Trivial Changes Produce Trivial Results
Recently I’ve been running a number of War Games with some interesting outcomes. I thought you would enjoy learning more about this powerful business tool!
For your information, while the military hones its strategies with role-playing simulations, a War Game is a fabulous way to understand business competitors.
What Is a Business War Game?
War gaming is a role-playing simulation of a competitive marketplace used either for general management training and team building or as a tool to explore and test competitive strategies for a specific firm to discover any weaknesses in a plan and to identify possible consequences of adopting such a plan.
Teams of players take roles and simulate the dynamics of a marketplace over a period of time. The idea is for participants to gain a perspective of the marketplace from outside their own firm.
Why You Need To Play War Games
If you want to gain genuine competitive advantage, you’ve got to do important things better than your competitors. War Games help you build competitive advantage in the highest-leverage function of all: thinking better than your competitors. War Games are about anticipating competitive moves before your rivals make them.
A War Game is a structured strategic exercise.
War Games allow you to understand unexplored or unforeseen strategic options. Most important, a war game will demonstrate to you the implications of your decisions months or years ahead.
Business War Games are an unconventional management tool. We draw on a wide range of business disciplines, including marketing, competitive strategy, competitive intelligence, and market research. We also draw from non-traditional disciplines such as social psychology, creativity, and innovation. A War Game identifies shortcomings in conventional management thinking, and provides real alternatives that work.
Two types of war games can be run for a business
The first uses a generic business scenario to educate managers generally in the process of strategic decision-making. It will put the participants in a safe environment in which they can experiment with radical thinking and gain confidence in their own decision-making capacity. The experience will also promote team building among the participants.
The second type of war game is tailored to the needs of a particular firm, mirroring its competitive environment in the war game setup. This type of war game is used to facilitate the firm’s strategic planning process. It may be run early in the planning process to indicate strategic directions or, alternatively, it may be run after the strategic plan has been formulated to test it for weaknesses and check what affect it is likely to have on the marketplace. Participants in this type of war game will also gain experience, which will build their confidence in decision making, same as with the generic war game. Similarly, a firm-specific war game will act as a team-building exercise.
You should consider a War Game when you are faced with:
- A threat from current competitors
- Imminent entry of new rivals
- Industry consolidation
- Change in the external environment
- A threat from a new technology or a similar discontinuity
Would you like to improve your strategies and outmaneuvre the competition? Please email me today with any questions or concerns. I am always happy to help.