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developing the team through simulation

case 1: senior management team, large higher education establishment

aim:

To build participants’ strategic and financial awareness; to improve their working together and overall team performance. To identify key issues and frame possible solutions.


task:

  • Agreeing objectives and process with Vice Chancellor.
  • Briefing meeting with Finance Director.
  • Identification of key issues facing the institution.
  • Adaption of university financial model to replicate the client institution.
  • Design of two day workshop program and associated material.

the workshop:

This extended over two days plus an introductory meeting. Participants worked in groups of 4/5. The simulation comprised the running of the university over a year, with regular ‘in-tray’ issues arising during the year. The simulation model was based closely on the financial position of the real university and the issues which arose were similar to those typically or potentially faced. Regular reviews were held and in the final session. Participants were able to relate their experience over the two days to actual management practice and future business planning



the story:

Participants varied greatly in their level of financial and strategic understanding, but all gained much greater insight into the parameters and influencers of financial performance, and the nature and timings of operational and capital cash flows. Strategies for dealing with real issues were rationalised, and the program had the side effect of explaining the reasons and thinking behind previous decisions.


The program also showed the value of the team getting away from individually dealing with operational decisions to acting as a collective to objectively plan for the longer term.