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Pack Your Bags! We’re Going on a Journey!

By Annamarie Lang

Annamarie LangIf I offered you the choice between a three-week journey through Europe or a one day trip, which would you take? A no-brainer. Right? The reason people go on a vacation is to transform from a stressed-out, over-worked, worry-wart to a more relaxed individual. The vacation journey is all about exploring, seeing new things and enjoying that time. That certainly doesn’t happen in a day. So why would anyone expect a leader to transform in a day…especially first-time leaders?

Being a leader, in and of itself, is a all about a journey in which people face challenges, and as a result, they grow and transform over time. To truly help a leader transform and get the most out of leadership development efforts, we as learning and development professionals must continuously provide the right environment for leaders to broaden their knowledge, skills, and experiences and apply what they have learned in their jobs. This requires more than an event or even a series of events. It takes a journey.

Learning JourneySo what is a learning journey, and how do you make it work? I covered just that in a recent webinar I hosted with HR.com, in which I shared three keys to effectively transform training events to learning journeys:

  1. Always start ‘with the end in mind.’ What are the goals of your learning and development initiative? Establish that first and then everything should flow from those goals. Start a dialogue with senior stakeholders and management teams to help contextualize and gain their buy-in to support your development investment. Discuss the key strategic priorities, cultural issues, leadership competencies, objectives and benefits of the program, expected challenges and barriers, and the support learners need to make the journey a success.
  2. Use the perfect blend of diagnostics, formal, and informal learning. To truly extend learning beyond development events, you must engage learners before, during, and after the formal development events. A learning journey incorporates a unique blend of diagnostics, formal learning, and informal learning with application opportunities to gain ‘stickiness.’ It is this thoughtful blend of elements that drives behavior change and ultimately solid business outcomes.
  3. Ensure the informal ties back to the formal. Informal learning can be fun and engaging, but it’s all for naught if it doesn’t have a purpose and tie back to the formal learning. Using a mix of self-directed and group activities gives learners multiple opportunities to apply what they have learned.  If you have never incorporated informal learning activities, don’t be surprised if learners don’t embrace them immediately; sometimes bringing those activities into the formal classroom gives learners the opportunity to experience them and see their value.

Want to know more? This webcast was the third in a four-part series we’re hosting with HR.com based on our article Where Are Your “Ready-Now” Leaders? Join us as we explore the four steps to preparing technical experts for the challenges of leadership.

 

Annamarie Lang is a senior consultant in DDI’s Leadership Solutions Group.

Posted: 06 Mar, 2014,
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