One of the worlds leading global manufacturers needed an effective way to communicate and gain adoption of significant change in strategy.

OVERVIEW

Drowning in debt and unable to generate cash quickly, a global manufacturer of a wide range of products and services – from aircraft engines to turbines, to oil and gas production equipment to medical imaging products and even financial services – was faced with the task of implementing an entirely new and different strategy. Leaders throughout the company needed to understand the severity of the situation and the reasoning behind upcoming changes which included divesting of seemingly profitable business units.

The company turned to IndustryMasters to create a solution that closely mirrored their financial situation and allowed participants to realize the consequences of various courses of action. A business simulation provides the opportunity for participants to test varying decisions and witness the resulting outcome – in minutes, rather than months – then to course correct and continue to adjust until the desired outcome is realized.

 

OUR CLIENT’S ISSUE

A large global manufacturing entity needed its high potential leaders to better understand why significant changes in strategy were necessary. The company was suffering a significant cash flow problem and needed to divest of business units that were no longer aligned with their strategy, lacked synergy with continuing operations and/or were otherwise draining company assets.

 

OUR APPROACH

To communicate the situation effectively and have high level managers agree about the necessary shift in strategy, they chose a competitive business simulation that allowed participants to test and ultimately reach the same conclusions. Through gameplay, collaboration and a simulated environment, participants also learned a solid dose of business acumen skills that were immediately applicable to their real-life positions.

The solution involved collaborating with IndustryMasters to tailor an existing automobile manufacturing simulation – something close enough to their world to make relevant connections and draw appropriate conclusions, but far enough away not to distract from the important lessons. In our decade-plus of developing and delivering simulations, we find it is often best not to exactly imitate a company because participants find themselves critiquing any distinctions to their real world and not focusing on the experience’s learning objectives.

Within two months and after several sessions with subject matter experts, the simulation was ready to present to their group of learners. Because the company had an expanded learning facility to which participants were invited from all over the world, sessions were conducted in-person over the course of two half-days (one component of a three-week program). Simulation lessons were enhanced with lectures from company executives making connections between what was experienced in the sim to the company’s actual position.

Another important lesson the simulation was able to reveal involved communication silos and the imperative to break those silos down. By creating a role-based simulation with distinct responsibilities for each participant, then disclosing critical data exclusively to certain roles, teams quickly learned that the road to success was to ensure effective communication and collaboration across functions. Working in five-person teams, each participant was able to understand the big picture of the organization as well as how their unique role contributed to the successful operations of their simulated company.

 

THE RESULTS

By having leaders take part in a multiplayer business simulation that mirrored their real-world situation (global manufacturer with difficult cash position, poor credit rating, wide portfolio diversity and lack of synergy across business units), the company was able to successfully communicate upcoming necessary strategy shifts. Participants were able to witness, in a hands-on, experiential learning event and over the course of several simulated years, that the changes the company was announcing were, in fact, the best course of action for long-term health and viability of the company.

Participants consistently rated the simulation experience positively. The company hosted between 50-85 leaders from a range of business areas in each of five sessions during the first year of the rollout. In addition to the business simulation, a KPI Simulator accompanied the learning journey and reinforced critical concepts. This mini simulation was accessible for several months after the event and helped participants continue to apply their new learning to their real-life roles.

Pre- and post-assessments of basic financial acumen knowledge helped participants, the company and IndustryMasters confirm learning and retention of several Key Performance Indicators. It also allowed for immediate application of new learning.



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