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According to Henry Evans and Colm Foster, “Learning a skill is very different from studying for a test or learning how to program a spreadsheet; it is experiential. That kind of learning primarily involves practice; to change your behavior, you must actively engage in the new behavior for a significant period of time. Experiential learning theory generally identifies four main components.
- Concrete experimentation. You have to actually try new behaviors, not just think about them. In leadership, it is your action, not your intention, that matters. You have to practice specific behaviors, such as the ones we will show you in each chapter of Step Up.
- Feedback. You must get quality feedback from at least one partner — ideally, a skilled coach, but a trusted colleague [who will speak frankly] will do.
- Reflection. You must deeply reflect on the results of your new behavior in an honest and compassionate way, by asking, ‘What am I trying to do?’ ‘Who was I being in that moment?’ and ‘How did that work out for me?’
- Assimilation. You need to understand and make sense of the behavior in an honest and compassionate way that sets up the next experience, asking, ‘What am I going to do differently next time?’ or ‘What action will I take based on what I learned?’”
I highly recommend Evans and Foster’s book, Step Up: Lead in Six Moments that Matter, published by Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Brand (April 2014).
By Bob MorrisReturn to In the News