Well-designed business games and simulations are truly a world apart from simplistic team building games and activities.
These higher-level approaches are far more sophisticated and complex approaches that are designed with robust theoretical underpinning. They are also designed to draw out quite specific team and leadership behaviours as part of a broader leadership or team development package.
Quite often business games and simulations are heavily tailored and even created from scratch to meet specific client briefs to address a particular business team, scenario or crisis.
We also regularly package business games and simulations with individual and team profiling tools to ensure that insights captured during the process have better scope for ongoing learning and follow-through into day to day work scenarios. Our preferred model is the Belbin Team Role Model that enables us to look at not just individual strengths and weaknesses, but also those of the total team.
Combining profiling with pre-event diagnostics enables better tailoring of the activity to suit the needs of each team. Profiles also offer far better scope for indepth de-briefs that will have more powerful meaning and deliver inescapable conclusions about what biases may actually exist within a team (particularly a strong-willed senior leadership team).
Creative themes can be used, but it is critical that where themes are incorporated into business games that there is also adequate depth and relevance within the theme itself to match the day to day challenges of those leaders or teams.
For example our Battlespace. When in Rome or Silk Road approaches all have wonderfully engaging themes, but each theme serves as a rich seam for metaphors and links to real-world issues and scenarios from a behavioural perspective.
Genuine business oriented team building games and simulations can serve as wonderful learning tools, but it is imperative that they are of sufficient quality and sophistication to match the lessons learned to a business context.