Business Simulations: It is ok to Fail


As school students, we all went through our academic journeys striving for A’s and fearingbusiness-simulation-fail-is-ok flunking tests. Today, we root for sport teams to win and very rarely remember who came in second. In the business world, have you ever heard of a sales professional who missed their quota and received an invitation to the president’s club? Or the supply chain manager who constantly is making the wrong vendor choices and winning employee of the year?  How about the IT Leader who chose the wrong ERP system and was toasted at the shareholder's meeting for a job well done?  Except for the occasional mulligan in Golf, failure, in most aspects of our lives, is not an option.

I am a firm believer that we learn the most when we fail. Einstein, Edison, Jobs, all repeatedly failed and learned from their mistakes. Objectively, when you fail, you need to take a step back, see what you did wrong, reset, and in some cases get coaching or feedback about your mistakes. This will allow you to take action and correct errors so that they don’t happen again. But realistically, when do any of us have the opportunity to fail and get a second chance to adjust and try new things? Grade School? High School? Graduate School? After losing the big game or sale? On the job? Very rarely, if ever.

Welcome to the world of computer-based business simulations where failure is encouraged!

Computer-based business simulations provide participants with the opportunity to learn-by-doing in a risk-free environment.  A simulation learning experience enables learners to test ideas in a business ecosystem that can mirror an actual business industry, issue, or environment. At Advantexe, we provide two types of simulations. The first is what we call Best Practices simulations where a user assumes a given role within a company and a story unfolds based upon their decisions. The second is our more qualitative and competitive enterprise simulations where users make a series of systemic, cross-functional decisions to execute a strategy, drive market demand, and financially grow their company in a competitive marketplace. In both types of business simulations, outcomes are not pre-determined. Instead, performances are based on the decisions and actions of participants and are the result of the time-tested algorithms of our underlying simulation business models.

A great business simulation can provide a safe haven for participants to make both strategic and specific day-to-day decisions where they are able to see the immediate effect on business performance. It is here that failure is encouraged by trying new approaches and methods. 

Take a look at an Advantexe Simulation

The purpose of the simulation is to provide a greenfield of learning where users can test hypotheses, experiment with decision-making, interact with germane and diverse characters, and yes, hopefully, try ideas that will fail miserably.

Well-designed business simulations embrace and encourage failing. Some interactive simulations and workshops deemphasize a focus on who wins or loses but concentrate on skill development, practice, and real substantive learning that can be immediately applied back on the job.

In conclusion, we would much rather have employees fail in a simulation workshop than in the real world!


Robert Brodo

About The Author

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