The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Kozhikode conducted a unique workshop for its first year students a couple of days ago. Called the Managerial Perspective Workshop, it was designed to give the students a holistic perspective and a better understanding of how the various different functions of management, such as Marketing, Finance, HR and operations, are inter-related and contribute to the decision-making process. This was carried out through a mix of series of online simulations, screening of videos and movies and talks by eminent personalities from diverse spheres like industry, academia, co-operative societies etc. One of the movies screened was Manthan, after which a discussion on the co-operative movement was also held.
However, since the highlight of the workshop were the simulation exercises, we got Divya Sreenivas, one of the participants to relate her experience. This simulation was a leadership and team building exercise where students were required to scale Mt. Everest virtually. The simulation was sourced from Harvard Business Publishing. Divya's group was assigned a team of team leader, photographer, marathoner, physician and environmentalist. Below is her account as she went through the online experience.
We started off at base camp and over 6 days, had to progress through 4 more camps, and then reach the summit. The simulation was run online, with each one of us logged on and required to submit our decisions. Each person had their own profile, personal goals, strengths and weaknesses. For example, as the photographer, my goal was not to reach the summit, but to spend extra days at Camp 1 and 2 in order to complete my photo assignment. The physician was in charge of distributing the medical supplies. The marathoners goal was to reach the summit while the team leader was responsible for keeping us all together.
At the end of each day we were required to submit our decision on whether we wanted to proceed to next camp or not. There were many factors that could influence our decision: weather, medical condition of our team mates, personal goals, etc. We would receive an update on each of these, along with other bits of information on a daily basis. We proceeded to camp 1 and then found out that the environmentalist was critically ill. He needed medical supplies but we did not know which to give him, because his symptoms were not known. What we failed to realise was that each one of us had certain information in our news feed that could have helped us solve this. However, as we left it up to the physician, we could not solve the problem. We stayed back as a team at Camp 1, in order to take care of the environmentalist and lost a crucial day as a result. However, I was partially able to complete my personal goal of taking pictures.
As we proceeded through camps 2 and 3, we all fell critically ill. A number of us were at risk for frostbite, and we did not know whether to proceed to the next camp or not. It was certain that if we did not proceed we would not be able to reach the summit in the stipulated time. However, one of our main goals was to remain alive and avoid rescue. By this time, we had realised that all of us had different pieces of vital information. So as a group, we sat together and came up with a weather forecast for Camp 3 and 4. We realised that Camp 4 would have better weather than Camp 3 and thus decided to proceed. Most of us did recover on reaching Camp 4!
Our next challenge was to request oxygen cylinders from the Sherpas for our final ascent to the Summit. Being at different levels of physical fitness, we all required different amounts of oxygen. As a team, we would only receive 20 cylinders, and it was up to us to divide it amongst us. We put all the information together and allocated cylinders to each member of the team. However, due to a simple calculation error, we did not give enough oxygen to the environmentalist, and he had to be rescued. However, the other 4 of us did reach the summit.
As a team, we had completed 57% of our team goals, so we did a little bit of analysis to see where we went wrong and what we could have done better. Information sharing was a key element where we seemed to have lagged and could have improved.