The Global Business Ethics Challenge (GBEC) makes it to Russia to run its Ethics & Compliance training in Moscow

April 23, 2014 at Dentons office in Moscow the GBEC leader, Murray Grainger gave a test run of his fantastic program to a group of Russian and foreign managers to see what it is like to be both successful and ethical. Marat Mouradov, Dentons partner & Head of Dentons Compliance Practice in Russia was happy to provide the facility for the all day training with all desktops hooked up to individual battle stations.

Murray Grainger who himself is Dentons Alumni, was Head of the Ethics & Compliance Programme at Airbus for 11 years during which he ran the E&C programme Office for 5 years, following his Global Executive MBA at IESE Business School. He was also in-house counsel for the first 6 years and specialized in customer finance and in government contracting.                He founded his own training and consultancy business ‘Impact on Integrity’ and specializes in training senior management in the art of running businesses ethically and maintaining legal compliance throughout their organizations. Murray is also a former Chairman of the ECOA Global Business Interest Group.


Now, what is business simulation software?

Overall, a business simulation program can give someone a walk-a-mile-in-my-shoes opportunity, ie to allow a marketing professional to make a sales person’s decision and the other way around which should improve business acumen in the company.

It is also a powerful tool to help identify potential talent within the organization and, lastly, it provides the hands-on experience without any actual capital risk to the company. Of course, a custom simulation will never be an exact replica of the real business in a real world but it certainly generates more out-of-the-box thinking and what is more important stimulates similar thinking in the real life business environment.

GBEC is using a program which is based on an original business simulation developed by INSEAD Emeritus Professor Youssef Bissada and Visiting Professor Hoda Irani Bissada.

Groups participate in a ‘safe’ learning environment where they compete in teams to run a virtual company. Players have ninety minutes to play the game and to make plenty of practical ethical decisions against the clock. Their objective is to grow both their financial index and their ethics and compliance index.


The virtual business context in which the Smart Game is set is the lubricating palm oil industry in ‘Localia’, a fictional emerging market economy. Our exercise focuses on the new management team of a subsidiary in Localia, whose business is the packaging and marketing of the lubricating palm oil. Trading takes place in Localian Dollars.

The parent corporation is located in ‘Arcadia’ and the international management team has high expectations for Localia in terms of market growth and shareholder returns. The members of the local management team are also expected to perform to enhance their future careers in Arcadia.

What I like about this format is that the session pursues several goals, ie day-to-day management challenges integration with practical integrity decisions is cool. Collaborative responsibility on operations and strategy feels almost real. The fact you can measure your performance in real time is another proof to you and your team that you are doing the right thing. Plus the game attacks such main areas of focus as: reputation and stakeholders, HR, products & marketing, HSE issues and partners & finance.


2                                             Now the rules:


Each team of four participants is given exactly the same starting resources. This ensures a level playing field for the competition.

The operational decisions taken by the teams throughout the session are assessed on the following two principal criteria:

  1. the team’s financial position, using a world-leading index for the recognition of long-term value creation; and
  2. the team’s Ethics & Compliance Index, using a variable scale which is tracked and updated throughout the session.

Each team’s interactive dashboard shows their status on both these key indices throughout the Global Business Ethics Challenge. The competition is against all the other teams for the end result at the    end of the session. The teams are able to see their competitive status against the other teams and to adjust their strategy and positioning at any point.

Here is how we faired in this training:

Our team 6 won the first place by making 44,6 mln in Cumulated sales revenue

5,9 mln in Cumulated EBIT, 18,5 mln in Capital employed — 31.8% in Annualised ROCE

9,8% in Cumulated Headquarter ROI; 1,1 mln. in Cumulated EVA and our Ethics & Compliance Index was 156.7 which was the second best.

                       Team 7 gained their Ethics Index at 168.4 and made it there first. But we made the most money and laughed through the training and had most fun. Some of that fun may have been induced by stress                                                                            though…))) But you guys can check your score against ours because this game is played now worldwide.

Now indulge me to relay my personal experience and observations from this training.

