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Listening from the Inside

What was a novel idea just a few short years ago has become one of the most popular services Blueline Simulations offers. It’s called the Voice of the Business – a five-step needs assessment that secures buy-in and commitment by mining insights from inside your business.

Yes, you read that right: from inside your business. In other words, from the hearts and minds of your most valuable asset: your employees. After all, who better to dish on the rights and the wrongs, the opportunities and the obstacles, the issues and the innuendos than those who experience the inner workings of your organization each and every day. Their viewpoint from the inside looking out is priceless – and free for the asking!

What is your organization’s greatest challenge?
Our client engagements always begin with a clearly identified business need. Do you need to:

Whether one of the needs listed above hits the nail on the head or you have a completely different issue in mind, Blueline’s Voice of the Business needs assessment can unlock and harness insights from inside your business in ways you never thought possible – putting you on the fast track to addressing that need. And although those insights are sometimes surprising and even unsettling at the outset, we’re committed to working with you to make them both empowering and transforming for the long haul.

In next week’s blog, I’ll outline the five-step process we use to ensure our Voice of the Business needs assessment leads to the transformative change your organization is looking for.

In the meantime, I invite you to contact us to learn more about any of our business acumen options, 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.

eSimulations: Are You Up to the Challenge?

In my last blog, I outlined the merits of eSimulations and explored some compelling reasons why recent advances have made them more effective than live role-play. In short, today’s eSimulations:

  • Can now contain hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of video-based nodes, meaning they can accurately reflect small changes in tone and language.
  • Deliver a consistent experience for every user, eliminate the variability inherent in a live human role-player and can be scored in such a way that they eliminate rater (coach) bias.
  • Provide significantly more practice opportunities than classroom-based live-role play.

So yes, it’s a great time to consider (or reconsider) bringing eSimulations into your training and development curriculum. Blueline Simulations would be proud to partner with you to find the perfect fit for your organization.

Look before you leap

What if this all sounds good, but your organization isn’t quite ready to make the leap all the way into “intelligent” eSimulations? That’s where Management Challenge™ comes in.

Management Challenge™ offers many of the same benefits in a hybrid solution that utilizes technology to enhance the live role-player experience. It delivers a role-play with the consistency of experience of a well-designed eSimulation that’s responsive to managers in the age of social media and engagement… yet doesn’t sacrifice the individualized feedback and coaching of a live classroom.mgmt-challenge-questions

Working in table teams, learners are quickly drawn into a computer-based simulation in which they must run a fictional organization for three consecutive quarters. They compete to deliver the highest return on human resources by identifying, motivating, coaching and developing talent.

Along the way, they face realistic challenges such as:

  • How do I allocate my resources most effectively across multiple projects?
  • How do I increase employee engagement?
  • How do I handle conflict among coworkers?
  • How do I develop my people – both through assignments and through coaching?

Management Challenge™ delivers a vivid learning experience that parallels the real experiences faced by every manager you know.

I invite you to contact us to learn 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.

eSimulations: Has Live Role-Play Met Its Match?

It’s a common belief that, for all of their plusses, the big minus with eSimulations is their inability to discern nonverbal communication. And with research showing the significant role tone of voice and body language play in human communication, that’s a very big minus.esims-more-effective

Recent advances, however, have changed that. In fact, for many applications, today’s eSimulations are more effective than live role-play on every level. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • Level 4 eSimulations (using a rules-based gaming engine) are extremely realistic. Now that developers can create hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of video-based nodes, eSimulations can accurately reflect small changes in tone and body language. Throw in the use of voice recognition, and you have an unparalleled user experience!
  • eSimulations deliver a consistent experience for every user. Notice that I didn’t say the same That wouldn’t be accurate because, in theory, depending on the number of nodes, hundreds could face the same choices and have the same opportunities, but because of the decisions they make, have a completely unique experience. eSimulations eliminate the variability inherent in a live human role-player and can be scored in such a way that they eliminate rater (coach) bias as well.
  • eSimulations can provide significantly more practice opportunities than classroom-based live-role play. For each live role-play, you need to engage two people and optimally three, who often then rotate roles. In the same or less time, all three people could accomplish three rounds of practice each, and probably more, through eSimulation.

