As part of the Leadership Fellows programme at the World Economic Forum, we run a training programme, “Managing for results”, to develop people management skills as part of a week-long course at the London Business School. In 2016 we wanted to try simulation as a different learning style and were extremely pleased as to how effective and well-received it proved.
Working with Ososim, we designed a simulation programme to enable the Fellows to learn and practice this vital skill in a safe environment.
For us, the richness of the experience was how the simulation enabled close and engaged team work, giving the participants the chance to focus on what each person needed to think about individually, as well as how to influence your team members to get buy-in, and how to co-create together.
The debrief was especially useful because it clearly demonstrated what each Fellow and the group had learnt and practiced during the simulation, as well as embedding those skills. From early on, we could see that each team and each Fellow was learning at an accelerated pace. The facilitators from Ososim were especially good at drawing the debrief away from the competition (an excellent motivating factor during the practice, but not as useful afterwards) and back to the learning. From my perspective, the simulation was the catalyst and the debrief is where we saw the real benefits.
Ososim were extremely supportive in helping us design a programme totally bespoke to our needs. During the design phase, we had several in-depth conversations with the team, which meant they understood exactly what our objectives and priorities were.
Participants, focused on the actual simulation, really enjoyed it and to them, it didn’t feel like traditional learning. However, for us, the focus was around how the communication happened, what worked and what didn’t, and how clear that was to see. The feedback was extremely positive.
The participants really enjoyed it – it was a different way of learning and they enjoyed the variety. Many felt that they continued to learn throughout the simulation and that they were continuously being challenged. It was particularly useful in a group, which had no previous experience of people management, enabling them to learn quickly and deeply in a new and exciting way.
Additional comments from Sarah Shellaby, Leadership Fellow, World Economic Forum
Prior to taking part in the simulation, my team and I felt that simulations were very linear which made it difficult for a group to interact at the same time. It was hard to see how a simulation would reflect real life – I had in my head a 1970s video game.
My opinion couldn’t be more different after taking part in this very 21st century simulation. As it encouraged both competition and an element of playfulness, it enabled the team to get motivated and engaged quickly. The situations in which we found ourselves both in the simulation as well as part of the teams operating it, were an accurate reflection of team dynamics, particularly in negotiation, and accelerated because of the time pressure. It showed us quickly and honestly how your behaviour impacts the people around you. More dominant team members for example, saw how amending their behaviour immediately improved how they worked with their colleagues and what they achieved in the simulated project.
For me the biggest learning was the importance of collaboration and ensuring that everyone was aligned on team goals, priorities and objectives. It also helped with clarity of decision making and defining each person’s role more effectively. Also, getting the feedback straight away was also helpful because you could discuss it with the trainer and gain insights in individual and team learnings as part of the debrief.
It was real, exciting, different and sophisticated. I’m now a big fan of simulations for genuine growth and learning.