Learning Visuals

Using Simulation to Put Learning in Context

There’s little question that adoption and retention are driven by immersion and engagement. And there’s no better way to both immerse and engage your learners than through simulation.

Simulation is uniquely effective because it creates an opportunity for learners to apply knowledge, skills and behaviors in context. Many simulation designs also are able to deliver just-in-time, just enough performance support at the point of need. And some simulations can even be used as assessment instruments, helping to identify learners with the greatest need and pinpointing specific skill deficiencies.

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Types of Simulation

There are essentially two types of simulation: branching/decision-tree and spreadsheet.

Branching/decision-tree simulations can be used to model interactions with people, software and machines. They range from simple hard-coded faux sim designs that give the illusion of choice to robust designs that distribute and repurpose thousands of nodes based on algorithmic rules and probabilities. This type of simulation is very effective at developing a broad range of interpersonal and decision-focused competencies such as sales, service, coaching and problem-solving and can incorporate interactions with relevant software and machines.

Spreadsheet simulations use complex scenario-modeling frameworks to simulate business strategy and marketplace dynamics. They range from simple sim-board designs that require teams of participants to move chips and tally their own results to sophisticated networked designs that mirror the dynamics of a rapidly changing marketplace. This type of simulation is effective at developing competencies such as business acumen, leadership, change management and judgment.

Despite major technological advances that have reduced development cycles and associated costs, custom simulations typically cost more than other learning alternatives. And the higher the fidelity of the simulation and the more integrated with technology, the greater the cost.

As a third option, our signature Blueline BlueprintTM designs borrow elements from branching and spreadsheet simulations to achieve similar levels of engagement and retention at a lower cost. Blueline BlueprintsTM have been proven to build enthusiasm and maximize retention across a broad range of competencies using both discovery and experiential learning methods.

Over the next month, I’ll be addressing four critical questions to ask yourself to determine whether simulation is right for your needs. In the meantime, I invite you to contact us to learn more about any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.

Owning It: Getting High Potentials to Think and Act Like the Business Is Theirs

Like most organizations, yours likely has a special group of employees whom you view as high potentials – individuals who stand out because they already demonstrate many of the characteristics necessary to be future organizational leaders.

They know their jobs, they know the organization, they know how to build relationships, manage employees and serve customers. But do they really understand the business? Do they understand the financial metrics that lead to success? financial-indicators

Making decisions based on financial indicators may not be part of your high potentials’ daily job responsibilities today, but such knowledge will likely add enormous value in the future.

That’s why Blueline Simulations is excited to offer Business Challenge™, a one-day simulation in which competing teams of first- and second-level leaders strive to grow their businesses effectively by making investment decisions, funding their strategies and evaluating their results based on real-world financial metrics.

This revolutionary program is delivered as either a classroom or virtual classroom experience. An optional online program called Fluent in Finance™ is recommended to help participants prepare for success in Business Challenge™.

Rather than try to explain in any more detail, I invite you to watch our Business Challenge™ webinar and see for yourself how this experience can add a vital missing piece to your high-potential grooming puzzle.

Looking for more? Discover our complete set of leadership development experiences first hand through a series of 50-minute webinars hosted by Blueline’s Managing Partner and its Director of Leadership Innovations.

I also invite you to contact us to learn more about any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.

If Not Training, Then What?

There’s a lot to be said for training; it certainly has solidified its place in corporate culture as a means of addressing issues, teaching skills and strategies and getting employees aligned, motivated and on track for great success.

But there are times when training isn’t the answer – when the situation calls for a different approach.

As a case in point, a client called several years ago asking to revise and update a training program we had developed in 2006. A short discussion, however, revealed issues that pointed to a different solution. The client didn’t have a training need, they had a communication need.

Rather than update the current training, together with the client we decided to develop two high-impact communication pieces:

  • The first piece, a telestration, served as the ideal medium for communicating exactly what leadership wanted employees to know in a very engaging and visually stimulating way. Being just a few minutes in length drove high levels of viewership.
  • The second piece we developed was a powerful Blueline infographic that served to refresh the target audience on the overall process they’d been trained on by graphically displaying key inputs, process steps and decision points. This engaging one-page visual then became a just-in-time ready-reference job aide.

Sharing graphic elements between the telestration and the infographic enabled us to drive adoption through consistent branding while keeping costs down. The solution met the goal without one minute of training.

One of the many frameworks Blueline Simulations uses to explore how to best help clients solve their business challenges is BKD (Believe-Know-Do). We start with what you want your target audience to be able to Do. Then we explore what they need to Know in order to Do that effectively. And finally, we pinpoint what they need to Believe to be motivated to Do it.

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I invite you to contact us to learn more about any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.

