Organizational Learning Through Comparative Analysis

This is the third of a three-part post, in which you will learn about the three stages of a BeST game:

  • Designing a game
  • Facilitating a game
  • Evaluating a game

 

During this post, we’re going to be discussing the evaluation of a game, during which advanced analyses map out discrepancies in organizations assumed/expected performance and their actual/proven performance.

What sets the BeST system apart from other war-gaming simulators and tabletop exercise solutions on the market is its ability to not only identify gaps in organizations’ policies and practices but also to explore the causative factors behind such gaps.

Most people agree that practice doesn’t always follow policy- especially in crisis management- but why is this the case? If a definite course of action exists within an organization to guide and support decisions and challenges, why don’t people make use of the guidance provided them to support their decision-making and problem-solving? In our experience at BeST, there are many answers to this question.

A brief review on the comparative analytical functions of the BeST system will shed light on the importance of exploring discrepancies between organizational policy and practice.

Comparative Analytic 1: The Interaction Map

Comparing the Expected Interaction Map to the Real Interaction Map shows us discrepancies in organizations perceived/assumed interactions by players (messages/chats sent and received) compared to actual/practical interactions.

The graphs below reflect how a high-level manager of an organization believed his employees would interact during a specific scenario (left) compared to how his employees actually interacted during the scenario (right):

Expected Intensity Map                                                                                       Real Intensity Map

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According to the policy, the mayor should have been at the center of interactions, sending correspondence out to other players (as per the graph on the left). In practice, the mayor sat on the periphery of interactions, mostly receiving correspondence from others. In this scenario, the transportation sector and the media (“CNN”) were central players in the interactions (as per the graph on the right).

Comparative Analytic 2: The Intensity Map

Comparing the Expected Intensity Map to the Real Intensity Map shows us discrepancies in organizations perceived/assumed decision-making and action-taking by players compared to actual/practical decision-making and action taking.

 

The following chart depicts the level of actions the same manager assumed his employees would take in ten-minute intervals during the same scenario (The Expected Interaction Map)

 2

 

The chart below depicts the actual level of actions the employees took in ten-minute intervals in the same scenario (The Real Interaction Map):

 3

According to the policy, no one player was responsible for making more than a few actions per ten-minute interval (as per the chart on the left). In practice, some players performed up to 22 actions in the ten-minute interval (as per the chart on the right).

 

 

 

Comparative Analytic 3: The Heat Map

Comparing the Expected Heat Map to the Real Heat Map shows us discrepancies in organizations perceived/assumed decisions over specified time periods by players compared to actual/practical actions and decisions by players. Like the Expected Interaction Map, this analytic reveals the amount of pressure put on each player over time.

The following chart depicts the number of decisions the manager assumed each employee would take in ten-minute intervals in the same scenario (The Expected Heat Map):

 4

 

 The chart below depicts the actual number of decisions the employees took in ten-minute intervals in the same scenario (The Real Heat Map):

5 

According to the policy, no one player was supposed to make more than a handful of decisions per ten-minute interval. In practice, every player made more than ten decisions in various ten-minute intervals.

 

Organizational practices quite often deviate from organizational policies. The BeST system allows organizations to see why their practices differ from their policies; organizations are able to understand the root causes of certain behaviors and trends and their influence on employee performance and overall operations.

Understanding the root causes of human behavior in the context of an organizations’ decision-making and operational processes sheds valuable light on the efficacy of organizations’ policies, practices and ethos.

 

Whether your organization is experiencing differences in policy and practice as a result of ineffective policies or de-facto practices, or because of misunderstandings relating to policy implementation or operational trends- in order for organizations to begin to improve performance and profit, they must first look inward before looking outward.

 

Call us to learn how BeST can help improve your organization’s performance, profit-generation and readiness for crisis.

 

 

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