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Leadership Development - long or short sessions?

How best to structure a leadership/ management development programme.

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Would really appreciate people's thoughts, and also pointing in the direction of any relevant research. I'm currently working on an internal leadership programme with strands for both the front line and middle management, topics have been identified and we are scheduling in a curriculum. I've clustered sessions together into 1.5-2 days of delivery delivered once a quarter,  mainly because:

1. A small number of the cohort have to travel and this is better for them.

2. It also, being honest, makes life easier for me to schedule and track it, as there are lots of moving parts.

3. It works out more cost effective, when paying day rates to external suppliers. Our budget is based on this.

4. It gives our cohort a chance to get to know each other, eat together, have informal chats and build stronger bonds.

So there are definite good business reasons for having longer 2 day learnings - however is there a detrimental effect in terms of learning effectiveness by covering so much content in one go (and obviously we'd have lots of breaks, interactivity, variety in there to keep people fresh)? Are we risking a greater reduction in learning retention and application by doing it this way, or will we be okay if we add in enough 70:20 elements and management support?


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By Jane Hodgson
04th May 2017 14:35

How many 2 x day sessions are there in total? I ask because I had the same dilemma, delivering to people from all over the globe, so getting people in a room for a 3 hours session (for example) was not possible. What I did do though is get people to create action plans for between sessions and set expectation that, upon returning to the next one, I expected to see some results (i.e., they'd done coaching sessions or they'd done 1-to-1s with their teams and so on.). This certainly helped make the learning 'stick' better.

Ultimately, you are bound by logistics unless you can deliver remotely by video conference etc., but even then there are drawbacks. No intervention is going to be 100% perfect, you do what you can with the resources you have,. I don't think 2 x days in training is too much by the way.

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By clive boorman
05th May 2017 09:31

we follow the Kirkpatrick model and so we start with what the expectation is once the learning has occurred i.e. what will be expected of the participants once they attend and worked back from there.
We also asked all our participants to deliver a change or innovation project as an output of the leadership programme and they had to demonstrate how the learning dove-tailed into a real-life application. Worked really well and we could demonstrate multi-million pound savings as a result of the impact of the programme.

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Blake Henegan Optimus Learning Services
By blakehenegan
18th May 2017 11:45

Learning retention is always going to be a challenge.

Learning spacing techniques will help this - you are right to add in elements in between the face to face sessions. Do you know what these look like yet?

Make sure its easy for all participants to continue the conversation away from the classroom. This could be f2f, phone, email, messaging platforms etc. Not everyone will get involved but those that do will have a greater experience.

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By jbutler
24th May 2017 15:22

Thanks loads, some great points from you all, and I really appreciate you taking the time. Happily, we are incorporating most of these (meet ups in between, action plans, change projects, action learning groups), which makes me feel better.

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