Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Speaking of Magic Learning Programmes

Last week I travelled to the wilderness that is the Yorkshire Moors. It took a five hours train journey to get to Settle and High Trenhouse where we were to run the final part of an Inspirational Leadership programme for a senior management team.
They were our first client and I had been recruited to act as their trainer working with Richard Allen and John Thatcher of the Starfish Group. Rich and John run what is probably the best Inspirational Leadership Programme (ILP) in the world - no exaggeration. I have worked with them for the past eight years leading the programme within Purina, and it is truly magical.

John had been approached back in late 2009 by the leader of this team, who had done ILP and wanted his team to experience the same transformation as he had gone through. The problem was that they were an intact senior team and couldn't be release for 4 days (part 1 of a 2 part programme), so John agreed to run the programme in a very differ way.

We broke it down into four parts spread out over the year, and it worked amazingly well. This gave the team a whole year to learn, reflect, experiment and take on board, with frequent follow ups to renew the energy and share experiences. The risk taken of running this deeply reflective programme with an intact team were well rewarded when you witnessed the openness, willingness to help one another - because as they were developing as leaders, so they were becoming a high performing team.

A truly wonderful and inspirational year spent with a warm, witty and talented senior management team. We all felt so proud to see how everyone had grown, and to have played a part in that was so satisfying.

When I reflected on my journey back home, I realised that although I wasn't aware of it at the time. I think this ILP contributed quite remarkably to the design of our magic learning programme structure. When you think about it it makes so much sense:-
  • Work with intact teams
  • Build trust and openness - be brave and deal with the issues
  • Make feedback the norm within the team
  • Get team members coaching and supporting one another
  • Get them caring enough about one another so that they are prepared to confront what is wrong
  • Learn theory is small manageable chunks, but then do the real learning on the job
  • Measure the end results (in this case a PDI 360 report)
YES ...this is where the magic learning programme was born!

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