- Navigating difficult conversations with direct reports on potentially uncomfortable topics
- Facilitating effective coaching conversations based on identified needs and goals
- Developing and deepening relationships through coaching
- Engaging, influencing and motivating people with differing perspectives, preferences, and communication styles
- Creating collaborative solutions within a competitive environment
Back in 2010, David Milliken and I engaged in a spirited debate here in this blog. We explored whether skill practice through eSimulations was as effective as live role-play in a classroom.
As a quick recap, I argued that there are important aspects of live role-play that could not be replicated in an eSimulation. These include live coaching on non-verbal aspects of the learner’s delivery such as voice-tone, pace and body language.
David, on the other hand, correctly pointed out some of the problems with live role-plays that eSimulations address better. These include the challenges of extreme variability in the delivery of the “other player,” such as people “playing extreme hard-ball,” or just not taking their role seriously and thus depriving the learner of a real opportunity to practice the skills.
So today, I am calling a truce with my old friend David Milliken. What if you could have a role-play with the consistency of experience of a well-designed eSimulation… without sacrificing the individualized feedback and coaching of a live classroom?
Today we are proud to present a solution that does exactly that. Introducing Management Challenge™.
Management Challenge™ delivers a vivid learning experience that parallels the real experiences faced by every manager you know. Working as a table team, your learners are quickly drawn into a computer-based simulation in which they must run a fictional organization for three consecutive quarters.
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?
Here’s how it works. Learners rotate turns in the role of a Director, a Senior Manager, and a Manager in the fictional organization. When acting as Director, they will delegate actual projects to the team. As Senior Manager, they must assign resources and plan for how the work will get done. And as Managers, they must assign virtual employees to the projects while managing and motivating them. The decisions they make impact not only the performance of the organization over time, but also the opportunities and challenges they as a team will face later in the simulation. And of course, they are competing with the teams at other tables for the best business results at the end of the year. So energy and engagement are high!
Okay, so what about that “you can have it both ways” role-play? Management effectiveness is just as much about communication as it is about decision-making. So throughout the simulation, Managers are faced with situations in which they must meet with individual employees. This is where the magic blend happens.
The virtual employees are presented in video clips. This ensures a consistent delivery, and that core concepts are addressed, thus leveraging an advantage of typical eSimulations.
But what makes this design so effective is that the role player monitors the dialogue and selects the next response for the virtual employee based on what the Manager says – thus ensuring the most realistic dialogue possible. And here is where the benefits of live role-play kick in. The Senior Manager takes coaching notes to provide feedback not only on what was said by the Manager, but also how it was delivered. Some teams even opt to provide real-time feedback during the dialogue to allow the Manager to make on-the-spot adjustments and rapid improvements.
What do learners think of this approach? Well, to be honest, at first they react like learners do whenever they hear the words role-play or skill-practice – they groan! But, after the first round of practice they become immediately immersed in the low-risk environment, and they recognize the real opportunity to improve. Frankly, they can’t get enough.
Now, the blended role-play is just one of the unique and innovative aspects behind the highly engaging and powerful learning experience of Management Challenge™. We’d love to show you more.
The Bersin Learning Leaders‘ program is designed to identify the very best in organizational learning and talent management. The program’s goal is not just to provide awards – but to recognize organizations which are driving high-value solutions based on business strategies. Bersin’s focus is on the use of benchmark criteria based on years of in-depth study across all areas of learning and talent management.
The program categories cover six major areas of learning and talent solutions, and encompass the key ways that organizations can drive value:
- Operational Training and Development Excellence
- Leadership Development Excellence
- Learning and Talent Initiative Excellence
- Learning and Talent Technology Excellence
- Learning Organization and Governance Excellence
- Vendor Innovation in Learning and Talent Management
The 2010 Learning Leaders represent the very best of enterprise learning and talent management with high impact on the business. Our Client, Booz Allen Hamilton, was announced as the winner of the Learning and Talent Initiative Excellence for the work that we did with them to create a positive new hire experience.