Learning through Business Games
I often play a business game with trainees, which is actually a type of psychological test which tests their subconscious priorities in life. The five key elements of our life are ‘Character/Helpfulness, Love/Emotion, Money, Ambition/Career and Duty (Family, country etc). And life is all about tradeoffs, and we have to lose one to get another.
I narrate them a short story and then tell them to write which character impressed them the most and tell them to accordingly rank them from most impressive to least impressive. The story begins with the situation that A and L are in love with each other but A is not settled in his career. L’s parents are pressurising her to get married while A wants to settle down first. Because of this confusion L goes to D (a friend of A & L) and seeks his advice. D says I am going for a war and hence I have no time to give you advice.
She wants to meet C (another mutual friend of A & L) who stays across the river. To cross the river she needs the help of M who is a boatman. She tells her problem to M and requests him to take her across, while he insists on payment of money. She borrows money and finally meets C. When she tells her problem to him, he says I am ready to provide any help which you ask for, but you have to tell me what exact help you need from me, trying to convince A or your parents for example. The story ends here and then trainees rank the characters in the story. A stands for Ambition, L for love, C for Character, M for money and D for duty.
I have played this game with hundreds of trainees/students and I have drawn some generalisations and conclusions. Men are more emotional than women nowadays, with ‘L’ very often on the top in case of men and at the bottom in the case of women. Another thing I have noticed is with married men ‘L’ has often slipped to the bottom as their emotional need may have been satisfied or their romantic idealism has got converted into practical realism.
After playing this game, I tell the participants to write their conscious priorities in life and match it with subconscious priorities. If they are in sync with each other or similar then it is good otherwise there is an internal conflict inside them which needs to be resolved (because what they want in life and what they are working towards are different).
My own ranking 14 years ago was CLMAD and I still joke that I was CLose to MAD, romantic idealist at some point of time but I am a practical-realist now.
If helping others or love/emotion is your number one priority in life, then you are fit for NGO. If money or ambition is your priority then Software/ MBA particularly Sales may be the right choices for you. If your sense of duty is very strong then Armed forces may be the right choice.
Those who have A & M on the top are likely to be professionally very successful. But I personally believe in the dialogue of the Hindi film ‘Tum Bin’, “Even if you become successful and you are left alone in the process, you can’t enjoy the success alone.”