“Auditing firms must fully comprehend the industries of their clients,” said Walter E Jospin, Director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office. Or else they get fined for audit fraud and the firm suffers a loss in reputation!
This is one of many reasons why it is important that professional service firms, and anyone selling consultatively to their clients, understand their customer’s business. Ideally, you want those professionals to “walk a mile in the shoes” of their customers to really appreciate the issues and the tradeoffs faced by the industry and its members.
Experiential learning theory tells us that the most powerful way to have that experience is with simulation training that models the industry. Participants in the business simulation play the role of the executive leadership of a company in competition with other teams to create value for shareholders, satisfy customers and deliver results through engaged employees.
Well designed industry simulation training challenges participants at a strategic level to build and then execute a business plan over successive rounds of business simulation. At the end of each round, participants debrief their learning experience, and learning occurs at the individual, team, and group level through facilitated debrief of the key issues, ideas and learning points built into the experience.
Due to the competitive nature of the design, participants are highly engaged to better their performance in subsequent rounds and to be the best team. This fun factor increases retention.
The medium used for an industry business simulation can take several forms. At The Regis Company, we have formed an Industry Practice Area to leverage all technology platforms. At its simplest, a board game simulation can convey the essence of industry drivers and performance metrics through a tactile experience of moving coins, reading cards and moving gauges that capture outcomes. At the more complex end of the spectrum are computer-based simulations that offer more dynamic interplay and the integration of many variables.
You know you have done a good job of modeling the business when participants say things like “you must have worked in this industry” or a client says; “There’s nothing else out there that changes thinking patterns in such a short period of time”.
If you or your team want to walk in the shoes of your client via industry-specific simulation training, reach out to us.
Tim Reeves is Senior Director, Industry Practice Area at The Regis Company. Connect with him at email@example.com or on LinkedIn.