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A Lesson in Learning from Experience

Few of us have been spared the monotonous training program replete with what seems like a million text-dense PowerPoint slides and a talking head in front of the room “teaching” us. I don’t know about you, but I can’t say I ever learned much – if anything – from that type of training.bl-may2016

As noted training expert Bob Pike so deftly put it: “If telling was teaching, we’d all be geniuses by now.”

The good news is that training departments across the country have taken note and are taking the turn to experiential, immersive training – where learners are active participants in the training and come away with solid skills and strategies they’re eager to take back to the office and apply right away.

In other words, they’re creating and delivering the kind of learning that works.

Content revamped

At Blueline Simulations, we don’t believe you should have to start at square one when going from “instructor led” to “experiential and immersive.” After all, the heart of the issue is seldom the training program content; rather, it’s how the content is delivered.

Through simulation, narrative, game mechanics and more, we transform existing content from our client partners into rich experiential learning events informed by the latest research on adult learning theory – both in the classroom and virtually.

We also have been known to take it up a notch or two for a fully immersive approach where learners step away from the office and into a broader world dense with learning opportunities.

How does a trip to Disney World, Starbucks or an Apple store sound? We’re talking about whole-body, fully kinesthetic learning in which learners are plunged into worlds dissimilar from their own… all for the purpose of unearthing big ideas that can transform their own businesses. The insights clients have gleaned from these experiences have been described as “revolutionary.”

Next week, we’ll take a closer look at these “full immersion” learning events and draw out some principles that will enable you to begin considering your own.

In the meantime, I invite you to contact us to learn more about any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.

Full Immersion: Learning That Works

Our previous blog introduced Blueline Simulations’ full immersion approach to learning – where we take people out of the office and into the field to make real-life connections to big ideas that work.

We’ve taken a global biotech sales firm to Disney, Starbucks and an Apple store to explore engaging customer experiences. The client described the insights gleaned as “revolutionary.”office-walls

And we built an Innovation Tour of San Francisco for a global manufacturing firm, where executives were immersed in the world of Silicon Valley at places such as Google, Frog Design, Oracle and even the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The organization’s CEO called it “one of the most meaningful, valuable learning experiences of my career.”

Jarring? Yes. Insightful? Even more so. And there are four keys to making such experiences work:

  • Define the target. Don’t start with, “Let’s go to the Magic Kingdom!” Instead, define the pressing business challenge, and then identify organizations that have something valuable to bring to that conversation.
  • Get lateral. Theorist Edward de Bono describes lateral leaps as a key capability for breakthrough thinking. Lateral thoughts happen when we connect one idea to another seemingly unrelated one. In building immersive experiences, we identify organizations that are very similar to our clients and others that are dissimilar to create a productively disorienting lateral leap. That’s how a group of manufacturers found themselves exploring abstract paintings at the San Francisco Museum of Art and how pharmaceutical executives found themselves in line at an Apple Genius Bar to engage customer service around issues with their iPods.
  • Play it cool. Because the mind is most engaged when at play, we’re purposeful about building a “cool” factor into our immersive learning experiences. Wouldn’t you love to visit Google or hang out at Disney’s Epcot for a day in the name of learning? Of course you would, and so would your employees.
  • Connect it back. Critical conversations must happen for the immersive experience to produce organizational change. So what, exactly, did that afternoon at Starbucks say to you? What did you notice, see, hear, smell, experience… and what principles behind those experiences can deliver value at our (very different) organization? These facilitated conversations are the genesis of true organizational transformation.

Ready to step out of the office and change the way you and your employees view your world? Contact the learning experts at Blueline Simulations. We’ll build a transformative, immersive learning experience that delivers on your unique learning objectives – making real-life connections to big ideas that work.

I also invite you to contact us to learn more about any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.

Owning It: Getting High Potentials to Think and Act Like the Business Is Theirs

Like most organizations, yours likely has a special group of employees whom you view as high potentials – individuals who stand out because they already demonstrate many of the characteristics necessary to be future organizational leaders.

