Should participants go through a Business Simulation multiple times? – Third Times a Charm!

We’ve been building business simulations since 1994. We have long-term clients who we’ve worked with for 5, 10, 15, and 20 years. In several of our clients we are used for 101, 201, and 301-level curriculums that build business, financial, and leadership acumen.
When we have a longer-term client “relationship,” occasionally individuals will show up to our classes multiple times as they progress through their organization. When this happens, sometimes clients initially think that students should not be put through the class multiple times. Wrong! There are two reasons for this.

  1. You cannot learn everything in the first pass. A PriSim business simulation is complex. It requires at least 6-dimensional thinking: my company, my team, my customers, my plan, my competitors, and my results. It’s really difficult to master multi-dimensional thinking in a 2.5 day course. In a first pass through our simulations, you’ll likely wrestle with customers and company. During the second iteration, you’re comfortable with customers and company, freeing you up to begin to master competitors, plans, and financial results. If you’re lucky enough to get a third attempt, you fold in leadership, EQ, influencing, and getting the most out of your team.

    We can’t predict which dimension a specific individual works on during each pass of the simulation. This is adult learning and individuals fill their knowledge gaps in an order that is unique to them.

  2. The experience can be significantly different in each iteration – even though the simulation is essentially the same. At a recent class, a student who I’d taught 5 years before came to me and said, “This experience has been great. You’ve really changed the simulation significantly.” No, we hadn’t. Yes, there were minor software changes, but the simulation was essentially the same. He couldn’t believe it. What had changed was the agenda. She was now in a 201-level class where we weren’t emphasizing the basics. We were directing attention, guest speakers, and disruptors at more advanced topics (M&A, Balance Sheets, Communication Skills – read different dimensions of thinking). Essentially the same simulation engine, but a completely different experience. We’ve often said that a properly built business simulation is like a 10-pound learning experience put into a 5-pound box. There’s a lot to be discovered, it just depends on where you’re focused!

Finally, we frequently have participants tell me that they found MORE value in their second or third pass through the simulation. They found it more challenging and more rewarding because they were better prepared to handle all the dimensions of thinking that are required for great business results.