Lucky Me


This post is a bit dated.   But I still want to post it here since it is rather significant to me.    The photos were taken in Gazipur, Bangladesh – the outskirt of Dhaka.   I conducted a team development workshop there for 2 days.    The event is significant to me in a number of ways:


  • The workshop went very well.   The sponsor and the participants were apparently satisfied and more importantly their relationship seemed to start changing.   In the final 1-word check-out, one participant said ‘change’.   He further elaborated that he now saw people differently.  In addition, we arrived with very concrete Requests and Offers between leader and the team, with specific person and date for follow-up.
  • It was the last workshop with my previous employer.    It nicely marked the end.    I am particularly happy that I end it with a piece of ‘real’ work.   As I mentioned before here, I believe more and more that learning happens much more effectively when we get the learners do real stuff.
  • Most importantly, I felt very grateful during the event.    I was absorbed with what I did there.   I felt like time just passed by so quickly.  I was in the flow.   People say everyone is borne for reasons.   If that is the case, I really feel like I am borne to facilitate group work.    Not that I am very good at it.   Just that I like to do it so much.




I guess I am lucky.



As I am about to leave my current organisation, someone asks me ‘what have you gained the most from the job?’    I think it is my learning and the learning came mostly from working with my co-facilitators.   Whenever possible, I will choose to work with a co-facilitator.     It is not because of workload.  In fact, the work may become more difficult with a co-facilitator.    For example in working with a new co-facilitator, you need to spend time in advance to prepare together.   And when you two are not aligned,


To me, there are other more important reasons why i prefer co-facilitation.


  • Feedback – With right contracting, the best feedback comes from your co-facilitator.    He or she is probably the best person in the room who understands the intent and result.   He or she is thus most informed to give you feedback.   In addition, especially in leadership development workshops which are about personal disclosure and are reflective by nature, you will have the atmosphere and time to build reasonably good level of trust with your co-facilitator.   This enables him / her to give you feedback.   So, your co-facilitator has both WILL and SKILL to give you feedback.
  • Pushing the boundary – If learning facilitation is about helping learners push the boundary, I do a better job when I do it with a co-facilitator.   Frankly, I am more ready to challenge the learners knowing that someone is backing me up.
  • Role-model – You learn by simply watching another facilitator in action.   This is especially powerful when you swap with your co-facilitator to run each other’s modules.   You can see how the other facilitates the same thing differently from you did.




Thus, I have to say THANK YOU to the co-facilitators I have worked in the last 2-3 years!    Graham B, Graham H, Hannah, Helena, Simon, Fiona, Tony, Patrick, Sabrina, Trisha, Judith, Leslie, Emma, Winnie, Noel, William, thanks!!    (My apology if I miss any of you)





A friend of mine is starting an exciting video-based Chinese-related knowledge website called Prodygia.   ‘Prodygia’ comes from the word ‘Prodigious’ and ‘Prodigy’.    ‘Prodigious’ is associated with the notions of big size, being vast, even extraordinary. ‘Prodigy’ means someone with a special talent.   I take this opportunity to talk about my blog there as well.

If you are interested at practical knowledge on China, have a visit to various video content on Prodygia.

And here is one of the sample – myself on the video!


‘Check-In’ in Phone Meetings

A useful post on the HBR Blog – Create Human Connection in a Virtual Teams.

A reflection as I read through it…. on the idea of conducting ‘Check In’ to build human connection in virtual meeting.   It is quite tricky.   When I discussed this idea with leaders, their response is often ‘We do not have enough time for this’.    This brings to 3 points:

  1. Someone shared a question with me before ‘Is it about efficiency or effectiveness?’
  2. There are different ways of Check-In instead of everyone on the call doing a ‘wedding speech’ .   To be exact, there are more efficient ways to do so
  3. Check-In will work only if the leaders themselves believe in it, do it first and do it a few times.   It is bound to be a bit odd the first time.   If we do it just once and then drop it, it will probably ‘prove’ to be not useful.

Action Learning in Action


I was excited about what I experienced in an internal meeting conducted in India. Basically there were a few leadership development facilitators and operational colleagues discussing with logistic support colleagues on how to improve some operational processes. [Sorry that I cannot tell more about the details] With a few of us being conscious about what is really going on, it turned into an action learning intervention – all worked on the stuff, and at the same time learned about leadership, ways of working, problem solving, etc. At least this is what I perceived. I could not help to share at the end that what happened was a great example of what I believe the future leadership development intervention should be. The beauty of such practice includes:


  • Real stuff is being resolved
  • As such, the return on the underlying developmental resources can be objectively measured
  • The common problem of lacking line managers’ support on learning events no longer exists. It is real.
  • People learn effectively with high learning transfer

The question is:


How to make it scalable? The facilitator has much more preparation work to do because each intervention can be very different. And we are asking a lot from the facilitator who needs to be resourceful and skillful. Able to intervent just in time with relevant concepts or tools…