An article at CLO's website features Schneider Electric's use of finance games in financial training programs.

An article at CLO’s website features Schneider Electric’s use of finance games in financial training programs.

The July issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine features an in depth piece, “Beyond the Sage on the Stage,” about engaging managers and senior executives through “active and immersive learning.” The authors, 

“As employees progress to more senior positions in an organization, they typically encounter a variety of professional development programs to help them succeed….[but] by the time executives become senior leaders, they often have grown weary of traditional classroom-based instruction, which can become an obstacle to continued learning precisely when it is most important. [This] create[s] a challenge for learning leaders — how to avoid a scenario where increased seniority equals a decreased priority on learning.”

In the same issue of CLO, I wrote about our work with global energy management specialist Schneider Electric. They approached us after discovering gaps in employee proficiencies and tracing that back to their finance training program. Too many employees, it seems, found the sessions “boring” and the content “too complex.”

Schneider Electric needed to ensure the new program would engage its high potential leaders and succeed in teaching finance to non-financial managers. They decided to use the Income/Outcome Business Simulation — a multi-board game developed by Andromeda Training where each team manages its own game board and competes against other teams to win customers, improve operations and generate positive financial results. The simulation uses tactile and kinetic learning methodologies to teach the foundations of finance and fundamental business dynamics.

Our point of contact was Tim Treger, then senior manager of learning and development at Schneider Electric. And after 200-300 employees had played the game, he assessed it this way:

“We use it to teach finance to non-financial managers. It takes a very dry topic and makes it more real to life by helping people understand the true implications of the financial decisions they make. It’s one of the highest rated programs we have. Employees say they really enjoy it.”

We were thrilled to hear this – and if you have been in financial training programs that were dry or overly complex, Tim’s comment may resonate with you too.

It is so crucial to steer clear of training that is isolating for participants. We are social animals and flourish with team-based learning! The same goes for passive or automated dynamics. People need truly experiential learning to absorb the lessons.

The takeaway: Identifying the right finance game and delivering it in the context of a welcoming, engaging workshop is not a nice-to-have… it’s essential to building managers’ finance acumen.