The use of simulators for Management Training

A discussion of the merits of conducting leadership and management training for teams and Boards of Directors from non marine environments in full mission maritime simulators

Simulators aid management development

A suggestion for the provision of state of the art full mission marine simulators for training both leadership teams and Boards of Directors

A justification of providing a state of the art full mission marine simulator for training leadership teams from non marine environments

For a management group to function as a team they need openness, honesty, mutual understanding and respect, leadership, assertiveness, effective decision making, an understanding of man’s mental abilities and cognitive shortfalls and a knowledge of the effect of excess stress and fatigue upon their performance.

Unfortunately, no group collectively acquires this set of skills by osmosis and they are certainly not delivered by the ‘management skills fairy’ in the middle of the night!  Furthermore to acquire these skills requires people to reflect upon their attitudes, beliefs and values since it is these that drive our collective and individual behaviours. This is notoriously difficult for us humans to do as we simply don’t ‘do mirrors’ – especially male managers who pack the male ego baggage!

Nevertheless, if world-class leadership skills are to be honed, which is vital for the 21st century business, then tackle these cemented in attitudes, beliefs and values we must. How? Well, enter the marine simulator and human performance (human factors) training. The full mission marine simulator provides the ‘mirror’ for management teams to gaze into and find out how to improve their individual and collective performances by the ‘discovery learning’ methods used by WrightWay. The simulator provides the perfect non-threatening environment which begins the process of change so vital to a modern management team. WrightWay can follow the human factors training with an assessment of performance on the simulator, with further on the job coaching and mentoring, with the objective of achieving world-class business excellence through real workforce involvement and empowerment and the closing of the ‘chasm’ between the management teams and their workforces.

The marine simulator provides an environment which is free of the technical and other real world activities that these non marine teams face every day. This allows the focus to be completely and exclusively on honing the non-technical skills required by a modern management team. Additionally, there is the considerable novelty factor of piloting a large passenger liner into Singapore Cruise Bay, for example. This novelty factor is an additional attention grabber and further underscores success of training of this type.

Learning outcomes are easier to achieve with non marine teams because the instructors do not have to be concerned with damaging the confidence and self esteem of the delegates, as we have to do with marine professionals.  So for example, a supermarket director would not be happy if he had a collision on the simulator as he would be anxious to do his best but if it happens it will not damage his self esteem as he is not a marine professional. So we have all the advantages and none of the disadvantages, making this training particularly effective.

The following is a true story of why a Board of Directors must function as a cohesive whole but often doesn’t.

In the 90’s, a top London bank wished to commence a new business stream and enter the insurance market. They set the bar to be in the top ten of providers of insurance within 3 years – a tall order. To achieve this they engaged a top management consultant who, in short, had all members of the Board critique themselves and their colleagues, both good and bad. These views were then carefully shared such that people did not get upset but each realised their strengths and weaknesses as seen through the eyes of all colleagues. So, around the Board room table nobody’s weaknesses were allowed to get in the way of crisp and efficient decision making, communication, leadership and the rest, with everybody quite willing to point out if someone was slipping into bad habits, or whatever else. This produced a tight, cohesive and synergistic team which was well led and with assertive members. The bottom line is they achieved their objective and entered the top ten of providers within three years!

I contend that this type of efficient and effective leadership team is still very much in the minority and our new business stream will tackle this problem head on. The training can then dovetail into our ‘Securing the Future – The Way Forward’ programme to efficiently harness the enormous horse power that languishes within a workforce and which is not connected through the gear box to the drive shaft!


On behalf of Costa Crociere, it gives me great pleasure to express our appreciation to you for the excellent work you did in presenting safety/managerial courses over the […]
Dr Caterina Dominioni, Costa Crociere SpA

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