We continuously update our blended training approach to keep it in line with emerging trends in learning and development. We have worked alongside some of the UK’s leading Universities and Business Schools to ensure the development programmes we offer take the very best of academic research and insights and blend them with our consultancy and facilitation experience. The result is a stretching, interesting and enjoyable learning journey that will deliver substantial benefits for your organisation.
Principle #1 – Start with the end in mind – We start the design process with curiosity and humility. What are your current Operational, Leadership and Strategic challenges and how will the development programme we are designing together help tackle some of these issues? It is important for us to be clear on the tangible, intangible and peripheral benefits we are aiming to deliver with your development programme as we have to justify the time and resource we will consume and having a suitable return on investment is vital if the programme is to compete for scarce resource and win!
Principle #2 – Co-creation – As well as the organisations needs, the development programme needs to take the needs and aspirations of the participants into account. These can often be gleaned from a summary of the most recent personal development reports, or from a recent training needs analysis, or we simply ask the target participants what they want to get from the programme. With these needs clear we add our own knowledge and experience of what is useful to learn and what works in other organisations and together we design a learning journey that we know will work in your organisation.
Principle #3 – Involve your senior leadership team – Our research has shown that contributing to real business challenges, with suitable support from the current senior leadership team, is the best way to develop and assess future leaders. The role of the existing senior leaders as role models, coaches and mentors is one of the best ways to enable tacit organisational knowledge to be passed on to future generations. At Sensei, we know that one of the more common misconceptions is that senior leaders have been taught how to coach and mentor, whereas our experience has shown us that many have not. It is for this reason that we start many of our development programmes by working closely with the senior leadership team to make sure they have the skills and confidence to carry out their important role in the programme.
Principle #4 – Participant Curation – Real learning takes place at the edge of, or just beyond our comfort zones. The participants in our development programmes are all adults and given the time to think, discuss and share their views they are quite capable of learning in a style that suits their specific needs. We recognise that not everyone learns in the same way; some are pragmatists; some are theorists; some are reflectors; and some are activists. We therefore design our development programmes to appeal to all and include a learning thread in the design that the participants can own, so they can curate their own learning journey and make it personally valuable and unique to them. We look to incorporate Self Organised Learning Experiences into our designs to enable participants to dive into topics that are of value to them and then we turn pupil into teacher as they are asked to share the insights they have learned with their fellow participants. We find this is the best way to anchor the learning and develop new skills.
Principle #5 – Value Delivery – The organisation will be investing time and money into developing the participants and we believe it is appropriate for the participants to deliver value back to the organisation that at least covers the cost of this investment, and wherever possible makes the development programme value generative. Many of the projects we use as learning experiences for the participants also deliver tangible value back to the organisation. Examples include – simplifying core processes; enhancing service experiences; developing new sales channels; conducting strategic and / or competitive research; developing innovative ideas and projects for new products and service offerings etc.
Principle # 6 – Outside In Thinking – Many of our blended learning journeys involve participants engaging with organisations outside their current zone of experience. For example, we often teach leadership skills by getting participants to exercise leadership in a community based project, where they are stripped of any positional authority, and have little or no technical knowledge to help them with the task. This can be very stretching but also very impactful and rewarding as they learn to deploy leadership in a totally new environment. We also facilitate visits to non-competitive organisations who excel at a particular aspect of work that is of interest to the organisation so they can learn directly from some of the best in the business. This outside in thinking is often regarded as the most interesting and stimulating aspect of our blended learning designs with our past participants.
Principle # 7 – Breakthrough Coaching Support – To compliment the development programme we provide each participant with an experienced Sensei coach who can help cement the learning journey and translate generic learning into specific personal action plans that will fuel personal development. More details on our approach to breakthrough coaching can be found here.
Principle # 8 – Educate and Entertain – All of our modular learning classroom sessions are designed to be interactive, informative and entertaining. All the Sensei associate team are highly experienced consultants, facilitators and trainers and we are experts in creating a safe and enjoyable learning environment. We recognise that learning new skills needs to be enjoyable as it can be a daunting feeling to step outside of your comfort zone, so we work hard to make the personal learning journey safe and fun.