I wanted to thank you very much for a truly extraordinary week.  To have the space to explore areas of vulnerability in an environment like that is very special.

Gill Moir,

Country Manager, South Africa

Travelex Global Business Payments

Development Events – How We Make It Happen

There are some straight forward steps to go through to ensure a development event really gets the job done. The mistake often made is to put all the energy in to the event itself and overlook the need and value of pre-event and post-event activity. The event itself is the (relatively) easy bit. If you want the learning and benefits to translate back to the workplace and be so much more than “just a great few days away” then what you do before and after the event is crucial.

It’s not rocket science, but it works. To help you see how it works we have outlined below an example of the kinds of things that need to be covered.

Before the Event

  1. identify the purpose of the development event. Is it to develop people in their current role, to develop people who are seen as having potential at the next level, or something else? Really get this clear
  2. once the purpose is clear then the competencies (what people need to be able to do to achieve that purpose) need to be created, or taken from the organisational competencies if they already exist
  3. make sure the organisation’s senior team are on board with the event and that they support its purpose
  4. identify who attends the event, making sure the nomination process is carried out in a clear, open and fair way
  5. undertake development work with those nominated to attend so that they come to the event knowing what they are good at and knowing what they want to push and develop themselves on. This could include such things as 360 degree feedback or use of a psychometric model, but must always include clear appropriate feedback from each individual’s line manager. Sometimes this means that the line managers have to be trained in giving good feedback and developing their coaching skills
  6. ensure the right people are available and have the right skills to work as observer-coaches for the people attending the development event. Again this might mean that they need to be trained in giving good feedback and developing their coaching skills
  7. ensure the philosophy and purpose of the event is communicated effectively throughout the organisation, including to those who are not attending, so people understand what it’s all about and why those attending have been chosen

The Event

  1. design an event that contains activity that will stretch and challenge those attending in the relevant competency areas. Development events don’t have to be long. With good design a lot can be achieved in a short amount of time. They also don’t have to be in fabulous locations (although of course it is wonderful if they are!) Good design is the key to an event’s success
  2. make sure the observer-coaches are comfortable with their role and have the skills they need to do a good job
  3. ensure the philosophy of the event is clearly stated and adhered to at all times
  4. run a fantastic event that concludes with each individual knowing what they are good at and creating their own next steps development plan, based on their learning from the experience, to develop what they are not so good at

After the Event

  1. ensure the line managers are ready for the return of their team member – ready to talk it through, support them with their development plan and encourage them to take the next steps and transfer the learning back to the workplace. Again, these line managers may need support in order to do this well
  2. ensure individuals have one to one time with a member of the HR/L and D team to talk through their next steps
  3. provide a follow up day so individuals can work again with the whole group and refocus on their personal learning and next steps
  4. revisit conversations with their line managers after this follow up day to ensure the progress continues
  5. develop these people’s skills as mentors for those who are attending future development events