Communicating Through Change

How a Blueline Blueprint Learning Visual and Quick Draw Video Can Help Tell the Story

Whether self-induced or triggered by external forces, organizational change can create confusion, uncertainty and fear at all levels – having a notable effect on morale, production and overall organizational climate.blueline-2.24.16v2

Although the end result is almost always positive, getting there can be a painful journey for everyone involved.

How you approach and communicate the change makes all the difference.

Whether change is embraced or polarizing, celebrated or chastised all comes down to one thing: leadership. It’s leadership’s job to align, communicate and get buy-in through a common message of both purpose and vision. “We’re doing this with you” rather than, “We’re doing this to you” is a message that’s both powerful and uniting.

Case in Point

A Fortune 100 healthcare company turned to Blueline Simulations after changes at all levels created fear and confusion throughout the organization. They enlisted our help in aligning stakeholders through a common purpose and vision for the future.

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Blueline led the way in helping to define their future and prioritize the actions that would bring it to life. More than that, we devised an approach to telling the story of their journey in a way that inspired employees and clients to embrace the vision and take the actions prioritized by leadership.

Capturing the Story Through a Blueline Blueprint

It started with one of our Master Artists drafting a Blueline Learning Visual that told the story of where the company had been. Plenty of white space was left to capture their vision for the future.

We then facilitated a one-day strategic planning session to guide our client’s efforts to define their vision for the future and prioritize the steps it would take to get there. Throughout the meeting, our Master Artist captured the process and the leadership team’s decisions. The final output was a table-size learning visual that the leadership team could use to engage others by telling the story of “where they had been, where they were going and how they planned to get there” in a fun, engaging way.

We repurposed the drawing and memorialized the leadership team’s efforts through a 4-minute narrated quick draw video telestration of the Master Artist creating the drawing so that it could be used to define and promote the organization’s brand. The final deliverable was a professionally narrated video of the Master Artist rendering the drawing for the audience. (Through the power of technology, the rendering takes place in about 1/60th of the time it actually takes to recreate the drawing.)

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The client kicked off its annual meeting with the quick draw video telestration, which set the foundation for a presentation by the leadership team. Large posters of the Blueline Learning Visual were on display throughout the meeting space so that participants could “re-experience” the journey with leadership.

The result is best summarized by the head of the organization, who opined: “The successful outcomes of this initiative are an important lesson in embracing the types of innovation we want to support throughout the organization. Through these efforts, we got 80% of the way to our destination in 20% of the time it usually takes us.”

Is your organization facing a challenging transformation? Contact the change management experts at Blueline today!

Does Your Pharma Sales Model Need a Booster Shot?

The pharmaceutical marketplace is evolving in fundamental ways – perhaps at a pace more rapid than any other B2B industry. In our work with some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, we’re seeing the transformation first hand.

What’s changing? Business models, decision-makers, reimbursement models, access to information, buyer profiles… the list is long. So long, in fact, that I’d venture to say it’s much simpler to list what’s NOT changing: your mission to help doctors deliver innovative solutions and better service, leading to improved patient outcomes.

You just need to go about it in a different way.

Not surprisingly, the sales model you’ve relied on in the past no longer delivers the results you need. In fact, you aren’t even sure you need sales reps anymore – but trust me, you do. The key is to reinvent the pharma sales rep role in a way that embraces obstacles as opportunities and changes as renewed chances for success.

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Case in Point

A major pharmaceutical company recently reached out to Blueline Simulations for help in revamping its sales model to better meet evolving market conditions and customer expectations.

Building on the company’s market research that clearly showed most customers still value pharmaceutical sales reps but don’t value the industry’s standard sales approach, we used our Voice of the Business (VoB) process to identify what was needed in a new sales model.

Using our VoB process, we culled our client’s research for insights and identified best practices in existing pockets of success. Then, drawing on our decades of sales training experience, we worked with our client to map out a new customer-focused sales model, define the core skills and competencies required to execute the new model and identify key triggers we could use to engage and inspire the sales reps.

Of course, designing a new sales model is only the beginning. The real key to results is driving adoption in the field – getting the sales reps to understand and embrace their new customer-centric roles. The company designated three states to test the new approach and partnered with Blueline to create the rollout strategy.

The training design utilized a custom Blueline Blueprint Learning Visual as the central element in a three-day meeting where sales reps were introduced to the new sales model. We used the Blueprint as a launch point for a broad range of sales manager-led practice and coaching activities – to provide practice and allow time to address questions and concerns.

The six-month test was a success. Based on learnings from the initial pilot, the sales model was further refined and then rolled out across the United States and eventually, with adjustments for local markets, applied across the world.

Pharmaceutical companies are in a position to literally redefine the sales rep role… to replace traditional sales models with models that put service and solutions at the forefront… to create models that ultimately lead to improved patient outcomes. That’s where Blueline comes in.

Contact us today! Together we can explore and implement proven solutions that will give your pharma sales model a shot in the arm and get you back on the fast track to results.