business acumen simulation

Two Perspectives: Business Simulations in Today’s Learning Environment (Part 3 of 4)

Posted by Paradigm Learning on August 12, 2020

In this four-part series, Robb Gomez, COO of Paradigm Learning and Rob Brodo, CEO of Advantexe respond to interview questions about the use of simulations in today’s changing corporate learning environment. Advantexe and Paradigm are currently partnering to develop an asynchronous digital business acumen simulation, Zodiak Pro, due to launch this fall.   

Question: Why are simulations effective in developing business acumen?    

Robb Gomez   

Business acumen is a combination of financial literacy and business (strategic) literacy. It has been recognized as a critical leadership competency by organizations for many years. Today, with so much business change, financial turmoil, and the need to keep employee and customer engagement high, it is even more critical.  

Simulations can make it faster and easier to get learners comfortable with financial terms and concepts and to grasp the financial impact of strategies and decisions on bottom-line success. A simulation, for example, can ask the learner(s) to run a company, analyze information, and make decisions. Those decisions then show up as results on income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.   

 Whether delivered in a live classroom, virtual classroom, or as an asynchronous digital simulation, learning simulations that are fun, involving, realistic, and connected to the learners’ experiences can get them to understand the “business of the business” quickly and effectively.  

Rob Brodo 

Executives and business leaders are constantly complaining to their HR business partners that the people within their organizations don’t have enough “business acumen.” Business acumen to them means the ability to make the best business decisions that drive the execution of the strategy and achieves the stated goals and objectives of the business. 

“Traditional” methods of teaching business acumen simply do not work in 2020. The expectations of learners are greater, and their need to immediately apply new concepts is stronger than ever as well. Simulations are the perfect instruments for providing learners with the ability to understand and develop the capabilities needed to understand strategy, measure strategy through financial results, and create alignment throughout all the functions of a business organization. 

By taking control of a simulated company, learners immediately understand both the big picture and the levers that need to be pulled in order to drive results. And the beauty of a simulation-centric learning experience is that this process is accelerated. Over and over again, I have witnessed learners with almost no comprehension of business acumen prior to the simulation experience come out of it literally sounding like a corporate CFO because they have been immersed in the concepts and are able to learn-by-doing. 

Continue to part 4 of the series: Why an Asynchronous Business Acumen Business Simulation? 


Part 1: How do simulations fit into our current learning and development landscape? 

Part 2: What design elements are especially important in an asynchronous simulation? 

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