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Action learning briefing (1)


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Action learning briefing (1)

  1. 1. Action Learning Briefing: Promise & Pitfalls
  2. 2. Action Learning: Promise & Pitfalls Objectives <ul><li>Review definitions & genesis </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss why Action Learning & the Promise </li></ul><ul><li>Review models plus typical content & design </li></ul><ul><li>Know the pitfalls/success factors (lessons learned) & some accelerators </li></ul><ul><li>Review typical participant learnings </li></ul>
  3. 3. Action Learning Definition WORKING ON BUSINESS PROBLEMS IN TEAMS FOR DEVELOPMENT PURPOSES Centerpiece: A real business problem or opportunity © 2002 Executive Development Associates. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. What is Action Learning? <ul><li>A dynamic tool used to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drive strategic change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transform the organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accelerate development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Achieve business breakthroughs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop leadership capabilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>etc. </li></ul></ul>Develop participants Address significant business challenges <ul><ul><li>Working on authentic, urgent business problems/opportunities in diverse, cross-organization teams to improve the business and develop participants </li></ul></ul>Results Learning Action
  6. 6. Action Learning Genesis <ul><li>Not GE, American or new </li></ul><ul><li>UK roots - 1945 </li></ul><ul><li>Founding father - Reg Revans </li></ul><ul><li>Rapid increase in use </li></ul>
  7. 7. Primary Differences Between Action Learning & A Task Force <ul><li>Explicit learning & development goals </li></ul><ul><li>A significant education component </li></ul><ul><li>A diverse team </li></ul>© 20002 Executive Development Associates. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. Why Action Learning <ul><li>Can be powerful </li></ul><ul><li>Puts Executive Development “At the Table” </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrable impact </li></ul><ul><li>Provides motivation to learn – not theoretical </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to sell </li></ul><ul><li>But… </li></ul>
  9. 9. But… Without effective program management & facilitation it can become Action Learning
  10. 10. Action Learning © 2002 Executive Development Associates. All rights reserved. Address significant business challenges Develop leadership, teaming & business tools, techniques & skills
  11. 11. AL The Promise <ul><li>Multiple potential benefits: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop individual capabilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Accelerated development </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Leadership, teaming & business skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop organizational capabilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More innovative & entrepreneurial </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cross-organization collaboration (without sacrificing autonomy) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Important work gets done </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Building a sense of the total enterprise </li></ul></ul></ul>© 2002 Executive Development Associates. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. Action Learning Framework Evaluation Implementation Sponsors Participants Teams Projects Roles Program
  13. 13. AL Typical Program Content <ul><li>Work / business planning tools & techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation & entrepreneurship </li></ul><ul><li>Team building - jump starting teams </li></ul><ul><li>Project specific / JIT education </li></ul><ul><li>Benchmarking </li></ul><ul><li>Time management & delegation </li></ul><ul><li>Senior executive dialog </li></ul>© 2002 Executive Development Associates. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. AL Typical Design ©2002 Executive Development Associates. All rights reserved. Session One Session Two <ul><li>Project introduction & selection </li></ul><ul><li>Work planning tools & techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Team building </li></ul><ul><li>Project specific / JIT education </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation & entrepreneurship </li></ul><ul><li>Set learning / develop- ment goals </li></ul><ul><li>Test project work plan </li></ul>Mid-point progress review <ul><li>Assimilate & synthesize work </li></ul><ul><li>Create, test & improve presentations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What learned? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Findings & recommendations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implementation plan </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Presentations to spon- sors </li></ul><ul><li>Debriefing & planning next steps </li></ul>3 - 6 Month Timeline 3 - 5 Days 2 - 3 Days 1 ½ Days Teams do projects
