Resources

Books | Videos & Podcasts | Posters & Infographics | Articles
One of the major breakthroughs of the past couple of years has been how issues of diversity, inclusion, and belonging have entered the mainstream public consciousness and become a key issue inside corporate corridors. In a recent Deloitte CEO survey, building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce was a top 3 challenge for 43% of CEOs. At Emerging World, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (DIBs) work has long been a feature of the immersive learning experiences we provide but its role is now changing. In the past we might have addressed it by including a session on Unconscious Bias in a programme.

Read More

In the VUCA world, formal learning that equips learners with programmed knowledge extracted from the past is no longer sufficient. As Action Learning coaches, we appreciate how Action Learning supports leaders to deal with new unknowns through insightful questions and reflections. The process helps uncover new learning while taking actions and applying programmed knowledge. All happens simultaneously without delay. As an experienced practitioner of both Action Learning and Appreciative Inquiry (AI), I formulated an Action Learning process aligned with the essential strength-based principles to support clients.

Read More

I do believe that Action Learning is one of the greatest approaches when it comes to solving a problem, but there is more. Once, about 6 years ago, I was a part of the group of Action Learning coaches that got together to solve a problem one of them had. It was an incredible experience: as if a team of superhumans went grocery shopping. It takes much less than they are truly capable of: but this did not discourage, it did the opposite, it inspired them. There was everything: enough pauses for listening and building on each other’s questions, lots of enthusiasm and grace in living it through.

Read More

We’ve learned that ACTION LEARNING is a very powerful tool that could promote the fruitful idea-sharing for better problem solving regardless of differences in generation, education, position level and so on. It’s also a practical way to cultivate nice cultures in an organization such as listening, valuing differences, and a practical way in the development of a real learning organization and strengthening teamwork and team collaboration. It makes people recognize that their ideas are valuable and they are meaningful in the organization.

Read More

As part of the WIAL Gives Back initiative, the Dominica Red Cross Society (DRCS) received free WIAL coaching for four Action Learning sessions so that it could find breakthrough strategies for an urgent and important problem. For the Action Learning exercise, the organization’s Director-General, Mrs Sandra Charter-Rolle, selected a diverse group comprising employees of the organization, a Red Cross volunteer from the community, and two representatives from the private sector. Mrs Charter-Rolle participated as a member of the group and as a problem presenter.

Read More

CARICAD has incorporated into its leadership development programmes the Action Learning methodology which is embraced by brand-recognisable organisations across the world. Based on the feedback from CARICAD programme participants, Action Learning has proven to be very effective in real-time development of leadership skills, breakthrough problem-solving and strengthening of team effectiveness skills. Organisations can significantly increase their internal capacity for leadership development, team building, innovation and problem-solving by using Action Learning.

Read More

A lot of things happened in our organization in the last 10 months. COVID-19 forced most of us and our teams to work remotely and suddenly, our work, home, school, studies and all the relations had to exist in one space. Some people found it not so bad – not spending time in traffic givest them more time to spend with their family, read or exercise to support their health. Some found it extremely hard – not be able to be in the office, talk to people over a coffee, create value for the clients, using all the tools they knew and loved. Constantly thinking about health issues – worrying about ourselves, our families and friends does not help.

Read More

A very empowering and positive question that invites people or teams to reflect on their behaviours and actions that deliver great results. It is positive as it implies positive outcomes are being achieved. It is also motivational as it recognises and celebrates the desired outcomes and behaviours. This question reinforces the desired outcomes and behaviours and also motivates their repetition. This occurs because people will repeat the behaviours that they are rewarded for and positively recognised. It engages people in continuous improvement.

Read More

As coaches, we recognize the power of Action Learning in organizations – to achieve breakthrough strategies, obtain sustainable results and develop remarkable leaders and teams. But have you considered that with Action Learning you can have an even greater impact, one that touches the wider global community? This is the objective of the Fundraising, Scholarships and Grants committee at the World Institute for Action Learning (WIAL), which is exploring ways that we can use Action Learning and our coaching skills to create a better world.

Read More

What do you do when you reach a life milestone like your 30th birthday ? Splurge money on the latest fashion craze? Feast on excessive foods and debilitating drinks? After Yeye from the Philippines discovered Action Learning through a Foundations program, she decided to celebrate her 30th birthday in a different way. Fueled by events happening in the Philippines and inspired by Fr. Bienvenido Nebres’s and DILG Usec Austere Panadero’s call to help others at a conference she attended, she wanted to make her birthday celebration a meaningful one.

Read More

By using Action Learning to look at this challenge, the team realized that the solution they had in mind – growing by recruiting more and more staff – was not feasible. A new approach of building partnerships emerged as the most powerful way to move forward. Some of these partnerships will take time to implement. But some, in particular one focusing on disabled children, was successfully implemented within a few weeks to the great satisfaction of all involved. Action Learning not only delivers breakthrough solutions but helps a team to connect and learn in a powerful way.

Read More

Virtual Action Learning sessions are just as powerful as the original in-person meetings. While virtual AL can take some time and effort to get used to, similar results can be achieved in both leadership development and problem-solving. A quick Internet search will provide you with great tips and tricks for leading online team meetings. My biggest takeaway from these articles is the importance of time management and working from a clear agenda or meeting structure. This makes Action Learning a great fit for the virtual space because our script fundamentally integrates such structure and timekeeping guidelines.

Read More

When a team experiences Action Learning through a first discovery session, the questions they ask can be a bit haphazard. It sometimes feels like there is a competition for asking as many questions as possible. This can frustrate the problem presenter who might think that this “great tool” that would help with the problem feels more like an inquisition! And indeed, not all questions are created equal. Team members do notice during the session what questions are really powerful and helped the problem presenter, and which ones were not really helping that much.

Read More

Several years ago I was training new Action Learning coaches in a way with which we are all familiar. Through multiple sets, participants took turns coaching, presenting problems, and participating as problem solvers. I observed and offered feedback on the performance of the coaches. One of the participants was an experienced personal coach who had guided others to be successful in their performance of their management and leadership roles. When her turn came to coach, she listened well and intervened appropriately for a time.

Read More

In today’s world of rapid change, leaders and organizations must evolve faster than the white water rapids we are cascading through. Organizations that simply try to improve on the current benchmark will not survive, they must invent the products and methods that will define the new standard. To do this, they must shift to being a learning organization that is open to change. The flexibility and robustness of action learning lead to agile leaders, agile teams, and ultimately agile learning organizations. These changes must come from the top.

Read More

The beauty of Action Learning is its process. You just can’t read it from a book and suddenly own it. It is like a form of art. You must do it, practice it, and become better each day until intuition takes over your choices. Becoming a musician, playing in an orchestra or ensemble, and practicing Action Learning has a lot of similarities. As a musician, you must practice getting better on your instrument, but at the same time, you must solve the problems which are holding you back to become a genuine performer. These problems are mainly mental.

