Leadership development can be a considerable investment in time and money. There is often a temptation to extend the perceived life of this investment by delivering programmes over long timetables, with extended gaps between the formal, classroom-based learning elements. Instantly a 12 month programme becomes an 18 or 24 month programme, and the cost doesn’t seem so bad after all!
Whilst the logic is understandable, it is all too often counter-productive without additional investment in the ongoing engagement of the learners. When faced with a large gap before they are brought back into a classroom (or any other ‘formal’) environment, the focus on learning quickly dissipates.
Whilst extended spacing of the classroom-based learning elements in a development programme can be successful, consider carefully your strategy for learner engagement.
- Do you have in place a support structure that can be readily accessed by all learners on an ongoing basis?
- Are you pro-actively and regularly reaching out to offer support to learners on an individual and group basis?
- Support isn’t just a job for the programme delivery team – are your key business stakeholders engaged and involved?
- Are you offering mechanisms for the learning community to interact with each other and the programme?
- Are you actively encouraging and promoting their benefits and use?
- Are business stakeholders taking an active interest, preferably through participation, in collaboration between learners?
- Are you regularly testing the application of learning in the workplace?
- How are you measuring the ongoing impact of the learning?
- Are you using Action Learning Sets or group coaching to encourage peer challenge?
- Does your learning primarily focus on knowledge transfer or encourage actual behavioural change?
- What are you asking people to do, and how are your responding if they fail to honour their commitments?
- How are you preparing the rest of the business for the new behaviours exhibited by your learners? Will they act as a catalyst or barrier to change?