According to Nishi Singh of Nishi Singh Coaching, the answer to transferring learning from the conference setting to the workplace is Action Learning. “All too often the enthusiasm and excitement of team working begins to fade within one or two days of the lights going out at the conference hall and many conference attendees are wondering what the fuss was all about.”
“We have been organising conferences for years to bring organisations together, not only to acknowledge the achievements and progress they have made over the past year, but also to motivate and inspire their people by celebrating successes. We believe it is our collective efforts that make the difference, working together as one organisation and one team pulling in the same direction”.
“It is a time to share the excitement and growth planned for the next five years too!
When planning the agenda it needs to meet a number of criteria:
- A look back at the previous year’s successes
- Celebrating success
- Showcasing current projects
- Current and future industry trends
- Re-connecting with the organisations’ vision and values
- Working as one team towards a common goal
“Ensuring teams share project work is key for us; day-to-day business prevents internal knowledge and expertise being informally communicated in spite of a multitude of channels of communication being available. Conferences provide an opportunity to network across the organisation through coffee breaks and round table exercises focused on developing different markets and regions for products nationally and internationally. Additionally, we build in fun interactive energisers to the keep our audience engaged and uplifted. But somehow this doesn’t seem to be enough to break down the silos within which we all work on a daily basis.”
To answer this conundrum of getting teams to work cross functionally, Nishi Singh added: “we went back to the drawing board and asked two key questions: What is the change in behaviour the client wants to see from its leaders? and What does this behavioural change look like when staff interact with one another?
An established methodology was adopted called Action Learning; where groups of 6-8 people problem solve specific issues using powerful questioning techniques. Each member of the group was given the opportunity to present an issue; the other members ask questions to stimulate individual reflection leading to change and action. The results were encouraging, 80% of those who committed to taking action, did, with some change in behaviours observed in the workplace. Feedback captured from the conference on Action Learning groups was positive; and delegates valued the opportunity to have ‘quality thinking time’, a much-needed resource to create ‘head space’.