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The Case for Simulations at Mid-Market Companies

Mid-market companies face a unique leadership development challenge. They need robust, sophisticated development programs just like larger enterprises, but they have less volume of leaders to justify the costs of custom development.

Insight Experience has a proven solution to that challenge. We have developed four core simulation platforms that already have a robust business framework in place but can be quickly adapted to create a custom experience with limited investment.

The framing already in place includes:

  • underlying economic and financial models to enable operating, leadership and financial decision making
  • organizational context and structure incorporating employees, customers, and markets with a rich cross-section of needs and varying growth profiles
  • a library of classic leadership and business issues that challenge leaders.

We are able to tailor our existing simulations with tensions and dynamics that mirror a customized experience. The demand for these simulations has been outstanding, particularly amongst mid-sized companies who are looking for a highly relevant learning experience, but do not have the class volume required for a fully customized solution.

Here are three examples of how these programs are playing out:


Case 1– Capstone Experiences

For a global technology company (2000 employees & $1.6B annual revenue), we deliver a capstone experience on a twelve month leadership program, for Directors and VPs, across multiple functions. The capstone experience is a two-day simulation, built on our Balanced Leadership platform. It's designed to teach decision making and reinforces content from earlier sessions, while applying coaching and 360 feedback.

This simulation has been tailored so that the operating decisions, organizational dynamics, and current business challenges mirror the realities of the client organization. These dynamics include leading cross-functional teams; making, communicating, and managing decisions; and aligning strategy with operational and leadership decisions.

The result is a program that ties the lessons from a year of learning together in a challenging, memorable and impactful experience. These leaders are more prepared to take on the next leadership role within the organization.


Case 2 – Strategy Skills for the Technically Trained

A global biopharmaceutical services organization ($2.1B annual revenue) that has grown from 6,000 to 18,000 employees in the last 10 years began partnering with Insight Experience four years ago. They wanted to address the challenge of having highly technically trained senior leaders with limited knowledge of business principles; a common occurrence with rapidly growing companies.

In this case, the company is comprised of primarily medical professionals whose focus has been on high quality patient care, but who lack formal training around risk management, decision making, capital investments or managing competing priorities. Working from our Executing Strategy simulation, we created company-specific manager scenarios and added a custom content module on risk mitigation.

Hundreds of managers have gone through the resulting three-day program. Profits are up, decisions are given the proper vetting, and the program now serves as a foundation for executive development.


Case 3 – Emerging Leaders

A global construction company (5000 employees & $1.4B annual revenue) recently partnered with Insight Experience to tailor a simulation-based leadership program for its next generation of managers. The company had previously placed a great deal of emphasis on training, however most of it was skills and safety-based and directed at individual contributors.

Leveraging our Leadership Foundations platform, we tailored a new leader training experience that was geared towards new managers and high performing individual contributors. The two-day program focused on communication – specifically active listening – and coaching, and demonstrated how developing a team can dramatically impact financial performance. Role plays and scenarios reflect the challenges these leaders would expect as they move into a manager role within the organization. 

As a result of the program, newer managers are more prepared to listen and have the coaching conversations necessary to help drive performance.


The tension is very real between providing highly customized leadership programs and doing so in an environment that has scalability limitations. At Insight Experience we have found a way to balance those tensions to provide an immersive learning experience that brings out the tensions and dynamics unique to mid-sized companies.

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