Off the Job Management Training and Development Techniques

Here we are outlining many off the job techniques for training and developing managers.

The Case Study Method: All most everyone knows, the case study method presents a trainee with a written description of an organizational problem. The person then analyzes the case, diagnoses the problem, and presents his or her findings and solutions in a discussion with other trainees.

Integrated case scenarios expand the case analysis concept by creating long term comprehensive case situations. For example, the FBI Academy created an integrated case scenario. It starts with “a concerned citizen’s telephone call and ends 14 weeks later with a simulated trial. In between is the stuff of a genuine investigation, including a healthy sampling of what can go wrong in an actual criminal inquiry. To create such scenarios, scriptwriters often employees in the firm’s training group write the scripts. The scripts include themes, background stories, detailed personnel histories, and role playing instructions. In the case of the FBI, the scenarios are aimed at developing specific training skills, such as interviewing witnesses and analyzing crime scenes.

Management Game: With computerized management games, trainees are divided into five or six-person groups, each of which competes with the others in a simulated marketplace. Each group typically must decide, for example, (1) how much to spend on advertising, (2) how much to produce, (3) how much inventory to maintain, and (4) how many of which product to produce. Usually, the game itself compresses a two-or three year period into days, weeks or months. As in the real world each company team usually can’t see what decisions (such as to boost advertising) the other firms have made, although these decisions do affect their own sales.

Management games can be good development tools. People learn best by being involved and the games can be useful for gaining such involvement. They help trainees develop their problem solving skills, as well as to focus attention on planning rather than just putting out fires. The groups also usually elect their own officers and organize themselves; they can thus develop leadership skills and foster cooperation and teamwork.

Outside Seminars: Many companies and universities offer Web based and traditional management development seminars and conference. For example, the American Management Association provides thousands of courses in areas ranging from accounting and controls to assertiveness training, basic financial skills, information systems, project management, purchasing management, and total quality management. Specialized associates, such as SHRM provide more specialized seminars for their own profession’s members.

University related programs: Many universities provide executive education ad continuing education programs in leadership, supervisor, and the like. These can range one to four day programs to executive development program lasting one to four months. An increasing number of these are offered online.

The advanced management program of the Graduate School of business Administration at Harvard University is one traditional example. A class in this program consists of experienced managers from the world. It uses cases and lectures to provide top level management talent with the latest management skills and with practice analyzing complex organizational problems.

Video-linked classrooms are another option. For example, a video link between the School of Business and Public Administration at California State University, Sacramento and a Hewlett-Packard facility in Roseville, California allows HP employees to take courses at their facility.

Role Playing: The aim of role playing is to create a realistic situation and then have the trainees assume the parts (or roles) of specific persons it that situation.

When combined with the general instructions and other roles for the exercise, role playing can trigger spirited discussions among the role player/trainees. The aim is to develop trainee’s skills in areas like leadership and delegating. For example, a supervisor could experiment with both a considerate and an autocratic leadership style, whereas in the real world the person might not have the luxury of experimenting. It may also train someone to be more aware of and sensitive to others feelings.

  • Justin Summers

    Some workshops or programs for management training are using this kind of games in order for their trainees to learn and develop their problem solving and management skills.

    Justin Summers,
    Management Training
    Empathy Communications