Read More

Action Learning changes our world view. It prompts us to work together, expands into new contexts and provides solutions in the most unexpected places. This was Mat’s on ground recent experience working in Papua New Guinea. This magnificent country contains a very significant portion of the world’s biodiversity, most of which is on customarily owned land and sea. The people are legal custodians, responsible for social, economic and environmental sustainability – goals that are often in tension with each other. It’s no wonder that mainstreaming conservation at the customary level has been tough going.

Read More

The Adult Learning Symposium is a bi-annual learning event organized by the Institute of Adult Learning, an institute under SkillsFuture Singapore. This year, the symposium took place on 1-2 November at Sands Expo and Convention Centre with the theme “Work and Learning: Conquer New Frontiers!” Against a backdrop of rapid technological advancements, disruption across industries, and fast-changing workforce needs, the challenges facing adult learning are momentous. But for the adaptable and resilient, it is also time to seize the opportunities hidden in the sea of challenges and thrive in times where disruption is the norm.

Read More

Action learning has been a core part of the Cru leadership program (SLI) since 2005. Cru, a global Christian non-profit organization with over 25,000 staff in 191 countries, uses action learning not only to build great leaders but also to solve major problems faced by the organization and its volunteers. Mike Marquardt and Bea Carson provided a 4- day CALC training program for 22 senior leaders in December 2018. The Cru action learning program follows the format shown in this graphic. Each participant also receives an Action Learning Handbook.

Read More

Three days in Washington DC. In August 2017, the International Coach Federation held its first large-scale global conference since 2012, ICF Converge, which brought together coaches from all over the world to network and learn from each other. Held in Washington DC, ICF Converge was designed to strengthen connections across the coaching community and offer best-practice learning around topics such as the art and practice of coaching, how to develop a successful coaching business, how to create a coaching culture within an organization, coaching science, and the future of coaching and of the workforce.

Read More

An AL team developed more than 40 strategies to address these challenges. The solutions included rap lyrics for customer service, shirts with logos that fit within the bank’s branding scheme, quarterly meetings with fun activities, a “meet-and-greet” training initiative on how to exchange pleasantries with customers, and a new reward system for service staff. Sample rewards are vouchers for vacations, shopping trips, and electronic products, items that are less expensive than those top management had been considering.

Read More

The participants of the ALS training comprised mainly experienced mental health nurses, who wanted to advance a particular project they had been tasked with and or implement a new way of thinking about how they engaged in problem solving approaches. Problem-solving approaches in mental health nursing has generally been based on a consensus model which seeks to obtain the agreement of those concerned. In contrast, action learning and in particular the use of Socratic questions to critically examine an issue is based more on dialectical inquiry where values and assumptions are challenged.

Read More

Co-ordinating a system of national and regional reserves is a challenge in anyone’s language. Papua New Guinea (PNG) has over 8oo distinct languages, spanning a country of immense natural and cultural diversity, most of which is under traditional customary ownership. The PNG Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) is the government agency responsible for implementing the national policy on establishing and managing protected areas. The challenge it faces is to facilitate management plans for a system of reserves that protect PNGs unique natural and cultural values.

Read More

WOW! For years I’ve talked about that how well Action Learning works regardless of culture or industry. For this session we were fortunate to be a truly global group. We had representation from five countries representing four continents – Indonesia, Japan, Abu Dhabi, Australia, and the USA were represented – truly a global team. As we would expect the process worked particularly because of the diverse nature of the team. Over the course of the two days, we had three practice sessions after the demonstration. The problems were equally diverse one culture in nature, another facilities related, another personal challenge.

Read More

Michael Marquardt, professor at George Washington University, has often quoted anthropologist Margaret Mead, who once stated: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” What happens during an Action Learning session, with up to eight participants and a coach, is the activation of the group’s collective intelligence through an ancient and intrinsically human technique: the use of questions. By rescuing curiosity and putting empathic listening into practice, it is possible to find new paths to navigate demanding situations.

Read More

The head of an SME of about 50 people in the printing sector located in the Bordeaux region of France that I met through a short presentation about action learning in a Rotary club wanted to experiment this method to work on their strategic plan for the next five years. After a preliminary meeting in the company where I explained the principles, components, and rules of AL to him, he very smartly set up a team of six persons with an adequate diversity of gender, age, experience, and function. He included in this group one person from outside the company who did not really know the company very well.

Read More

As coaches, many of us use action learning to solve problems and challenges faced by our clients. Most of these challenges are internal business opportunities that when worked on by employees using action learning can help move an organization forward. But what if the challenge were instead presented by a third-party organization, while the group that was solving the problem came predominantly from a different company? And what if the third-party organization was focused on a social challenge? Could action learning bring the two organizations together?

Read More

During my 15 years with the large pharma / chemical concern Bayer, I have had various roles in various disciplines in several countries. Employees in Bayer benefit from lots of training and I have experienced many management and team development processes and programs. During my assignment as Head of Marketing Bayer Netherlands, I came across a situation where the company was doing very well financially, but in my conversations with the employees, I discovered that they were less and less proud to tell at social events that they work for Bayer.

Read More

Recognizing the need to improve how we solve problems, we started introducing Action Learning to the organization. What started as Action Learning clinics in several departments to help identify urgent key issues grew into Action Learning in Action workshops focusing on the process experience. Problems presented ran the gamut from challenges faced at work to issues at home. Recurrent themes in these one-day sessions include employee engagement, clarity of goals, interpersonal communications, finding work-life balance, improving business unit performance and managing relationships at home.

Read More

Action Learning is the core foundation of our business school, and for our coaches and students, so it goes without saying that BSN is always on the lookout for the best way to practise and integrate Action Learning in all our operations. September marked the start of a four-day WIAL Certified Action Learning Coach training session – the renowned CALC training. Business School Netherlands considers this training the best way to further develop Action Learning skills and insights, and to establish oneself as an Action Learning Coach.

Read More

The Government is often considered to be shrouded in tradition and what some may consider dated processes. This often extends even to the methods used for the performance development of its employees. Forced to deal with the impact of global economic downturns and the increasing difficulty in sustaining growth and development in their respective countries, Caribbean nations have embarked on a master plan to create a more prosperous future. This overall strategy relies on the rapid transformation of the public sector so that government services can ably support, promote and facilitate initiatives in other sectors.

Read More

Action learning, founded by Reg Revans in the 1940s, has become a popular method for supporting leaders to tackle complex issues in organizations and develop themselves simultaneously. The method encourages leaders and teams to ask questions to stimulate critical reflection and make better decisions. The World Institute for Action Learning (WIAL) approach, founded by Dr Michael Marquart, mostly emphasizes problem-solving. As an experienced practitioner of both Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and action learning, I formulated an action learning process aligned with the essential strength-based principles.

Read More

FirstBank of Nigeria is Nigeria’s largest financial services institution (Global Finance, 2012) with over 750 branches and over 5 million customers in the Nigerian market. The bank has over 15 subsidiaries including BIC, Congo DRC, FBN Bank (UK), FBN Bank, Guinea, FBN Bank Ghana, FBN Bank Gambia, FBN Bank Sierra Leone, and representative offices in South Africa, UAE, and China. Firstbank has always been at the forefront of innovation in the financial services sector in Nigeria, being the first to launch a world-class corporate academy.

