Playing Games with Leadership: Simulations, Development, and Growing Your Potential

Playing Games with Leadership: Simulations, Development, and Growing Your Potential

Surveying today’s business environment reveals several key facts:

Leadership Is Lifeblood. Great companies are driven by great leadership from the boardroom down to the front lines of the organization. General Electric’s success owes a lot to great leaders like Jack Welch, but significantly more of that success has to do with the GE leadership development engine.

Demographic Chasm Presents Great Risks. Businesses are facing a demographic time bomb—the retiring of baby boomers—that is beginning to affect the ranks of senior management at global corporations. New generations of leaders must be cultivated to replace retiring baby boomers.

Traditional Training Has Many Shortcomings. Many leadership development efforts fail. While there are myriad reasons for this, the format of the training that participants receive is most culpable. A recent study revealed that management learning programs that use simulations provide significantly improved leadership competencies compared to those that use traditional learning methods.

In this post, I’ll speak to how organizations can better use advances in simulation technology as part of their leadership development efforts.

Let Your Managers Fail: Using Simulations for Real-World Management Practice

Let Your Managers Fail: Using Simulations for Real-World Management Practice

Leadership development continues to be a crucial priority for organizations as demographic trends constrain the available talent pool.

Although the nature of leadership remains a fruitful area of academic research, the challenge talent development teams face is not simply “What should our organization’s leadership competencies be,” but “How do we develop those competencies?”

When it comes to leadership content, talent managers may choose from a wealth of options. But when it comes to learning methods, even with the advent of new learning technologies, satisfying solutions are rare. 

It isn’t difficult to understand why.

Coaching, The Johari Window, & Experiential Learning

Coaching, The Johari Window, & Experiential Learning

When an organization seeks to bring about change, the team will often work with a consultant to help them see things they can’t see themselves. We’re often too close to our own organizational problems to be able to see them clearly. The same can be said for an individual — which is where a good coach comes in.

A coach can help you in the same way a good change consultant can help an organization: by spotlighting your blind spots and helping you connect areas you otherwise would miss out on.

The importance of the individual development that a good coach can bring is greater than the individual level. There is no amount of organizational change that can happen without real change at leader level.

Leaders set the culture and direction for organizations — whether they know it or not — which means that if they want to effectively bring change to an organization, they’ll have to bring change to themselves. This is not an easy task. One way a good coach can help a leader, and therefore an organization, grow, is by growing the leader’s self-awareness. One tool a coach can deploy to achieve the goal of self-awareness is the Johari window.

Amy Speranza and Jaclyn Courter: How to develop high-potential leaders online

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Abilitie was thrilled to partner with Amy Speranza and Jaclyn Courter to present Abilitie's third Learning Leader Roundtable, our first in New York, NY.

The foundational topic of the event was "How to develop high-potential leaders online," though the conversation spanned all the big issues that learning programs face today! Attending learning leaders represented organizations in the Fortune 100, non-profits, startups, and the global public service sector. 

Before the event, Abilitie surveyed attendees on their online learning practices to set the stage for the conversation. Interesting trends emerged:

  • In the programs represented, the demographic most frequently engaged in hi-po programs was recent graduates and entry-level, followed by managers, and then the executive level
     
  • The three most popular elements to include in hi-po learning programs were action learning group projects, personal assessments, and traditional classroom training.
     
  • The least popular element to leverage for hi-po programs was job rotations.
     
  • Participants surveyed reported that 5 years ago, only about 20% of their training took place online while today closer to 47% of their training takes place online. They predict that in 5 years, about 60% of their hi-po training will take place online.

While there is truly never a "one-size-fits-all" for learning, some patterns emerged as the roundtable participants discussed. A few are outlined below:

  • Just because the platform is virtual doesn't mean the connections can't be real. Online programs are successful only when there is an element of socialization and community.
     
  • In virtual settings, variety truly is the spice of life. Don't expect the same platform or medium to work in every phase of the program. Variety keeps learners engaged. 
     
  • Be ready for the long haul in showing ROI. There are many ways to demonstrate the value of learning, but to demonstrate long-term value, consider intermittent follow-ups and check-ins with participants for years to come.

