Workshops can be great opportunities to step back from the trees to look at the forest: What kind of leader am I? What kind of leader do I want to be? How can I take my leadership practices up to the next level?

I encourage my workshop participants to engage in the workshop – to work the workshop – on three dimensions:

  1. Individual: How can I improve my leadership practices and performance?
  2. Team: What can I share with or teach to my team?
  3. Organizational: What can we do better as an organization?

In addition to potentially tripling the value of the program, this approach has the distinct advantage of empowering workshop participants to take ownership for their own learning and contribution. It also enables you to support their learning and contribution at all three levels—as desired and appropriate.

My Speech:

First, I specifically ask my workshop participants to be active learners:

“It doesn’t matter if the ideas in this workshop are useful to GE or Procter & Gamble. Look for ideas you can use and think about how you can use them to do a better job as a leader.”

Then I suggest that they proactively work the workshop at three levels:

“Any time you hear something you already know, instead of tuning out, think about how you might apply that practice on your team (teach it to your team), or how these practices might help your organization as a whole become stronger, better…”

This is how I conclude:

“In other words, work this workshop at all three levels, i.e., at the individual, team, and organizational levels: How can I improve my leadership practices; what can I teach to my team, and how can I spread the best ideas across my organization or use these ideas to improve our organization?”

Find your own words, of course. Say it in a way that is meaningful to you and your audience.

Workshops 3D 1

Three Sets of Outcomes:

If you are doing any kind of metrics or follow up on your workshops, you can track and support progress on these three sets of objectives.

In other words, help your participants set goals, learn, and generate results on all three levels. And then, of course, track progress to plan on the most important goals they set:

  1. How are employees improving their practices and performance?
  2. What did participants teach to their teams, and what impact did that have on team performance?
  3. What ideas did participants propose to senior management; which of those ideas were implemented; and what impact did they have?

Workshop Design:

Proactively design your workshops to support development at those three levels, e.g.,

  1. Point out ideas that might also work at other levels
  2. Give participants time to discuss and plan how they might apply ideas at various levels
  3. Have worksheets for participants to capture their ideas & action plans (applications at various levels)
  4. Debrief some of the action plans together

Debriefing enables the facilitator to assess the quality of participant learning & work (quality control)—and offer additional coaching as appropriate. It also helps participants share their best ideas and learn from each other.

Workshops 3D 2

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Advanture helps organizations take their leadership development practices up to the next level for enhanced business performance. Performance by design!

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Joel Shapiro
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