During a training course several topics are often covered. Each of these topics leads to a number of actions that will help improve delegates’ behaviour or skills in the future.
However, many of these actions might not be carried out. After the course, delegates can easily get carried away by other demands on their time and soon the ideas explored in the course will be forgotten.
In order to help delegates apply the learning from course to their lives you can get them to commit to certain actions and increase the likelihood that they will engage in specific post-course activities to reinforce learning.
This exercise helps delegates identify what might stop them from committing to the tasks and identify solutions for each obstacle. The exploration of these obstacles is fun and the exercise helps to motivate delegates in following up with actions after the course.
Ideally, you should run this exercise at the end of the course just before recap and end-of-course summary.
Identify what can stop you from carrying out actions related to what you have learned and then formulate strategies to overcome these obstacles.
What You Need
- Flipcharts or whiteboard.
- Divide a whiteboard to two areas or use two flipcharts side by side.
- Explain that this is a brainstorming exercise in change management. Having gone through the course (in particular if it is about soft skills), delegates will need to modify their behaviour and throw away some bad old habits. This requires practice and persistence. So in this exercise, you want them to identify obstacles that can stop them from changing their behaviour, moving away from bad habits and following up with actions identified in the course.
- This exercise is carried out for the whole group. Encourage everyone to contribute so they can get inspired by each other’s suggestions.
- In one area of the whiteboard write the following title: “Obstacles to Change”.
- Ask delegates, “What would stop you from following up with actions identified in this course?” and expect them to suggest ideas. Record the most representative statements on the whiteboard. Examples includes:
- I put away my workbook and never look at it again.
- I get carried away by work and won’t get a chance to consider the actions again.
- I want to allocate a specific time to study the course and research it more but will never get a chance to find a good block of time.
- I procrastinate over the actions.
- Once various ideas are suggested and delegates cannot think of many more, move on to the second stage of this exercise.
- Write the following title in the second area of the whiteboard, “What can you do about them?”
- Ask the question from delegates and expect them to offer suggestions. Record these on the whiteboard. Examples include:
- I will compile a number of quotes and statements and print them in large fonts on a large paper. I will then hang this on a wall so I can see them every day and will be reminded of them.
- I will place the workbook on my desk so I am constantly reminded of the concepts discussed in the course.
- I will schedule a specific time to review the actions and reflect on my performance and will commit to spend time on this just as I would when I am committed to work on any work project.
- Continue until enough ideas are collected.
- Ask everyone to review the obstacles and the solutions and follow with a quick discussion to sum them up.
- Take a photo of the whiteboard and print it. You can give these as handouts to your delegates.
Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes
Activity: 5 min identifying obstacles + 5 min identifying solutions = 10 minutes
Group Feedback: 2 minutes
Did you see a pattern in the obstacles suggested by all delegates? Was it easy to come up with solutions once you were aware of the obstacles? How committed do you feel now that you know there can be easy ways to overcome obstacles in changing behaviour and committing to actions?