The best teams are always learning. Adding structure to learning activities improves the team's ability to use the knowledge immediately to improve team performance.
USE THIS PLAY TO...
Encourage continuous learning across and between teams.
Provide structure for sharing cross-team updates.
6 - 12
30 - 60 min
Running the play
Choose a facilitator and 1-2 presenters to lead the group. The facilitator can be the person who is initiating the learning circle (probably, you!) or the subject matter expert.
Presentation (optional but recommended)
Set the stage (10 min)
Explain the purpose of the session: to provide structured, dedicated time for your team to learn so each attendee walks away with new tactics to improve their work. The facilitator should set basic ground rules, and explain how they are put in place to create a safe environment for learning.
We recommend the following rules:
- No interruptions.
- What's shared in the session may be shared externally, but not attributed (Chatham House Rules).
- All comments and input should be focused on behaviors or impact, not focus on personal characteristics.
- (Optional) Clarify whether presenters are comfortable with real-time questions or prefer to do Q&A at the end.
Everyone quickly introduces themselves, sharing:
- Their name
- Role and/or team
- Their previous experience with the topic or what they hope to learn
The facilitator should keep notes regarding what people would like to focus on to help guide the discussion.
Presentation, activity, or exercise (20 min)
The presenters share what they've learned about the topic in question, and the sources of their information. You might consider small group brainstorm and share-outs, "What's wrong with this example?", or other activities to make the session more interactive. We find presentations that include an activity for the group get the best feedback.
Sample Slide Deck
Questions for presenters (5 min)
Give the room 5 minutes to ask questions of the presenter. Make sure you time box this so you have enough time for discussion!
Discussion (20 min)
The facilitator should guide the discussion, positioning the presenters as experts and encouraging other team members to bring in their own questions and expertise.
If the discussion stalls out, try one of these questions to bring it back to life:
- Does anyone have any other experience or expertise to share on this topic?
- Are there aspects of the topic or considerations we've left out that are important?
- How might you incorporate this information into your day-to-day work, or do you have an example of you doing that?
Be sure to run a full Health Monitor session or checkpoint with your team to see if you're improving.
Repeat on a biweekly or monthly basis to build a peer mentoring program. Successful programs are often composed of participants from similar seniority levels but different business units, with a more senior facilitator. Identity-group selection can be used as a substitute for seniority level to build a belonging-specific program.
When focused on building belonging, ensuring every participant is invested in the learning outcome and attends every meeting strongly influences whether the program is successful!
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