|Guest Blogger: Gary Wexler, Author of Sorry Millennials, We’re Not Dead Yet: The Boomer Rebellion; Chief Evangelizer of Today’s New Communication; Professor, USC
Thirty-five years ago, Sharon Rich, then a young twenty-something walked into my ad agency for an interview as a budding young copywriter. I took one look at her portfolio and hired her on the spot. It was the beginning of a friendship and working relationship that has continued over the years in many forms.
About ten years ago, Sharon started working with business leaders to help them with growth and change. She built herself a clientele that has ranged from DreamWorks to Yale Medical School.
A couple years ago, I hired Sharon to coach me, because as I said to her, “Sharon, after having worked for me all those years, few people know my professional abilities and foibles (mishegosses) as well as you do.” She was a great coach and even introduced me to my book editor, Jami Bernard.
So Sharon calls me a few weeks ago and says, “I’ve got a new tool, a business simulation. I want you to experience it.”
“What is it?” I ask.
“It’s called FreshBiz. It’s for entrepreneurs, business people and creative thinkers. Just show up.”
Nothing Sharon ever does is boring. So I go. It’s in this ultra, uber-cool workspace in Santa Monica called Cross Campus. Of course, I was the oldest person on the premises. (Sharon was the next oldest.)
And was this experience ever a “Wow!” Sharon assembled about twenty edgy business owners and professionals from start up techies to two women who owned accounting firms. There were creative people, artists, scientists, number crunchers…everything and everybody. We then were broken into groups to play the simulation as a board game. What an experience. A bit like Monopoly, but then nothing like Monopoly. We built businesses and properties. We amassed money. But there was a curve ball thrown at us. Action cards that we picked up at each move that changed everything, forced us to think differently, to collaborate, to brainstorm, to strategize, to break out of any traditional thinking boxes. At first we struggled. But then we realized that action was the true currency of the game. And that was a game changer. Once we shifted into a new way of thinking and acting together, everything sped up, got very easy and fun.
What would you call success? We won the game. We learned something profound about habitual behaviors and what becomes possible when you change up the game you’re playing. And my group, none of whom I knew two hours previously, bonded so tightly during these two hours, that we are all going to meet and have dinner together. It is the beginning formation of a pretty powerful network between us.
A few takeaways from the FreshBiz Simulation experience:
1. Transformational thinking creates faster results
2. Collaboration creates new possibilities for business results
3. Habitual thinking and behaviors kill possibilities
4. Co-creative, unpredictable learning happens on the fly
5. True teambuilding requires the safety to play and explore
6. Learning from everyone else’s experience is a best practice
Folks, the world has changed and culture change for how we do everything is now imperative. If you want to be relevant, you’ve got to be part of these networks of thinkers, experimenters, curiosity seekers and risk takers.
You gotta be willing to play the game.
To learn more about it, contact [email protected]