Getting people on board
Wright, N. (2023), 'Getting People on Board', Action Learning Associates, 19 June.
How to get others on board with your Action Learning venture? You’ve trained as an Action Learning Facilitator, you feel fired-up with vision for this work – and you are thinking about how best to engage others to release its full potential. This was a useful conversation with trained and ILM-Recognised Action Learning facilitators at Community Justice Scotland this week. It can be a particular challenge if key stakeholders are unfamiliar with Action Learning, or if an Action Learning language or approach may sound alien to them.
A first step can be to consider who you want and need on board for your Action Learning venture to be successful. This could include potential participants in Action Learning sets – alongside others; for example, their Directors or line-managers; Learning & Development; Organisation Development; or Human Resources teams. These are people and groups who could support Action Learning and the implementation of actions arising from it, or make it more difficult to progress if, say, they are preoccupied with other pressures or priorities.
So: 1. Who do we want to know? 2. What do we want them to know? 3. What do we want them to do if they do know?
A next step is to consider how to convey the potential benefits of Action Learning to those key stakeholders. It can be useful to tailor different messages to different audiences, reflecting the language they use and who or what matters most to them. Some Action Learning practitioners post open advertisements on, say, their intranet to invite people to take part. Others use a consultative marketing approach, discussing core, complex challenges with stakeholders, then showing how Action Learning could help to address them.
I’ve found it useful to draw on testimonials of people within an organisation, or in similar roles or organisations, who have taken part in Action Learning sets and found them value-adding. It helps if testimonials are natural, honest and real and come from people whom those we hope to engage will find credible. This can help to bridge the gap between Action Learning as a possibly unfamiliar term or concept, and the potential Action Learning holds for people and organisation, via the experiences of practitioners who have benefited from it.