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Strategic Business Management:
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Strategic Business Management
How you can develop ďgeneral managerĒ awareness and thinking in your middle managers!

The Need

As competition for customers, market share and profitability grows more intense, understanding what makes an organization effective and which levers to pull to improve financial performance becomes more and more important. Fortunately, research on high performing companies has found that they consistently develop leaders at all levels in the organization. The conclusion is clear: Leadership is the key to an effective organization, and it is also the key lever for change. However, that leadership has to be aligned to realize the maximum benefit from its capabilities.

In todayís flatter, leaner organizations (which nonetheless still contain functional stove pipes) developing leaders with a broad understanding of organizational dynamics and interdependencies is increasingly difficult. There are several reasons for this. First, many of the developmental jobs that high potential people once rotated through were a victim of leanness. Second, the pace of change has accelerated. And, finally, the bar is higher today, and the stakes are greater.

Our Strategic Business Management Program can help you bridge this leadership gap. Our program combines a dynamic computer simulation of a business firm with some of the best learning materials on change and business strategy available today. We present these in an interesting and challenging learning environment, which also enables us to focus on team dynamics. With support materials and exercises tailored to your organization, participants can focus on the keys to long term success in your business and your levers for change.

Program Description

The Business Simulation

We simulate a small firm that manufactures and sells medicine. This firm is in a period of crisis: It has just been taken over by a larger firm, its founder is dead, and its leadership ranks are thin. Moreover, it is on the verge of losing money and has a number of problems with its product line, its productivity and innovation. Currently the firm is without a general manager. Thatís where the participants come in. They are assigned the task of turning this enterprise around and developing it into a larger and more profitable company in three to four years. The participants play the simulation in teams of four to eight people. Each takes on functional responsibility for manufacturing, sales or a staff function. Collectively they are the general manager of the division. As in real life, they are overwhelmed with detail yet must address key questions such as:

What is the vision for the future? Which strategies will lead to success?
What are challenging but reachable goals? What should we measure to track progress?
Where do we focus? What is the best way to manage the people side of the business?

Our computer business simulation is complex and challenging, with many variables the team has to manage. There are no right or wrong answers in the simulation. Each team can win by meeting or beating their goals, which can be set against historical benchmarks. Teams can-and do-fail. Either because they didnít work effectively as a team, did not figure out a winning strategy, or were not particularly good at translating that strategy into an implementation plan.

The instructor acts as process consultant during the simulation, helping the teams discover and think through a process that will lead to success.

The Content and Application:

Key concepts from leading authorities on successful organizations, strategy, change and teams will be introduced throughout the program. Participants will be asked to do a good deal of pre-work to prepare for the workshop, in particular, listening to audio-tape books associated with the program. There is flexibility as to which exercises and authors to use, allowing the program to be made consistent with other management development programs and the firmís strategy and business philosophy.

The program incorporates ideas and materials from the following authors:

Collins - Good to Great Hamel, Prahalad - Competing for the Future.
Heskett, et. al. - The Service Profit Chain. Kotter - Leading Change.
Smith, Katzenbach - The Wisdom of Teams. Treacy, Wiersema - The Discipline of Market Leaders.
Bossidy, Charan - Execution The Experiences of Southwest Airlines - Nuts

The material will be productively anchored to reality by exercises that get participants to apply the lessons of the simulation to your current business situation. The workshop can be made even more immediately relevant by having business executives and strategic planning experts in the firm make appropriate presentations.

The workshop is typically run as four-day workshops. Typically the workshop is held off-site. It is a very intensive learning experience. Given the nature of the workshop, class size can approach 32 with no loss of program quality or impact. Different configurations of the workshop are possible, depending on client needs.

Program Goal

Specifically for organizational leaders who need to understand how the parts of an organization contribute to the effectiveness of the whole, the program is designed to develop a broad understanding of Strategy, Change, Organizational Effectiveness, Teams, and Profitability.

