Sriram Padmanabhan, Founder & President
Behind every successful organization is a team of leaders who consistently make decisions that lead to positive business outcomes. Preparing future leaders for the challenges ahead is a critical imperative for any organization. Businesses respond to this need by investing in internal leadership development programs, typically involving workshops, classroom training, videos and coaching to develop potential leaders. These approaches have their limitations in terms of effective engagement of participants. It is universally held that the best way to learn leadership decision-making is to make decisions, and learn from the ones that didn’t lead to desired results. None of the traditional methods of development provide future leaders with opportunities to practice leadership in realistic contexts. Driven to solve this problem, Sriram Padmanabhan, a seasoned expert in business strategy and talent management, realized that firms needed a new approach to developing leadership skills; a unique methodology that offers leaders a virtual space to hone their leadership by actually practicing leadership decision-making. This led him to establish Cymorg in 2016.
A NY-based firm, Cymorg offers a gamified business simulation platform that can be used for preparing mid- to senior- managers for future roles and challenges. Padmanabhan says, “Using our platform’s highly contextual gamified simulations that are backed by behavioral analytics, employers can examine the ability of their employees to navigate complex organizational challenges as leaders.” Cymorg’s strength lies in its ability to link business strategies and outcomes to behavior and competencies.
By virtually simulating the leadership team’s responsibilities, goals, and strategies, and modeling the organization (its markets, competition, financials, products and services, employees, etc.), the platform allows potential future leaders to experience challenging real-life scenarios.
Sam Prasanth, Co-Founder & Director
The experience is intended to give participants a deeper understanding of a business, the internal and external forces acting on it, and different strategic levers that are at the disposal of the managers.
Presently, Cymorg has a repository of over 250 real-life scenarios preconfigured to evaluate critical leadership behaviors. Participants are encouraged to plan, collaborate, and make decisions to achieve simulated organizational targets. At the same time, new scenarios may crop up over time that leaders need to be trained to handle. “This can be done by our clients themselves, using our authoring module, and weaving the new challenges into the simulation,” adds Padmanabhan.
As participants get a clear understanding of how their organization works, Cymorg learns about the participants themselves. Every decision made, every click and every word typed by a participant during the game is stored in Cymorg. Based on all this data, the platform’s machine learning algorithm selects new challenges for the participant. At the end of each game, a detailed report of the participant’s competencies, priorities and preferences is generated. “Organizations can use this data at the individual or group level, and observe trends over time, using Cymorg’s Insights module. They can also incorporate coaching or other interventions based on the participants’ and the organization’s needs,” explains Padmanabhan.
For the future, Padmanabhan says, his firm is working on expanding the platform’s use cases to analyzing employee culture, sentiment and suitability to play future roles, in partnership with organizations that can help provide validation data. Alongside, the firm has just launched an updated version of the platform, Cymorg 3.0, powered by artificial intelligence and armed with extensive analytics capabilities, which they intend to build on. With such plans underway, Cymorg is poised to change the way organizational leadership is developed in the coming years.