This week I caught up with a leadership group one-month post their completion of a leadership development program for a group coaching catch-up.
We had three objectives for the session:
Each individual in the session was asked to share a story of how they had applied their learning, the impact it had, and one challenge they wanted help from their peers solving.
I always love these sessions post training completion to check in and actually hear what stuck and what is yet to stick.
People often leave training or L&D experiences full with intent to change, and yet the research shows that as little as 12% of learning transfer actually happens.
What struck me with this group was just how much they’d achieved. Every single person was able to share a story of how they’d changed leadership behaviour, and how they’d created change in others around them. Between them, they’d trained their teams in how to give feedback better, set clearer expectations for performance, facilitated a vision and planning workshop, and invited feedback on their own leadership.
For me, it was a joyful moment to hear about the actual impacts of training on performance in their businesses. For them, it was a moment to share in each others’ learning success. They are all well on their way to maximising their return on investment – both in time and money – by transferring knowledge into action.
Similarly – for every success there was a roadblock each needed to overcome. It manifested in their teams as:
But for each challenge – their peer to peer sharing offered up new perspectives on how to apply the methods they’d learned together. Each member of the group gained 5 new ideas on ways to address their challenge – from the very people who shared the same frames of reference learned in the program. This was invaluable for them and reinforced the value of a peer network.
So what does it take to make training stick?
There are two key ingredients here:
Knowing that someone is going to ask you in a month’s time how you’re going, and that you’re going to show up in a group of your peers and share your story; is an incredible motivator. This is positive peer pressure at its best. Just knowing someone is going to ask you the question plays in your mind and provides just that little nudge necessary to push past the comfort zone, put the L plates on and try something new.
Similarly, learning as a peer group of leaders, set’s a new shared standard for performance, that the group can support each other to meet.
Ultimately, every individual is responsible for their own learning and development. Leaders who take their learning application seriously, fast track their change process and accelerate not just their careers but their company culture and business performance.
To learn, is to change. And change is what we need to do to stay active and responsive to this dynamic operating environment we all find ourselves in.