Getting the benefits from a workshop and making them sustainable.

Response to Facilitation hack. Prepare them for the post-workshop shock
(Link to original post at end)

This is a great post because it highlights the point that so often we do workshops or courses. And despite being filled with new ideas and great enthusiasm, personal accountability and a shared vision and what we can do when we go back to the workplace very quickly when we are faced with the old ways of working, regular routines, and habits. Colleagues who don’t have the same vision because they haven’t been on the same course and don’t have the same experience can very quickly give up.

Indeed, in many change projects, what actually happens is the terminology changes, but the practices don’t. We dress up old ways of working with new terms and feel like we’ve made the change and we give lip service and we say and do all the right things, but the actual lived and work practices haven’t changed that much, and after a sufficiently long period when it’s all forgotten, we revert back to what we used to. This is the power of habit, which is kept in check by the power of culture, which is kept in check by the social systems as well as the working practices that form the boundaries of our everyday lives.

The way to overcome this inertia is to make clear before the workshop that the workshop will be making necessary changes to the organization. You then create a sense of anticipation, forward thinking, and some understanding so the organization is serious about this.

You make sure all the relevant people attend the workshop. And this isn’t just about the people doing the task. This is about the stakeholders, the influencers. So it’s the communicators, the people who are significant in forming social culture or functional power, who are the gatekeepers, those that are responsible, accountable, or consulted in the workplace. These people need to be part of the process and recognize that the process is one that the organization is committed to. And the workshop isn’t like a summer holiday which you enjoy endlessly but forget very quickly once you return to work.

The next thing that you need to do in terms of embedding the thinking, learning, doing workshops, is to have regular reviews and say, “OK, what have you done changed since the workshop?” and literally have a two-weekly or monthly or other periodic review that holds people accountable for the tasks that they said they would do after the workshop and measure the performance and progress as a result of the workshop. This is also the opportunity to highlight and address any challenges that come with implementation, maybe any inertia, resistance, uncertainty, because without addressing these in the subsequent period, we will just revert back to old ways of doing things.

What is critical overall is to be clear of the intention of a workshop is not just to educate and entertain those attending, but to bring about change. If it is literally seen as a fun thing to do, then that is nice and has its value, but it certainly won’t have longevity or impact on the products, processes, or performance of the organization. And so, being clear before, during, and after the workshop what the intended consequences, results, and changes are, is absolutely critical to yielding the benefits from the workshop.

Perhaps most importantly are the measures that we have following the workshop. If it is simply a matter of “Did you enjoy it?” some form of customer satisfaction score or reflection on how much they enjoyed the facilitator/presenter, then clearly the course is not going to produce lasting change. Lasting change comes from which of our key business metrics improved as a result of this and that relentless focus on what dial are we seeking to move and what impact are we having on that important metric before, during, and after the workshop is absolutely critical to getting the value from that workshop.

Link to original post Facilitation hack. Prepare them for the post-workshop shock

Tim HJ Rogers
Consult | CoCreate | Deliver

I support people and teams to grow, perform and succeed unlocking potential as a partner Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager. Together we can deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.

ICF Trained Coach | MBA Management Consultant | PRINCE2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master | AMPG Change Practitioner | Mediation Practitioner | BeTheBusiness Mentor | 4 x GB Gold Medalist | First Aid for Mental Health | Certificate in Applied Therapeutic Skills