As I mentioned in my last post in this Gotchas Series, there are at least 12 ways a business acumen simulation can go wrong. At the top of the list is closed decision making — and here’s why.
Especially if you need to build a foundational understanding of business among employees at all levels, take care to avoid closed decision-making in your business simulation games.
Consider the kinds of decision-making and how they relate to accountability:
With open decision-making, teams have complete autonomy in running their business (e.g. pricing, capacity, borrowings, markets, product lines, etc). In constrained decision-making, they are limited to a decision tree. But in both situations, they ‘own the results’ and engage emotionally.
In contrast, closed decision-making can actually disengage learners since they have no role in the process. An example of closed decision-making is where the facilitator describes a series of pre-scripted events and all teams end up in the same position.
Random decision-making (e.g. dice rolls, or cards) can be engaging, but it does not allow the participant to actually apply any learning at all.
Ask questions! For example:
- What kinds of decision-making does the simulation use?
- How much ‘chance’ is there? Does it build accountability?
- Do participants truly own their results?
- Can participants apply what the learning to the simulation?
Think about how much accountability you want in your organization. That will determine how much accountability you want in the simulation.