The Voyage

A fun but high-pressure business simulation exercise set in the world of commercial shipping where the aim is to make as much money as possible.

  • Working Remotely
  • Budgeting & Financial Planning
  • Purchasing & Negotiation
  • Group Planning and Inter-teamwork
  • Working to Deadlines
  • Working under pressure in a changing business environment
  • Contingency planning
  • Customer Focus
  • A one-team philosophy

The Voyage is a metaphor for the journey you are going on as a business. You must focus on the customer and your trading environment, work together to avoid danger and achieve commercial success.

Each team must crew a ship across the ocean to trade in foreign markets and bring the most valuable commodities back home. They must work to tight deadlines to meet the tides and times of the markets. They must navigate their way through unknown waters, deal with unfavourable winds, storms, pirates and all manner of other risks that could prevent the success of their voyage through dark and stormy waters…

Guests enter the conference room to find it transformed into a shipping dock. There are crates of goods, fishing nets and boat chandlery along the walls. In the middle of the room is a huge map table with sea charts and other navigation essentials. At one end of the room is the dockside trading market.

The event starts with a brief from the Lieutenant Commander who informs the group that they must buy a vessel from the ship yard and find their way to Traders Island. They have just forty minutes to catch the tide…

Teams must then sail across the ocean in a series of steps determined by the tides. A shipping forecast from the coastguard will be broadcast at each stage, announcing news of winds, changes in weather and other dangers. This gives them some hard decisions to make in order to keep on top of situations as they change.

Once they reach their destination, teams will have the chance to trade at the market. This is a frenetic and chaotic process like the closing moments of trading at the stock market.

What goods will teams buy? How much can they afford? How much can they fit in their holds? At this point many of the teams will realise that they should have brought something to sell rather than arriving with empty hulls. They then have to make the return journey to trade in the home market.

Once the home market closes, teams will take a final tally on their returns and report their trading results. The Lieutenant Commander will then debrief the group.

  • Who asked the customer what they wanted before they started trading?
  • Who spotted that there was more than one market in which to trade?
  • Who shared their ideas and their knowledge?
  • Who let others flounder?

Had you stuck together you could have bought all the ships for less money, dominated both markets, sailed safely and avoided dangers, happily weathered changes in your environment and all made a lot more money.

These are some critical behaviours in business. By extrapolating these lessons and applying them to the real world through open discussion, guests will gain a deeper insight into the areas of their business behaviour that need changing and will achieve a clearer understanding of the benefits of these changes as you continue your voyage together.