Simulation Exercise Design for Managerial and/or Leadership Performance Competence

Simulation Exercise Design for Executives. What is management and what is leadership?

In my book Management Areas of Performance I “frame” them using the L-C-S Framework: Leadership – Core – Support – of Areas of Performance (AoPs).

AoPs are used to align/link to higher levels such as: Processes/ Functional Owner/ Business Unit-Division Owner.

And AoPs are used for alignment/linkage to lower levels, such as the: Outputs/ Tasks/ Roles & Responsibilities.

And AoPs align/link over to: enabling awareness/ knowledge/ skills – and to other enabling human variables and other enabling environmental assets.

That merely frames the data-sets. All to better understand a Performance Context and leverage what is necessary and appropriate to both sustain and improve performance for ROI.

Without getting into the entire Design – I offer this example set of Design Review Graphics for the SIMULATION Exercise portion of an Executive Development instructional systems design.

I have been designing Simulation Exercises since the late 1970s – and they seldom have involved computers – unless as a data processing tool – for I always have simulated the real work activities of the Target Audience – with “as high of a fidelity factor” as feasible given the deployment strategy and means. To convey the lesson’s learning intent (instructional/learning objectives).

I have designed and then developed (along with business partners and our staff) SIMULATION EXERCISES for product managers, supervisors dealing with progressive discipline in a union environment, sales managers, service managers, Integrated-Product-Development Team Leaders, in-bound call center sales/service reps, B2B call center financial case agents, and the top-tier executives for a F500 firm to name a few.

The following has been generalized to a TMC example. TMC is my “case company” for showing real world examples of outputs of the PACT Processes.

The goal was to deliver a 2-day program to the top executives and get them thinking about the types of leadership changes necessary to protect and improve the business.

Here are some example “slides” from the larger Design Review presentation for the clients in the MCD – Phase 3 Gate Review Meeting of the Project Steering Team.

I would typically use a “building-graphics” approach, first showing the middle-blue column, then the green column, and then the yellow column as a overviewed the framework of the design. Beginning- Middle-End. Open-Body-Close. Pre-Forum/Forum/Post-Forum.

The really big deal about the instructional design was the 3 SIMULATION EXERCISES buried in the Forum itself. They started on day 1 and continued into day 2.

The SIMULATION EXERCISES are always, simply a vehicle to engage the learner into applying what they are being taught via reading and lectures and discussions and debates. Apply in a “simulated performance context” that the Facilitator can “draw the real-world parallels back to my job” for everyone – and then again link back to how this applies for everyone in the Simulation Exercise Debrief.

Expectations of the Participants need to be managed – for the real world issues can’t be fully addressed in the abbreviated time frames of a group paced learning session.

The SIMULATION EXERCISE itself existed within a series of instructional and informational content that we mapped for the client review session – the Gate Review Meeting of PACT.

– continued –

The Participants would be organized into a number of super teams – each with that group further subdivided into Red, Green and Blue Teams. This design was originally done for a single session for over 250 executives. This is how we “divided-and-conquered” that one. Many groups of three-teams. And three case studies/rounds so that each could get a turn as the Red Team and the Green Team and the Blue Team.

BTW- the RED TEAM is the team for active, focused learning, and the other two teams get learning from a less active role. Or as Thiagi has said: All learning happens in the debriefing.

So we have that in the design details as well: a formal, structured debriefing. Where the “lessons learned/experiences shared” could be inspected, disected, discussed and debated as necessary. But quickly. Just as executives have to do with most issues on their collective agenda week-in-week-out.

The 3 Business Cases/ Business Scenarios/ Rounds of the Simulation Exercise allowed each participant to sit in the hot, medium and cool seats in the Simulation – the RED-Green-Blue team seats. See graphic above.

The 3 Cases…

Each Round was structured as follows…

I’ve been using Datapaks since the early 1980s as the “device” that conveys all of the “stuff” needed to role play and/or do the other assigned tasks (observe to then report out) of the Simulation Exercise – for each person/role. Specific instructions as if they were actors in a play. Taking them collectively to some “point of departure” – where the training wheels come off and they solo.

And then see what develops.

Here we had 3 teams rotating between the three major Simulation Role-sets…using 3 Cases…and we built 9 distinct Datapaks. 3 for Round 1. 3 for Round 2. 3 for Round 3. All guided – to a point – by their Datapak.

Each Datapak is tightly structured for ease of the learner/Performer “learning how to use this thing” – consistency and logic – and ALWAYS repeats the instructions that the Facilitator outlined and took questions on. Just in case.

Beyond the Datapak structure…the types of Datapak contents…

Why use a Simulation? See below.

In my designs it would show up in the “Appo” column of the Lesson Map. The Lesson Map of Instructional Activities – as a Simulation Exercise is simply one of the options for an Application (Appo).

Could this design have been used for a deployment method other than Facilitator-led? Could it have been used for Synchronous Online Learning? Yes.

For a blend of formal F2F, Synchronous and A-Synchronous Elearning and some informal research and network tapping? Sure.

Or did I need to be an Avatar interacting with other Avatars? I don’t think so. Not yet.

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