Case Study: Leadership Training - The Blended Approach

Main points: 

Brooks Automation, a leading equipment supplier to global semiconductor manufacturers, is training its managers worldwide in facilitative leadership skills, using a blended learning programme.

The programme comprises an online learning module, a complementary classroom workshop and post-event workplace activities. Called Leadership and Teamwork, it shows how leaders can use facilitation skills to improve teamwork and meet objectives.

"Our business had experienced cutbacks and downsizing, as a result of a severe industry downturn," explained Tom Kristoph, Brooks’ director of development and training. "As we began a return to profitability, the senior management team held open-forum meetings with staff members to find out what we could do to train people, improve skills and instil a new sense of teamwork. One of the responses showed that we needed to train our managers in facilitative leadership skills."

Interactive
After evaluating Leadership and Teamwork, Tom Kristoph asked Balance Learning, who devised the scheme, to run an initial programme of the complete blended learning solution for 15 of Brooks’ managers.

The programme begins with an online learning module which provides around two hours of practical, easy-to-apply learning, with fast-paced interactive exercises and video scenarios. It highlights what it takes to be a facilitative leader; how to adopt a facilitative style; how to improve group dynamics and develop team trust, as well as how to set guidelines for performance, establish clear goals and grow a team through its stages.

As part of the programme, Balance Learning provides all the resources a trainer needs to run an accompanying classroom session, which builds on the online module. This includes customisable PowerPoint slides, hand-outs for exercises and role plays, a facilitator’s script in Word format and video clips to provoke discussion.

Workshops
For Brooks’ first programme, a trainer from Balance Learning ran a one-day workshop for the participants, concentrating on skills application.

"The participants liked the combination of learning through the online component and then having the opportunity to work through that learning in a workshop setting," said Tom Kristoph. "It meant that the classroom session could be shorter and more focused because everyone was coming in with the same level of understanding of the subject."

Balance Learning also provides post-training activities and assignments to facilitate the transfer of learning back to the workplace. The participants from Brooks’ first programme are currently working through these activities.

"Follow-on activities are so important because if the learning doesn’t get reinforced on the job, then it’s going to get lost," said Tom Kristoph.

Global
Balance Learning is also preparing to run a ‘train the trainer’ session in which it will train and certify three of Brooks’ trainers. Brooks will then be able to deliver the programme - and run the classroom workshops - independently to train managers in North America,
Europe and Asia.

Brooks will monitor the effectiveness of the training by surveying the programme participants and their managers, to get a sense of what difference the training has made.

Tom Kristoph said: "Using a facilitative style, our managers will be better equipped to engender motivation and trust. This will create a behavioural change that we believe will contribute to improved business results."

Comments

tim_drewitt's picture

This piece is an announcement of the decision by Brooks Automation to use a generic blended learning programme to develop its leadership population. In a year to 18 months' time, the benefits derived from the initial wave of the training will naturally be more easily identifiable and hopefully, which could form a case study along the lines suggested.

The client has selected the programme based on the quality of the content and how well it maps to the competencies they wish to develop, the delivery approach used and the significant time and cost savings it offers over alternative, more traditional methods.

schma_m's picture

As a former employee of a semiconductor company this case study caught my eye.

What I can't seem to fathom from this case study is the benefits, trials, tribulations, pitfalls etc of this experience. How does this case study help the reader decide if a blended approach has value? I'd like to see included in this a commentary on the projected ROI or criteria for deciding to do the training in the first place, and for using a blended approach, and the post programme follow-up - was the ROI achieved? Was the blended approach right or wrong?

Brooks' director of training states: "As we began a return to profitability, the senior management team held open-forum meetings with staff members to find out what we could do to train people, improve skills and instil a new sense of teamwork. One of the responses showed that we needed to train our managers in facilitative leadership skills."

With a return to profit in progress, what was the organisational driver for doing this training, aside from a (arguably skewed) view from the workforce that it was a 'need'. In what way is it a need that will contribute measurably to the profitability and success of the organisation, especially as it is already returning to profit?

I'm sure there's more detail behind this case study (I hope!) but it doesn't tell me if this training, blended or not, is actually going to make a difference that key stakeholders would really value.

Tom Kristoph said: "Using a facilitative style, our managers will be better equipped to engender motivation and trust. This will create a behavioural change that we believe will contribute to improved business results.". Will it? Why doesn't Tom KNOW?

Is it me?!

Would it be possible to e-mail me the content of this leadership training programme?

My e-mail address is: adrianaferguson1972@yahoo.com

Thanks,
Adriana Ferguson

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