Keep Learning Alive after Workshop Excitement Wears Off

Jim Kouzes

Q: How do you keep the learning alive after the excitement of the workshop wears-off?

A: This is always the challenge. People get together and have a great shared experience and then return to work. We've made it our practice to ask participants to commit to developing two to three behaviors over the next few months and we even have them partner with someone to help them and to hold them accountable. Sometimes, though, even that isn't as effective as we would like for it to be.

One client, the University of Connecticut (UConn), may have cracked the code on sustaining leadership development. We conducted a two-day Leadership Challenge session for one of their clients and included some coaching time in the evening so that participants could get immediate feedback to their questions around the LPI results.

After the participants left UConn they participated in an online discussion that lasted three months. Six topics were covered, each lasting two weeks. Three main questions were posted for each topic. The participants were required to answer all three questions with at least 100 words per question. They were also given the opportunity to respond to any of the other participant's answers. Some of the topics covered were "Mining the LPI Data," "Envisioning an Effective Leadership Project," "Designing/Implementing the Project," "Reflecting on Your Leadership Project," "Assessing your Leadership Journey," etc. Keeping leadership alive and moving it from "common sense to common practice" requires that we keep The Five Practices in front of participants until it is ingrained.

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