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Evocatus Consulting Ltd

A Veteran Team Building Strategy Games for organisations in the South West.

By Anthony Sharman
Monday, May 4, 2020

These last few months have been extraordinary. The impact on individuals, on organisations and on so many of our assumptions and expectations has been profound; so profound and so complex that they are not yet fully understood. Even less well understood are the second and third order consequences which will continue to spin out over the coming months and years.

What can we learn from the handling of the Coronavirus crisis?

There is already much to learn from the handling of the Coronavirus crisis. Particularly relevant to us at Evocatus is the very public demonstration of the Armed Forces’ unique ability to understand problems, plan solutions and communicate effectively through the process. As a team full of veteran leaders and trainers, we spent decades in uniform preparing soldiers for this process and building the culture on which it depends. Although we still spend some of our time working with military teams, Evocatus is now far more focussed on applying our experience in support of businesses in the South West and beyond, helping them to engage with their teams, make and test plans and develop strategy.

Our toolkit for supporting these aims are bespoke games and exercises. We have the skills and experience to run anything from a relatively simple table top simulation through to a full live exercise involving hundreds of participants over several days. While the former is useful for thinking through concepts and ideas, the latter is far more effective for testing detail, for working through contingencies and for rehearsing plans. Absolutely key in all of these is effective exploitation; as has been evident during the national response to Covid-19, wargaming a problem might help to understand it, but solutions depend on developing this understanding into action.

Strategy Development for a “New Normal”

Two areas we routinely find ourselves asked to help with are risk and strategy; the last few months have thrown both into the spotlight, as business continuity plans were suddenly updated and put into action and organisations tried to understand how to prioritise effort and resource. As we begin to think about a world after the crisis and understanding the new normal, it is going to be crucially important to understand how organisations will need to evolve, not only for survival but for growth. The biggest risks as we do this are psychological; confirmation bias and group-think are particularly dangerous when we try to make sense of new scenarios, but by playing strategy games we can overcome some of these challenges. Working in smaller groups and presenting alternative attitudes can encourage a more diverse set of expectations, viewpoints and approaches, which can then, in turn, inform a more complex and comprehensive understanding of how a scenario might develop.

Team Building Communication Games

All of our exercises are run in a way that focusses on outcomes such as developing strategy or understanding risk, but are also designed to make sure everybody on a team is able to contribute, ensuring that it is not just the most vocal or most senior who contribute. This means that a strategy game is also a team building exercise and can even be used for leadership development. Of course, if the client’s primary concern is developing a team, then we can design to a different emphasis while still including relevant content to shape strategy development!

We are convinced that the next few months are going to be an opportunity for those who are brave enough to seize it; the ultimate opportunity for agile businesses to exploit changing circumstances. We are ideally placed to help; get in touch and let us know how we can support you and your team as you prepare for the “new normal”.

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