Read More

Being both professor of human management and leadership at La Rochelle Business School and a certified action learning coach, I had the opportunity to experiment with action learning with students in my courses as a new pedagogical approach to develop their leadership competencies. I have tried to use action learning in all my management courses in several educational programs (Bachelor, MBA and Master) for 3 years. Although it is still a short experience, I would like to briefly share with the WIAL community some features of this ongoing pedagogical experience.

Read More

When I joined Peace Corps for the third time in 2011, I was hired as the director of overseas staff recruitment and selection but came with an additional agenda: I was determined to promote Action Learning (AL) from within the agency. I had worked previously with the Peace Corps from 1976-1982, and again from 1993-2001 and knew the agency and its history very well. What follows is a chronicle of my attempts to introduce AL at the Peace Corps. Perhaps some of the experiences I relate, the successes and the failures, will resonate with others, and provide some useful insights as they promote AL in the federal government workplace.

Read More

The biggest organizational system in any country, I would think, would be the Government. Thus, the founders of WIAL Philippines thought that aside from our corporate clients, it was imperative that we share Action Learning to the country’s government agencies. Imagine, if all Philippine government agencies were using Action Learning solutions to our country’s problems would come faster in a spirit of co-ownership, cooperation, and collaboration! As a microcosm, WIAL Philippines is a partnership among five friends coming from three separate consultancy firms that have been in the business of Change Consultancy.

Read More

Action Learning is being used as one of the leadership development and problem-solving tools in Transitions Optical Philippines, Inc. It was rolled out at an opportune time when the organization had undergone a lot of changes over the past couple of years and the plant’s management team was in the position for an average of 3 years. The plan was to start an AL program involving management, key positions, and high potentials. A 3-day Foundations Program was rolled-out by WIAL Thailand in December 2013.

Read More

Helmgras, an elementary school in the Netherlands, embraced Action Learning and was one of the 2017 award winners at the WIAL Global Forum in Shanghai. An article appeared in a Dutch magazine recently to describe the adventure. This is part 1 of the article. Each day, teachers, administrators and directors dedicate all their energy to bring better education for students. Problems and challenges get more and more complex. Dealing with these challenges requires specific competencies. Hans Ploeg, director of the Helmgras Elementary school applied the method in his school.

Read More

Helmgras, an elementary school in the Netherlands, embraced Action Learning and was one of the 2017 award winners at the WIAL Global Forum in Shanghai. An article appeared in a Dutch magazine recently to describe the adventure. This is part 2 of the article. My colleagues were not really ready for my business approach. I had to admit now that I didn’t really well manage the image that I had. My approach was focused on proving that a school can be managed in a different way: business-like, commercially viable and focused on values, just like a company.

Read More

WIAL Singapore had the privilege and honor to collaborate with Schneider Electric in working with their global talents leadership teams in 2016. Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. With revenues of ~€27 billion in FY2015, and 160,000+ employees, the company serves customers in over 100 countries, helping them to manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. In early 2016, WIAL Singapore was approached by Schneider Electric to support its SCUBA (SChneider Useful Business Advisor) initiative.

Read More

Perhaps no tool is more effective in building a learning organization than action learning Lex Dilworth (1995) called action learning “the DNA of a learning organization” since action learning enables organizations to continuously learn on an organization-wide basis, thereby being better able to adapt to the continuously changing environment. Reg Revans (1982), a pioneer in the development of action learning, notes that action learning creates “constant learning opportunities for people. It inherently creates a culture and morale for learning.”

Read More

Action learning is often used by organizations to support change initiatives. In order for organizational change to be successful and sustainable, there needs to be continuous commitment and participation by people in the organization. In order to be more change-ready, organizations need to develop its capacity and capability. Action learning is an effective approach to develop the leadership skills needed to influence and lead teams to drive change. The positive feedback and sharing was also encouraging for the Action Learning coaches involved.

Read More

Very often, people and organizations do not succeed to make an impact that sustains. Even though one starts off something new (e.g. Action Learning) with enthusiasm, it often results in a rapid relapse into old habits. How can I reduce the risk of falling back into old behavior, such as judging instead of asking questions? For this purpose, I personally use the lessons I have learned as a sports coach. What happens when one wants to do something new? Before one starts, there is a phase of being unconsciously incompetent.

Read More

Every organization is made up of people, who follow work processes, use resources and generate results. Selecting people becomes more and more strategic for organizations since it is the first contact between company and candidate. During the recruitment process both parties can know more about each other and decide to be part or not of the organization’s team. The selection process works in two ways: the company chooses the best candidate and the candidate chooses the company in which he or she plans to further develop a career.

Read More

Action learning; these words made me curious. As a person who loves action as well as learning I didn’t have to think twice about participating in the action learning course I was invited to by EMORA, Twan Paes, The Netherlands. I am a vice-principal of a primary school with 540 children including an after school care, with a total of 40 colleagues. I was motivated to learn more about AL. As a leader and former teacher my heart goes out to increasing the knowledge and talent that the people and children I work with have within.

Read More

When Southland Industries contacted Dr. Charles Tweedly, from Pine Manor College, to design a leadership development program, he proposed an Action Learning-based approach that combined learning labs, assessments and individual coaching over a one year period to assure real-world, sustainable results. The collaboration between Dr. Tweedly and Southland generated a new program called AL2: Agile Leadership through Action Learning. This case study describes the program and its impact on the participants and the company.

Read More

When the WIAL newsletter editor asked me if I would write about the connection between Action Learning and the Ambidextrous Organization (AO) I became excited. The reason was because the principles of Action Learning are ubiquitous in the AO, they’re everywhere! I might even go as far as to speculate that if one were to model an organization and its objectives after the Action Learning model and principles they might end up with a specific kind of Ambidexterity, contextual ambidexterity. Let’s take a look at some specific ways in which Action Learning supports the Ambidextrous Organization.

Read More

Two methodologies are in focus: Appreciative Inquiry and Action Learning. In this article, we explore beyond the leadership competencies and examine the opportunities that may arise when we sequence these seemingly ‘opposing’ methodologies in a leadership development framework. Dancing with the seemingly polarized world is the way to handle uncertainty – AL (problem-centered) and AI (strengths-focused) are seemingly opposing each other philosophically, yet unleashes power from their synergy as instruments for change and growth, as much as Yin and Yang for our universal order.

Read More

Boston a Brasil, de Finlandia a Tokio, empresas tan diversas como Samsung, Dow, GE, Deutsche Bank y Boeing comparten una poderosa herramienta de aprendizaje en el lugar de trabajo: la Formación a través de la acción. Han creado miles de nuevos productos y servicios, han mejorado su calidad, han reducido los costos y los plazos de entrega, y han introducido cambios fundamentales en la cultura de sus organizaciones liberando el poder de la Formación a través de la Acción. ha surgido rápidamente como la principal herramienta utilizada por organizaciones como Sodexho, Novartis y Nokia para resolver problemas.

