“A waste of time” I used to think when I was younger – “you just need to get on with things!” Yet here I am today, writing a blog about the importance of reflection and being absolutely sold on allowing enough time in training for a proper review and reflection, which then leads to some solid action planning.
A few weeks ago, I completed a 7 month team leader development programme with a world leading company nestled in the rolling hills of Hebden Bridge. This is a short story describing the impact of a thorough reflection at the end of a long term programme.
The brief was to develop a programme to help the team leaders become better leaders and not just supervisors. It was also to empower them to act and make a difference. Through a detailed needs analysis, the original “issues” and “gaps” were not quite what we thought and so a programme was developed to inspire this group of team leaders into developing themselves and driving action throughout the business.
For the last workshop, I allocated a whole day to reviewing, reflecting and action planning. This seemed a little scary – what if they had learned so little it meant we had very little to discuss? What if the review showed up serious flaws in my design, delivery and their understanding? What if they were unwilling to put things into action and take responsibility? Was the accelerated learning approach really all it is cracked up to be?
Read what Craig Baillie, one of the team leaders, thought about the day:
I just wanted to take the time to thank you for all your efforts over that last six months.
Yesterday’s recap really brought home the sheer volume of tools and techniques we have covered.”
I sincerely believe without spending so much time on the reflection piece, he would not have been able to realise how much he has learned and also what he now needs to do. It gave me such a buzz to receive this today and it is why I do this mad crazy thing called training!
Craig went on to say about the playful nature of the programme:
“The course was really well structured, never boring and although we often played in the activities it always felt appropriate and never condescending.
George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing” and sometimes it takes a bit of courage to do that in business, but is so worthwhile.
As I noted yesterday, you give me a buzz about my job and my role.
So once again, many sincere thanks. You made a big difference.”
So, on my part, it was a risk to spend a whole day reflecting and action planning. Designing the programme along accelerated learning principles, where productive and engaging activities form the backbone of the approach is also risky, but in my opinion, a risk worth taking