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Daniel Goleman, one of the most reprinted HBR articles ever. "What Makes a Leader?" (Harvard Business Review, 4/2004)

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This is a document I put together a few years ago that gives an overview to forming effective Action Learning teams. 

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This is my fundamental tool for working with others in helping to leverage diversity. Profs. Maznevski and DiStefano, both of IMD, present a clear, coherent and inherently useful overview of the tool. 

Learning Principles

The following is a brief description of the learning principles, the philosophy, that drives us at De Baak. These principles are infused in everything that we do. 

•       Learn from your own actions: experiences from your own work situation serve as examples for your own learning.
•       Result-oriented learning: observation and reflection lead to experiments with alternative behavior and produce visible results. Giving and receiving feedback is essential.
•       Do what you intend to do: don’t just talk about networking - do it. Work on behavioral changes and show them.
•       Take responsibility for your own learning: show personal leadership in your own learning process and in that of the members of your group. Steer toward self-direction.
•       Learn actively, here and now: experiences that are gained and situations that happen during program are used for learning with a focus on active, experimental and experience-oriented learning. By creating special learning experiences (outdoor, expression, etc.), participants learn more effectively and learning lasts longer.
•       Learn by broadening your horizon: look at yourself from the outside and then from within. Be open to being different and integrate these views with your own work, if possible.
•       Connect individual learning to organizational performance: personal development results in achievements visible to the organization.
 
We use a number of interactive learning methods that are applied alternatively. In this way, delegates are continuously confronted with the experience-oriented learning cycle: doing, reflecting, experimenting and doing (see Kolb’s Experiential Learning model). It's a process of acceleration and deceleration, divergence and convergence. Each of the modules will build on the previous one, and make active links between the several program topics and experiences of the participants. This creates synergy between the different program elements and enhances learning’s impact.
 
Our approach works when participants are willing to contribute actively, step outside their comfort zones and show their inner selves. This stimulates their ability and willingness to ‘learn how to learn’ and make learning their second nature, outside as well as after the Program. The Action Learning Project can be the integral, embedded learning experience that creates the opportunity to do just this.

Tools and methods

The following is a description of additional tools and methods that could fit into the above structure. How and which subjects will exactly fit into the structure is highly contingent on the co-design phase of this project, which will define in closer detail how training needs match to the organizational demands.  
 
Digital e-learning platform
You have begun to use online learning, but up until now only as an operational training tool. The key to a learning organization is using virtual, asynchronous methods for learning support. One aspect is that cognitive knowledge be available for transfer to the course participants through an e-learning platform. Our experience is mixed regarding such platforms. Without a solid culture of learning within the organization, or a strict enforcement schedule around the learning initiative itself, our experience is that these platforms have uncertain applicability for busy leaders. We would certainly be open to discussing your needs and resources in developing this possibility, open to you and to possible preferred experts within your network of suppliers.
 
LIFO®, the Life Orientations Survey
LifO® is an abbreviation for “Life Orientations®“. This theory looks at one’s behavior and estimates the values and goals that this person orients him or herself to. It also allows people to estimate each other’s behavior and to adapt. This is an area where both insight and influence are closely linked and lead to personal effectiveness in leadership and cooperation. But perhaps the most important part of this method is that it is only effective when each other’s behavior is spoken about openly, which makes it very effective for groups when they’re in a norming phase, such as during a kick-off. 
 
AEM-cube® on change and innovation
The AEM-cube® is a powerful tool which helps leaders, managers and individual contributors to understand how to use their strengths and the strengths of others to achieve individual, team and company goals: it enables the harnessing of individual qualities. This is seen as more effective than trying to ‘develop’ people to adopt styles that do not necessarily suit them – for both the person and the organization.  AEM-cube® is based upon 20 years of research into the components and dynamics of effective teams and individual leaders and has been tested in a wide range of situations and cultures. The AEM-cube® examines three key dimensions of adaptation, exploration and maturity in complexity, from this the participants will gain insights into the natural and unique contribution they bring to the process of change and innovation. It helps to understand how to harness own qualities and the qualities of others in pursuit of individual, team or company goals.
 
