WHY NOT A GAME OR SIM?
Instead of dumbing down your business and spending valuable time teaching people how to play a board game or sim, we teach people substantive things: a deeper understanding of how their company makes money and the skills needed to play a more meaningful role in that money making process throughout their career.
By their very nature, simulations focus learners on concepts and ideas that have been programmatically set, and the richness of the sim is dependent upon how many variables have been developed. If there’s not enough variables then the experience is going to be rudimentary at best and you simply won’t produce a measurable behavioral impact. Games are designed to engage people, but when we interviewed a facilitator candidate, whose primary responsibility was teaching a business acumen board game for his employer, he confirmed what we’ve heard from others – the vast majority of participants sit back and observe the game being played. Only the most competitive participants really get into it. So you have to ask yourself if a game will have a real measurable impact on behavior when participants return to work - where it really matters.
Instead of getting wrapped up in a game, we want our participants thinking about your business strategy. We want them figuring out how their ideas and decisions impact metrics that are important to the business. We want them spending time thinking about how to beat the real competition, not their colleague across the room. We want them to return to work eager to help your company win in the real-world.
If you treat your employees like they’re vital to your business – they’ll be vital to your business. If you let them know that you take their personal development seriously – they’ll take their personal development seriously. Don’t make a game out of this important initiative. The development of business acumen is too important.
"I attended the class with the hopes of learning about our business generically. What I received is how our products, culture, communication, and business impacts our strategy on a micro and macro level. I endorse the class so much that I think it should be mandatory for all associates."
WHY NOT A PROFESSOR OR UNIVERSITY?
Most highly praised academic types have never run or owned a business. They’re quick to point out what you and I as businesspeople are doing wrong and can pontificate for hours about case studies they’ve written, but they’ve never felt the pressure of managing inventories or the weight of risk that comes with a new initiative. They’re not experts in business, they’re experts in case studies. And case studies are backward looking documents that examine the obvious failures of others. There’s a time and a place to look through the rearview mirror, but we’re more interested in helping your employees drive the business forward. Relying on outdated models and too many lessons from the past isn’t going to develop the energy and business sense needed to lead your company into the future.
Academics have it easy because they have nothing to lose. There’s a tremendous risk to us if we share bad advice or incorrect information – our business depends on getting it right. Our livelihood is at stake everytime we walk onto your corporate campus. Teaching business acumen successfully means everything to us. The stakes are much smaller for academic institutions. The “Univesity of whatever” isn’t going out of business if they do a poor job.
The bottom line is this, we’re businesspeople just like you. We’ve learned from our mistakes and we know what it’s like in the trenches. Those working for that high-priced academic institution on the hill have learned from studying other people’s mistakes.
To move the needle, your employees need “roll-up-your-sleeves” business acumen training, not “theoretical” business acumen training.
WHY NOT MY INTERNAL FINANCE TEAM?
It's not finance's job to run an employee training program and when they try to they're not usually very good at it. Most finance people are simply not that good in front of a classroom, especially a classroom of non-financial leaders. It's an uncommon talent that we even have a hard time finding.
Even if you're lucky enough to find that special talent – is it really a viable long-term solution? Will he or she be able to spend the time necessary to not only get up to speed, but also stay current on your business, your industry, and your competitors? We require 3-4 hours of preparation per class. Can they commit to that? And for how long?
The reality is… it isn't the finance department's job to teach business acumen to their colleagues. They're not going to stress over adult learning best practices, and ADDIE and rapid prototyping are as foreign to them as debt financing and negative working capital are to you.
A boring lecture that goes over most people's heads isn't going to cut it, but that's what you're typically going to get if you rely on your finance team to teach employees business acumen.
We're a better solution and most finance teams are happy to have us do it – especially after they've attended one of our courses.