NZIM: Stepping up! Game goes global

NZIM believes in the effectiveness of tried and tested management games. It has promoted the NZIM Leadership Challenge for the past five years. But it is time to step up notch. Our best managers need to compete globally.
This year we are looking for two New Zealand teams to compete in the Asian Management Game (AMG) which is promoted every year by the Asian Association of Management Organisations (AAMO). The game has been running for almost 20 years.
The AMG provides platform for young executives to learn and exchange management experiences. But it also serves to connect different management organisations in the Asia Pacific region.
The software underpinning the game was designed and developed by professors of the Operational Research Department of the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. It is constantly enhanced to make the game relevant and challenging and to meet participating companies’ current needs and keep up with leading-edge management technology. The simulator creates close-to-reality business environment for AMG participants to test their management knowledge and team strength.
We think it is increasingly important that New Zealand managers understand more than just local business and management practice. As I said in this column in June, our managers need to have more and deeper conversations with their Asian counterparts. NZIM sees participation in this game as one, albeit small, step in the right direction. We must help build relationships through AAMO that will encourage more effective management conversations and learning experiences.

Two Kiwi teams
New Zealand has been invited to enter two teams in the game. The winning team will be sponsored free trip to Macau and join with young managers from other AAMO countries for study visit in China’s Pearl River Delta. The final round will be at the end of October.
Each team consists of three to five members. Groups of seven or eight teams are determined by draw. Each round requires five financial quarters of decisions. The team that achieves the highest share price wins. Only eight teams qualify for the final competition.
The game is played on the internet. Decisions on marketing, finance, production and human resources are entered online according to the game calendar schedule. Teams receive management report at the end of each financial quarter detailing the latest economic consequences and company’s performance after their decisions.
The process involves analysing company history, strategic planning, making decisions in competitive and constantly changing environment and analysing results and change management strategies. team’s strategy is implemented through 66 decisions, ranging from product delivery to competitor and market intelligence.
The deadline for registration this year is August 31. Companies wanting to enter teams should contact their local NZIM office. Contact details are on the NZIM panel on this page.
Games like this help develop management capability. Young and aspiring managers particularly, benefit from being placed in situations that are outside the boundaries of their normal job activity. As Confucius reportedly said: “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.”

Real life management
Game participants are placed in environments that reflect real life management, leadership and decision-making. They must resolve complex and hard-to-categorise situations under competitive pressure. The process provides learning opportunities that remain with the participant long after the event because, more than anything, it is also fun to do.
I have no doubt New Zealand teams will foot it with those from other countries. There are undoubtedly significant cultural differences between the competing countries, but that will add to the richness of the experience.
Some teams, I suspect, will approach the game like an armed assault. New Zealand and Australian teams are likely to take more relaxed approach. But no matter what the style or strategy, the game is about people trying to get their heads around often ambiguous problems and making decisions that add value to the organisation. That, after all, is what management is about, irrespective of the country in which it is practised.
NZIM’s primary role is to “build New Zealand’s management capability”. That is uppermost and aligns with our decision to support and become involved with the AMG. We conduct regular research to better understand trends and best practice in management and leadership. We deliver management training programmes, mentoring, and networking events that enable managers to learn.
NZIM also identifies role model managers through the NZIM/Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year Awards. And we add value to manager’s CV through our professional membership grading framework. Being involved in prestigious management game that involves an “out there” learning opportunity fits neatly with what NZIM is about and has been committed to for 60 something years.

Evolution
I believe there is potential for other things to evolve from NZIM’s participation in this AAMO-led programme. It is too early to say what exactly those things will be, but they will be exciting for Kiwi managers.
New Zealand and Australia are feeling the positive impacts of being slap in the middle of fast developing and Asian corner of the world. Technology is enabling people and countries to communicate seamlessly and instantaneously. Generation X and Y leaders are taking up the reins handed over by baby boomers.
All this, I believe, boils down to melting pot of change events, new trends and management practices. NZIM involvement with AAMO puts us in the right space for delivering greater value to our members in this fast-changing world. And regionally, it creates an opportunity for NZIM and the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) to build practical relationships and leverage off each other more effectively than we have in the past.
The internet has made this and many other communication and learning opportunities more accessible. NZIM is building its services to member managers through more frequent and diverse dialogue about their needs and how we can both meet and exceed them. NZIM now has an active social network strategy through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. This is evolving quickly. We expect, in the near future, to be providing real-time, ongoing dialogue with members to provide them with additional value and services.
These are important and exciting times for NZIM. Our participation in the Asian Management Game is just one example of things to come. M

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