When you play Friday Night at the ER, the instructions are vague by design. How you and your team rise to the challenge of managing the hospital is up to you.

Headshot of Linda van der Steen who teaches teams in The Netherlands how to self organize

For Linda van der Steen, the opportunity for teams to self-organize during game play is a new tool she plans to use in her Dutch consulting practice, Cultivate advies.

As an organizational change advisor, Linda helps small government agencies develop Agile-based self-organizing teams to respond more effectively to major transitions such as municipal mergers and major legislative changes. We talked with Linda recently about how Friday Night at the ER complements her work and may even set her apart from other consultants in The Netherlands.

Q:Linda, what traits do self-organizing teams need to succeed?

Teams have to work together on a high level and dare to improve their work processes. In doing so, they should not allow themselves to be hindered by the work processes and methods chosen earlier.

Q:For teams to succeed at Friday Night at the ER – and in the real world – they have to collaborate, innovate and use data to make decisions. In your experience, which of these behaviors is hardest to teach your clients?

I would say innovation. It is difficult not to be hindered by mental models (assumptions and ideas). And while most people think they are innovative when playing the game, it still proves difficult. That’s what makes Friday Night at the ER the perfect simulation.

Q:Have you ever used games or simulations with your clients before? How are they responding to Friday Night at the ER?

Yes, I use games and simulations a lot. The reactions to Friday Night at the ER are very good! A few weeks ago, a player came up to me a week after playing the game and told me he was still thinking about ways to innovate. The game really woke him up!

Q:What are your clients’ top takeaways from playing the game?

That although they really want to improve their teamwork, they are limited in doing so by their mental models. This awareness helps them take the next step in improving their teamwork, work processes and methods.

Q:How can Friday Night at the ER — as a service you now offer — set you apart from other organizational coaches in The Netherlands?

Friday Night at the ER offers organizations the opportunity to focus on important organizational topics and gain refreshing insights. The players are cut off from their daily practice so that they are open to the conversation and can think freely. This experiential learning method offers lessons and insights that players can put daily into practice. Employees evolve by learning experiences, not by being told what to do.

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