Archive for the ‘training and development’ Category

Free Improvisation Exercises

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Due to popular demand, we now have a section that features FREE improvisation games that you can use with your training and course design. These exercises, along with some debrief points, are your to use. Just click here and check in periodically (perhaps mark as a ‘favorite’) for more games as we post them. Many of these are great for leadership debriefs (especially the 3 Up/Freeze Tag), change management, and innovation as well as team building. Enjoy!

Learning as a “Holy” Expericence

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Learning is an intregal part of organizational development because it allows organizations to adapt and compete. It can be used to build a culture that is efficient and competitive. It allows change. The problem is that most organizations really have no concept of both how to design courses and how to implement them as part of a strategy.

I recently had two recent events which coincided against each other. My daughter had her Bat Mitzvah at the end of May and the following week I had the great honour of delivering the morning keynote to the International Alliance of Learning conference in Akron.

What do these events have in common? My daughter’s Bat Mitzvah was exceptional. I expected to be moved because, after all, it is my daughter. However, afterwards a number of people (including the Rabbi) told me that the event deeply moved them for some reason. It was, as they said, the intangibles that happen.  They are not sure, but sometimes an event is so deeply moving that it changes a person.  In terms of brain activity, it is creating a new neural pathway.  I have found it sometimes in workshops (not very frequently but it has happened).  That got me to thinking.  If the goal of learning is to create long-term sustainable change that is part of a defined organizational strategy, how do we create an environment where people work in their alpha state (which is optimal for learning) and will benefit both the individual and the organization.  Here are ways that we can create a “holy” learning experience.

1.  Greet People Before the Program Starts

This makes them feel welcomed and wanted.  Right away, they feel special and a part of the learning experience.  By asking them a few questions and getting to know them before the session, they feel a bond to you and are in your corner.

2.  Walk the Talk

One comment about my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah is that people knew that my wife and I are involved in the synagogue and active as teachers.  That meant that people knew that this was not just a formality for us but had meaning.  It is the same with learning.  When people know you are involved in what you are teaching and practice it yourself, it makes a huge difference.

3.  Preparation

My daughter worked very hard and went well beyond the minimum.  She did everything flawlessly and ‘wowed’ the ‘audience’.  It is the same with workshops.  The more prepared you are, the greater your ability to ‘wow’ them.

When both the material and the people matter to you, both you and the material will matter to the participants.  That combination can go a long way in helping to create a “holy” experience in learning.

Why Is Leadership So Difficult?

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

The problem with leadership ‘solutions’ is that so often the people giving them couldn’t lead their dog for a walk. So many people rise through organizations on being ‘politicians’ (including in our respective countries). Mediocrity rises to the top because it knows how to ‘play the game’ and manipulate both the system and others. Often times we substitute designations (i.e. MBA, PhD, etc.) or schools (he went to Harvard so he must be smart) for leadership. William F. Buclkey once famously said that he would rather be lead by the first 500 names in the Boston phonebook than by somebody from Harvard. Samuel F. Bacharach has an excellent litle blog posting on why leadership fails (hypocrisy, elitism and emotional deception) that I think says it all fairly well and straightforward. It is the problem that we see over and over again with our national leaders (i.e. Barrack Obama and Michael Ignatieff) and most major consulting firms (having worked in one I can tell you that they certainly do not live what they sell). It is why so many organizations are on the leadership merry-go-round and there is a constant stream of ‘leadership training’. The problem is that you cannot train people who do not want to learn. If you have been rewarded for being a jerk and manipulating others, the odds are you are not going to suddenly change because of a workshop.  Perhaps what we need is more REAL diversity in leadership.