The Glass Bead Game

“All the insights, noble thoughts, and works of art that the human race has produced in its creative eras, all that subsequent periods of scholarly study have reduced to concepts and converted into intellectual values the Glass Bead Game player plays like the organist on an organ. And this organ has attained an almost unimaginable perfection; its manuals and pedals range over the entire intellectual cosmos; its stops are almost beyond number.” – Herman Hesse

This organist plays in real time. He is one with all understanding of the past and the future too. He makes perfect music. We work with limited information, knowledge and much less of wisdom. Though we have great faith in our decisions and they are invariably taken with the very best of intentions, most of them turn out to be not very wise.

The DC is a tool that enables the user to appreciate the complexity of the decision making process and to improve the outcomes in terms of quality, sustainability and community.

Decision Compass and the Blue Ocean

The DC reduces the search effort involved in managerial problem solving, points to the solution space (blue ocean), accelerates learning and brings the woods and the trees together without missing either of them.

The tool and methodology were evolved in the context of working with very challenging developmental issues and communicating these issues to the stake holders, over two decades.

The Game

The decision compass (DC) is at the apex of a series of frames which together form the First Discipline Framework.

Mastery of the DC frame is achieved through accelerated learning and competency development work shops by simulating a high performance work environment.  The participants work together (play) with specific roles corresponding to the levels and functional expectancies of the DC.

The duration varies from 16 – 40 working hours for an introductory workshop.  The duration varies with the level of participants and the mix of the facilitation team.

Participants: 50 – 60.

The First Discipline Framework is broken into its component frames numbering 60 cards in VIBGYOR. Red cards are six in number and green four. Other colors are ten each.   Red and Green represent governance and sustainability issues and are external to the organization. The organizational groups are positioned at the centre and at the centre of the four quadrants. They change positions anti-clockwise after each round of discussions and presentations.

Time:  16 – 40 hours in 2 to 5 days.

Round  1

Step 1- Pre process metrics

Step 2 The facilitators explain the DC (60 minutes)

Step 3 Each participant picks up a card. In case total number of participants is less than 60, some participants may have more than one card. These participants will perform the additional roles implied by the extra cards. Each participant on his/her own prepares and presents a brief understanding of his /her role. The facilitators supplement clarifications if necessary. As the process picks up extent of facilitation comes down. At the end the learning from round one is summed up and shared (45-60 minutes)

Step 4 Participants group into each color and assume their roles.  They work towards connecting the learning from the exercise and its strategic implications.  Presentations follow at hourly intervals. Further clarifications are provided by the Facilitators at the end of each presentation (4-5 Hours)

Step 5 Post metrics.

Further briefing with organizational data or using data from sample case studies

Round 3

Step 1 The groups work with organization specific / case study related information to demonstrate the application of the model and the implications

Step 2 Summing up

Step 3 Post metrics

More rounds will be required in the case of new recruits. The rounds are repeated till the facilitators are certain that the participants have reached the required level of proficiency as reflected by the metrics, quality of the presentations and proficiency with the language of sustained high performance.

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One thought on “The Glass Bead Game

  1. Pingback: Meta: The post on posts | First Discipline

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