You might know the typical leadership training in the Philippines. Leadership training is often a multi-day event with one or more lecturers. Attendees sit in classrooms. They take notes and listen to discussions about leadership: its definitions, theories, styles, models, principles, and best practices.
In this format, the lecturer takes the main stage, and the audience merely listens.
For most people, this format is aligned with the common definition of leadership training.
“Leadership training is a course that teaches people the skills needed to be effective leaders. Good leaders motivate and guide their teams, ensuring team goals match company objectives.”
There is a widespread misconception that knowing results in doing.
I remember a conference where I spoke. The presenter before me talked about leadership and was proud of her 127 slides. She planned to go through them in 45 minutes, so she promised to talk faster. Each slide had seven bullets; each bullet had seven words. Yet, after two hours and just 30 slides, she promised to email the 127 slides to us.
And here’s my issue: When attendees return to work, they often forget most of what they learned.
Because it’s like trying to drink from a fire hose.
Many training providers sell comprehensive content.
For example, I was recently asked to lead a three-day leadership training. The organization had an outline ready. There were 17 topics. They had set just an hour for a complex topic like strategic planning and expected that this be taught using role plays, case studies, and whatever structured learning experience I could divine, all detailed in a 17-page guide.
They seemed a bit lost. So, I declined.
This approach reminds me of how training was conducted 50 years ago. Back then, training was about providing lots of information. There was no Google and ChatGPT. Knowledge was valued and often kept secret.
Today, while information is everywhere, some still teach leadership the old-fashioned way.
They might add jokes, activities, and coffee breaks. But these can’t save a dull training session.
If you have already searched online, you must have noticed that many training providers do not provide you with their outlines. It is their trade secret.
Others provide outlines meant for 300 slides. They want to impress you with the amount of information you’ll hear during the training.
I hear you. You don’t want the typical. You don’t want to waste time and money.
Training should be about equipping the leader; it is not just about leadership.
Effective leadership training equips leaders to face challenges, find opportunities, and achieve results.
Customized Leadership Training
Move beyond generic training sessions. Choose leadership training tailored just for your organization.
If you want them to learn how to swim, let them swim.
Surely, they’ll learn about swimming by listening to you. But they will not have the confidence of a swimmer. They need to experience it. And the same is true with leadership. You may do this by considering your leadership training program as an input.
Yes, it is an input to a leadership project. Training is not the goal, a better business result is your goal. And in order for you to achieve that, they need to learn how to do things and change the way they do things. Simple, right?
You can also make learning immersive. Instead of giving a lecture on conflict management, which is good if you can do it in less than 15 minutes, engage them in real-world scenarios. Let them speak their mind. Let them use your input to solve problems.
I promise that once you get used to this thinking, you won’t go back to the old ways.
As a learner, you will find meaning in what you do. You know you can use it. And you will get the most benefit from it.
As a trainer, you will find this more meaningful. It is easier too. You will deliver leadership lessons aligned with your organization’s core values and unique challenges.
I will tell you more about my approach. Before the workshop, we delve into the theories. In the workshop, we focus on behaviors and strategies tailored to your specific needs.
Don’t just follow any leadership training; mold it to fit you. Let us into your organization for training that truly resonates.
Ready to uplift your team’s capabilities?
My Design Process
I use simple steps in designing leadership training programs. I target specific competencies to save time and optimize our results.
When designing learning experiences, I used proven frameworks. Training for leaders needs to be transformational. The Influencer Change Framework ensures that all training programs you bring to your company are focused, intensive, relevant, and engaging. You will trim it and take out all the BS in training.
Step 1: Clarify Measurable Results
You can create change if you are clear about what you want, why you want it, and when. The formula X to Y by When helps.
An effective result is specific and measurable. It is quantitative, not qualitative. In the past, success measures for leadership training were primarily descriptive. But we can certainly measure increased revenue, improvement of net promoter score, and others.
Step 2: Find Vital Behaviors
Vital behaviors bring extraordinary results. We will find high-leverage behaviors. Leaders will find out what to do and how to do it. They will identify crucial moments that bring the most significant impact.
