After each program we deliver, we set time aside to chew the fat and reflect on what woked well and what we can learn to do better.
We are always learning. But increasingly two keys to success are standing out in the design of our programs. These are decisions that concern the length of the program and where responsibility for learning rests.
In organisations today consultants are often asked to make a program fit with the time people think they have available to understand some concepts and learn some concepts. And it seems to be a decreasing amount of time as corporate life becomes increasingly pressured – with more and more being squeezed into the same official working hours.
The question that needs to be asked is not “how much time do we have available?” but “what outcomes do we want to achieve?” What are the tangible behaviour changes or impacts we want the program to deliver? Transformational change takes time and it is an unpredictable amount of time that varies from person to person. Unpredictable, but there is research and our own experience that informs our decisions. But in general I suggest it takes longer than you think you have ‘time for’. Howver, if you do not create the time for the transformational change to occur, you will not get the outocmes you desire. So I think people need to consder how to make the time – or modify the desired outcomes.
Hand in hand with the issue of time is the issue of who is responsible for delivering the change? It’s a sensitive question.
The program facilitators need to be good at what they do. They do have a certain repsosnibility to be engaging and ‘get buy in’.
But being good is not enough if people just do not want to be open to new ideas. So program design also needs to consider how to gain participant’s input so that they feel confident that the program is relevant to their needs and engages them in what they want to learn. After all they are giving up valuable time and energy. Increasingly, we are encouraging our clients to undertake an internal marketing campaign for the programs we develop and deliver so that those who want to be involved and who will make the most of the organisation’s investment are the one’s who participate.
Negotiating to gain the time and engaging potential particpants all takes time of course. But its worth it.
Because if there is one thing we are seriously committed to, its Cultivating the conditions for Profound Change to occur – and time and responsibility are two keys to success.