They know their jobs, they know the organization, they know how to build relationships, manage employees and serve customers. But do they really understand the business? Do they understand the financial metrics that lead to success? financial-indicators

Making decisions based on financial indicators may not be part of your high potentials’ daily job responsibilities today, but such knowledge will likely add enormous value in the future.

That’s why Blueline Simulations is excited to offer Business Challenge™, a one-day simulation in which competing teams of first- and second-level leaders strive to grow their businesses effectively by making investment decisions, funding their strategies and evaluating their results based on real-world financial metrics.

This revolutionary program is delivered as either a classroom or virtual classroom experience. An optional online program called Fluent in Finance™ is recommended to help participants prepare for success in Business Challenge™.

Rather than try to explain in any more detail, I invite you to watch our Business Challenge™ webinar and see for yourself how this experience can add a vital missing piece to your high-potential grooming puzzle.

Looking for more? Discover our complete set of leadership development experiences first hand through a series of 50-minute webinars hosted by Blueline’s Managing Partner and its Director of Leadership Innovations.

I also invite you to contact us to learn more about any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.

If Not Training, Then What?

There’s a lot to be said for training; it certainly has solidified its place in corporate culture as a means of addressing issues, teaching skills and strategies and getting employees aligned, motivated and on track for great success.

But there are times when training isn’t the answer – when the situation calls for a different approach.

As a case in point, a client called several years ago asking to revise and update a training program we had developed in 2006. A short discussion, however, revealed issues that pointed to a different solution. The client didn’t have a training need, they had a communication need.

Rather than update the current training, together with the client we decided to develop two high-impact communication pieces:

  • The first piece, a telestration, served as the ideal medium for communicating exactly what leadership wanted employees to know in a very engaging and visually stimulating way. Being just a few minutes in length drove high levels of viewership.
  • The second piece we developed was a powerful Blueline infographic that served to refresh the target audience on the overall process they’d been trained on by graphically displaying key inputs, process steps and decision points. This engaging one-page visual then became a just-in-time ready-reference job aide.

Sharing graphic elements between the telestration and the infographic enabled us to drive adoption through consistent branding while keeping costs down. The solution met the goal without one minute of training.

One of the many frameworks Blueline Simulations uses to explore how to best help clients solve their business challenges is BKD (Believe-Know-Do). We start with what you want your target audience to be able to Do. Then we explore what they need to Know in order to Do that effectively. And finally, we pinpoint what they need to Believe to be motivated to Do it.

know-do-believe

I invite you to contact us to learn more about any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.

Managing to Develop Talent… the Challenge Is on!

Today’s managers face a long and varied list of demands and challenges – not the least of which is coaching and developing their employees. After all, if their employees don’t succeed, they don’t succeed.Management Challenge

It’s no secret what needs to be done – to mentor, develop and grow employees to their highest level of competence. For most managers, however, the trick lies in how to do it… how to capture the hearts and minds of employees in a way that makes them open to development and want to contribute their best.

Enter Abilitie’s Management Challenge™, a dynamic team-based simulation designed to help new and experienced managers build their talent-management skills – identifying, motivating, coaching and developing employees – in response to everyday challenges.

Managers quickly learn to elevate their teams to deliver high performance and grow their capabilities as they practice crucial skills such as:

  • Onboarding new employees
  • Coaching high performers
  • Navigating the aftermath of a termination
  • Coaching behavioral disruptions
  • Motivating disengaged employees
  • Addressing distracting rumors

Management Challenge™ kicks safe experiences with predictable outcomes to the curb as it isolates key competencies and provides an environment where managers are free to explore, practice and gain experience in real-world management situations – without real-world consequences.

I’m sold on Management Challenge™, and I think you will be too. Feel free to watch our recorded webinar to learn more and see first-hand how this revolutionary program will change the way you develop talent managers!

I also invite you to contact us today to learn more about Management Challenge™ or any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.