Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Yes it is. In a sense we were faced with the same question as you except our cost wasn’t only financial it was also about two years of unpaid development time invested into our business training simulations. The problem with a traditional slide presentation is only about 5% of adults learn best this way. We wanted better results, higher engagement, better retention and transfer of learning to the job. We feel you should strive for the same. Since adults learn best through experience it was logical to create an experiential learning process.
The reason we chose 1% is that we’ve never met an employee who doesn’t think they can improve 1%. It’s an achievable goal that doesn’t require additional resources. What shocks employees though is the multiplier effect of 1% changes. For example, a 1% improvement in margin with no change to other variables often improves net income by 20-75% in most businesses. In the real world it’s very difficult to see the effects of small changes because so many variables are changing simultaneously.
Money is the universal language of business. To a large degree it’s how you, your customers and suppliers all measure their effectiveness. Therefore, it seems somewhat ironic that most employees have a very limited working knowledge of this language. Most employees don’t need accounting/finance type skills because they may never look at financial statements and ratios but you need them to understand how they impact the financials and that’s where business and financial acumen skills come into play.
Some of the characteristics that make our business training simulations unique include:
- Experiential – research shows adults learn best through experience.
- No fixed outcomes – participants can experiment with multiple strategies. Many simulations have a limited choice of decisions and often predictable outcomes.
- Focus on daily decisions – makes the content immediately relevant
- Focus on next steps that can be immediately implemented
First we select the simulation that most closely resembles your business (sometimes we customize the simulation). Next we make connections to your business as we facilitate the simulation. Most important though is the applications exercise. This is a fully customized module using information from your business and aligned to your goals and objectives. As an outcome we identify simple improvement items that have a high probability of success and financial impact.
Because we focus on daily decisions most employees can literally apply the skills starting the next day. No project teams or budget dollars are required and we don’t add anything to their ‘To Do’ list. We’ve even seen a few employees find 1% before we even finished facilitating the program and we’ve seen examples of overall 1% margin improvements within 90 days. As a senior manager we only ask that you keep the message alive by periodically asking people how they’re doing at finding 1%.
Although returns vary by organization and dependent on the focus of the applications exercise some of the more common themes include one or more of the following:
- Improved margins
- Managing assets more effectively
- Reduced expenses and cost of goods sold
Enhanced business acumen skills accomplish four things for the employee/business.
- It allows you to more effectively leverage profit drivers and plug profit leaks.
- It engages employees to take immediate action to improve results.
- It enables you to better compete in an increasingly competitive world.
- It aligns employee actions with senior management goals and shareholder needs.