Insightful Ideas

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Golfing with Two Clubs?

Business Simulation Modeling

Making business decisions purely based on the numbers and economics is not that difficult. It’s when you add the human factor that business decisions become exponentially more challenging and nuanced. When I explain what Insight Experience does, I almost always end up making this point. I recently attended a conference with senior Learning, Talent and HR executives where I engaged in this discussion at least two dozen times. Leaders need to learn how to work through people and make confident decisions that balance the economics and the human factor—and it’s the human factor that’s the most challenging.

When asked to think about business simulations, most business leaders harken back to a business school capstone experience, or possibly a one day course sponsored by their company. In either case, the experience was intended to teach, or test, complex financial concepts. Don’t get me wrong, learning about EBITA, asset turns, or leverage is essential for a business leader. However, simply making financial or operating decisions and seeing how they play out on a computer or board game, is the equivalent of taking one golf club to the driving range in hopes of becoming a great golfer. More significantly though, it ignores the most complex system in any business…the people.

Similarly, when asked to think about leadership development programs, most leaders think about a conceptual model of leadership and the skill profile of successful leaders. They don’t think about leadership in context—in the setting of the challenges a business faces. Again, don’t get me wrong, learning communication and influence skills are essential for a business leader. However, simply learning these skills without the lens of the business impact is the equivalent of going to the putting green, again in hopes of becoming a great golfer. These programs often ignore the complex behaviors and actions that actually drive profitability and growth.

The most valuable learning experiences happen when you overlay the business system with the people dynamics that occur on a daily basis. Insight Experience’s programs are designed to capture, teach, and apply both of these dynamics. In my next blog post, I will share an example of how we bring this dynamic to life.


Jamie Hayman is Vice President of Business Development at Insight Experience, a Boston-based firm delivering contextually rich, immersive business simulations and learning experiences to accelerate and integrate leadership, business acumen and strategy execution.