Train

Can an eSimulation be Better than a Live Action Role-Play?

Introducing PeopleSIM™

This immersive eSimulation challenges experienced and high potential leaders to apply coaching concepts in realistic settings while receiving immediate and continuous feedback.

How can an eSimulation come this close to delivering real coaching?

  • A voice-activated human interface delivers real-time interactions
  • Combines emotional-state rules & probabilities
  • The character’s mood will change based on their questions
  • Simulated characters “remember” the user’s questions and statements
  • Each statement the learner makes has an effect on the character’s emotional state
  • Negative statements may cause the character to become sad or angry
  • Positive statements can make the character warmer and more approachable


No other training solution on the market even comes close to delivering the realism!

Join us for a Free Webinar! May 9th @ 1:30 EST

During the info session and demonstration, you’ll get an exclusive sneak peek at PeopleSIM™: Performance Coaching and get to see first-hand how this revolutionary new program will change the way you groom your next generation of High-Potential Leaders!

 

 

If you are unable to participate in one of our upcoming public webinars, contact us today to schedule a private demonstration for your company.

Simulation Develops Results Focused Leaders at Fortune 300 Company (Part 2)

In my last post, I described the need for a simulation that could serve as a capstone event for our Leadership Development program at Alltel, and how I came to decide to use Blueline Simulations’ Executive Challenge™. Together, we conducted roughly 15 sessions over a two-year period. Each delivery built on the one before as we refined the simulation in ways that made it feel as if it had been designed just for Alltel. The work we did on debriefs and adverse events to help “customize” the experience made it that much more relevant to my audience.

Attendees were placed in teams of eight and were tasked with growing a virtual business by investing in and producing product lines, responding to market demands, and balancing time, capital, and human resources. Throughout the simulation, teams evaluated the sustainability of a business and the long-term implications of short-term decisions, acknowledged personal management styles and leadership blind spots, balanced personal and organizational objectives, solved complex business problems collaboratively, defined a clear strategic vision as a team, and implemented this vision in the face of adverse events.

The simulation began after normal work hours on day 1, as teams were presented with the simulation scenario, had a practice session on the technology, and discussed their company strategies for the next day over dinner. Day 2 lasted a full day and consisted of participants managing their companies over 6-8 virtual quarters. During debriefs, teams examined how closely their decisions reflected the Core Values of Alltel, as well as the soundness of their business strategies.

Teams prepared presentations at the end of the simulation experience and delivered them to a Board of Directors composed of Alltel executives. The board chose a winner based on strategy, financial performance, team effectiveness, ability to handle adverse events, adherence to the program competencies, sustainability, and overall quality of the presentation.

Participants found their simulation experience invaluable.  They experienced the challenges of being a results focused leader, while using behavior and relationship skills in their interactions with their fellow team members. Participants rated the experience highly, remarking on “how the pressure, the competitiveness, the unexpected turn of events really tested their ability to work collaboratively to make good decisions and to execute against them.”

As for me, I had chosen the perfect partner and solution to bring all the work of leadership assessments, coaching and training together in an innovative, engaging and practical way that was useful and memorable to my Directors and Vice Presidents. To this day I continue to get comments from former Alltel Associates about the leadership program, and inevitably they always mention the chance to run their own companies, amidst market pressures and unanticipated events, that was Alltel’s Executive Challenge!

I am excited to now have the opportunity to represent this solution, plus the other equally powerful solutions Blueline offers as part of our Leadership Innovation Series. As Director of Leadership Innovations, I look forward to working with our clients to provide the same kind of business results and organizational impact that I witnessed first-hand in my use of these solutions at Alltel.

It’s Not a Game. It’s Gamification.

How Blueline Simulations is Creating New Levels of Learning Retention.

I try not to care about FourSquare. The simple location app, which my teenage daughter helpfully loaded onto my iPhone, encourages me to “check in” every time I go to Starbucks, to Kroger, or to the hip new restaurant downtown.

Help me. I can’t stop. Every time I check in somewhere, I earn points and am able to compare my activity against my friends. I even earn “badges” for dubious achievements such as “checking in at three places after midnight.” And it is a source of some kind of misplaced pride that I have been named “mayor” with the most check-ins at Nashville International Airport’s gate C-9.

Yes, I’m being self-deprecating. But the principles behind my behavior are no game. According to tech research firm Gartner, gamification techniques (like the ones I just described) will be used in 25% of all redesigned processes in business within the next few years.