Read More

The Covid-19 global pandemic is showing no signs of abating, half a year after the virus first reared its ugly head in China before spreading rapidly to literally every corner of the world. The resulting deep recession presents an existential threat to many companies and leaders need to rally their people to help their organisations face difficult months and years that lie ahead. In this process of fighting for survival and recovery, organisations need to make problem-solving a way of life to respond to both internal and external challenges.

Read More

As Action Learning Coaches in an action learning session, one of our objectives has always been to guide and support the learning of the team members. Learning can be achieved through many ways and the action learning coach has a range of methods and skillsets to bring about that learning within the team. We use the power of questions, the keen eye of observation, the lenses of neutrality, the presence of sensory acuity, and the action learning process to support individual and team learning. I have reviewed many reflection and application papers submitted by candidates as part of their certification process.

Read More

Action Learning constituted the core methodology in the design of an organisation-wide development programme held during January 2020 at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in Belize. It is a CARICOM agency based in Belize, which collects and maintains the highest quality data and information relevant to climate change compatible development of CARICOM member countries.The CCCCC is reviewing the impact of Action Learning and considering how it may continue to apply this process in the future.

Read More

Changan Ford is a famous Chinese automobile company. The company has a 100-year history beginning in Changan, China. By now, they have plants in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Facing the future, the company decided to build an energetic business to achieve comprehensive profitable growth. Changan Ford grew rapidly in the past years. In 2012, the company started applying Action Learning to support the growing business. At that time, the company had about 5,000 employees.

Read More

When Auchan Retail contacted the La Rochelle Business School, it was clear they had a lot of challenges on the horizon. Just as any other global retailer, they are faced with high pressure on market shares and sales, changes in consumer habits, lower profitability and increasing prices for real estate. When the company leadership developed a new strategy to deal with these challenges, they also realized the need for more leadership at all levels of the organization and more collaboration across the different business units. They decided to pilot a new approach in Ukraine.

Read More

STOP is an NGO that has been combating trafficking of children and women in India since 1998. STOP rescues, repatriates and rehabilitates survivors of human trafficking back into society through services like trauma counseling, psychological support, education, and vocational training. Koshish is a self-help group supported by STOP, comprised of survivors of trafficking and young adults from vulnerable communities. Koshish trains women in food catering, cooking, nursing, sewing, and other skills to overcome economic odds and live dignified lives with gainful employment.

Read More

China Southern Airlines Company Limited is an airline headquartered in Guangdong Province, China. It is the world’s fourth-largest airline measured by passengers carried and Asia’s largest airline in fleet size, revenue, and passengers carried. It is the fourth-largest airline in the world in domestic passenger traffic and the sixth-largest in scheduled domestic passenger kilometers flown. With the development and changes in the domestic market and global environment, China Southern Airlines redefined its strategic direction- to step out for globalization.

Read More

“Infinitus Ltd” is one of the core brands of “South Lee Kum Kee Co Ltd.”, and is the wholly-owned subsidiary of Lee Kum Kee Hong Kong Group. The company specifically engaged in development and sales of herbal health products. Since established in 1992, with “mutual benefits” as the core value, Infinitus committed to the entrepreneurial spirit of “caring, cooperation & pioneer”, pragmatic management style, and the historic mission of carrying forward Chinese culture, creating a balanced, prosperous, harmonious and healthy life.

Read More

Let me start by openly admitting that this short article is definitely not a scholarly attempt to delve into the depths of coaching theory and engage in great academic discourse. It is simply my attempt to provide some hopefully useful, probably challenging and ideally thought-provoking perspectives on the rapidly evolving world of professional coaching. The article is based on what I’ve learned from all the individuals and teams I’ve coached over decades, the knowledge and insights gained from various professional qualifications, the profound learning from wonderful fellow professionals, my development journey as a MALC.

Read More

Research from, among others, at Google and by Dr. Edmonson at Harvard shows that High Performing Teams function better. And from sports, it is known that working in connection to a common goal leads to energy and unexpected results and innovations. Teams are more innovative and achieve better results because they have a higher degree of psychological safety than less successful teams. Because of this, they dare to make more mistakes, to discuss ignorance and uncertainty with the intention to share information together, to learn from this, to experiment, and to grow.

Read More

Where people are involved, there will always be new ways of looking at things or desires to make changes to deal with new circumstances. Change is all around, whether we like it or not. Many look at change with trepidation because they do no longer know what the future will look like. One group can see a situation as a problem while another sees it as an opportunity. The question is how a team answers the questions that arise from the situation and turn these into success. That is not always easy because both rational and emotional elements are involved. In this article, Twan Paes explains how the Action Learning process holds the keys to successfully dealing with change.

Read More

The Action Learning process goes beyond the numbers. A balance between facts and emotions ensures success and growth. Paes: ‘Be aware this is a symbiosis. Enjoy the challenge of working with both the upperstream and undercurrent. Too often the focus is on the upperstream. If you only pay attention to the undercurrent, you’ll end up with happy losers. Therefore, pay the same attention to both the upperstream and undercurrent.’ Paes adds: ‘Why I got involved with Action Learning ? I find the role of Action Learning very rewarding.

Read More

As a base to Corporate Innovation, we believe that creating a new cultural environment by experimenting with new design experiences connected with the startup ecosystem while mixing people from different departments, creates a culture that encourages cooperation, rewards creativity, and fosters “Psychological Safety” in the workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth. Therefore, once the main problem or challenge is brought to the surface, working groups dynamics are recommended to deep dive, in a trustful and respectful environment, what the real problem is.

Read More

On becoming certified as an action learning coach, I saw potential in using action learning to advance the diversity and inclusion (D&I) agenda in organizations through the development of inclusive behaviors and the fresh approach to addressing business challenges. As a committed advocate of providing a level playing field, the immediate benefits of action learning were clear to me. Two years on, four cohorts of D&I professionals have experienced action learning.Inclusive Employers (a membership organisation promoting diverse and inclusive workplaces) launched the first D&I professional qualification in the UK.

Read More

Action learning, since its inception in the 1940’s with Reg Revans’ work in the coal mines of Wales and England, has been used extensively as an effective problem- solving methodology. It is only more recently, however, that action learning has become a popular tool for developing leaders. What has caused this recent turn to action learning for leadership development? Foremost is the fact that organizations worldwide are faced with the growing challenge of increasing the capabilities of their leaders with less time and fewer financial resources.

Read More

I took part in a certified Action Learning training of the first Polish group. My expectations about the training were high and met by 150%. Why 150%? Because I got more than I expected. I assumed that the training would show me a new method and I would be professionally prepared to use it and this expectation was met. I did not, however, expect that Action Learning could have such a deep application and impact on several levels at the same time- it really works like this. Individual benefits from my participation include intense reflection and broadening my self-awareness about my strengths and areas for improvement.

Read More

Eletrobras, the largest electricity company in Latin America has been using the Action Learning methodology with the support WIAL-Brazil since 2013. Until now, Eletrobras has carried out 12 Action Learning sessions to solve a diverse set of problems. Alberto Wajzenberg, manager of the company’s Department of Organization Development, explains that the methodology is used in the “context of continuous improvement, in order to identify and analyze problems, whilst at the same time promoting behavioral and development changes in people.”

