Why Simulation-Based Training Enhances Leadership Skills

If you want to hone a skill or excel at something, learning by doing is a must.

While hands-on experience is essential for developing leadership skills, gaining that type of valuable experience doesn’t just need to happen at the office or in the boardroom. Simulation-based training is another way to enhance leadership skills, and professionals interested in sustainability and green business practices can find that type of training in an online program at UVM.

The UVM Leading Sustainable Innovation Professional Certificate is an eight-week online leadership program designed for those interested in incorporating environmental sustainability into their business decisions.

Most leadership programs emphasize content first and present it in a prescribed order that might include a simulation exercise. In UVM’s new online sustainable certificate program, the opposite approach is used, emphasizing the simulation as a leadership “practice field” and using content to support it.

“The simulation exercise helps participants practice new leadership behaviors in a realistic but safe environment. They can take risks, fail, and try again in ways that would be difficult on the job—similar to the way a sports team uses a practice field,” says program instructor Matt Mayberry, founder of the consulting firm WholeWorks, whose client roster includes major brands such as Nike, Dow Corning, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts. “This kind of training bridges the gap between classroom training and the business world in an environment that’s both supportive and very real.”

9 Benefits of Simulation-Based Training in UVM’s Online Sustainable Certificate Program

Participants in the sustainable certificate program will create solutions to complex problems as they work toward becoming a more sustainably-minded organization. Simulation teams include management and stakeholder roles that face compelling scenarios, challenges, and tensions.

Here are some of the benefits of simulation-based training:

The Training is Emotionally Engaging: To recreate the same kind of management challenges and pressures that business leaders experience in real life, UVM uses varied media, such as videos, documents, reports, to introduce strategic dilemmas that raise the stakes and create realistic tensions across roles.

Why it benefits you: This is an experience that “sticks.” Additionally, the simulation provides an excellent practice field for building emotional intelligence, including self-awareness and interactions with others.

UVM Uses a Realistic Model: Using a highly sophisticated modeling approach known as systems dynamics, UVM’s simulation includes thousands of variables and the cause-and-effect feedback relationships to reproduce realistic business behavior.

Why it benefits you: Participants learn by doing in an environment that responds like real life.

Participants Experience Team Learning: The simulation is designed to build collaboration and teamwork skills in a complex environment. Participants learn that their results are only as good as the quality of their team decision-making.

Why it benefits you: Participants learn how to work more productively with others to develop better long-term business solutions.

Learn about Stakeholder Roles: In addition to management roles, each simulation team includes three critical stakeholder roles—corporate, NGO manager and government—bringing a more diverse set of perspectives to the experience and heightening the tensions.

Why it benefits you: Participants learn to work with a more varied set of perspectives to find innovative business solutions.

Understand Distributed Learning: Learning by doing—the kind that changes behavior—requires multiple tries, experiencing some failures, and having the chance to adjust and see the results. The simulation experience includes multiple rounds of decision-making and allows time between each round to reflect on results and reconsider one’s approach.

Why it benefits you: Experiential learning changes behavior.

Gain a Business Eco-System View: Most business simulations include the core functions of the business, with social and environmental systems represented by external factors. UVM’s simulation model incorporates these social, environmental, and community systems as an integral part of the model. The duration of the simulation is 20 years, meaning that the long-term consequences of feedback loops within the business eco-system can be experienced.

Why it benefits you: Participants gain insights into the broader social, environmental, long-term impacts of their business decisions.

Explore Industry Disruption: UVM includes a scenario in which the industry undergoes a significant disruption. Teams must invest in emerging technologies and make smart capital and human investments to transform the business in ways that are both profitable and sustainable.

Why it benefits you: Participants build change agility as they balance “new” and “old” business models during a challenging transition phase.

Drill into Rich Data, Triple Bottom Line Results: The output reports from the simulation contain a wealth of information about the impact of the team’s decisions on the business eco-system. Participants can drill into triple bottom line results (people, profit, planet) at multiple depths with Key Performance Indicators, dashboards, and detailed reports.

Why it benefits you: Participants learn how to incorporate triple bottom line results into their business decision-making.

Receive Guidance from a Professional Team: Each team has a professional facilitator who will answer questions about the simulation, support team development, and challenge teams to think more deeply about their decisions or results. UVM’s approach is unique by allowing teams to choose their own path and learn by doing—often by making mistakes. At the same time, program facilitators typically have two decades or more experience guiding challenging team simulations. They know how to intervene only as necessary to avoid distractions and ensure that valuable learning opportunities aren’t missed or glossed over.

Why it benefits you: The team owns their learning process and, as a result, own their insights.

Participants in the UVM Leading Sustainable Innovation Professional Certificate will reap all of these benefits by working in diverse teams and generating novel solutions to complex problems as they transform their organization into a sustainable business.

Register for the UVM Leading Sustainable Innovation Professional Certificate