The cynical view says this trend is little more than a trick of operant conditioning. (The rat presses the lever and a pellet comes out.) But gamification is much more than that. Employed strategically, it brings extraordinary levels of engagement to learning.

How? It does this through:

  • Play. Research is increasingly showing that play is a potent force in organizational contexts. Have you ever seen videos of adorable tiger cubs wresting with one another? This play is actually their primary avenue to learning key skills for hunting and survival. Freedom to experiment and joy are not techniques to enhance the learning process; they are the learning process.
  • Collaborative competition. How did I perform compared to Joe? Where do I rank compared to the rest of my team? In gamification, these questions are in no way cut throat. The stakes are bragging rights, and playful ribbing in the conference room.
  • Immediate feedback. One element common to most gamification techniques is a constant assessment of where one stands in the process of learning. This may be accomplished through badges, leaderboards, and other point-based mechanisms. When the boss tells employees how well they are advancing or regressing in their work, the result may be feelings of vulnerability.  When that feedback comes from an unbiased leaderboard, it is surprisingly engaging.

At Blueline Simulations, programs featuring gamification techniques have been transformative for our clients. In our next blog, we’ll take a look at how these technology-enable elements of play, competition, and feedback are leading to new levels of learner engagement.

Give us a call, and we’ll explore how gamification techniques can be used in your organization’s learning programs!

Learning Leaders are the Key to Reengaging a Disengaged Workforce

Your organization has much to contend with – uncertainty in the marketplace, changing customer behaviors, new technology, and employees that have disengaged.  That’s right – DISENGAGED.  The broad employee population may be thankful to have a job, but let’s face it, their focus has been challenged by the worst recession in three generations. In fact, research consistently shows that when employees are uncertain about the organization’s future, their productivity suffers. A lot of time and energy is lost as people discuss and worry about “what could happen.”

Active learning techniques such as simulations or learning visuals have been proven to engage more effectively than any other training medium. Now may be the time to refocus and reengage your workforce with one of these custom training solutions. Imagine the competitive advantage you could enjoy if all of your employees were focused on the critical success factors that your leadership has identified as the keys to achieving plan this year.

Many of our clients have enjoyed tremendous productivity boosts by utilizing our learning visuals (Blueline Blueprints) to facilitate their employee’s personal connection to the business imperative – why it matters, why it must happen now, the role that each of them must play, and the benefits to them collectively and individually.

In one of my favorite movie scenes of all time, Andrew Shephard (played by Michael Douglas), in The American President, chastises Bob Rumsfeld (played by Richard Dreyfuss), saying: “we have serious problems and we need serious people Bob, and your 15 minutes of fame is up.”  Given the current economic conditions, the role of the learning leader as business advocate is more critical than ever.  In the words of Andrew Shephard, “It’s time to stand up and support the business, the time for nice to haves is over.” If you are ready to lead, a custom simulation or learning visual may very well be the answer.

The Power of the Learning Visual

It doesn’t matter if you call it a Work Mat, Discovery Map, Learning Map or, as we do, a Learning Blueprint. I’m constantly in awe of the power of this medium to change attitudes and pass on knowledge. The solutions we develop utilizing learning visuals consistently garner comments such as “This is the best training experience I have ever had,” but more importantly show significantly enhanced learning retention and use.

So what makes this particular approach so powerful? Intellectually, it appeals to the visual, auditory and kinesthetic learner. Behaviorally, it creates high levels of engagement and interaction. Intuitively, the metaphor often used in the learning visual provides a “big picture” that draws all the content together in a meaningful way.

While these are certainly considerations when choosing to recommend a Learning Blueprint for our client, there is a fundamental reason for its impact: a well designed learning visual taps into the power of stories.

Stories are one of the oldest, and certainly one of the most basic ways that we learn. For most of human existence the primary way of passing on hard-earned lessons was through story telling. If it can be said there is a primal way we are hard-wired to learn, it would be through the power of stories.

What makes the learning visual a particularly powerful story medium is that the learner becomes a part of the story. Of course, a story line is often built into visual and experience, but the real power is that learners become both the storytellers and players in the story. Good design begets an experience in which each table builds its own story and each person has a role in that story. This taps into our natural inclination to internalize and remember stories. Retention and impact grow, because the story becomes personal, it becomes my story for each learner.