Read More

It was not a coincidence that all 12 directors of Florente primary schools followed the Action Learning Coach training. For the third time, a number of schools will train their own people under the responsibility of Hans Ploeg as director, in collaboration with Twan Paes and WIAL Netherlands. Last summer, Twan and I made preparations together to provide this training in-house. Training and educating your own people requires extra thorough preparation. Hans Ploeg (director of Florente primary schools) has been active as SALC for several years and sees a lot of learning benefits for education if Action Learning is used effectively.

Read More

Today I had six full hours of virtual meetings. Some were on Zoom, some WhatsApp, some Microsoft Teams. Others just used standard telephone conferencing. Whatever the technology, the impact was the same: I spent a lot of time sitting at my desk listening, while I wrote in my notebook and stared at my screen or out my office window. I like to think I’m a good remote worker. After a decade of remote working at Microsoft and nearly five years as an independent consultant, I certainly have many years of practice.

Read More

WIAL Brazil used Action Learning as a blended solution (Action Learning plus individual coaching meetings) to develop leadership skills for an executive director and his team of six direct reports in the automotive industry, listed in Fortune 500. The team is in charge of the Logistics Department, responsible for strategies in Supply Chain and economic results for the plant. “Listening to different perspectives through questions shed light onto the problem and therefore the solution became clear.”

Read More

As Action Learning coaches, we intervene when we see learning opportunities or to improve the performance of the group. Deciding when and how to intervene can be tricky. We must pick the right moments, role model powerful questioning, and really consider the impact we want to have through the interventions we make. When I’m coaching, there are certain dynamics I really watch for where I know the group may need extra support. One such situation is when someone asks a question to the rest of the group, particularly when the questioner is the problem presenter.

Read More

Research confirms that when people feel safe within a team they will perform better; they willingly take risks, actively contribute, and work hard knowing that they can depend on the others in the team to support them and put in as much effort. In a business context, this is called ‘team psychological safety’ (TPS) and it is the key to high-performance teams. But how is TPS measured and what can leaders do to promote higher levels of TPS within their teams? Peter Cauwelier at TEAM.AS.ONE, Action Learning team coach, has a solution that brings measurable improvements in psychological safety and performance.

Read More

Do you know the percentage of people who consider themselves engaged at work? According to Gallup World Poll with data collected in 155 countries between 2014 and 2016, only 15% of the workers consider themselves engaged at work, that is, who feel committed to their work and motivated to be highly productive for being involved and enthusiastic about the work they do. Gallup also studied the positive impact of engaged workers on business and presented in the State of the Global Workplace report indicators.

Read More

I was fascinated by the book “Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … and What Does.” written by Susan Fowler (Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc. San Francisco) The author corroborates the notion that the ‘Carrot and Stick’ approach does not work and it is best to develop intrinsic factors to motivate people to do better. Of course, extrinsic rewards work to a point, but how far can an organization go in advancing pay, extending benefits, and offering incentives to enhance output. The fact is, motivation via bonuses, recognition as an employee of the month, highest achiever, or flex time to accommodate an employee’s personal need.

Read More

Action Learning is powerful for finding breakthrough solutions to complex problems and to embed leadership development in the normal working practices. Results on these two dimensions are often very clear and visible. Building high-performance teams is one of the “solutions” that Action Learning brings, but here the results are more often anecdotal testimonials from team members about better listening and better ‘connections’ with the others in the team. How can we go beyond anecdotal evidence and really “measure” how a team’s strength evolves when applying Action Learning?

Read More

One of the most powerful questions I’ve been asked within the Action Learning community is this: HOW HAS ACTION LEARNING CHANGED YOUR LIFE?? Michael Marquardt, founder of Action Learning, asked me this question 3 years ago during the WIAL Global Conference in Shanghai. It was during a break, in between sessions. I was stunned, yet surprised myself with an instant and heartfelt answer. Then Michael built on my answer, with a response that struck me to the core and dramatically shifted my perspective about the real power of Action Learning.

Read More

In 2016-2017, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) launched six action learning teams in its Leadership Excellence and Achievement Program (LEAP). Projects ranged from improvements to hiring processes to streamlining mandatory training for attorneys, to developing agency-wide professional development programs. The six teams were led by trained Action Learning coaches using the WIAL method of action learning. Projects concluded in July 2017 with each team providing final reports to their agency executive sponsor as well as learning briefings for the DOJ Chief Human Capital Officer.

Read More

It all started in the South of France in September 2019. I began an Action Learning leadership program in a state organization responsible for the payment of pensions to retirees. A multi-phases plan starting with upper management and strategic executives had been decided. Action Learning was to gently accompany the managerial transformation of the organization. A two-year transformation plan through collaborative intelligence had been designed to change the managerial posture of the entire structure of an organization that employs 100 managers and 800 employees.

Read More

In the six years Dr. Thitiwan Sinthunok taught Human Resource Management at the Panyapiwat Institute of Management’s MBA program, one recurring challenge students faced was to determine what subject to select for their research and final thesis. It is one thing to write a thesis and make it worthwhile of the Masters’ diploma. But Dr. Thitiwan saw that the biggest struggle was to get started: not for lack of determination, but for lack of clarity about what they should focus their thesis on. Some were simply stuck. Others kept changing the topic and wasted time along the way.

Read More

It wasn’t just the millennial workforce, the volume of employees, or even the VUCA (volatile, unpredictable, complex, ambiguous) environment that presented the biggest challenge to Nestlé Infant Nutrition (NIN)’s Field Managers when they attended the first-ever Leadership in Flight Training (LiFT) — it was the lost art of asking questions. Asking powerful and insightful questions was one of the key skills needed for the LiFT Program, centered on the Action Learning (AL) method. Brenda Labastida, Field Manager of Luzon says, it took her and her teammates two whole hours to warm-up enough to get the ball rolling.

Read More

The New York Public Library is proud to offer Action Learning sessions for its business leaders as an option to solving complex business challenges. I have noted that the individuals participating (through their self-reflection and practice) have shown improved decision-making and coaching skills. Although Action Learning is admired as a tool to solve problems at the Library, it has yet to be seen as a form of leadership development; Library leaders prefer more traditional methods of learning such as facilitated sessions.

Read More

Since taking Action Learning training in December 2016 I have used it on several occasions in North Africa and the Middle East. I lead a program for emerging leaders and we used Action Learning as a key component. We divided the current group into 3 teams, each working on a situation that needed to be improved or an area of opportunity. The teams worked together for about 6 months and were formed to have variety of nationalities and for each person to be with others they don’t normally work with. I enjoyed watching them work at using the leadership characteristics they chose.

Read More

The projects the student teams work on are real business challenges faced by organizations, and the teams present their work to the company’s top management. This experience definitely gives them a step ahead once they enter into a professional role. The program’s success only put more challenges ahead of Professor Higano, because he was recently asked to expand the program over all departments of the university! The WIAL India team definitely put the bar for future editions pretty high. I am sure Cleo Wolff and the Brazil team are all excited for the 2015 Brazil Global Forum!

