The first thing we do once a training course has finished is evaluating the experience and our observations as we enter into a short period of reflection. Describe your thoughts and feelings about it.
- Why did you attend the course in the first place?
- Did the course content cover your own objectives?
- What was good or bad from the experience?
- Did the tutor inspire me to change certain behaviours within myself?
- What did I gain from this experience, and can I apply them to my current day-to-day practice?
We then start to put the learning experience into a variety of contexts, transform differing perspectives, and deepen understanding.
It is important to go beyond the experience, and try to make sense of what you have learned in the context of your own working environment, and your personal life.
What would you do differently? Would you change anything, now or in the future?
Now that you have reflected and incorporated what you have learned, the next step is to build a plan of action.
Plan / Strategise
Most action plans have short term goals, and most are personal so they should be easier to accomplish, compared to say, a board-level strategy which you’ll probably need to risk assess first – before even considering what goals and more importantly, what your resources will be to achieve those goals.
Most courses should leave you feeling inspired and full of new ideas and insights. These can create new tools and skillsets to deal with old problems, however, making those sudden changes overnight could have drastic consequences. Allow yourself the time to plan ahead.
Sharing your experiences, and particularly your insights from the course helps refine that action plan further. A collaboration, or “two heads are better than one” approach adds more clarity and colour to that one-dimensional plan of yours.
The problem is that strategy means different things to different people, so why not use some simple techniques to help you contribute better. Discuss the plan with your executive coach. Ultimately, you should be able to articulate to others your reasons why this strategy is important – so not only is strategic thinking important, but your communication and influencing skills need to be razor-sharp too.
If you don’t have an executive coach, get one.
The success of every strategy rests on the capacity for decision-making and executing your plan effectively. Hopefully, you would have put together a structured blueprint to transform theoretical knowledge into practical change.
How do you ensure that implementing this new strategy will succeed?
Sure, you can monitor its progress and performance, but there will always be an ongoing process of trial and error, and whilst failure is never a goal, an unsuccessful strategy can prove a valuable learning experience for you, and patience is key to understanding what went wrong, and how you can fix it. Sometimes a strategy can fail, even in the face of unexpected events.
So, what was good or bad from the experience?