Thursday, October 17, 2013

A New Kind of Leadership Development

One of my clients has just completed a new three-day leadership development program for senior folks in the organization.  The managers came from different divisions and didn't work together often.  What was different about this program?  It involved no lectures or case studies about other firms led by professors, and it involved no presentations from top executives.  What did they do?  The program began with a four-hour simulation focused on teamwork and decision making.  The entire second day involved group work trying to come up with solutions to challenges described in a special case study about their company written especially for this program.  The challenges addressed building new business models.  At the end of that day, the groups presented to the CEO and her team.   The program ended with a session in which the teams came together to collaborate and build upon each other's work.  What was the reaction?  One participant noted that he or she learned a ton even though they never felt like they were being taught.   Isn't that amazing?  That's true learning by doing.  More leadership programs need to involve this type of "real work" that brings people together in ways that they don't normally collaborate.  We need to create forums for collaboration, and we need to truly foster learning from one another.


mike said...

I thought that this was an interesting change from the usual leadership team meeting - death by powerpoint. building those bridges between people that do not know each other well are important.

C. Bevenour said...

Terrific post, thanks. I couldn’t agree more. My career has been focused on performance improvement and one of the key failings of many “training programs” is that they lack a direct link to the participant’s actual work. The program design leaves it to the participant to make the transfer of skills from classroom back to job, truly a leap of faith.
That’s why today we use a method called “guided work sessions.” With this method, we have participants developing new skills as they work on their current job tasks. By keeping them connected to their work as they learn and develop, two things happen. First, they can really see how the skill is relevant to their work and can practice with their own work versus a scenario developed for the workshop. Secondly, they make progress in their work. Our feedback has been really wonderful with this approach. Comments have included, “This is like a leapfrog effect. I never would have gotten done in several months what you were able to guide me through in one afternoon.” And, “We love working with you in this way, we always come away having accomplished something.”

Adil Nemat said...

Wow Dr. Michael, this is truly an amazing way to foster innovation. Can you give us a real case scenario which your fans and followers can practice.


Michael Roberto said...

I can't share the actual cases that I have written for clients, as they are confidential. However, the idea is that I build cases about pressing issues facing their business, based on interviews with people within the firm... as well as outside research.

Adil Nemat said...

Wonderful, I agree with you Dr. Roberto, they are confidential. The idea you presented of "building the cases for companies is very strong". You are the Roberto Baggio (Legendary Soccer Player of Italy) of Business.

Adil Nemat

Unknown said...

Good job you guys are doing.. Thanks for sharing valuable info.
Leadership Development