Business Simulations & Experiential Learning

Business Simulations are Essential in Improving Performance

Before setting foot in the real world, pilots, military personnel and disaster response teams go through intense simulations to learn everything from basic skills to how to respond to crisis situations.

Business Simulations Build the Five Skills Needed to Make Strategy Personal

Why do we place corporate leaders and their teams in situations without giving them a chance to try things out first? The risks are huge, and the cost of failure could be catastrophic. BTS is the world leader in leveraging business simulations and experiential learning to align people to strategy and develop the capabilities they need to succeed. The following provides an overview of our key simulation platforms and capabilities.

Business Simulations: Key to Strategy Execution

Business simulations are a powerful tool for building strategic alignment and developing capabilities. By letting leaders practice running their business in the context of their business, simulations enable participants to experience a new strategy first-hand, see its value and learn what great execution looks like in a highly realistic environment. With the strategy made personal for them, leaders can then understand and apply these learnings while executing the strategy on the job for better results.

Additionally, simulations offer a great way of developing business acumen among leaders, giving them a broad enterprise perspective, honing their strategic thinking, building their financial acumen and increasing their customer understanding. Business simulations also are a great context for creating leadership laboratories where leaders can be observed in their decision making and given in-depth developmental feedback as they practice the skills they use day to day on the job.

To maximize impact and relevance for participants, BTS simulations can be tailored or highly customized to the client’s business and strategic priorities. After the simulation is completed, participants develop action plans to apply back on the job and drive results. The impact is profound, with typical BTS simulations delivering a 10-12 time return on investment.

Business Simulation Definition

What is a business simulation? A business simulation—of your enterprise, business unit or process—uses real-world competitive dynamics and places leaders in a context where they step out of their normal day-to-day roles and gain exposure to the big picture. Participants make decisions in a risk-free environment, allowing them to experience critical interdependencies, execute best practices, and test the levers they can use to optimize their company’s key performance indicators.

Why Do Leading Corporations Use Business Simulations?

Companies are increasingly turning to simulations to help build strategic alignment and execution capabilities when faced with one or more of the following business challenges:

  • Implementing a new strategy and key performance objectives
  • Accelerating innovation and strategy execution
  • Improving business acumen and financial decision-making
  • Transforming sales organizations to help them better understand their customers' business
  • Implementing culture change
  • Integrating newly merged companies
  • Modeling complex value-chains for accelerated growth

Within minutes of being placed in a simulation, users are grappling with issues and decisions that they must make—now. A year can be compressed into a day. And competition among teams spurs engagement, invention and discovery.

We just did a simulation exercise with the BTS team. The feedback from the participants was amazing. Not only was the simulation highly relevant to our business, but the BTS team really inspired and motivated the teams to excel. The competitiveness displayed was really quite remarkable. My employees were very engaged – it was substantially different from most of the "training" we have sponsored previously. We are already looking at "phase 2" of this activity. I would recommend BTS to anyone.

Jim Cable, CEO, Peregrine Semiconductor

Scenario Simulations: Build Leadership, Project Management and Sales Capabilities

While business simulations most often involve a series of data-driven input variables designed to engage the learner in the quantitative levers that impact business performance, in a scenario simulation, participants work with qualitative, branching story-lines that allow them to learn about best-practice decision making in leadership, sales and other important development areas.

Moments-based Leadership Simulations

Moments-based leadership simulations are customized scenario simulations that leverage BTS’ proprietary Great Framework for developing leaders. These simulations are built to reflect moments in a leader's day, week or month where they make pivotal leadership decisions. Our methodology teaches leaders what "great" looks like in their organization. These simulations are:

  • Contextual, reflecting the clients’ business and what the learners deal with on a day to day basis
  • Focused on pivotal moments that have a profound impact on participants
  • Designed to capture what great looks like
Challenge and Choices Business Simulation on iPhone

Four Key Criteria for Creating an Effective Scenario Simulation

To engage learners, the best scenario simulations are developed using the following four principles:

  1. Reality-based, progressive levels of complexity
  2. Artfully scripted
  3. Evaluated and measured
  4. Run and debriefed in a safe environment

The most effective simulations are further customized to the competencies of employees and your learning objectives. BTS has customized scenario simulations for a wide range of clients and industries—from materials for leading consulting firms to disseminate to employees, to engagement management fundamentals that retailers can use for store manager and merchant leadership development.

See how a leading company used a scenario simulation for big impact.

Board Simulations: A Unique Approach to Learning

A board simulation is a paper-based business simulation where participants manage a complex business unit or process and see where value is created as they make decisions and build business acumen. While generally known for business acumen applications, board simulations also have applications in soft-skills leadership development, and it is possible to build moments-based and scenario simulations in board format.

Board simulations are a unique and highly effective experiential approach to learning: they place participants in realistic, problem-based scenarios. The most effective board simulations are customized to the client and industry. BTS has developed more than 500 customized board simulation programs for global clients on six continents. We also offer a broad suite of standard industry simulations that may be adapted to specific client applications.

Industry Simulations: Building the Critical Industry Expertise Necessary for Success

No industry is the same. Business models, competitive dynamics and strategic challenges vary dramatically from one industry to the next. And the pace of change is accelerating. To succeed, a deep understanding of industry fundamentals, financial levers, key challenges and trade-offs is critical for success.

To build this understanding and provide a holistic perspective of a specific industry, BTS has developed Industry Business Simulations, a series of high impact, board-based programs. These simulations enable participating employees to experience the competitive dynamics, general trends, business challenges, interdependencies and profitability drivers that are unique to their industry.

Learn more about specific Industry Simulations.

Engage Maps

An Engage Map is a tool that engages learners in a specific topic through discussion exercises and other activities. Engage Maps create opportunities for large numbers of executives, managers, and employees to understand the reasons for organizational change and to experience its implications. Through jointly developed pre-designed formats, these maps assist participants in transitioning to the organization’s new environment and allow them to try out new behaviors.

Key characteristics:

  • Dialogue-rich
  • Emphasize group discussions
  • Risk-free
  • Collaborative

Virtual Simulations: Efficient, Effective and Fun

Virtual simulations are multi-team, competitive online simulations conducted with support and coaching from a live facilitator. Teams—drawn from a wide range of companies or from within the same company—compete in a dynamic and thoroughly engaging environment, where the ultimate goal is to enhance business acumen and strategy execution skills.

Virtual simulations can be delivered in remote intact teams or remote virtual teams, all with live instruction, team-based simulation activities, and debriefs. These simulations leverage underlying technology platforms for collaboration, as well as for accessing and engaging in the simulation experience. These simulations can focus on a wide variety of topics and objectives, ranging from strategy alignment to capability building in the areas of business acumen, leadership, sales, innovation and others. They can be moments-based, scenario simulations, or other formats.

Virtual Assessment Centers

What is a virtual assessment center? A virtual assessment center is a role-play based simulation that leverages techniques to engage and assess individuals for selection or development. These virtual assessments provide candidates with a highly realistic, interactive experience of a day-in-the-life on the job and provide employers with accurate information about a participant’s strengths, development needs and readiness for a role. Both employers and candidates alike view virtual assessment experiences as a market differentiator for recruiting, selecting and developing.

Learn more about Virtual Assessment Centers.

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