Less than 12 hours before starting a 2-day Leadership Development workshop, the client told me that they need to take the first 1 hour away from the workshop.Â The new country head as the sponsor will introduce an â€˜Action Projectâ€™ to the participants.Â The first thought came to my mind was that it may not be a good idea because:
- The â€˜Action Projectâ€™ means demanding work for the participants in the coming few months. Introducing it in the beginning would probably take away the participantsâ€™ attention from the workshop
- The country head is new to most in the room. We have little idea how his speech and his project will be in the line with workshop
- Last but not the least, the participants did not know in advance that they need to work on an â€˜Action Projectâ€™ at all!
Yet, on second thought, I found myself curious to let go.Â I chose to experiment with this unpredictability.Â Â After all, my client could not do much about it at that time.Â Â I was very much in the state of â€˜Be prepared and prepared not to use what you prepareâ€™ in my previous blog post.
At the end, it turned out to be an enhanced learning experience for the participants.Â Â Basically, I leveraged the participantsâ€™ strong attention towards the project to land the learning for the workshop content.Â Â For example, a piece of workshop content is about the notion that people have different behavioural preferences.Â Â Â I challenged the participants to apply the learning to prepare for the Q&A session with the sponsor on day 2.Â Â The driving questions are â€˜What behavioural preference did XXX demonstrated and why?Â Â How would you engage him better tomorrow given your preference?â€™Â Â I also facilitated them to talk about the possible dynamics within their respective project team using the behavioural preference language.
The underlying learning philosophy is very much the â€˜Action Reflection Learningâ€™ (ARL) I mentioned before.Â Â Learning retention is higher for â€˜Just-in-timeâ€™ rather than â€˜Just-in-caseâ€™ learning.Â Â Â See ‘ARL approach’, â€˜Learning Sustainabilityâ€™ and â€˜Action Learning in Actionâ€™Â .
The more important reflection is that I can let go better.Â Â It is driven by my rising inclination to work with â€˜what is in the roomâ€™ rather than â€˜what I prepareâ€™ or even â€˜what is on the PPTâ€™.Â Â The fact that I have spent majority of my time on executive coaching certainly contributes to this inclination.
I am curious how else I could be different in the futureâ€¦.Â Let the learning continues.