Managing people in-tray exercise – corporate version

About the Imperial plc in-tray exercise

The Imperial plc in-tray simulation puts teams and individuals into a "real-world" scenario where they are forced to sift through a complex mountain of information and make difficult decisions under pressure. The object is to quickly identify individuals who are able to work under pressure, prioritise information and make informed decisions in a complex environment.

Participants have to sort through their in-tray, email and voicemail and then answer a series of questions that require them to prioritise, make difficult decisions and prove leadership under fire. Decisions have to be taken within a tough deadline and in the context of an unfamiliar political environment.

Participants are tested on the ability to think strategically, anticipate future trends, events, problems or opportunities and develop strategies for addressing them.

In ideal conditions the exercise takes an hour to run followed by an hour of debate. The exercise can last a whole morning and should never be attempted in less than an hour and a half.

Why do employers use the In-Tray?

a) for recruitment

Employers commonly find that they cannot rely on a job interview alone to assess a candidate's ability, since at interview candidates adjust their behaviour to meet what is expected of them. By using an in-tray exercise employers are able to simulate real working attitudes and beliefs. They can find out how the candidate behaves when the heat is on and whether he/she can assimilate facts and figures, prioritise information and make good decisions under pressure.

The Imperial plc in-tray simulation can reveal this information, thus proving to be a vital component of the recruitment process, assessment centre and promotion board.

It is rare for an appointment to be made without an interview. This could be a one to one meeting, a panel or a group session. The purpose is to review candidates' backgrounds, gain insight into their experience, test their capability for the job and assess the ?chemistry? between them and their potential new boss.

The in-tray exercise is usually a separate part of the process. Candidates are asked to work alone to a strict time deadline although there may be the opportunity for group discussion of the results afterwards. The Imperial plc in-tray exercise is an absolute test of management competencies and there are usually right and wrong answers to the various issues.

The point of doing an in-tray exercise is for the employer to gauge how well suited candidates are to a managerial role in a real-world working situation. Skills tested may include:

  • Organising
  • Structuring
  • Planning
  • Problem analysis
  • Problem solving
  • Delegating

The in-tray exercise is a chance for candidates to demonstrate qualities and skills that could not be shown during the interview stage.

Abilities recruiters look for

Key things employers look for from you during an in-tray include your ability to:

  • Analyse situations
  • Foresee potential problems
  • Generate practical solutions
  • Plan implementation procedures
  • Identify issues and prioritize sensibly
  • Be aware of resource constraints
  • Consider implications for the business
  • Negotiate to maximise advantage for the company
  • Tactfully handle interpersonal relationships
  • Manage time and people well
  • Communicate clearly in writing
  • Manage paperwork efficiently
  • Work well under pressure

b) for team building

When used as a team building exercise, teams can compete against each other in a fun and rewarding course exercise. Once the delegates have completed the task the trainer works through the answers. Prepare for fireworks as the teams debate the decisions they reached and justify them with their peers who saw the same set of facts but made different decisions.

As well as being a team building game, or an enjoyable icebreaker, the Imperial plc in-tray exercise can be used on internal conferences, as part of an assessment centre or as training material for a management programme.

Examples of management activities that you may simulate during the in-tray exercise

  • Assign priorities
  • Identify issues
  • Delegate actions
  • Handle HR issues
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Make decisions based on information given
  • Plan actions
  • Answer questions
  • Draft letters/memos

What you get

The Imperial plc in-tray exercise is downloaded directly from the Internet as a Microsoft Word document. It comes with complete instructions for the facilitator and participants, together with an organisation chart, a breakdown of your team and the contents of the in-tray.

The facilitator is supplied with answers and explanations for the questions and list of learning points.

This corporate version is licensed for your entire company. This means that it may be shared by as many users as required within your organisation. It is downloadable as a Word document, allowing you to modify it as necessary.

Order now

Why not purchase the Imperial plc in-tray exercise (corporate version), price: 75.0 (approximately $120) and immediately download the exercise?

Payment is handled by WorldPay, using a secure server link.

If you would like us to develop and introduce a bespoke management game or business simulation for your organisation, then contact us now.

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  • Perry Burns
  • Word document
  • 75.00
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When you purchase a document to download you will be expected to pay in advance, but should you be in any way disappointed in the product you may apply for a refund.