By Jeff Bowman
The agony, the stress, and beads of sweat form on the ever enlarging crease on my forehead every day.
Even lunch arrangements sometimes occupy space on my limited cranial hard drive. I have found that business is all about making decisions. It is a forever balancing act of risk versus security, new versus old, finance versus accounting. Even the decision to put off a decision or form a committee to make a decision is a decision in itself.
I worked yesterday at Sheridan College with two groups of third-year business students, who created an imaginary business to compete in a virtual marketplace against four other teams of students.
Each week they must make a myriad of decisions about their products, methods of production, wages, locations to manufacture, marketing and product pricing and distribution.
Twice during the school year the groups present to the Board of Directors, where I among others, sit in judgment of their activities. Each member of the group reports on their area of business management. The exercise teaches them about making sound decisions, that can affect their company’s overall value or share price, in an environment that is forgiving and educational.
I am amazed at the cooperation, the dedication to excellence and the strategic thinking that these young business people possess. They are forced by time limits to make decisions, take risks and accept responsibility for the outcome. At the end of it all, they get to interact with actual business leaders (me) and usually ask about the game’s relevance to the real business world.
Yesterday, I was so impressed with the group, their dynamic and their presentation of a risk management strategy that I had to respond, ” the real business world is very much like this, the one difference is that you have made decisions.”