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Mar 18, 2010

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

Instructor, Caroline Bender
Weekend Campus: Simulation Exercise

Goal: Simulate corporate rollouts in a collapsed time frame, using creative role playing and minimal instruction.  By the end of the designated time period, each group will have launched their assigned project.  There is no prescribed time period for how long the launch itself should take.

Time frame: 8 hours
Once the exercise begins, the groups may set their own schedules of breaks, meals, and work.  Group members are not required to adhere to those schedules.

Group Roles:
1. Choose a Facilitator for your group to mediate discussion, track progress, and mitigate risks.
2. Choose a project Sponsor to be responsible for defining project goals such as business needs, customer requirements, market opportunity, and competitive intelligence.  Ask that person to sit out of your discussion for 20 minutes out of every 60.  The group Facilitator will be responsible for calling the Sponsor back into meetings.  The Sponsor may go wherever s/he chooses for those 20 minutes and is not required to be reachable by phone or email.

3.  Finally, choose another member of your group to play your Senior Executive. S/He should leave campus entirely.

The Facilitator will read the group's objective: "Design a program, product, campaign, or operation."   No further detail will be provided.

Choose a name for your organization and distribute labor among yourselves.  If desired, switch places with members of other groups in different roles after the project work begins.  You need not discuss this with your Facilitator ahead of time.

Determine what your personal area goals would be, keeping in mind that they may conflict with the goals of others.  You may choose to care about this.

When the Sponsor next joins the group, members will ask the questions which have been raised during your design discussion.  The Sponsor will present the name of a program, product, campaign or operation he has thought of during the preceding 20 minutes.  The group should alter their plans to suit that name. 

The remaining time with the Sponsor may be spent clarifying his/her idea, or arguing about how much time is left in the session. 

The Facilitator will present a progress report and a review of the plan to this point.  Tasks and timelines will be reiterated and small group or individual work may occur.  This can be a good time for group members to switch teams.  In that event, the Facilitator will re-convene the group and re-establish roles, responsibilities, and goals.  The Facilitator is also reminded to watch the time for the next checkpoint with the Sponsor.  Outlook can be helpful here.

When the Sponsor next joins the group, repeat the question/clarification process.  Ask the Sponsor to provide status on any tasks assigned to her/him while s/he was out of the room.

In advance of this step, the instructor will gather all of the Senior Executives into a small meeting room and explain what each group is launching, based entirely on any discussion or buzzwords s/he has managed to overhear during the course of the day.  The instructor may misrepresent some items, or assign them to the wrong groups, but the class should not worry too much about this.  The instructor should take care to excite each Senior Executives about the initiatives in his/her area.  When that has been done sufficiently, the executive group will rejoin the class.  Sponsors should only return according to their pre-set schedule.

The Senior Executive will join his/her group.  If the Sponsor is also present, the Sponsor will pitch the project.  If the Sponsor is not present, the Facilitator will pitch while the Executive asks about the Sponsor.

The Executive  will use the following formula to determine how to respond to the group's work.  Within the formula, the Executive may improvise the details of their response.  The desires and requests of the Executive are binding.

IF  xxxxx time remains in session, ask the group to.....

90+ minutes.....stigmatize or socialize
60 minutes...prioritize or exercise
30 minutes...monetize or productize
15 minutes...incentive or proselytize
5 minutes... globalise or localise

The first group to complete a full launch of their program, product, campaign or operation before the close of the session will be declared the leading global provider of enterprise solutions and may purchase the other groups.

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