  15. 15. Team Structure Example Team 1 8 Participants Action Learning Program – 24-32 Participants Team 2 8 Participants Team 3 8 Participants Team 4 8 Participants Sponsor Sponsor Sponsor Sponsor
  16. 16. AL Team & Workshop Make-Up Options <ul><li>All experts. No experts. </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholder(s) </li></ul><ul><li>Implementers </li></ul><ul><li>Max - mix </li></ul><ul><li>One big team or multiple teams </li></ul><ul><li>Team size </li></ul><ul><li>Recommend: approx. 3 teams, on 3 different projects </li></ul><ul><li>Recommend: Sponsor selects 1-2 “implementers” for the team. Max-Mix criteria set. Participants select projects based on interest and learning potential </li></ul><ul><li>Team leadership </li></ul>© 2002 Executive Development Associates. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. Participant Selection and Time Expectations <ul><li>How should participants be selected? </li></ul><ul><li>Based on potential? </li></ul><ul><li>What they can learn, or need to learn? </li></ul><ul><li>What they can contribute? </li></ul><ul><li>Time expectations: </li></ul><ul><li>25% or so in typical design </li></ul><ul><li>How manage their real job? </li></ul><ul><li>How manage their manager expectations? </li></ul><ul><li>Full time for several weeks instead? </li></ul>© 2002 Executive Development Associates. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. AL Sources of Projects <ul><li>Participants </li></ul><ul><li>Program, e.g., projects to implement agendas created </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic plan & challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsors </li></ul><ul><li>Assessments/surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Top management slate </li></ul><ul><li>Key question: Provide choice or assign? Implications for: Ownership, commitment, implementation </li></ul>© 2002 Executive Development Associates. All rights reserved.
  19. 19. Strategic Challenge Choices Start with the Business Context
  20. 20. Project Selection Criteria <ul><li>Linked to strategy: directly address marketplace challenges, operating priorities, performance </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes desired change or new capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Broad enough to be challenging but focused enough to allow solution (avoid world hunger) </li></ul><ul><li>Not too political </li></ul><ul><li>Not redundant with other initiatives (unless parallel efforts seen as desirable for innovation) </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate for level of participant </li></ul><ul><li>Requires participants to think/act differently </li></ul><ul><li>Exciting and challenging to participants </li></ul><ul><li>A passionate sponsor with implementation authority </li></ul><ul><li>Within business line or cross business? </li></ul>
  21. 21. Action Learning Project Examples <ul><li>Initiated decision to make major acquisition </li></ul><ul><li>Created a new leadership institute </li></ul><ul><li>Designed and launched global supply chain development initiative </li></ul><ul><li>Designed a collaborative process for long-term strategic vision development and deployment </li></ul><ul><li>Reorganized multiple country and regional operations to maximize efficiency, enhance productivity, and speed growth </li></ul><ul><li>Introduced initiatives to build knowledge management, globalization of operations </li></ul><ul><li>Developed new product management process </li></ul><ul><li>Created a process for attracting and retaining technology partners </li></ul><ul><li>Recommended improved strategic utilization of an acquisition </li></ul>
  22. 22. Sponsorship <ul><li>An effective sponsor makes the connection between achieving the project goal and the development goals </li></ul><ul><li>Drives commitment through public and private support </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ongoing coaching and constructive feedback to teams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasizes action and learning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Models and reinforces desired leadership behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Provides “air cover” for the team </li></ul><ul><li>Supports members with their managers (often is a level above their manager) </li></ul><ul><li>Ensures implementation of the approved recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>Provides whatever extraordinary resources are needed </li></ul><ul><li>Keeps the team on target </li></ul><ul><li>Attends all face-to-face events </li></ul>
  23. 23. AL Common Pitfalls & Perils (Lessons Learned) <ul><li>No feedback/communications on what action was taken </li></ul><ul><li>Scope too large </li></ul><ul><li>Not aligned with strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Political land mines </li></ul><ul><li>“ Action” overwhelms “learning” </li></ul><ul><li>Just another task force </li></ul><ul><li>Lukewarm, arms-length sponsor(s) </li></ul><ul><li>Workload & boss interference </li></ul><ul><li>No implementation, or ineffective handoffs </li></ul><ul><li>A hammer looking for something to nail </li></ul>© 2002 Executive Development Associates. All rights reserved.
