Blanchard colleague Dr. Vicki Halsey recently shared insights from her new book, Brilliance by Design. Vicki is Blanchard’s VP of Applied Learning. There are few people on the planet who know more about how adults learn and how we inspire learning (and learners)!

The book is a great resource for instructional designers and meeting planners. And, leaders and managers benefit greatly from the insights, models, and tools presented.

Great Leaders Inspire Learning

Great leaders know that skill sets – theirs and team members’ – must evolve constantly in order to stay relevant, productive, and creative in our fast-paced world. They know that skill sets can “ferment” over time, and lose the ability to deliver needed performance.

Good leaders promote ongoing learning; GREAT leaders inspire ongoing learning. Great leaders are effective teachers – or are able to secure effective teachers if the skill set is new to them – to build skills day in and day out.

Great leaders help team members be smart. Vicki’s ENGAGE model serves leaders very well by mapping out proven, effective strategies for building needed skills in others.

The ENGAGE Model

We know learning happens best over time. Event-based sessions can build awareness, but skill building evolves as learners gain competence and confidence through practice and application. Brilliance by Design helps teachers get their content into a form that is enthusiastically embraced by learners. The ENGAGE model is a sequential approach to building an effective learning experience over time. It effectively evolves information and knowledge into applicable skills.

E – Energize Learners: Energizing learners starts well before the formal “teaching” moments. This step helps the leader build curiosity and clarity about what the skills being taught will enable learners to do differently, better, more efficiently. Pre-session activities could include learners reading relevant articles, viewing a welcome video, and hearing testimonials from previous learners. In-session activities could include getting people talking early, asking challenging questions, and listening – then posting key insights to validate learners’ perspectives.

N – Navigate Content: This step provides a framework for teaching. First, focus learners on the target or outcome. Then help them experience and label the new information. Next, drill down and embed key concepts through interaction. Lastly, practice applying the concepts and check for understanding.

G – Generate Meaning: This step is an interlude, a pause, to ask learners to reflect on what they’ve learned and consider the importance or meaning of that learning in their lives (professional and personal). With this process, you increase the likelihood of change, of them embracing new skills.

A – Apply to Real World: In many learning sessions, learners distance themselves from true application by describing how they’ll apply the new skills. This step requires that learners demonstrate the new skills, in real time, in a supportive environment with guiding feedback.

G – Gauge and Celebrate: This phase requires you to help the learner assess their progress towards skill mastery – and celebrate learnings and progress towards mastery. Vicki presents a variety of great tools for assessment and celebration. The key here is to build both demonstrated competence and inspired confidence so new skills are utilized quickly.

E – Extend Learning to Action: Learning does not end with the teaching session. Ken Blanchard says leaders and organization’s must spend TEN TIMES the time and energy reinforcing learning as teaching it. Mechanisms like skill buddies, email reminders, coaching, lunch & learns, podcasts, etc. create clarity about what applying the new skill looks like and what success with those skills looks like.

All leaders need to utilize the proven practices in Brilliance by Design.

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S. Chris Edmonds

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of The Culture Engine and six other books.
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