In 1999, Vlad was invited by Joint Vienna Institute, later World Bank Institute, to co-facilitate a lecture: “Needs for restructuring and bankruptcy to state owned enterprises in the former Socialist Countries”. Participants were government employees.
He was working on a World Bank project for restructuring of state owned enterprises in countries of former Yugoslavia. The project also included education of judges on collection and bankruptcy. The challenge that he and his colleagues had, and also that he would face in Vienna on the forthcoming lecture, was: “How to convince a person, that strongly believes in centrally planned economy, that instruments of a free market can help the economy?” Even though there were 10 years passed from the fall of Berlin wall and the privatization processes in most of the countries was in its advanced phase, the worst and biggest companies that were loosing money were still in the ownership of the states. Politicians would sacrifices even the solvency of the whole economy to keep these companies alive due to the risk of unpopular measures of job cuts.
Even though the task to deliver a lecture was a simple one, Vlad and his colleague wanted to make a higher impact on the participants and to deliver something that will make them think, understand and remember. That is how he had developed first Board based simulation. The main goal of the simulation was to make participants understand the need for restructuring and to make them enforce one since their interest was in danger. As managers of different companies participants were put in competitive environment to deliver results.
Aiming for same results on different communication levels
After several years in Academia, busy with research, teaching and creating business models, Vlad has decided to go back to the industry, and implement the science. His goal was to prove that science is not only for scientists, but it can also be applicable.
Going back to the industry, he has discovered that he speaks different language. Academia and business, even though they talk about same things, they speak different languages that need translation.
Administrating large companies that have faced solvency problems, Vlad has faced 3 main challenges:
- How to translate scientific research papers and models into more practical tools and instruments that can benefit the industry, and help the top management create winning strategies?
- How to explain the strategy and help middle management understand what the strategy is about?
- And last but not least, how make employees in the front rows deliver results/ Honestly, that was the most difficult task, since the language was very different, and terminology that should be used could not be learn in Academia.
Just to make it clear, all of the three groups of stakeholders wanted the same thing: To increase their welfare:
- Employees through having safe jobs and sustainable salaries;
- Middle managers through having secure jobs and potential for growth; and
- Top managers through delivering results for the owners and getting higher privileges.
All of the three paragraphs above are in line and they will all happen if the company is making money. So obvious and at the same time so difficult to explain.
The challenge was to create ONE instrument that will help all three groups of stakeholders deliver results. That’s why Vlad has developed the first Board based business simulation.
Business simulation simulates the market. Top managers can play different strategies against each other and test what and how will work and if not why?
Business simulation puts middle mangers in competitive surrounding and forces them understand why the strategy was developed in the way it is. It also makes them develop strategy and translate that strategy into operational plans executing them through their subordinates.
Business simulation also translates the strategy to front row managers into actions and buttons that they can push in order to execute the operational plan and reach desired results.