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This project of a 10-month leadership intervention for a major Public Sector Bank was my first with KNOLSKAPE. Having been a banker for over 2 decades myself, training the banking fraternity on non-banking topics, something away from regular Negotiable Instruments act or Lending Rates and Balance sheet analysis, was quite exciting.
The client is one of India’s largest banks with a banking history of over 100 years, and this project was the first of its kind to have been taken up by any bank in India. Conceived with a vision of creating future leaders to lead the bank, this is a very ambitious program aiming to train some 2500+ young managers of the bank, as part of their succession plan. To do so, the client partnered with KNOLSKAPE for immersive, experiential, simulation-based leadership development interventions, which, to my mind, is a phenomenon in itself. My 10-month journey with this project, which started on a note of immense excitement, has definitely been a milestone project in my career as a facilitator; And, I walked away with several key learnings:
#1: Learning and Training on the Simulation Modules
Understanding the Simulation modules and methods, and the ability to translate them into effective training was a big take away.
Even during the sessions, the simulations used were the winners, hands down. Simulations proved to be the game changers in the learning process, not only ensuring effective learning, but also instrumental in exciting and engaging everyone in the room.
I could see the focus and flow of adrenaline every time an action within the simulation delivered a positive result. It made the training more entertaining with the elements of challenge and competition. Many learners felt safe in being able to take risks without the fear of losing out on performance points in the real world. Between the simulations, the simulation reports and the subsequent report debrief, there is a clear integration of conceptual theory and application.
#2: Understanding the Design & Delivery:
Since the simulations are so personalized and contextual to the learners’ circumstance, it was important that the content design and the delivery plan are in-line and give the same experience.
That’s precisely how it was – Every concept had a place and purpose in the intervention, and activities were appropriate and practical.
The mobile app and learning resource perfectly focused on individual development. In other words, the entire concept of the learning intervention with their various components gives an opportunity for an individual with a passion, to excel.
#3: Meticulous Planning, Execution and Support to facilitators – the essence of success: When you deploy a learning intervention for 2500 participants, there are bound to be logistical hassles. Add to that the tension of technological challenges, geographical challenges, coordinating between multiple different teams to create outstanding learner experience, and it can get tricky. However, right from the launch of the program to the Industry Connect event and everything in between, I have experienced the meticulous planning and flawless execution in every aspect of this program. Not once has any facilitator or participant who was part of this journey, was left without support. Be it regarding the individual development plan and participant details, or business impact projects, or platform-based queries, or coordinating between various development centres across the country, meticulous planning and collaboration ensured that there were no hiccups along the way.
#4: Learning and Managing Regional/Cultural influences
The best part about being involved in this project is that it gave me the opportunity to train in different parts of the country. This experience highlighted the diversity and dynamism of culture between the states of India, bringing the realization that learners are diverse and hence a one-size-fits-all approach is never the answer.
#5: Managing Attitude differences and aversion to change
One of the greatest insights that I received in this journey was that the acceptance to out-of-the-routine learning is not easy to come by in a PSB. Many learners did show interest and acceptance to the concepts, activities and mode of delivery, there were quite a number of them who were skeptical about the usefulness of these elements.
It is my belief that although the learners were all selected for the program through the same process, not everyone has realized the significance and value of this opportunity. While some really stood out in the group with a very positive attitude saying “Yes, I want to and I can”, the others were very reluctant even to try.
Managing such varied attitudes of the participants and engaging them to actively participate was a challenge. The program design with relevant examples helped a lot.
Working with a very professional team; learning new tools of training which uses innovative technologies; helping people use their creativity; sharing and gaining knowledge; aligning with the new age corporate culture; understanding participants’ aspirations and apprehensions during coaching conversations – throughout this journey, I have had great moments of learning. When someone comes up to you and says you made a positive difference to their way of thinking that is the greatest reward. And I have been fortunate to have such rewarding interactions. If I have to put it in banking terms, there have been huge Credits and negligible Debits.
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