As leaders are now being encouraged to work across different organizations and in more complex ways, a Systems Leadership programme was developed. The programme required a final module to consolidate the learning which was simulation based. The candidates attending the ‘murder on the lab floor’ module were a mixture of clinical and non-clinical senior leaders from public and third sector organizations.
The aim of the study was to design a half-day course utilizing the simulation structure of pre-brief, scenarios and debrief which enable the candidates to reflect on their own learning in the areas of leadership, communication decision-making and collaborative skills.
We formed a working group to design the scenarios, which were a series of games, build prototypes, run pilots to assess suitability, identify modifications and ensure consistency. Games were linked to leadership traits to aid reflection through debriefing. Games were designed to be played face to face, or remotely, thus promoting inclusivity for shielding staff. A short pre-brief or introduction was filmed.
In our first cohort, all candidates attended the 3-hour session in person. The pre-brief film was played to the candidates setting the scene of an industrial scientist collapsed on a laboratory floor. It outlined the aim to collect as many golden syringes as possible by completing seven 5-minute activities. The candidates were given 5 minutes to nominate which candidate would complete which of the seven games set out in the laboratory. The games were categorized as mental, physical, mystery and skill. The nominated candidate entered the laboratory fitted with a radio headset. Audio and video were fed to the debrief room and to remote candidates via Teams. Once the candidate entered the laboratory the timer was activated. Candidates in both rooms were expected to work together to solve the puzzle and demonstrate team dynamics, communication and strategic thinking. On completion of all games, the candidates participated in a structured debrief led by two of the faculty. This reflective process highlighted the intended learning points and also brought about a discussion examining the effects of COVID-19 on the individuals and their teams.Qualitative feedback was collected. Candidates stated that
It was the best session of the programmeThe method suited my style of learningI would like my team to go through the process as I found it so valuable.As this fitted social distancing guidelines it is a great alternative to an online programmeThe activities joined the dots between leadership theory and how we work in practice