The Development Funnel

The Development Funnel

Beth High

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Objectives: Focusing on the overall objective of the workshop, develop a plan to improve a participant's capacity to lead by increasing the frequency of certain behaviors:

  • Model the Way by reflecting on the opportunities for change, and choosing a plan of action that supports the participant's values and openly communicating the reasoning behind the actions taken.
  • Challenge the Process by looking for opportunities to take action that will have significant impact for the organization.

Audience: unlimited

Time Required: 10 minutes

Materials Needed/Setup: Flipcharts, Easel, Markers

Note: This could be developed as a slide animation as well.


  1. Draw a large funnel on a flipchart. [Note: I draw a wavy line across the top of the funnel as though it is liquid.]
  2. Divide the wide part of the funnel into 5 vertical segments, placing the initials of each of the Five Practices in one of the segments
  3. Use the visual you have created so far to discuss how the vast array of information participants take in when reviewing their LPI feedback might trickle down to the narrow part of the funnel. Explain how, in the LPI process, participants begin to narrow their focus-starting with a practice, moving to a specific behavior within the practice, and finally to an action that demonstrates that behavior in the real world.
  4. Lead a review of each of the Five Practices, asking participants to focus on a single practice and perhaps 1 or 2 behaviors that they feel confident could make them more effective as a leader and have a positive impact on their team or organization.
  5. Write the word "ACTION" in the narrow part of the funnel and instruct participants to define an action, based on the behavior they identified, that demonstrates the behavior.
  6. Draw a loop from the bottom of the funnel to the top and write the words "REFLECTION" and "RESPOND" along the side of the loop. Explore the importance of these two actions: once participants have taken an action, it is critical to take time to reflect on the impact the action had. Remind participants to talk to those who support their leadership development, including those they hope to lead, their manager, coach, etc. How did it go? What was the result? Will they adjust or redirect their action? Is there anyone they should respond to? This is a good place to discuss what support is in place for their ongoing development.

This process is iterative. Pointing to the top of the funnel and then to the loop again, explain how this process can be used over and over again-with participants thinking about their results and the behaviors they want to focus next. Encourage participants to find a way to incorporate this process into their lives-make it feel familiar and rejuvenating-for as long as they want to lead.

Tips for Facilitators: This exercise reinforces the role of committed practice. You will find many opportunities to point back to the funnel as you move through the workshop and work with participants to focus on specific action steps.

Beth High is President of HighRoad Consulting, a leadership development company, where she focuses on the challenges of leading effectively in the virtual environment. She also is a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge Workshop® and can be reached at


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