That said, eSimulations still aren’t for everyone – primarily because of price. While development costs have dropped dramatically as developers have improved processes and tools, the relative value of this technology is still dictated by the volume of users who can benefit. While some off-the-shelf solutions can serve small numbers of users cost effectively, custom applications typically need an audience of 100 or more users to be cost effective.

I invite you to contact us to learn 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.

Practice Doesn’t Always Make Perfect

Why Training from Day One Just Makes Sense

We’ve all heard the expression “practice makes perfect.” When I was young, my dad would provide me with all kinds of objects of curiosity to keep me active, help me learn discipline and (most of the time) test my resolve. My first BB gun, a set of weights, baseball bats/gloves and footballs all were handed to me with instruction from dad to “get out there, use these things, and get good at them.”day1training

Now picture yourself at eight, nine or even 49… and someone simply hands you something to do and tells you to go out and get good at it. Don’t get me wrong, my dad was a great man and meant well, but it was near impossible to succeed without basic instruction and direction, encouragement when I succeeded and consequences when I didn’t.

Each of us has witnessed firsthand the results of self-directed instruction without skill or discipline. Schools and businesses are littered with self-proclaimed experts in skills untested. Employees are placed into jobs with some preparation, but not always tested or incentivized to perfect their trade, service or skill. We rock along looking for performance, and performance doesn’t come. When performance doesn’t come, the employee and employer become frustrated and perhaps disengaged. They try “emergency room” triage education and encouragement, then move to minor – and sometimes major – surgery (i.e., classes, seminars, coaches and mentors). More often than not, it’s too late.

Blueline Simulations offers a variety of blended learning solutions to give your employees the skills and strategies they need to succeed from the beginning… thereby avoiding frustration, disengagement and the need to backpedal in an effort to get things on the right track. For you, this means your strategic goals are being pursued. For your employees, it means added competence and confidence to meet those goals.

Our engaging curriculum includes immersive onboarding experiences that engage and prepare new hires for success from day one – a move that could save your organization millions of dollars. We also offer leadership development for new leaders and business transformation for organizations that want to set their employees up for success through change.

I invite you to contact us to learn more about any of our business acumen options, 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.

Going for Gold: Strengthening Your Teams Through Business Acumen

Although the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil are just a memory now, most of us saw some (or in my wife’s case, “all”) of the games. From the opening to the closing two weeks later, there was plenty of excitement and pride for both the athletes and the fans.employees-excited2

Interestingly enough, while all 11,000 participants were athletes, they all have very different skill sets, abilities and talents. Golfers play their own game, but some are much better than others – or are further advanced in their skills. Soccer players have different positions, requiring them to have slightly different skills, yet they’re all on the same team and complement each other with their abilities.

Business is much the same way. Each department, function, region or work segment is a vital part of the whole. All employees receive fundamental education or training before participating in specialized education/training that provides the competence and confidence to do their jobs and contribute to the good of the entire company.

So how important is it for your employees to understand your entire business? How deep should you go in your organization to get them to understand “your business” or business in general?

Believe it or not, if you want to get your employees excited about your business, provide them with knowledge about how it works – and link that to how valuable they are in each role.

You might say, “This all sounds good, but I can’t afford to put all of my employees through a course on business acumen.” Fair enough, but how about those who lead your employees? If your leaders were equipped with business acumen at a level they could appreciate, then they could answer the hard questions and provide guidance to help employees understand how the business works.

Blueline Simulations’ suite of business acumen courses includes:

ALL EMPLOYEES

Apples and Oranges – Business finance and strategy for employees at all levels Performance – Marketplace strategy for all employees

FIRST- AND SECOND-LEVEL LEADERS & INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS

Decision Base®

Business finance and strategy for managers of your manufacturing or distribution organization

Tango™

Business finance and strategy for managers of your service-driven organization

Business Challenge™

Online business finance and strategy for managers and individual contributors

HIGH POTENTIALS AND SENIOR LEADERS

Executive Challenge™

Business finance and strategy for executives and high potentials

Enterprise™

Market analysis and positioning for managers and executives

I invite you to contact us to learn more about any of our business acumen options, 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.

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