In 1976, Sony CDI developed a kind of business game called the Management Game. The game simulates running a business, with each participant as a manager. Participants can compare their performance, by producing a financial report for their business. Many companies have introduced the Management Game to help staff learn about management.
Shigeto Takahashi is a leading expert in education and publicity regarding the Management Game. He’s the representative of BM Network, which holds numerous seminars for government agencies and businesses, and for SME Universities and Junior Chamber International Japan. Recently, Takahashi gave a seminar on the Management Game in Akita.
“The Management Game was developed in 1976, when Japan’s economic future became unclear after the “oil shock.” It’s an educational system, developed to train people how to utilize their company’s business resources. All kinds of businesses have introduced this game, to teach their managers how to make decisions, understand financials, and think strategically.”
In a management game, a group represents a market, and 5-7 people each manage their own company for a session. They hire employees, purchase materials, operate factories, do R&D, run advertising campaigns, bid for products, and sell them. Participants do the accounting for each process, and at the end of the session, they produce reports and compare performance. In a two-day seminar, there are 3-4 sessions, so participants can sharpen their business acumen by producing business plans, thinking up and implementing improvements, and testing them out.
“The Management Game is created to develop three aspects of business: performance, people, and creativity. One feature of the game is that participants run their companies by themselves. This means they have to think about things from a manager’s viewpoint, and consider all aspects of business. Another feature of the game is that they foster a business mindset and profit consciousness. A third feature is, the Management Game is intended to nurture creative thinking and strategic thinking.”
Because participants continually have to make decisions, they also become aware of how vital decision-making is in business.
“I think gaining the ability to make decisions right away is a major benefit of the Management Game. Until you reach management level, employees don’t require you to make decisions. But in my current position, I get asked by various staff, “What should I do about this?” If workers get a decision from the boss, they can move on to their next task. So, I think making decisions on the spot, whenever that’s possible, contributes to the workplace as well. “
As Japan’s senior population increases, and more women also enter business, Takahashi thinks the Management Game for people in those categories may help to create new businesses.