Making Memorable Experiences for Leaders
Recently a friend of mine was talking about her experiences in a statewide leadership program. Although the curriculum is filled with great and useful content, what she found most memorable and meaningful was the networking with other leaders and the visits to organizations to learn about their operations.
As a facilitator and content developer for leadership programs, I think this is important information to consider. In many of the in-person programs I've facilitated, I've heard similar feedback. The attendees appreciate connecting with other leaders and learning about their areas of the business.
So when creating leadership programs, some of the questions I want to answer are:
How can we build in time and structure for networking? For example, providing discussion time for learning about each others' businesses, what we have to offer one another for resources and information and how we could problem-solve together.
How can we build the leadership skills needed through these networking activities? For example, rather than a separate section of the training program on active listening and innovation, providing a short instruction about active listening and innovation skills, allowing them to apply these skills during a networking activity and then debriefing afterwards.
How can we provide real life experiences with areas of the business or different businesses? For example, providing "field trips" to various parts of the business to view how they operate, or different businesses in the area to see their operations. Then debriefing afterwards about how they are solving problems, handling change, and building relationships.
We know that we do not remember much from hours-long training programs, even if they are engaging and interactive. So the challenge is to make sure we're using the time wisely and creating memorable experiences for our leaders. It's these memorable experiences that will inform and guide future leader behaviors.