Once again, a huge thank you to Amy and Jaclyn from GE for partnering with us to present this Learning Leaders Roundtable. There's nothing like engaging with our community to get us excited about the future of learning and development! 

Upcoming: L&D Leader Roundtables

We are very excited about our upcoming L&D Leader Roundtables: in Washington D.C. on May 2 and New York, NY on May 22. 

For our May 2 event we have partnered with Ellen Raynor of McKesson to facilitate a discussion with regional L&D leaders on the topic of classroom leadership development -- is it here to stay? or will it struggle to find a place of importance as virtual and distance options become more viable?

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At our May 22 event, Amy Speranza and Jaclyn Courter of GE will provide guidance for a discussion around transitioning L&D programs from being solely classroom based to blended formats. We expect an excellent conversation asking questions of "When should you move to a blended format?" and "How do you maintain the high levels of success that you expect in your traditional formats?"

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If you're interested in joining us for either of these events, please fill out the below contact form and we'll be in touch!

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Organizational Training Lessons from Universities

Organizational Training Lessons from Universities

This post is adapted from content originally posted on the Enspire Learning Blog

Better learning, better retention, better transfer, and better business results — critical goals of any organization’s training and development program. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve these training outcomes in our classrooms and online training offerings. Have you ever wondered about how our nation’s most prestigious universities pursue these same goals?

UT Austin is engaged “in reinventing higher education in the 21st century” by applying the latest evidence-based approaches to teaching and learning. We're excited to see these approaches in learning sciences and instructional technologies applied to corporate and non-profit organizations’ learning programs.

Below, I’ve distilled the basics of several higher-ed transformation lessons that you can integrate into your training.

Questions Instructional Designers (Should) Ask Every Day

Questions Instructional Designers (Should) Ask Every Day

What are the business objectives?

It is always important for corporate trainers and instructional designers to remember the guiding question: What are the business objectives?

If this sounds over corporatized, there’s an angle of business learning that you’ll want to consider: program participants who feel their training isn’t relevant to their work are unlikely to be as invested. 

If you don’t know what the business objectives are and how they connect to your training, then your learners won’t either. This is not good.

Bring Ambiguity into Your Corporate Leadership Development

Bring Ambiguity into Your Corporate Leadership Development

People (understandably) strive for symmetry in their work. We seek balance in our lives. Of course this idea carries over to how we plan our learning and development programs! 

While there is a time and place for evenly paced learning, there is good reason to push yourself into uncomfortable, new, asymmetrical spaces!

Margin Notes: Are you utilizing surprise in your corporate learning?

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Be honest. Were you expecting to see a cat playing with a fidget spinner on Abilitie’s blog? Do you know what that GIF and your amygdala, a pleasure center in your brain, have to do with each other?

I’ll hazard a guess that you were not expecting the cat and that you don’t know the connection between the cat and your amygdala. It will all come together.

You’ll remember this post as the one on Abilitie’s blog that kicked off with a GIF of a cat playing with a fidget spinner (surprise hit of 2017) and then asked you if you know anything about the amygdala. 

The image was unexpected, I’ve repeated the statement in different words four times, and (bonus) I picked a picture that was likely to make you laugh. Moments of surprise, especially moments of surprise pleasure, help to anchor memories in the brain. This post is a basic example of the power of surprise.

This is a margin note meant to get our brains moving a little bit, so I won’t dig too deeply into the science (you can read up on that here and here). 

All I’ll do is prompt the following question: are you spending much time thinking about your learners’ attention? If you are, how are you optimizing your learning to keep their attention? Do you use moments of surprise and unpredictability?

Thoughts?
 

Margin Notes: Managing for Rest

Margin Notes: Managing for Rest

Note: Margins Notes are quick, 250-word or shorter posts that aim to pose a question and get our mental juices flowing. Check out the first Margin Notes post here.

Is it a manager’s business to think about if her employees are resting? This may sound like micromanaging. That’s an understandable fear, but there is evidence to suggest that managers who think about their team’s work but not their rest are missing out.

Welcome to Abilitie, Enspire's new brand for our industry-leading leadership development programs.