Using Business Simulations to Enhance Financial Acumen

    

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Practice Makes Results, Not Perfection

I just finished an excellent business acumen learning experience with a group of global business leaders.  As part of the learning journey, these participants had the opportunity to run one of business simulations for five years to develop strategic thinking and financial acumen skills.  As we were wrapping up, many of the participants provided feedback on their experience and how they can apply their new skills back on the job.

One of the participants shared a quote that was very interesting and that I had never heard before:

“People are rewarded in public for what they’ve practiced in private for many years.”

I thought it was very appropriate as a set up for the action-planning close for our session.

We all have heard the quote “Practice makes perfect”, but in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, computer-business-simulation.pngand ambiguous business world, I challenge if there is such thing as perfect. And if there was, what does that actually mean?

As our discussion progressed, the business leader shared his first of two personal action plans as a follow up to the session.  His first goal is to make better business decisions so he can achieve his annual goals and objectives.  “I am going to use the business simulation as a tool to practice my skills and try different scenarios so I know what to do when I face them in the real world” he shared.  In other words, practice makes results, not perfection

He then shared his second action plan which is to cascade his learning experience down to his hundred plus direct reports.  “I really believe that practice is critical to what we do. I  want to make sure that I am giving my team every chance to practice in private so they get the rewards in public.”

The next step on this business leader’s personal action plan was describing how to execute the action.  Here is an illustration of his plan:

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In this plan the business leader is going to provide his team with access to the same content we had in the classroom via a virtual learning environment that contains business acumen eLearning modules in the areas of strategic thinking, financial acumen, sales & marketing, and business leadership.

The business acumen content will be delivered in eLearning modules that are about 20 minutes long.  The first three will be provided in April.  After the eLearning is completed, the business leader is going to have group calls with small teams of about 7-10 of his direct reports.  During these calls, his direct reports will ask questions about the content and the application to the business simulation and back to the real world.  The simulation and additional content modules will be provided every two weeks providing for a 10 week learning journey.

After the coaching, the direct reports will apply new skills and knowledge in the simulation.  It is here they will practice and practice and practice.  The business leader wants them to practice understanding the execution of strategy, the system of business, and how to analyze financial reports and metrics.  All of this to be able to make better business decisions back in the job.

During his presentation, the business leader asked me how many times a typical student of our learning goes through the simulation.  I responded usually only once on a rare occasion twice.

“I want to break that paradigm. I want them to go through at least 10 times and I want to track it so they can practice in private and receive public rewards.”

I think this is a unique perspective and application and can’t wait to see how things turn out.  Stay tuned as this is certainly a topic for a future blog!

why business acumen matters

Robert Brodo

About The Author

Robert Brodo is co-founder of Advantexe. He has more than 20 years of training and business simulation experience.