What people are saying about Action Learning:
"Action Learning has played an important role in helping the Emerging Leaders Network of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to grow into what it is today. Both in terms of our internal organization and external programs, the World Institute for Action Learning has served as an excellent partner and resource."
Peter Fargo, special assistant to the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science, EPA
“In today’s fast-paced, highly competitive business world, having knowledgeable leaders at every level is our only true competitive advantage. We have found that Action Learning is the best way to align and motivate our organization to leverage that knowledge for competitive advantage.”
Larry Washington, VP, Human Resources, Dow Chemical
“Real progress in business is achieved only by corporations and individuals trying out creative ideas and making them work, by pooling talent, and most of all, by learning while doing. Action Learning is the vehicle for achieving this.
Gerald van Schaik, former Chairman of Executive Board, Heineken
“Building teams has become a key goal and achievement of Action Learning at Siemens. Action Learning has helped the company maximize the entrepreneurial spirit and enhance team player qualities such as cooperation and free exchange of ideas. The quality of teams has resulted in more innovative ways of finding new solutions for customer requirements.
-Peter Pribilla, Corporate Human Resources, Siemens
"Action Learning caused me to look deeper into problems.
It deepened my ability to analyze both business and people issues."
"Action Learning gave me a structured way to take time to think about me.
Most classes in leadership lasts for a day or two, here it is different.
I am accountable for changing my behavior, and I have a commitment to report in three weeks. It forces me to continually modify my behavior and take time for myself."
"I am more self aware as a result of this program. People have come to me and said 'I’ve enjoyed working with you in the last six months.’ "
"I feel less isolated. I now have a support group to help me solve problems."
“In two hours, I accomplished more through the action learning process than I would have achieved in six months.”
Doug Park, Director, Microsoft Xbox Support
“I am privileged to have had an opportunity to bring a business challenge to the group - it was a super valuable exercise for me, and certainly beneficial to my business. This was far and away the most valuable EXPO event in my 3 years of participation in the program- GREAT JOB on all fronts.”
Marc Spiotta, Incubation Sales Manager, Microsoft Mobility Business
“[the Action Learning program] was a great learning experience and the fact that we worked on a current business challenge made it even more valuable. I am taking some concrete actions as a result of this experience...”
Benny Madrid, Marketing Development Manager, Microsoft
"Last week was one of the best leadership development experiences I’ve been a part of at Microsoft; you and the team should be proud of what you put together and the results!”
Dan Grady, Premier Field Engineering Director, Microsoft
“The concepts identified in the Action Learning course made this one of the most powerful training sessions that I have experienced in my 13 years in the training and development field. I was able to take the content and immediately put it to use, creating a dynamic of self-awareness for all of the project participants that typically is not found in a regular classroom setting”.
Susan Mitnick, Senior Director, Sales Training, cbeyond
Waking up to diversity through action learning
by Jo Monson of the Professional Communication Unit, School of Management Studies, University of Capetown.
An action learning course recently awakened me to the spirit of ubuntu. It is deeply satisfying as a human being to experience a group process where the group is so closely aware of each other that some knowledge is created that truly transcends the thinking of any individual in the group, and that is truly owned by the group as a whole. This requires each group member to listen closely to their own thoughts and feelings as well as to genuinely hear and value those being expressed by the others. The experience is of a magic flow which builds through the process and culminates in something that makes us individually and together richer as a people. Isn’t this what is meant by ubuntu?
The World Institute for Action Learning (WIAL) model developed by Michael Marquardt can deliver this experience and more. I completed part of the training to use this WIAL model from 26 - 28 May 2009. Simply put, action learning “is a process that involves a small group working on real problems, taking action, and learning while doing so.” The action learning process actively values diverse perspectives within a group and teaches sensitivity and awareness toward every individual in the group.
One of my own actions now is to integrate action learning into my group and interpersonal communication module in teaching business science students. A key outcome is building students’ competency to learn and perform within a diverse group. This is important in preparing them for the reality of an international global workplace. It also feeds into UCT’s transformation agenda in deepening the curriculum to value and foster diversity. Without wanting to get into the complexities, I know that the content of a transformation curriculum is often discussed. I wonder how often the university community considers process options, such as action learning, for deepening transformation.
As well as being a lecturer in the Professional Communication Unit, Jo Monson is also a coach. Jo attended the action learning workshop as part of preparations for the Global Community of Coaches’ Rainbow Convention to be held in Cape Town in September 2010. The aim of the convention is to research and showcase coaching in South Africa and in other parts of the world.