Read More

One of the attractions of Action Learning is the simultaneous gains provided by this innovative methodology: business results through creative and innovative solutions to the urgent and complex problems produced in the sessions; learning and developing leadership skills of the participants and the possibility to create a learning organization, a company that learns by doing and applying what it had learned in a virtuous and continuous cycle. Michael Marquardt and Bea Carson published dozens of articles reporting the success stories and results from Action Learning.

Read More

At the 2015 WIAL Global Forum, Joe CM Lee, VP of MSI Computer (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd., received the “Leadership Excellence Award” for his vision and success in using Action Learning to transform the company. Micro-Star International Co., Ltd (MSI, TWSE: 2377) is a Taiwanese multinational information technology corporation headquartered in New Taipei City, Taiwan. It designs, develops and provides computer hardware, related products, and services.

Read More

Anh Duong JSC is a SME company in the field of environmental technology with 60 employees, established 2 years ago and currently growing rapidly. From discussion with the CEO, Mr. Memo Binh, we known that the company spent the first year to achieve very good results in business, and this year 2019 will focus on improving working capability for staff, most importantly management level. The company has a middle and senior management team of 12 people, they are quite young and dynamic and have not been trained in previous management.

Read More

Shocked. Anxious. That’s how we felt when the global pandemic and the lockdown were announced. We needed to make sense of what was going on and take urgent actions to take care of our people, our clients, and our company. In that order. Management Strategies is a consulting company in Asia, focused on leadership development, team engagement, and culture transformation. For 28 years, what fueled our success is our purpose of “Transforming people and organizations, so that together, we transform society”. However, with the global pandemic, society was transforming in front of our very eyes.

Read More

A competent and confident action learning coach can have a tremendous impact on the quality of the actions and the learnings for an action learning group. As a result of training and practice, most certified coaches have developed the skills to enable teams to learn and act in powerful ways. However, in my 25 years as an action learning coach, I have discovered that my mindset before and during the session is as critical as the skills, guidance and questions that I ask.

Read More

A corporation recently hired me. They needed a single topic AL series, so I went through the standard preparations, including my constant ritual reminders that not only do I not know how this will play out, it is my job not to know. Only then am I prepared to be surprised as the group navigates their own breakthroughs. In this case, our group work began in an ordinary way. Then, in the first intervention, I asked: “What is the quality of our questions?” Their response was anything but standard.

Read More

As experienced practitioners, we all know the power of Action Learning and the positive working conditions created in an Action Learning session. However, what if I told you that this was tied to the wiring of our brains? If I were 20 years younger today and picking a degree, I would choose neuroscience. What we’re learning now about the brain and its implications for life are amazing. Given my belief in the importance of these findings, I have studied applied neuroscience and worked hard in recent years to make connections between this new understanding about the brain and the way I think about talent and leadership.

Read More

This is the second part of a very comprehensive article that looks at why questions, and by extension Action Learning, are so powerful for individuals and teams. In part 1 in the previous newsletter, Shannon Banks introduced the SCARF model and explained Action Learning creates safety around Status, Certainty and Autonomy. In this second part, Shannon looks at Relatedness and Fairness and then shares how she has adjusted her coaching profession by applying the SCARF model. For us to do our best, most creative, and effective work, we need to be in what David Rock calls a “toward the state,” not hindered by fear or threat.

Read More

The Action Learning coach brings the power of individual coaching to the group level, but is even more powerful because Action Learning groups work only on real problems requiring real solutions. The action learning coach not only establishes rapport with the group members but also builds empathy and trust between group members. Through the Action Learning process the group members’ self-awareness is not only raised by the coach, but also by virtue of the process. Rather than setting goals for the group, the coach leads the group to set its own goals.

Read More

WIAL Philippines was invited to pilot test the e-Course and Blended Learning Program. It was very timely – the materials were ready just in time for our scheduled 4-day Intensive. We were stoked to test the new format, and contribute to this huge milestone for WIAL. We were even more excited because this was to be our first certification program in close to 2 years, given the global pandemic. And so we wanted to re-launch with a bang! This article presents the personal insights about the experience from the point of view of Cristina Alafriz (MALC mentor) and Audrey Arayata (CALC Candidate).

Read More

Problem presenters play a key role in the success of our action learning programs. Not only should they bring real and urgent challenges to work on for which they have accountability, they can role model strong questioning to ensure the team is performing at their best. As coaches, one of our responsibilities is to prepare problem presenters for this essential work. I learned the importance of this the hard way. It was 2009 and I had just received my coaching certification. I was piloting an action learning program at Microsoft, where I worked as a leadership development consultant, and we selected a number of senior leaders.

Read More

Over the years respective Governments of the Caribbean Region have outlined their vision for a Transformed Public Sector. Earlier this year, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in one of his Speeches on Public Sector Transformation noted: A transformed public sector is dynamic, innovative, and responsive to the needs of citizens and businesses, and embraces technology to improve productivity at work. It is constantly measuring itself, and improving, and sees the citizen as the customer to be served. But why aren’t we having the public sector transformation we envisage in spite of the passage of time?

Read More

Robust reflection is one of the core principles of Action Learning. Deliberate reflection on life’s rich experiences allows us to systematically learn from them. In this article, I’ll share some hopefully useful learnings I’ve had as a passionate Action Learning advocate and practitioner over a number of years.
My sincere hope is that these learnings, gained from great successes and spectacular failures, might help WIAL affiliates, coaches, and of course our clients. I would invite anyone who is committed to enhancing their selling skills to very seriously consider the questions-based “SPIN” selling process.

Read More

In recent years, I’ve begun to wonder whether the name of our method, Action Learning (AL), is confusing our clients and the public. It is not surprising, for example, that clients see AL as a form of experiential training. That conclusion would be especially natural for US clients who have preferred experiential training methods over the standard lecture-style training for several decades. When answering the above question, I have often replied that they are both important and that coaches should make an effort to balance learning with action. Further, we have required teams to end each AL session with action steps.

Read More

The Business Leadership Program at the College of Business (COB), Rikkyo University was awarded at the Action Learning Global Forum 2014 in India for its distinctive approach that develops students’ leadership by using action learning. WIAL Japan reported this successful achievement. Prof. Higano mentioned that by implementing action learning, he was not only able to encourage students’ independence, but also was able to build up the culture at COB. He stressed the high evaluation that the program is receiving even from outside of the university.

Read More

WIAL Brazil does not want to be indifferent to such important sociological dynamics within the country. Therefore, it decided to start a Scholarship Program for Brazilians of African Descent, opening space to welcome one qualifying participant in each Action Learning Certification class held in Brazil. This initiative dialogues with WIAL’s global objective of promoting greater social equality and income conditions for those who want to use Action Learning to help make the world a better place. WIAL Brazil supports potential black leaders with the purpose of developing a more egalitarian culture within the country.

