As a leader, do you sometimes wish that the people you lead would learn and grow faster? Many leaders organize training for their people, but are frustrated by the limited impact. The issue, in many cases, is that people remain in their comfort zone – they sit through the training and may even listen intently, but they are not moved by what they experience. From the training they acquire a few techniques and perhaps they remember a few frameworks, but this only affects their behavior superficially – at best. The return on investment is dismal.
I recently delivered a leadership development program in Shanghai, where we had the chance to celebrate that much deep learning took place in the course of the week. Participants learned to name and confront their fears that were interfering with their performance. They saw new ways to reframe their challenges, enabling them to walk away with greater energy and optimism. They took on board the personal challenge to set higher aspirations for themselves and their teams. There was a lot to celebrate, and we did so – with participants – toward the end of the week.
This experience got me thinking – again – about why there is so much corporate training with limited or no real impact. And what, exactly, we do differently, to achieve the deep learning we aim for. Ten factors are crucial, and I will explain each of them below.
1: We don’t do training (for the most part)
2: We create a safe arena for learning
3: We role model vulnerability
4: We push participants beyond their comfort zone
5: We give participants ample opportunity to practice – and give them hard-hitting feedback
6: We love the participants
7: We clearly put the participants in charge of their own learning
8: … but we do also field faculty who are centered, who have a successful track record as leaders and who have decades of experience
9: We facilitate learning from peers
10: We tie the learning, thoughtfully, to the specific role and aspirations of each participant.