In the turbulent outlook of the economic landscape, any organisation that is keen to gain a competitive edge in its sector must continue to tweak its strategy to adapt to the realities of the evolving marketplace.

And primary amongst this is its Leadership Development Strategy.

In this new decade, uppermost in the minds of most business owners and executives is how to ensure that their year-on-year business performance surpasses that of the preceding decade.

However, before operational activities gather momentum, it’s crucial to understand one of the non-negotiable factors for any business intending to make a success of the current year – is having the Right Leaders.

Employers must recognise that their business is only as good as the sum of the talent it possesses, and no organisation can win beyond the knowledge, skills, and capabilities of its workforce. 

No organisation can win beyond the knowledge, skills, and capabilities of its workforce

If employees across all levels are to rise to the challenges of the modern-day business, they must be equipped with the skills and tools required to improve their performance through training and development initiatives.

This is especially true for leaders!

As the role-holder whose responsibility it is to lead others –  leadership development must be diligently designed and deployed in a way to ensure that on-the-job performance translates into measurable impact for the organisation.

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Good leaders aren’t always born – they can be made.

3 Factors That Determine the Success of Leadership Development Effort

There are three critical factors which determine the success of any leadership development effort;

  1.       Individual learner characteristics
  2.       Quality and nature of the leadership development program
  3.       Opportunities to practice new skills and receive feedback.

Of these three, opportunities to practice new skills and receive feedback have the most significant impact on the success of any leadership development initiative.

…and the best way to ensure this is by embracing leadership simulations.

Since 1969 when Donald Stewart expanded on Dales’ Cone of Experience, till this very moment, the only way for abstract learning to become concrete is for learners to become involved in the simulated situation through contrived or dramatised experiences allowing the use of all five (5) senses.

It is on this premise that the concept of Simulation is hinged.

Stewart's pyramid simulation for leadership simulations

Have you ever wondered why surgeons spend years dissecting cadavers before operating on their first live patient?

Or why pilots in training have to spend hundreds of hours in flight school before being trusted to handle the flight instruments of an actual plane?

For hundreds of years, we have been benefiting from the concept of Simulations – in the medical field and aerospace – but not in the business world.

So, why now?

Why is leadership simulation being proposed as the game-changer for businesses in the new decade? In 2020?

What is Simulation

Simulation as a learning technique – and not technology – replaces or amplifies real experience with guided experiences that replicate the real world in an interactive manner.

Simulations are equal with Experiential Learning—being that it is an interactive/controlled setting where learners are exposed to the challenges their organisations confront daily to offer pragmatic solutions.

Learners are exposed to a practical, interactive, and engaging session that sees them taking on real-life issues and are given the freedom to share ideas and make decisions that will impact people and business, only this time around; it’s completely risk-free.

Simulation based learning = risk free learning

What is Leadership Simulation?

Leadership simulation is a form of experiential learning where leadership skills are taught by replicating various scenarios in the workplace and getting participants to respond as they would in reality.

For learners to succeed at every stage, they must figure out how to lead the organisation out of the dilemma that has been created. 

As a valuable learning tool that allows individuals to contribute their skills and capabilities to tackle issues relating to several aspects of the business or the organisation, leadership simulations provide the closest thing to real-life situational experiences.

Decisions made are assessed and criticised; and participants, in turn, go back to the drawing board to chart a new path. 

Benefits of Using Simulation in Leadership Development

Absence of Risk

High potential leaders need a practice environment to explore business decisions in context. Because the simulation process is risk-free, participants are fired up to examine several dynamics and possible solutions to achieve results.

Instant feedback

Simulations incorporate a non-negotiable feedback mechanism where learners are corrected where they make mistakes and shown how they can get things right.

Stimulate learning by doing

The 70-20-10 model of Learning holds that learners obtain 70% of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20% from interaction with others and 10% from formal educational events.

Delegates will most certainly be able to apply what they have learnt during the simulation on the job because they are presented with real organisational issues as opposed to theories that have no practical basis.

Measure ROI

Many learning professionals experience difficulty with measuring ROI on learning initiatives. However, with business simulations, the impact of learning interventions can be effectively measured and monitored.  Read this article to learn how to assess the ROI of your training function.

Widen the scope of Traditional Leadership Training

On their own, traditional leadership interventions have limited ability to impact leadership development in an organisation. But when coupled with simulation, it creates a broader leadership training initiative that delivers real value.

For more on how to create a high-impact leadership development programme, download This Easy-to-Use Tool.

Contextualize and Personalise Leadership Training

Simulations are not a one-size-fits-all learning technique.  For instance, a learning intervention for senior management; Top Management Game Simulation will be much more effective for these individuals as it is contextual to the roles they occupy, whereas while line managers may be taught to hone leadership skills through Functional Game Simulation. 

leadership is contextual

Leadership is relentlessly contextual.

It is not about leading any business; it’s about leading in your business!

To help leaders learn how to best lead in your business, you must ensure that you are providing them with highly relevant experiences that help turn abstract knowledge into concrete skills and competencies which ultimately contribute to superior performance.

One of the essential competencies of a high-performing leader is being able to manage effective teams and workgroups, develop others, and build and maintain relationships. Without the capability to lead others effectively, a leader has failed even before starting.

Leadership simulation programmes such as FLIGBY encourage leaders to ensure that their teams are working in a state of flow. Hence the acronym: Flow Is Good Business for You (FLIGBY).

Flow – a mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment. 

FLIGBY uses a flow-based programme with a scenario-based approach to improve critical thinking. Its leadership development program combines videogame learning experience with psychometric game-based assessment. See how it works.

In 2020, organisations that will do well are those who are nimble and receptive to simulation-based learning where they can execute new strategies, ingrain organisational culture or breakdown complex processes and frameworks. 

Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.

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About Workforce Group

Workforce Group’s Learning and Development Business focuses on the leadership development and training side of talent management, working with leaders across all levels in the organisation to help them make better decisions and convert those decisions into actions that drive results. At our core, we believe people learn best by doing. And we utilise FLIGBY as a tool to help organisations create FLOW in the workplace. 

To learn more about how simulations can help develop leaders in your organisation and in turn, help drive your business strategy, visit www.workforcegroup.com/learning-and-development to get started today.

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