Business leaders are intimately familiar with how important strategy is to any successful business endeavor. Just how many times have we heard those same business leaders say that they want their teams to be “more strategic”. But what is that message truly trying to convey? In our experience, it means enabling people to think beyond their immediate functional roles and to take confident action that positively impacts the organization as a whole.
Navigating the gap between strategic knowledge and strategic implementation isn’t easy. There are so many factors involved in enabling a strategic culture. One of which is experience. And while it is true that trusted strategic advisors are crucial to business success, their knowledge is not something that’s magically bestowed upon them but rather learned, and there are many ways that business leaders, human resources, and corporate training departments can help employees learn to become better strategic advisors.
Simulation training is one approach that has proven wildly popular with team managers and team members alike. Critically, simulated challenges allow for consequence-free experimentation. Making a potentially risky decision can create fear of the so called “career limiting move”. With real life simulation training there are opportunities to learn from mistakes in a safe and supported environment. Teams are motivated to leave their comfort zones and experiment with new ways of thinking for strategic decision-making that can deliver impact.
Corporate Snakes and Career Ladders® developed by UK-based Archetypical Ltd. and now offered through The Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing, is an immersive learning experience built on a familiar game from our youth but with a real-world business twist. Structured game play helps teams navigate the ambiguity between theory and practice by deliberating on complex business scenarios. Working in teams, players help an aspiring executive in a fictional multinational organization to direct their strategic decisions to be recognized as a business leader. Random twists and unexpected events mirror real life’s unpredictability, challenging players to gain different perspectives while honing strategic skills in a harmless sandbox setting.
Corporate Snakes and Career Ladders is an exciting simulation training program that has proven to be an engaging way for teams to learn as it throws them into an experience with challenges, risks, loss and gain. While the setting itself may be sandbox-esque, the intensity of the encountered scenarios offers an opportunity to learn under pressure and make snap strategic decisions, ultimately flexing skills as a strategic thinker and shaping participants into more confident advisors. While exploring the game’s real-life scenarios and dilemmas, participants also reflect on different advisory styles, identify areas where risk-taking is appropriate and are encouraged to stretch beyond their usual roles and responsibilities to improve performance!
The goal of the program is simple: to bridge the lingering ambiguity gap between theory and practice. To provide the tools for employees to build confidence for engaging with senior leadership and the know-how to flex in their roles to get the best results for their organizations. This simulation program can provide an incredible opportunity to practice those skills in a comfortable and exciting setting.
Investing in employee growth and development doesn’t begin and end by equipping them with the tools to boost productivity. Organizations that facilitate personal growth among their employees are more likely to increase employee retention, attract top talent, keep their teams engaged, be future ready and strengthen the internal talent pipeline. In fact, LinkedIn’s Workforce Learning Report states that a whopping 93 per cent of employees stay at their organization longer if they are offered career investment opportunities.
Creating environments, opportunities and time for your team to develop the skills needed to best serve the organization is important for everybody. And while there’s no such thing as a shortcut to strategic development within your organization, simulation-based learning opportunities, workshops and sessions can help do the heavy lifting that will ultimately make sure every business decision is a strategic one.