There you are in front of a group of 30 vice presidents. They are all staring at you blankly and you’re pretty sure they did not register your previous question. They’re bored!
It’s happened to every workshop facilitator. High-performing professionals are a tough audience.
They’ve been assessed, trained, developed, and coached before. Is there really anything new? Is there really anything that can create a lasting influence?
Here at The Highlands Company we have developed a number of Talent Development workshops that require individual focus, reflection, and learning. Our activities are a constant reminder that each person in the workshop is unique. Each person will take away something different. Each person will learn something new. Our workshops are about the participants and we are mindful that they are more than what they are at work.
Our Whole Person Model is what makes the difference. In Talent Development circles, our workshops take the onus of development off of the manager or the organization exclusively and provide tools to productively facilitate the individual’s involvement in the process.
Transformational learning and development are about engaging participants in the subject matter and we’ve found the following activities to work well.
Career Development Activity
A look backwards helps participants identify natural abilities they’ve used and enjoyed, skills they’ve developed, personal style preferences, work environments that “fit”, organizations with values they can get behind, times they’ve been bored, paces that have been too fast or too slow, and other patterns of which they are vaguely aware.
Group Profile Activity
Knowing your talents and how to use them is invaluable. You can use this knowledge to make clear decisions over time about how to express and not waste them. Your natural abilities scores found in the HAB reports describe your talents relative to our expansive database. Seeing how those talents are dispersed across your specific team provides a different perspective – where people might make similar and dissimilar contributions, value similar and dissimilar outcomes, communicate easily or need additional tools. While not valid as a selection or performance evaluation tool, the group profile provides Ah-Ha’s at a group level.
Sorting WorkTypes Activity
Uniquely Highlands, WorkTypes are roles and responsibilities directly derived from natural abilities. Equipped with this information, participants can troubleshoot why certain responsibilities take more time, effort, and energy and may be less enjoyable. Alternatively, this activity is great for identifying opportunities never considered before. This activity creates many individual Ah-Ha moments.
Personal Values Sort Activity
Since broadly defined as what is important to you, values can change over time. Maybe not the three or so core values, but the rest of “what’s important”. Changes in values can often change the perceived “fit” with the work you are doing – either positively or negatively. The point is, we all need to revisit these periodically.
While some people are very vocal about their interests, others are unclear of specific interests or are not prone to sharing them. Being aware of each other’s interests, however, can provide a foundation for building relationships within a team or across an organization. More than completing an interest inventory, we use interest “boxes” to get these conversations started.
Family Genogram Activity
Family influences often play a larger role in our decision-making process, and it’s not just early in our lives. Sometimes those early decisions have long-term repercussions and those life lessons that were lovingly passed down just down pertain to you.
Life Roles Activity
Inviting workshop participants to integrate information about their personal life roles with their work life roles is critical. And it only gets more important the higher up someone is in leadership since the expectations are different. Pretending that the two are completely separate buckets is unrealistic. We’re not suggesting an organization is responsible for attending to each individual’s combined roles; we are suggesting individuals do that in order to meet expectations in both places.
Personal Vision Activity
Sometimes used as a culminating activity, creating a personal vision after working through the other factors serves as a springboard for on-the-job planning. Rather than an organization creating an individualized professional development plan, this activity invites the input of each individual in crafting his or her future development. After all, shouldn’t all three be involved?
Future Timeline Activity
Identifying personal and professional goals on the same 20-year timeline often causes re-calibration of expectations in both arenas.
Organizational Values Activity
Sometimes the most elusive, identifying what an organization really values can be eye opening. And sometimes identifying if those “organizational” values really refer to the whole organization, your division/department, or just the person you report to puts a new frame on influences and decision-making at work.
The Highlands Company provides half-day, full-day and two-and-a-half day talent development workshops for organizations interested in weaving natural ability awareness into the workplace. These events incorporate the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) and lead to improved communication and long-term planning among other things.
Contact us to learn more about our own Talent Development Workshops as well as certification training for those looking to provide the Highlands Ability Battery to clients or employees.