Keeping Clients Engaged Long After the Workshop Ends

Michael Neiss

Q: How do you re-engage once gung-ho workshop attendees who have "fallen off the wagon" 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years later?

A: We often experience what a colleague calls "training afterglow" following a Leadership Challenge session. Participants leave, action plan in-hand, and get down to work. We receive encouraging emails about their progress and all looks great! Fast forward six months, the ember fades a bit.

One of the principles underlying The Leadership Challenge model is that the Five Practices need to be performed frequently so that leadership becomes habitual and the default reaction to whatever opportunity or challenge a leader might face. But old habits are hard to break. When situations arise and chaos ensues, it is not uncommon for participants to fall back to the habits of the past.

In my work, we have used several techniques with clients to keep people engaged, including:

  • Refreshers. At Herman Miller, we offer regular refreshers that include the opportunity to retake the LPI. The structure of a refresher is built around a current business challenge, engaging the group in talking about how the practices, commitments, and LPI behaviors can be used.
  • Coaching and mentoring. Beyond the classroom, high-potential leaders at one client are offered specific coaching on applying the Five Practices model. At this same client, formal mentoring relationships also have been established, with former participants mentoring new workshop attendees.
  • Executive support. Again at Herman Miller, senior executives talk about the practices regularly during their monthly business updates to the workforce. They talk candidly about applying leadership to the challenges facing the company.
  • Staying in touch. We do our best to stay in touch through emails, social networking, and the occasional cup of coffee to ask that all important question "So, how's it going?"

Of course, we never miss an opportunity to Encourage the Heart of those who constantly pursue their next personal best!

Michael Neiss is a Certified Master and a recognized leadership expert with a decidedly practical approach to leadership and management development. A consultant, educator and coach, he can be reached at mike@michaelneiss.com.

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