My team was comprised of one Brit, an insurance company partner, an American who happened to be a business coach, a French-Russian ethicist and me as a Russian compliance guy. From the start, attacking assignments was easy for us all as the dashboard was in English. Next handling ethics & compliance issues did not seem to be a problem for anyone which was a surprise to me. It seemed like it tackling ethics issues was innate. Why would one then even talk about ethics?))) What helped tremendously was the team spirit, team work and funny comments/stories that we exchanged as we cracked tasks. So one thing we were ahead of everyone else was time. We finished each round 10-15 minutes earlier than others. Second thing worth mentioning here is that Russians tend to question and debate options a lot longer when dealing with integrity dilemmas but eventually they get things right. For the Russian audience compliance & ethics issues are more important because of the overall sensitivity to social justice concept. Also ability to work as a team is not a very strong point for Russians. Sometimes clash of personalities may become an issue but I don’t think Russians differed much from other groups worldwide.

In this game you should not only keep your shareholders happy and watch your reputation, but also keep HR issues resolved correctly, watch production & marketing, HSE issues, look after finance and partners’ interests. Quite obvious is the challenge to create value, fight corruption and change mindset of people involved. Choosing the right strategy for your team is important to be able to balance your score and achievements during the game: watching demand, production, markets, corporate key indicators, administration, HSE issues etc. could be daunting, but if you allocate your team resources correctly, can multitask and cross-check your findings, you can handle all that easily.

What is also good – you can see how you perform under pressure in the team of people you have just met. This is different than running this program in a company where everyone knows each other. To be able to put your team together quickly and build off each other’s strong points is a good test of character and leadership which I enjoyed.

Murray did a great job providing side comments, various compliance and motivational quotes which made this training fun. Having lots of visual aids, video clips, charts and graphics help take in the contents of the training without leaving much out. I see a lot of value in running such sessions in companies and may be potentially even add more modules to further develop it into a whole universe of useful and creative tools to make employees handle their jobs with heightened compliance & ethics receptivity.

Also it would be fair to list some other testimonials from our Russian and international teams who did very well during this training session:

“The Global Business Ethics Challenge allows you to clearly understand that good knowledge of the law and awareness of financial issues does not automatically lead to success.  So “compliance” matters regardless of your country, market size or industry.  Ethics and compliance apply in all jurisdictions, even virtual ones.  Active participation in the Smart Game allows you to understand, ask questions and discuss with your team.  The form of the GBEC does not allow you to stand aside and take a passive position.  You play…and learn better.”

Snezhana Sharova, Dentons


“A very clever format for presenting the information: well-structured, very interesting tasks. A very useful game for grown up and serious people. The week following the GBEC I applied the situations from the seminar to my current project. As a member of the winning team I can say that for me it was a very good confirmation that improvised solutions together with a solid knowledge of whatever it is you are talking about always leads to victory and to the positive result.”

Karina Komarovskikh COO of


 ”At present when business communities have some understanding of the necessity to incorporate compliance control in the system of rick management, it was especially interesting and useful to get more additional information as well as structure the existing knowledge both for the top and middle managers involved in compliance  processes. GBEC course presented to us by Mr Granger allowed us to learn about differences between compliance and classic risk management, to get acquainted with adaptation of compliance process and to practice them in the interesting and unexpected format. It was great to communicate with such an advanced and intellectual audience.  As a result of participating in GBEC we have gained unique skills which we will apply on practice and introduced into the system  of effective compliance management, which is a key indicator of following the international standards of doing business nowadays”.

Mickaya Angela, Legal Counsel, Legal Centre APEC


«This unique programme is very important for the Russian reality, especially from the point of view of improving the business climate in this country: additional attention to the ethical aspects together with increased control of the effective corporate management”.   

Pavel Kinchikov M&A Advisor (Marketing) Renova Management


“The way the Wrights brothers have changed humans’ perception of the sky, the way Marx has changed humans’ perception of money and the way Freud changed our perception of ourselves, the Global Business Ethics Challenge has changed my perception of compliance…”   

Ksenia Telyakovskaya, CEO/co-owner of the advertising group Barkstel


«El programa “Global Business Ethics Challenge” me parece una inversión rentable a corto y a largo plazo. A través de una exposición amena y dinámica, Murray Grainger transmite de modo inteligible el significado y alcance de la “responsabilidad corporativa”, los potenciales riesgos y oportunidades que su gestión conlleva. Destacaría el no pequeño logro de conjugar una exposición global, comprehensiva y ordenada con una referencia continua a su aplicación en situaciones concretas. Lejos de resultar un manual de “buenas prácticas”,  Murray Grainger, sirviéndose de su dilatada experiencia profesional, es capaz de interpelar, inspirar para el descubrimiento de nuevas oportunidades y toma de decisiones en la propia compañía.»

Luz Ruiz Montoya, Strategy & Business Development at Accent Advisory