How Is This Program Different?

There are significant differences between the Strategic Business Management Program and other management development programs on the market.

  • The Strategic Business Management Program is almost entirely experiential. There is no simplistic model that tells participants how to successfully run the simulated company. Rather, just as in real life, there are multitudes of ideas to be considered. Managers have to find their own way to succeed, with the help of a processs.
  • This computer-based program allows managers to experiment with running a business, with no risk to the organization.
  • Because of the challenges, competition against standards, and feedback on performance, it makes learning interesting and rewarding.
  • It can provide a great platform for communicating and understanding the thinking behind your firmís strategy, helping to create alignment.

Key Objectives

The program is structured for participants to achieve specific objectives within each of the five areas of emphasis.

  1. Strategy
    • Understand the basic concepts of leading strategic thinkers and apply them to the simulation and their business units or enterprise.
    • Learn what alignment with strategy really means by planning the implementation of their strategy in the simulation.
    • Understand how a balanced scorecard helps achieve strategy by developing and using one effectively in the simulation.
  2. Change
    • Understand the change process and identify their place in it as they try to turn around the simulated organization.
    • Understand the basic levers of change and how to use them in the simulation and on the job.
  3. Organizational Effectiveness
    • Understand the keys to organizational success, as determined by research into successful companies.
    • Understand how to diagnose an organizationís effectiveness, and apply that knowledge to the simulated case.
  4. Teams
    • Understand what makes an effective team and how to measure team effectiveness.
    • Develop better understanding of team effectiveness by monitoring and discussing their own effectiveness as a team.
  5. Profitability
    • Understand what factors impact profitability in a firm, and diagnose the profitability problems in the simulated case.
    • Understand the difference between leading and lagging indicators so they can effectively measure progress toward successful implementation of strategy.

Benefits of the Program

The main benefits to your organization from this program will be better developed managers and leaders. Each participant will leave the program with greatly improved managerial insight and the ability to handle these key intellectual challenges:

  • Appreciate strategic issues and better understand organizational dynamics.
  • Align with their own organizationís strategy and change initiatives.
  • Comprehend your organizationís strategy and implementation challenges.
  • See the big picture and better understand their role in it.

Partnering With Internal Staff

Partnering is encouraged and welcomed. We feel this often makes for a more effective program. A good internal staff person will help reinforce the messages of the program continuously and will provide linkage to other initiatives to develop managers. This person can either assume a co-leader role in the workshop or help arrange executive speakers for the workshops, or do both.


There is a fixed cost for each participant, with a minimum fee based on 16 participants. The fixed cost includes one instructor, instructor preparation and a moderate amount of tailoring of the program and materials to the client organization. Program customization can include changing the flow of the workshop, substituting more applicable support materials, and some editing of materials to meet client needs. Any revisions not covered by the basic fee will be discussed with you before work is begun. Call 215-369-0088 for current fees.

Participant reactions from a recent public workshop

"As an HR professional we are continually challenged to not only know HR, but also to be a business partner. The Strategic Business Management workshop was an eye opening hands-on program that blended strategy with tactics in the best team based simulation I have ever seen."

Pete Noble, VP of Human Resources, Prudential Retirement Services.

"I found the Strategic Business Management Workshop to be one of the most practical and useful seminars that I have attended. Not only did we discuss beneficial and progressive business management principles, but these were reinforced by the PC-based simulation. I would definitely recommend business leaders attendance at this seminar."

Robert Daniels CPP, PHR, Major Account HR Product Specialist, Automatic Data Processing

"I found this workshop to be both challenging and rewarding. The computer simulation component of the workshop enhances the learning. From an HR perspective, it was great to attend this workshop with people from other job functions for different perspectives."

Eileen Updyke, Sr. Manager HR, Pfizer

Copyright © 2008 Richard M. DiGeorgio & Associates. All Rights Reserved.


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