Develop project simulators — Avoiding the Experience Trap

NOTE: 11th post of a series on an HBR article by Prof. Kishore Sengupta, et al on The Experience Trap

I’ve gotten stacked up w/ life and work, time to close out this topic.  We’ve started to look closely at how to put together more effective training for seasoned managers.

It is, however, possible to construct artificial environments that can be managed so that complexity does not overwhelm learning….  Appropriately constructed “flight simulators” can play a similar role in project management, as virtual worlds for training and immersion.

The flight simulator metaphor gets beyond our current approach to complex learning: role play.  Role plays turn out to be too artificial, there is little of the pressure to perform because the scenarios are often contrived or hokey.  Hard to learn when you’re suppressing smirks and giggles. 

The most effective approach I’ve seen in role play was at McDonald’s, where senior managers would step in and play the role of the aggreived customer.  It put pressure on the participants, reinforced the seriousness of the role play, and demonstrated the commitment of senior leaders to the training.

The article makes a final point about simulations: that they give one the capability to move managers around the organization with more confidence.

Since knowledge has a situation… or company-specific aspect, each time managers change companies or work contexts they need to learn about…which factors drive productivity or quality.

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3 Responses

  1. […] number of the concepts behind The Business Value Game (post here, game here).  Of course, I love learning through simulation (entire Complexity Set […]

  2. […] long-time Crossderry readers know, I’m a big fan of simulations. We had great experience with them at SAP. As McKinsey notes, they are about the only way “to […]

  3. […] long-time Crossderry readers know, I’m a big fan of simulations. We had great experience with them at SAP. As McKinsey notes, they are about the only way “to […]

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