June 23, 2012

People Are Starved for Real Learning and Action

I believe people are starving. 

After being fed an unsatisfying buffet of assorted workshop topics at multiple events, they still hunger for deep learning, the kind of learning that actually changes mindset and behavior and produces demonstrably improved results.

The way we’ve approached a lot of learning in the past has been like consuming empty calories: we’ve eaten a lot, but we didn’t feel full, nor did we get the fuel needed to sustain our energy and action.

Beginning in 2013, I hope to change that by repurposing a portion of my work to provide even more content-rich learning experiences coupled with compelling conversation over a sustained period of time.

My work has always reflected adult learning design principles, blending concentrated doses of presentation segments with expansive experiential learning, discussion, reflection, and practical application activities.  Every workshop, keynote, and retreat I present or facilitate will continue to do the same.

But the most meaningful learning happens in the workplace—before and after the sessions or conferences—when people attempt to apply their new insights and ideas.  Organizations too often aren't a part of those moments.  I want to partner with groups to provide more robust conference learning experiences and to help foster and sustain “practice communities” that support those experiences before and/or after events in ways that produce sustained skill-building and enhanced results.

While I will continue to present engaging keynotes and workshops on a variety of organizational development topics as requested, I will focus a significant portion of my time on three new bundles of value:

Conference Catalyst:
opening and/or closing a conference with interactive keynote learning experiences, facilitating breakout sessions; serving as conference learning “weaver” throughout the event; leading pre- and post- event webinars; and providing resources to help create a true conference faculty committed to facilitated learning and more experiential session design.

Leadership Residencies:
contributing compelling content across multiple platforms and events (face-to-face, “flipped” webinars, blog posts and comment engagement) to help deepen an organization’s capacity around a specific leadership issue or question.

Content and Curriculum Consortium:
offering high impact content and curriculum (blog posts or newsletter essays, session outlines, handouts, slides, and facilitator training) that organizations can use in their professional development programming for staff, volunteers, and members.  All curriculum will be interactive and effectively blend theory to practice. 
In addition, I want to help organizations have more focused conversations around a very specific strategic question/capacity or constituency experience, ones that take an inclusive group of stakeholders on a deep dive to produce significant tactical opportunities for integration throughout the organization's existing efforts, as well as new approaches for experimentation and implementation.  I'll be doing so in the following new effort:

Refresh Strategy Labs
These hands-on labs are designed to:
  1. focus on one specific strategic question of critical interest to an organization, or 
  2. help an organization refresh and/or reinvent the experience of one of the following audiences to deepen individual engagement, community contributions, and value creation: the member experience, the learner experience, the volunteer experience, the staff member experience.  
These full-day labs (preceded by significant pre-work and surveying and post-event coaching and support) will use design thinking and user experience principles to help lab participants imagine and rapidly prototype new possibilities to immediately execute.

Each of these four efforts go beyond merely raising awareness of what needs to be done to facilitating the knowledge acquisition and providing a peer learning and support community that leads to sustained shift in mindset and action. 

Because of the expansive and comprehensive nature of these initiatives, I will only select a very limited number of organizations with which to partner in 2013 to ensure high quality performance. If these brief descriptions whet your appetite and interest, please take two minutes to complete this online form.  I will follow-up promptly.

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