And we will stick with what works for your people and your organization.
Step 3: Apply Multiple Sources of Influence
The Influencer Change Framework offers six sources of influence. Then, you will apply what works for you. Each source of influence multiplies the others.
That means you’ll go beyond the carrot and stick form of motivation. Instead, you will support leaders in achieving their goals while achieving corporate goals.
Lecture Is Easy, But Not Effective
I mentioned the lecturer who used 127 slides like it is a badge of honor. Some trainers believe that more slides mean more learning.
Let me tell you another lecture story.
The speaker was scheduled to talk about mental health in the workplace. It is a very interesting and timely topic. The lecturer has two doctorates and a master’s in industrial psychology. He is certified in many fields given the five acronyms after his name. I seldom meet people who take studies so seriously, so I was excited to hear the lecture.
He warmed up his audience by asking questions about their level of happiness, work satisfaction, love life, sex life, et cetera. And this engaged people.
Perhaps, to personalize his lecture, he talked about himself, mostly about his achievements. I thought he was rushing this segment because I heard him say, “next slides please” again and again. But after about 15 minutes, he was still talking about himself.
The slide most people were waiting for eventually appeared. Yes, it is the outline of his talk. I saw nine bullets. One is about a Republic Act and another is a department order from DOLE. I knew then that he would not be able to finish his lecture in 30 minutes.
Everything went south from that point on. The lecturer tried to dump information people were not willing to take.
If only he knew how to design learning experiences. He may still speak for 15 minutes to give a speech that will equip and inspire. But he could have given the first 30 minutes to the participants who will learn how to assess their mental health and find solutions.
He could have also taught them to make their workplaces promote mental wellness. But that was not his agenda.
A training program is not about something, it is for someone.
You can keep that in mind.
Learning Experience Design
When it comes to developing leadership skills, experience is a multiplier. Experience is always available. However, not all experiences are great teachers, and not everyone learns well from experiences.
This is why you don’t just leave leadership learning to any kind of experience. You will design the experience.
The so-called 70-20-10 notion of learning, though helpful for emphasizing learning by doing, is misleading. Because the 10% for classroom training is also an experience. And we can turn that 10% into 10x. You can make separate experiences multiply each other.
This is why I use Learning Experience Design (LXD). I bring together the best of what I’ve learned from Instructional System Design and User Experience to make training an extraordinary learning experience and an essential tool for business innovation.
Anyone can become a better leader. We only need to choose leadership training programs that fit the leaders we are helping to grow. When leaders improve, everyone around them improves too. This is one of the secrets of 10xed results.
Engaged employees are willing to go above and beyond. They are less like to leave their jobs, as well as the less likely reasons for others to leave their jobs. Practicing inspiring leadership increases engagement among team members.
These leadership training programs are investments in yourself and your development as a leader. They multiply the value of every centavo you’ll invest.
In designing leadership programs, I used many sources. I do not have to reinvent the wheel.
I use the Leadership Challenge as a framework for the signature course. I believe that the results of the research of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner will remain relevant for years to come. If used as a framework, I can help organizations personalize leadership training.
The Influencer Model is a syringe. The key is not in teaching the model itself, but in using the model to inject solutions that will increase the ability and motivation of leaders.
You can use it too in designing personalized leadership training solutions.
I use the 4 Disciplines of Execution in helping leaders come up with leadership projects. However, I do not intend to use it the way it is packaged because of what I have learned in practice and in research. I use what I learned from the book to help organizations execute their leadership development programs.
I use tools from Design Thinking and User Experience Design. I do not have to be creative from scratch. There are easy-to-use tools that allow me to move from problem space to solution space.
Aside from these sources, I interview practitioners inside the organization. There were times that I needed to interview their customers too. Designing a reliable program requires work.
I consulted dozens of leaders. Many leadership principles will remain, but our practices change.
As a leadership trainer, I do not see myself as the only source of knowledge. I am a curator of knowledge. I design solutions based on available information.