  24. 24. AL Critical Success Factors (Lessons Learned) <ul><li>Challenging but doable project </li></ul><ul><li>Active top management involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Trained, passionate sponsors with implementation authority </li></ul><ul><li>Balance “action” & “learning” </li></ul><ul><li>Explicit learning goals & frequent debriefings </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitation </li></ul><ul><li>Implementation planned up-front </li></ul><ul><li>Communicating progress & results </li></ul><ul><li>Realistic expectations – success defined </li></ul>© 2002 Executive Development Associates. All rights reserved.
  25. 25. Action Learning Accelerators <ul><li>On-line communications / work system </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsors get coached </li></ul><ul><li>Team process coaches </li></ul><ul><li>Access to faculty / consultants </li></ul><ul><li>Use graduates in future classes </li></ul><ul><li>Peer feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsors involved in selecting some team members </li></ul><ul><li>Managers get coached </li></ul>© 2002 Executive Development Associates. All rights reserved.
  26. 26. Balancing Action & Learning <ul><li>Make it explicit program objective, = importance </li></ul><ul><li>Set specific learning/development goals (individual & team) </li></ul><ul><li>Review progress at all project reviews </li></ul><ul><li>Include in all presentations </li></ul><ul><li>Build in reflection time </li></ul><ul><li>Team coaches/consultants </li></ul><ul><li>After Action Review </li></ul>
  27. 27. AL Decision Options <ul><li>No decisions made, recommendations only </li></ul><ul><li>Made in program by senior management </li></ul><ul><li>Made outside the program </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Implement within area of responsibility </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Teams find the decision makers and sell </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Other people implement </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Plan for implementation upfront </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsors select some team members with implementation in mind </li></ul><ul><li>Make implementation part of the program design </li></ul>
  28. 28. What AL Participants Typically Learn <ul><li>Entrepreneurial mindset & skills </li></ul><ul><li>To create, test & sell a business plan </li></ul><ul><li>The power of cross-business teaming (to work collaboratively across boundaries) </li></ul><ul><li>Accelerated problem solving & decision making </li></ul><ul><li>How to overcome the immune system </li></ul><ul><li>More about the total business & a sense of engagement </li></ul><ul><li>How to jump-start new teams </li></ul><ul><li>To appreciate & leverage differences </li></ul><ul><li>Giving & getting feedback </li></ul><ul><li>To manage their time & delegate </li></ul><ul><li>That shared leadership can work </li></ul>© 2002 Executive Development Associates. All rights reserved.
  29. 29. Action Learning – Keeping it In Perspective – The Strategic Challenges are for Learning “ I am far less interested in people having the right answer than in their thinking about issues the right way. What criteria do they use? Why do they think the way they do? What alternatives have they considered? What premises do they have?” Harvey Golub, former CEO American Express
  30. 30. Action Learning – Another Design Creating & Testing Project Business Plans Leadership Capabilities Implementing Approved Project Business Plans <ul><li>Learning & practicing leadership capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Confidential feed- back & development planning on 360 Leadership Inventory </li></ul><ul><li>Preparation for business project process </li></ul><ul><li>Reviewing marketplace realities </li></ul><ul><li>Setting & reviewing learning / development goals </li></ul><ul><li>Building project teams </li></ul><ul><li>Developing, testing & presenting project business plans </li></ul><ul><li>Approving or rejecting projects </li></ul><ul><li>Business project implementation </li></ul><ul><li>Debriefing individual & team learning vis-a-vis development goals </li></ul><ul><li>Summarizing & presenting results </li></ul><ul><li>After Action Review </li></ul><ul><li>Forming self-directed development teams </li></ul>SEGMENT ONE SEGMENT TWO SEGMENT THREE Three Days Four Weeks Three Months On-line Work & Communication Throughout Executive Coaches