Teaching the Five Practices in Modules

Q: Can The Five Practices be taught in modules?

A: Anyone who has ever participated in a competitive sport or played a musical instrument knows how critical practice is. The job of leadership also requires that same discipline. Having The Five Practices top-of-mind is key to practicing them on a day-to-day basis. One method for achieving this goal is to bring participants back together over an extended period of time; participants exposed to The Five Practices frequently are more likely to integrate them into their daily routines.

Many clients have chosen to divide The Leadership Challenge® Workshop into modules based on each of The Five Practices. If your organization has the commitment, this is the preferred method of delivery to get the best results. Most who have chosen this approach divide the practices as follows:

  1. Overview of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® (and administer the Leadership Practices Inventory/LPI) : four-hour session
  2. Model the Way: four-hour session
  3. Inspire a Shared Vision: four-hour session
  4. Challenge the Process: four-hour session
  5. Enable Others to Act: four-hour session
  6. Encourage the Heart: four-hour session
  7. Re-administer the LPI (6 - 9 months after the learning initiative has ended)

Jim Kouzes consistently suggests that we approach leadership development as though we were practicing for a sport: practicing a set of specific skills until one becomes proficient. The more you practice the better you will get. By breaking up The Five Practices into short sessions over an extended period of time, participants have a greater tendency to actually learn the practices.

In addition to bringing participants back together for a modular schedule of learning, I highly recommend administrating the LPI both before and after an extended training initiative. Too often the LPI is administered before the training and is never used as a follow-up tool to assess the learning that should have taken place in the classroom. As facilitators and trainers, our goal is often to hold participants accountable for their learning. And re-administering the LPI six to nine months after the learning initiative is a great way to build in and reinforce a measure of accountability.

As my high school wrestling coach used to say, "practice makes permanent." Developing leaders requires that we build in plenty of opportunities to practice, practice, practice. Dividing The Leadership Challenge® Workshop into modules is an ideal solution to ensure The Five Practices become permanent.

Daren Blonski is an authorized affiliate of The Leadership Challenge. Daren studied at UC Davis where he received his bachelors in Organizational Studies. His passions are leadership philosophy and entrepreneurship.

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