By Mike Loughrin, CEO for Transformance Advisors
Team-based Simulation – Developing Collaboration Skills
The Fresh Connection is an interactive team-based business simulation which provides an exceptional means for learning how to lead a business by practicing collaboration and consensus building.
We know the pilot is in charge of an airplane, but only after many hours in a flight simulator.
Who’s in charge of your organization? Is everyone aligned on the promises made to customers? Have they ever experienced a simulation teaching them what works and what doesn’t?
Is it time to gain an intense understanding of complex relationships, sharpen your skills, tear down functional silos, and learn what does not work – without crashing your business?
Without knowledge and teamwork, your customers might be looking at you and getting very nervous!
Imagine Your New Job
Imagine a situation in which you have just joined the leadership team for a company where costs are out of control and customer expectations are not being met.
You have one of the following roles:
- VP of Sales
- VP of Operations
- VP of Purchasing
- VP of Supply Chain
- Project Manager
Your new company has been in business for over a century. However, recent performance has been poor and return on investment (ROI) has been negative.
The board of directors is nervous!
“The Fresh Connection is a great way to learn and practice how collaboration can lead to customer satisfaction and financial success.”
“The Supply Chain Management course, with The Fresh Connection, provides a holistic approach to learning in a way which pushes an organization to collaborate and work together to maximize customer satisfaction and return on investment.”
“The Fresh Connection is a great learning tool which makes you think like an executive. You must link supply chain strategy to the business strategy and deal with the financial ramifications of your decisions.”
“The best part about The Fresh Connection experience were the rapid-fire troubleshooting conversations with my teammates. We were up against very talented competitors which made us think hard and fast about solving the problems.”
“The Fresh Connection brought a level of excitement to the classroom which I had never experienced before. I enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with my teammates to save our failing company”
“The Fresh Connection simulation is the best tool I have seen for gaining an understanding of how decisions by various functional areas are intertwined with other areas and have a direct impact on ROI.”
“You don’t just jump into a fighter jet to tear around the sky before making a spectacular crash landing. You need to spend time in a simulator!”
“The Fresh Connection simulation is a replica of current situation in the US with the supply chain management issues caused by Covid-19.”
Problems Are Everywhere
This does not seem to be the same place they described during your job interview.
The daily sales and operations meeting covers the same agenda with the following issues:
- Inventory fluctuates from way too high one week to severe shortages the next
- Suppliers are unpredictable, serving up daily surprises of quality and delivery problems
- Operations always seems to be changing over the equipment or making the wrong stuff
- Customers are tired of the poor service and demanding lower prices - or else!
The CEO has challenged you to improve customer service and increase ROI. These are the two measurements which the board of directors feels are most important. If improvement is not quick, then heads will roll.
To make it even more difficult, your competitors are not sitting back. They are seeking to take full advantage of this opportunity to defeat you and your company.
Given this stressful and fast moving environment, you wonder if you have the knowledge to save not only this company, but also save your own career!
What's This About?
The Fresh Connection is an interactive team-based business simulation:
- Teams of four, or five, work together to save a failing company
- Each team member will select one of five roles: purchasing, operations, sales, supply chain, or project manager
- Participants make strategic executive level decisions in a high-pressure environment
- Every decision has trade-offs, both within and across the functional roles
- Participants learn about best practices and emerging trends through hands-on experience
- Collaboration and consensus building skills are developed as teams compete across multiple rounds
The successful team will craft the best strategy and align all four functional disciplines. Winning is about generating the best ROI while meeting your own Key Performance Indicators.
Learning through experience is 10 times more powerful than classical training. The Fresh Connection is a different way of learning which puts participants at the heart of a lifelike simulation so they can experience the impact of every decision they make.
By participating in multiple rounds, participants see the results of their decisions, reflect on what happened, are introduced to new concepts, and then apply what they learned in the next round.
It is this "Magic Circle" which makes The Fresh Connection so powerful.
“The Fresh Connection business simulation is a great way to learn the importance of collaboration, how decisions made in one area affect all other areas. and how to improve overall performance.”
“The Supply Chain Management course, utilizing The Fresh Connection simulation, was a great way to learn the impact of your decisions in a no risk environment. Great course!”
“The Supply Chain Management Course was a great learning experience. During The Fresh Connection business simulation, I enjoyed working in teams, learning from others points of view, and collaborating to see the cause and effect relationship of our decisions.”
“The Fresh Connection is a realistic simulation tool which creates a dynamic real world situation. Students quickly learn about the interactive effects of various business decisions and how they relate to creating a competitive advantage.”
“The Fresh Connection simulation is an awesome element of the Certified Lean Practitioner course – it helps you to apply the course material and learn without fear.”
“The Fresh Connection is a challenging test of decision making, commercial awareness, and learning agility which requires each individual to understand the impact of their role and actions on the profitability of the whole business.”
“The Fresh Connection business simulation provides an exceptional means for learning how to lead a business by practicing collaboration and consensus building.”
“The Fresh Connection is an exceptional tool for gaining a deeper understanding of the cross-functional collaboration which must occur for organizations to compete and win.”
“The Fresh Connection provided a true challenge, just as I see daily in my own organization”
Who Will Benefit?
Just about everyone, in any organization, will benefit from experiencing The Fresh Connection. The most obvious are:
- Anyone who comes into contact with customers or suppliers
- Anyone who impacts the flow of materials or information
- Those with experience seeking to learn about best practices and emerging trends
- Information technology professionals who build and support the systems used for managing a supply chain
- Those who will be part of improvement initiatives such as creating a sustainable organization or implementing an ERP system
- Those just getting started in the field of supply chain management
Time to buckle up and fly this airplane.
About Mike Loughrin
Mike is passionate about helping people create sustainable organizations. He brings exceptional experience in both industry and consulting services and has helped organizations such as Levi Strauss, Warner Home Video, Lexmark, and Sweetheart Cup improve their performance. Mike teaches for Louisiana State University Shreveport and Loyola University Chicago.
Using a balanced approach to defining strategy, improving processes, and leveraging the appropriate technology, he keeps the focus on ROI and delivers results by leveraging skills in leadership, knowledge transfer, project management, and the application of best practices. As a frequent speaker at conferences and other educational events, he provides informative and energizing presentations by leveraging his passion for excellence.
Keeping a commitment to a balanced life, Mike loves downhill skiing, bicycle rides, and hiking in the mountains. See one or more of his trails of the month, such as Tomorrow River or Little Switzerland.
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