Good workshops will have little impact if participants do not use what they have learned. Workshop follow up unlocks the potential value of your workshops, turns good intentions into action, good ideas into results, and good workshops into game changers. Engage everyone you can in supporting post workshop follow up.
Here is a guided tour through my blogs on this topic, with a new idea at the end.
Immediately after the workshop, send the link to this blog to everyone who attended the workshop as part of your normal course follow up: Participants.
This first blog outlines what the workshop participants themselves can do to follow up, keep it on the table, and mine value from the workshop.
Send this blog with a simple note, e.g., “Thanks for attending this workshop. This blog is filled with valuable ideas for workshop follow up and follow through. It will help each of us get the most out of this program and take some ownership for our own learning and development.”
Managers of Workshop Participants:
Immediately prior to a workshop, send a link to this blog to the managers of the workshop participants: Managers.
This blog includes important advice that all managers should be aware of with respect to supporting employees after they attend a workshop.
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Send this blog with a simple note, e.g., “Post-workshop support from the managers of a workshop participant is a key driver of learning and development. Please read this blog carefully as it includes several practical tactics for supporting employee learning after they attend a workshop. We expect all managers to support employee development in some way.”
Approximately 5-8 weeks after a workshop, bring the workshop participants back together for a cohort debriefing: instructions here.
This process is magic: it is easy to facilitate and generates tons of benefits (all described in the blog). If your program is content rich, you can run this session 3 or 4 times, maybe 8-12 weeks apart.
This is a powerful way to hold people accountable for action, face challenges together, coach people on the execution phase of their learning, assess the value of program (What are people doing with it so far, and with what impact?), continue mining value from the workshop, and drive a culture of continuous learning and improvement. While we love to facilitate these impactful sessions for our clients, instructions are included in the blog for those who want to do this on their own.
Garnering support from executives:
This blog is crucial to long term leadership development and talent management: Executives.
This idea here is this: top down support for training and development has a big impact on the success and impact of your programs. Everyone on the senior leadership team should read this blog for educational purposes, and you should help all (most) of your executives find some way to be part of the solution. There are dozens of ways to participate, and as I say in the blog, you might make some of these tactics mandatory and others optional (volunteer basis).
This final tactic is the most direct method of generating value from workshops. It is useful both for reinforcing learning and leveraging the value of the workshop: turning good ideas into action and results.
Engage the workshop participants in identifying a few improvement ideas that came out of the workshop. “Which ideas from the workshop are most worth working on; which improvements will have the biggest impact on our business?”
In my workshops, we identify potential improvement projects all the way through, so this is easy for my clients. You are looking for good ideas that need to be implemented or organizational challenges that the workshop has prepared you to tackle. You can run these projects like any other project: prioritize, plan, act, debrief and adjust (see here).
The trick here is to find some way to get the workshop participants involved. Here are some alternatives. Have the workshop participants:
- Identify the opportunities for improvement.
- Pitch the need (make the case) for the projects to senior leaders.
- Participate in project planning.
- Participate in project implementation.
If possible, let the workshop participants choose the projects they are most interested in. Give them some coaching along the way so they can be successful (each level of participation is a learning opportunity). And if they are not involved at all levels, keep them in the loop on implementation of their ideas.
Remember to keep the prize in mind: (i) reinforcing what they have learned; (ii) implementing what they have learned and (iii) generating results for the organization.
Advanture helps organizations take their leadership development practices up to the next level for enhanced business performance. Performance by design!
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