Applied Learning Programs
An Applied Learning Program (ALP) is the key component of an organization’s leadership development program. The ALP is a real world assignment, performed in small teams, to challenge and accelerate leadership capabilities. This project is worked on part-time, alongside their regular job, culminating in a presentation and recommendation to the organization’s senior management.
Organizations and business schools run a wide variety of leadership training programs. The biggest single complaint of all organizations is that while the training is well received, the learning doesn’t translate back to the job, and there is no apparent upgrade of skills on their return. For this reason SEEC incorporates ALPs, among other tools, to fill the gap between formal leadership development training and on-the-job application.
Developing the ALP
To create an effective ALP, we will:
- Understand your business by interviewing senior stakeholders and target participants.
- Understand your participants’ major development areas.
- Align Applied Learning Program objectives with new skills and integrate the ALP with a formal leadership program.
- Define the length and scope, anywhere from a three day retreat to a six month program.
- Assist your senior management in choosing the right business challenges for your teams by providing selection guidelines and criteria to ensure maximum impact.
- Provide external coaching, from a CEO perspective, to guide your participant teams through the process, providing feedback and pushback throughout the journey.
- Infuse knowledge along the journey using ‘mini teaching modules’ to provide participants with the framework and skills to run their project professionally. For example, presentation techniques, group collaboration, and creating a business case.
- Work as a cross-functional team
- Enhance knowledge of other functional areas, markets and company strategic issues.
- Practice innovative and stretch thinking; beyond the day-to-day.
- Intra-company networking.
- Apply and practice specific leadership skills. For example, strategic analysis, critical thinking, executive presence, communication, and persuasiveness.
- Work on a ‘real-world’ project and develop business and strategic acumen.
Organizations can expect to:
- Infuse fresh ideas and creativity to thorny, unresolved issues or business opportunities.
- Utilize the project topics to drive/ promote behavioural changes.
- Provide opportunity for post-program empowerment and acceleration.
- Receive implementable solutions.
2. Project selection
Projects should be selected by senior management. A number of projects may be required depending on the number of participants. For each project, an internal sponsor is identified.
Projects should have the following characteristics:
- A strong link to the business direction and current company strategies, issues and opportunities.
- Sufficient stretch for participants to address strategic issues, require a higher level of thinking, and address a cross functional, business unit, or company perspective.
- Link to specific skills being taught within the program, such as critical thinking, customer-centric orientation, business case development, strategic thinking.
- Be different than projects/topics being addressed by a full-time team.
- Apply to real, current issues and not be ‘make work’ or settled business.
3. Sample program based on a 3-6 month project
- A formal kick-off with an all-day workshop where the projects are revealed, the business sponsors are available for Q&A, methodology and organization is explained, project teams are formed, and work begins.
- Coaching sessions and key milestone dates have preset times and dates.
- Project teams meet, by themselves, as often as they feel they need to.
- Teams present their interim research findings half way through the project.
- Presentation run through is held a few weeks prior to the final presentation.
- Final presentation and Q&A is made to the sponsor and senior management team who will provide feedback, and decide what actions need to be taken as a result of the information presented, and the recommendations made.