Breaking Down Decision Game Facilitation


September 25, 2019

In our latest video series, Chris Paton talks to Richard Withers, a consultant specialising in Decision Games for the Pharmaceutical Industry. After 11 years of building up his very successful consultancy firm, he sold it and now works as a strategic advisor. Here’s Richard’s very own honest opinion of how he ended up in Decision Games due to his self-professed misdemeanours: 

“After securing a well-deserved 3rd in Physical Education from Cardiff I was launched into my first negotiation lesson – pacifying my father, who suggested sensibly the military may knock some sense into me. A short time later I left the army having led an “average” career leading unfortunate soldiers to places which I cannot name, not on the grounds of secrecy, but because I was lost. Halcyon days indeed. After (in ascending order of stress) business school, several different jobs and children, in 2004, with my wife Sarah, founded a consultancy serving the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Amongst other services we ran many, many “war games”. It seemed to go very well and our business was acquired in 2015. Now, after a 3 year non compete, Sarah wants me “out from under her feet”, she makes a good point, I need a fresh challenge”.

Chris and Richard break down how they would facilitate a Decision Game session. They reveal that the concepts aren’t particularly difficult to understand. The real skill and art of Decision Games lie in the high-level facilitation.

There are many options to how you can deliver a Decision Game. Being aware of the objectives and aims is vital. Pressure Testing can be a vehicle to get all the right people into the room. Assembling real stakeholders is key, not ones who will role-play. Pressure testing allows members of the team to feel part of the solutions. How you draw people into the game is important. The pressure testing can be a way to socialize the change in a dynamic platform.

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