Action Learning: When It Works

It took awhile, but the majority of the learning and development community seems to have signed on to the effectiveness of action learning when it is done “right.”

But what does it take for leadership action learning to work? Here are three critical factors.

  1. The Project: Select a project that will have a real impact on the business. Don’t waste your time and money on an initiative that does not either bring in revenue or reduce costs.

  2. The Target Audience: Don’t restrict participants to only those who “need” the learning; include management, the more senior the better. Not only will these leaders provide much needed support in terms of resources but, with their experience, they can also serve as mentors in analyzing the problem, making decisions, and overall project management.

  3. Performance Coaching: Beyond including senior leaders, connect participants to their managers in the action learning effort. Presumably managers have already given their verbal support to their team members’ participation in the project. But participants will need more…the time required and, probably, additional resources and performance feedback. Regular communication and feedback between participants and managers will promote “buy-in,” improved proficiency, and improved performance.

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