Iterate.  Prototype.  Fail fast.

Each of these are terms used when discussing cultures that embrace innovation.  And rightfully so.  Those who understand the importance of challenging established processes with a willingness to change something sacred are the organizations that have the potential to disrupt entire industries.  They are game changers.

Wise leaders understand that every time their staff gathers together there is an opportunity to foster a spirit of innovation.  In the case of staff training, an opportunity exists to share knowledge through collaboration and refine best practices as a group.  And the momentum created by collaboration is a powerful force.  Those leaders understand their responsibility lies in getting the train on the right track and releasing it to build momentum through the sharing of ideas.

At Acru our training sessions fill white boards, challenge rules and often have uncomfortable moments.  Everyone doesn’t always agree, and I am good with that.  Our staff is passionate.  Different perspectives on a subject often reveal insights the group would have otherwise not seen without conflict.  Our team thrives on learning from each other and enjoys the iterative character of our culture.

Here are are few other thoughts on collaborative training:

Don’t waste their time

During a training session your team is on the bench, not on the field. You have to make them better while you have their attention.  Be prepared to challenge them and be sure they have a tangible take away that can be put into practice immediately.

Create New Content to Collaborate on

Don’t re-use the same training manual you’ve used for years.  Create new content.  Most training simply reminds staff of what they should already know, and there is a place for some of that.  But if you think your business model is as good as it could possibly be, you are wrong.  Improve on what you have and teach them something new.  Break it then re-build it.  You will be stunned at the things you can improve.

Challenge Established Systems and Proceses

Be willing to put sacred things on the examination table.  Foster an environment in which every employee, regardless of role or rank, is encouraged to speak up.  If processes aren’t re-examined regularly, there is a real chance their effectiveness is being marginalized by innovation elsewhere.

Facilitate Dialogue, not Monologue

Use role play; group case studies; share successes and failures from actual experiences.

If you are the facilitator, think Yoda not Luke.  This isn’t your chance to show off.  It’s about your team getting better.