How Johnson Controls Created an Award-Winning Financial Acumen Training Program for Emerging Leaders with Capsim


Case Study – Johnson-Controls
The Challenge 

A diversified global company that focuses on optimization and creating operational efficiencies, Johnson Controls operates in 150 countries with over 100,000 employees.

One of its business units provides facilities, corporate real estate, and energy management for many of the world’s largest companies. Global WorkPlace Solutions ensures the buildings that house its clients’ people and assets perform at their best.

Delivering on that promise requires Johnson Controls’ representatives to be at the top of their game.

The company built a comprehensive managerial training program for its high-potential staff. While employees had the relevant technical ability to manage everything ranging from heating and cooling systems to data centers during natural disasters, many lacked the business and financial acumen to be full business partners with their clients.

The Solution

Johnson Controls turned to Capsim to develop a program to train its personnel on finance. Together, Capsim and Johnson Controls defined specific learning objectives through a hybrid online and onsite experience, including an:

•  Understanding of the financial implications of decisions made in all functional areas of a business.
•  Ability to read financial statements and draw intelligence from the financial data presented on their own business as well as their competitors.
•  Overview of their strengths and weaknesses as group leaders and team players as they make decisions under pressure in a dynamic and competitive environment.

With a packed agenda planned for the onsite program, the time available for the simulation was limited. A week before the event, an online meeting introduced participants to the simulation’s decision-making tools. This half-day session allowed employees to join from their own desks, meeting with their teams in virtual meeting rooms.

The onsite portion included up to 100 participants. Teams completed their simulation and delivered a debrief to the rest of the group, demonstrating what they had learned and how they would apply it on the job.

The Outcome 

The program won a BEST Award from the Association for Talent Development. The seminar was rolled out to several U.S. and U.K. locations. Johnson Controls adapted Capsim’s simulation into a subsequent training program. 

“We were able to help participants—particularly those embedded with their clients—to change their perspective,” said Craig Watters Ph.D., Capsim’s lead instructor for Johnson Controls. 

“Each unique industry has an imperative metric. For Johnson Controls, it’s selling and maintaining equipment to keep building costs down.” 

“After the training,” Craig continued, “participants understood where and how the company’s products would have the most positive impact on their clients’ profit and loss statements. They could talk to their clients about the benefits in business terms, making Johnson Controls even more valuable as partners in management.”

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