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Action Learning Solves Major Problems in
Personal, Professional and Organization Development

Leveraging the Power of Peers

Several major problems persist in training and development today. Many of these problems persist because of our own myths about training and development. Other problems persist because of issues among us trainers and developers.

Our peer learning services are based on the processes of Action Learning and on personal and professional coaching. The processes burst through these myths and problems, making training and development much more real and long-lasting!

This Document Contains These Sections


Major Problems With Traditional Approaches

As you read the following list of major problems, think about your own experiences with training and development.

Problem #1: People prefer one-shot, "quick-fix" training sessions -- that too often don't work.

How often do we hear of organizations that implement development programs in which participants only have to attend training sessions -- no accountability for implementation and learning required! If people are truly serious about developing skills, they need to put in more practice and effort than that.

Problem #2: Learners rarely apply materials from training sessions.

It's often difficult -- and rare indeed -- for learners to later transfer learning from training sessions (courses, seminars and workshops) over to their lives and work. Training methods rarely incorporate real-life, current challenges in the lives of learners. Therefore, learners are left on their own to later apply new concepts from the many books and binders gained during the training sessions.

Problem #3: People rarely achieve major goals from taking training sessions.

Few major challenges in life or work are addressed by some specific procedure conveyed during a training session. Rather, learners get stuck because of strong misperceptions, feelings or structural problems. Getting unstuck requires ongoing support, reflection and testing of new methods on current, real-life challenges. This ongoing support, reflection and testing in real-life are seldom included in traditional training sessions.

Problem #4: Trainers don't plan for ongoing support among learners.

Few training programs recognize that learners very often need ongoing support to take the risks necessary to apply new information and materials from training sessions. At the end of a course, seminar or workshop, learners are left on their own.

Problem #5: Learners are more cynical than ever about training and development.

Trainers and practitioners continue to ignore this major issue. To deal with cynicism, people must have a forum in which to vent, to be authentic. Training programs rarely afford that forum.

Problem #6: Training is becoming very -- almost prohibitively -- expensive.

The price of education, including training and development, is skyrocketing, while creating a social crisis that leaves many businesses and their employees unable to access traditional means to education, training and development.

For a more scholarly overview of each of the above problems, read the following document written by Authenticity Consulting, LLC's, co-founder Carter McNamara. (The article is on the Leaders Circles(sm) web page. Leaders Circles is a national Action Learning-based program designed for charitable nonprofits by Dr. McNamara.)

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"Given that effective practitioners invariably do better
with a few basic ideas that touch a powerful nerve
than with subtle and complex ideas that do not ..."
-- John Morris, Action Learning writer,
in "Action Learning in Practice"


Breakthroughs Slow to Come Because of Our Myths

The above problems continue to persist because of our own myths about training and development. When people struggle to accept the simple power of Action Learning, it's often because of some or all of the following myths.

Myth #1: Training is more powerful if it's packed with materials.

Wrong! How many of us have brought home numerous, glossy books and binders from training sessions, only to leave them untouched on our shelves?

Myth #2: Training is more powerful if it's based on the latest "innovations".
Wrong! Too often, the latest innovation is just "old wine in new skins". The real truths from which we learn in life have been around forever.

Myth #3: Training is more powerful if it's more complex!

Wrong! Quite often, people struggle because they can't consistently apply the basics, not because they don't understand, for example, "bifurcations in chaos theory"!

Myth #4: Training is more powerful if it's from the mouths of gurus!

Wrong! People working in the day-to-day realities of organizations can have at least as much wisdom as educators, researchers and writers.

Myth #5: Training is more powerful if it's more expensive!

Wrong! Too often, we mistakenly equate high prices with high quality. This is the myth of "executive-level" pricing.

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"Resolve, then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tiny blasts of tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy,
and not only may he be ours, he may be us.""
-- Pogo in "Pogo Papers"


Breakthroughs Slow to Come Because of Issues Among Us Trainers and Developers

Issue #1: We prefer our models to be novel, complex and from the latest guru.

Too often, we assume that models (for example, in leadership, coaching and training) are truly powerful only if the models seem novel, complex and conveyed by the latest guru. Instead, natural and real development comes from natural and real practices in life. True development comes from this 'simplicity on the other side of complexity'. Authenticity Consulting always keep focus on this simplicity which is accessible to us all.

Issue #2: In our fascination with the complex, we forget the critical basics.

If we leaders and practitioners are to help accomplish what we envision for the world, then we'd better focus a lot more on the real 20% that generates 80% of the results -- and we'd better focus on making that 20% a lot more accessible to a lot more people.

Perhaps, rather than trying to improve development by creating yet more slogans and models, we should leverage more learning by a) ensuring learners have mastered the 20% that generates 80% of results, b) helping learners to really learn from each other, and c) helping learners to be more accountable to actually apply new information and materials from training and development. Authenticity Consulting always keeps focus on these three goals.

Issue #3: We're stuck on the same old formats (for example, one-shot training and one-on-one coaching sessions).

We practitioners assert that our learners really must do more to think out-of-the-box. Yet we practitioners use primarily the same limited approaches, such as one-shot training and one-on-one coaching sessions.

Research indicates that adults learn best when they continue to apply new learning to current challenges and exchange ongoing feedback with others. Are these practices supported by one-shot training and one-on-one coaching sessions? No.

The major obstacle here is the practitioner, not the learner.

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Action Learning Breaks Through These Problems!

To see how Action Learning addresses these problems, myths and issues, go to