Read More

The first in a series of articles that looks at each of the five of WIAL’s Solution Spheres: the power of Action Learning to develop breakthrough solutions. Breakthrough ideas don’t come from brainstorming. Forcing the brain to come up with a great idea, just in time for when it’s your turn to speak up, does not work. The brain needs to be triggered, and then given time to relax and reflect. That is the power of questions in the Action Learning session. During the problem discovery phase, open-ended questions allow the team members to look at the problem from different angles.

Read More

Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) is known as one of the world’s largest conglomerates. CP Group operates across many industries ranging from industrial to service sectors and is organized in 8 Business Lines covering 13 Business Groups. This year, All Coaching Academy –the internal coaching unit in the CP Group – was asked to design and deliver a session around group reflection for the leadership program of CP-All Public Company Limited – the operator of the ubiquitous and famous 7-Eleven convenience stores in Thailand. The leadership program is called “Talo Kae Klang” (Mid-level Entrepreneur).

Read More

As a leadership development consultant, I’m always on the lookout for new tools and techniques to help my clients and their companies to collaborate better. communicate clearer and achieve more. This led me to discover Action Learning in 2014, a tool that I immediately used for our clients with great results. This led us to create WIAL Philippines a year later, today one of the top 10 affiliates in the world in terms of the number of coaches. Just like with Action Learning, I saw the power potential behind Strengths. I decided to become a Strengths Coach and was surprised by how much it resonated for our many clients.

Read More

The importance of developing individual leadership skills is further been emphasized by asking questions about individual leadership skill development before team and organizational development in the post-session debriefing process. A problem with this debriefing practice became obvious to me when I noticed that it took much more time to debrief individual, as compared to team or organization, development because of the time it took to address the develop goals for every member of the team (which usually included feedback from other team members).

Read More

I am a coaching associate with Emerging World. Emerging World delivers immersive experiences for global corporations to bring out the best in their people. It enables people to see the world from different perspectives to shift their businesses and help to shape a better future. I returned to Nairobi for my 3rd time in May as part of program called ‘Go with Maersk’. 56 Maersk new and emerging leaders from 26 countries joined some senior Maersk leaders to spend the week assisting local socially based organizations (partners) and communities around Nairobi to improve the conditions and skills to bring change.

Read More

In August 1979, at the age of 16, I became the coach of a handball team of children aged 7 and 8. That is exactly 40 years ago: 40 years in which team coaching in sports, education, and business has always been my favorite and most successful activity. Almost always I started in practice and afterward only took theoretical training: Action Learning pur sang. I would like to share my reflection on these 40 years with you in this article. During my MBA education, I discovered new models that try to predict success. They provide managers with certainty and are based on linear thinking. . But in the current time this is no longer sufficient. The current challenge for organizations is to have teams deliver results and learn from this.

Read More

We are always looking for effective new ways to market what we do. About 18 months back we came up with idea of the “INDABA” workshop.

We believe the meaning of word Indaba captures the heart of Action Learning. An indaba is an important conference held by the izinDuna (principal men) of the Zulu or Xhosa peoples of South Africa to deal with important tribal matters. The term comes from a Zulu language word, meaning ‘business’ or ‘matter.’

Read More

As action learning coaches, we learn to intervene when we see learning opportunities or to improve the performance of the group. This is easier said than done. Knowing when and how to intervene in a group that is functioning well is hard enough. You have to pick the appropriate moment, ask the right questions, and consider the impact you wish to have through the intervention. When group dynamics are tricky, however, this becomes even harder. And while it requires great courage, I would argue that the trickiest, most courageous interventions can have the greatest effect. During action learning sessions, sometimes challenging dynamics arise – so-called “elephants in the room.”

Read More

Action Learning involves attention for both the upperstream and the undercurrent. It also requires a balance in the roles of leader, coach and manager. The power of Action Learning is that it contributes to the continuous process of achieving consensus on challenges and problems. It begins at an early stage! Let’s take primary school as an example. The great Action Learning question in this case is: “How do I prepare children for their unpredictable future? ”. This is absolutely different from the past, since we have always prepared people for a more predictable future.

Read More

Until six years ago, for many years, the late, great Harry Levinson donated 90 minutes a month for six months every year to coach and advise six Division 13 psychologists who were in the early phases of their development as consulting psychologists. Harry worked virtually, using conventional conference calling technology. He felt an obligation to provide new generations of consulting psychologists with a sort of internship that was not generally available at that time for psychologists that were converting from clinical, counseling, or I/O to consulting psychology.

Read More

WIAL Malaysia completed our first CALC Certification for 2020 on 22 February. On 18 March 2020, less than a month after our event, Malaysia was placed under a Coronavirus lockdown directive. All public gatherings were ordered stopped and almost all the country’s economic activities came to a standstill. This situation was unprecedented and it was a great shock to many. In February 2020 I recalled clearly that we had proposed a three months coaching consultancy work, with an option of extension for another two months for the sales team of a small and medium size (SME) financial services entity. We had little experience on virtual training deliveries as almost all our clients expected us to be physically present during trainings.

Read More

Carl Rogers was an American psychologist who lived between 1902 and 1987. The Person-Centered Approach was developed by him, also considered a pioneer in scientific research in psychotherapy.

Reginald “Reg” William Revans was a British academic professor, administrator and management consultant who pioneered the use of Action learning. He is considered the “father “of Action Learning. He lived between 1907 and 2003. Although they lived at the same time being contemporary, they may never have met, or at least I have found no evidence of this meeting. However, their approaches are absolutely complementary and consistent with each other.

Read More

I have never been a fan of presenting a webinar. I always feel like I’m talking to myself. The loss of interaction with the audience I find horrifically deflating. However, give me an audience I can interact with and I am in my element. Especially, if it’s a small audience like the CALC classes. My favorite has become the four-day intensive. In the face to face program, we typically require no prework, other than to contemplate potential problems to work on.

Read More

At the World Institute for Action Learning (WIAL), we frequently talk about the impact we can have on individuals, teams and organizations. When groups experience the WIAL Action Learning method, it has a profound impact at all three of these levels. But have you considered the impact Action Learning can also have on wider society?

In 2015, we established the WIAL Better World Fund to provide Action Learning services to community-based organizations around the world. Grant recipients include organizations and individuals that are working to improve communities and lives globally.

Read More

In Action Learning sessions we always try to get our teams to identify the real problem. Recently, I was asked “How do we know when we are there?”

I’ve had a lot of time to think about this recently as I am dealing with the consequences of not looking for the deeper problem. About eight years ago I realized I was losing the hearing in my left ear. I started seeing an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) specialist. After several appointments, he concluded I must have had a virus that killed the cilia and I would just need to get used to it.

Read More

SP Nathan, a Director at Servebetter, attended a two days WIAL Foundations of Action Learning workshop at Kuala Lumpur in 2015 on his own initiative. He was curious about the AL process and had a burning question on ‘how well can Action Learning help NGOs solve problems?’ Nathan’s greatest discovery about Action Learning was that it is a tool that emphasizes live experiences by providing actionable solutions instead of the traditional methodology of classroom learning.

Read More

Imagine a girl, university student, a bit obsessed with such tiny things as changing the whole education system in Europe, active in the youth field and desperate to break unnecessary social bounds. But also a true critic, living in Budapest. Let’s call her Bernadett.