Communication
Effective communication is very much related to behavior and intent. The aim is to become more aware of how you communicate and the effect this has on other people. How do you ask questions? What are the four levels of communications and when and how to use them? What are the rules for providing feedback to each other? We will practice what we learned in small groups with special training actors. Participants will bring in their own cases and practice with the actors.
●      Levels of communication
●      One’s own reference sets
●      Selective ways of observing
●      Non-verbal aspects of communication
●      Techniques of communication
●      Providing feedback
  
Teams
We could use a psychometric tool (LBAII or other) in preparation for this session. It will give a look at one’s particular style as team member and leader. This will be used as input for looking at the individual’s experience with teams, especially in regards to morale and productivity and experience with team characteristics. The seven most important characteristics of high performing teams will be examined, followed by the Blanchard Theory on High Performing Teams. The stages of team development are explained and preferred team roles will be analyzed.
●      Team diagnoses
●      Team performance
●      Team roles
●      Team development
 
Group dynamics
Various aspects of group dynamics will be examined, including the matrix organization and horizontal leadership. We will then examine various method choices and various process tools. An examination of the Commitment Model will then lead into an exercise in facilitating group skills with the GroupExpo® tool in sharing group knowledge. This description has the potential to be altered, depending on which training resource will be selected.
 
Intercultural awareness
Team conflicts in an international setting very often have at their root a clash of national cultures. Even though the organizational culture provides a common basis for cooperation, the deeply ingrained assumptions and perceptions associated with various national cultures often play an overriding role. Essential to any management competency training in an international setting is a fundamental emphasis on intercultural awareness building. The participants will learn the basic principles of intercultural awareness and participate in an intercultural simulation. Principles introduced during this session will be emphasized and reinforced during the entire course of the program. A possible method to bridge national cultural differences and to help leverage diversity in teams and the organization is the MBI model of Prof. Martha Maznevski and Prof. Joseph DiStefano, both of IMD.
 
Project Management
In order to support the participants in their work on the Action Learning project as well as to anchor the projects deeper in the organization, the basics of project management will be explained and practiced (problem identification, risk analyses, stakeholder analyses, milestone setting, planning). Even though some participants may already have experience in project management, it is essential that there be a common understanding for the entire group in at least the basics. This refers back to the desire to have a “deeper anchoring of action learning projects in the organization” and definition of action learning themes linking to company strategy.
 
Personal leadership
Leading others is much easier if you are capable to manage yourself. In the morning we will focus on inner drives and motives. What leads you? What drives you in being a manager? Who do you find a good leader? Why? What qualities do you see in these leaders? What capacities do you have to be a good leader? Why should anybody be led by you?
●      Personal mastery
●      The communication of meaning
●      What drives you?
●      What is leadership?
●      Qualities of a good leader
●      Why should anyone led by you
 
Situational leadership
Building further on the common ground regarding leadership, four styles of leadership are explained and practiced. Which leadership style do your prefer? Are you capable to identify what style is needed? The Lead Out® board game is a simulation game where we the participants can practice what they have learned so far. Observers give feedback on the individual and team behavior after playing the game.
●      Situational leadership
●      Lead Out® game
 
Coaching Leadership
You can coach your team members without literally being named a coach. Knowing what to ask is of key importance. The trainer will prove this by coach the group at once just by asking 18 questions. The GROW coaching model is demonstrated and the participants have coaching sessions with each other to practice the model.
●      Communication techniques
●      Coaching: definition
●      GROW model

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William Strobbe
William (1958) studied Socio-cultural Education. He worked in this sector for 10 years, and carried out international volunteer and education work for young people. He then transitioned to the commercial sector where he led a family-owned company for a number of years. He never lost his passion for group and coaching work. In the mid-1990s, he transitioned into training and consulting. Fascinated by learning and personal development, he attended a number of (refresher) courses, including economics, Gestalt psychology and psychosynthesis, NLP, psychodynamics, system thinking and Open Living Theater. As a trainer, he coaches MD programs for profit (such as large industry and the financial services sector) and non-profit (such as the health care and education sectors). He also gives and develops programs and training courses in communication and team work, inspiring and innovative leadership, change management and personal effectiveness. 

William describes himself an eclectic in his approach, drawing upon a wide spectrum of personality insights and leadership concepts. His approach to working with groups is characterized by an interactive, dynamic and creative behavior towards the things that happen in the here and now. The credo "become who you are" is his core value. At de Baak, William is Director De Baak International based in Antwerpen. In de Baak in The Netherlands he is part of the Management Team. 

Today, William lives in the Belgian countryside. He likes reading, doing (endurance) sports and theatre. He is involved in different social-cultural organizations as board-member.
Photo

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John Kotter: "What Leaders Really Do" 

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Emotional Intelligence Goleman. 

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Van groepsdynamica naar co-creatie voor duurzame samenwerking: artikel door Prins en Stevens: de theoretische achtergrond voor de cursus (zie beneden)

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Cursus: Team Coaching als Ambacht: Leren werken met intense groepsprocessen voor duurzame resultaten
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