She has this family friend, Steve, who travels around the world, explores deeply very different cultures and religions. All she sees of him is that he turns up from time to time, showing awesome pictures and sharing crazy adventures from every continent. And he has this mystical profession, which she never really understood what it was.

Read More

I respectfully challenge our coaches and clients to think about the really BIG challenges they could solve and potentially GREAT results they could achieve through Action Learning. My experience with clients and coaches is that either we do not understand, or we seriously underestimate the power of Action Learning. I observe this with many coaches and am committed to changing this perception. When I first started using WIAL Action Learning, I unconsciously looked for the smaller problems I could help clients solve and was delighted when we delivered and I charged a few thousand dollars.

Read More

A central bank is a unique organization and a multi-state central bank even more so, hence the value in having its leadership development program custom-made. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is the first multi-state central bank in the world, predating the European Central Bank. The major challenge is that the Bank has to coordinate and monitor the financial system and developing economies of its eight member states, six of which are independent nations. So, while striving to be a viable organization, the ECCB is also obligated to ensure that there is balanced growth and economic development in its member states. These member states face the usual vulnerabilities common to small island states as well as the adverse impact of the vagaries of the global financial system.

Read More

The reality today changes more dynamically than ever before. Significant changes can be seen in the area of politics and economy. Markets change abruptly and technological progress is so quick that the solutions from yesterday may not be valid today.

Strategies that work today may be insufficient tomorrow. Needless to say, these words were valid a few decades ago when Reg Revans described Action Learning 1).

Read More

The first stage, empathize, focuses on the user. Empathy is the foundation of the human-centered design process whereby we observe and engage with users, immerse ourselves to uncover their needs (they may or may not be aware of) and discover their emotions. We can think of empathize as part of the process that guides the innovation efforts and identifies the right users. Thereby, immersion gives context to the work of the organization and users, which is also an important component of Action Learning. Action Learning draws upon a diverse group of people across the organization at various levels to get an understanding of the context and identify various user needs.

Read More

WIAL USA hosted its quarterly virtual Community of Practice (COP) in August. The COP sessions are designed to build community and enhance skills among WIAL Action Learning (AL) coaches and those working towards certification. Feedback from coaches confirms they value coming together to network, share experiences, practice action learning, and learn from speakers and each other.

For the August COP, it was our pleasure to have Dr. Bea Carson as our guest speaker. Bea is President and Chair of the WIAL-USA Board, a Master Action Learning Coach, and President and owner of Carson Consultants.

Read More

Why are we here? And why do we do what we do? These are big philosophical questions that have been preoccupying mankind for many years. They are also questions many corporations are now asking themselves in order to provide competitive and relevant workplaces in an age where generations of employees want more meaning from their work.

Read More

Not so long ago, in a small hotel in the Polish mountains, I was teaching the CALC course and this question came up: Why do we actually say “we” and not “you” while addressing the teams we coach? For example, our script says “What are we doing well?” and not “What are you doing well?” In individual coaching the coach always uses “you” to show and emphasize the responsibility of the client. In WIAL Action Learning we prefer a different style. Having some difficulty in thoroughly explaining this to my group, I decided to ask other SALCs and MALCs. This article is the summary from this discussion.

Read More

Biological organisms inherently have defensive reaction to threats in their environment. Given time they learn how to defend against newly emerging challenges. Through evolution, they learn to adapt. However, if the changes in the environment go unnoticed or happen faster than their ability to learn and act, they go extinct. A very common observation from the natural world.

If man-made organizations have the vitality and the resilience like a biological organism, Action Learning would serve as part of their evolutionary defense system. However in reality a mature organisation, as well as an adult individual, may fail to recognise the benefits of Action Learning, hesitate to learn how it works and unintentionally apply some ‘business as usual’ behaviours to poison and eventually kill the effort, only to continue searching for other means to ensure their prosperity.

Read More

I became curious about Action Learning after co-facilitating a three-day leadership training to a group of middle managers in a hierarchical and relationship oriented culture. The material for the leadership training had been developed internally by my client’s European headquarters. During the leadership training the participants were engaged with topics of strategy, individual strengths, diversity, decision-making, and coaching skills. The training consisted of theory combined with experiential learning activities. Throughout the program it became apparent that attendees had good comprehension of the presented content and applying it.

Read More

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few” – Shunryu SuZuki

Last month I conducted a leadership development program for one of the largest manufacturing companies in Thailand. This program was designed for key leaders and supervisors from six plants all over the country. Action learning was one of important components of the learning and development process. All sessions demonstrated the power of action learning but there was one, in particular, that was really interesting.

Read More

When Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi summarized his many years of research into what makes for an optimum experience and brings enjoyment, he focused mainly on individuals. His work Flow; the psychology of optimal experience (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) is full of examples of surgeons, mountain climbers or even assembly workers who focus fully on their core activity and get real enjoyment out of practicing and honing their skills constantly. They are in flow. A flow experience is rooted in the internal conscious focus that is put on the activity, as opposed to reacting to external stimuli or conditions.

Read More

The concentration of team members during an Action Learning session is typically very high. The dynamic of asking questions, answering questions, active listening and the focus on the multiple aspects of the session (the problem, leadership competencies, team dynamics, coach learning interventions) completely fills up the mental capacity of the team members. That is also why the recommended number of members in an Action Learning team is maximum of eight. It is simply too much for our conscious mind to monitor and actively deal with if there are too many interactions.

Read More

In part 1 and 2 of this series of articles, we looked at the eight components that bring enjoyment to work according to the Flow research (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990, p. 49), and have clearly demonstrated that WIAL Action Learning fulfills all the requirements and creates the environment for the development of more complex individuals through differentiation and integration.

But Action Learning does not guarantee a team will experience flow. Some sessions run very smoothly and are a great and valuable experience for all, including the coach. Some sessions can feel tense and ineffective.

Read More

If I did not know how to swim and I wanted to become a swimmer is there a book you could recommend – that if I read the book I could then call myself a swimmer? Or maybe you could recommend a video that if I just watched I could then call myself a swimmer?

Might your answer be “Sorry – there is no such book or video!”

What would I have to do if I wanted to become a swimmer?

Read More

No form of communication is as powerful as a question. Great questions have changed our lives, and indeed, have changed the world! In Action Learning, group members are required to use questions because questions have the unique power and ability to accomplish all 4 of the WIAL solution spheres.

Questions are necessary for individuals and groups to be creative and to find breakthrough solutions. All the great inventions in the history of the world were the result of a question asked by the inventor.

Read More

More than twenty years ago, three Filipinos, Tina Asuncion Alafriz, Leo Castillo and myself met in a personal transformation seminar and became friends. We realized then the importance of continuous learning and attended more leadership programs, which eventually led us to discover our purpose in Life – to assist in the actualization of the Filipino’s potential through corporate training.

This became our Life’s work. Tina joined Management Strategies Inc. (MgtStrat) building it up to become one of the more successful corporate consultancy in the country.

Read More