Can’t easily find learning and development opportunities that fit your schedule and needs during this back-to-school season?
It’s time to try something that respects you and your brain.
Flip how you learn!
Rather than seek out old-fashioned experts, hang out with peers and “learner leaders” in a setting that is conducive to talking, listening and embedding memories.
That’s the point of The Communication Leaders Circle, which John Gerstner of Communitelligence and I are launching September 25 for up to 12 corporate communication professionals.
This group of peers will take responsibility for their own learning, as well as supporting others over an initial three-month session.
This way, everyone involved alternates roles. They all take turns sharing content, conversing and contributing to a caring culture of learning and development.
With this approach, there’s still structure—such as facilitators (John and me), agendas, tools, technology, etc. However, we’re spreading the power among the peers, which makes it especially brain-friendly.
Other aspects of The Communication Leaders Circle with its peer-by-peer focus respect the way the brain works too.
Here are five reasons—and benefits—why peer learning is so effective. All of them are built into The Communication Leaders Circle.
1. Being social. We humans are social beings. Most of us enjoy interacting with others, and we can learn more, faster by talking with others about relevant topics, especially in a supportive setting. This is especially true of adults who attach new learnings on top of existing knowledge and experience. When we layer new, relevant information on top of old, especially in a social setting, we can encode it faster, as the neuroscientists explained in “Re-Think Learning” at the 2014 NeuroLeadership Institute.
2. Getting insights. When we slow ourselves down, turn off our digital attachments and reflect, either on our own or with others, we aid our brain in making new connections among unrelated memories. Those connections can give us valuable insights on how to tackle a challenging problem in a way that combines something old with something new to get a workable solution. Because we’re building on the familiar, it will be easier for us—as well as others—to accept and work with the new idea. (For example, the pitch for the movie Alien was “Jaws in space.”)
3. Taking actions. You’re more inclined to apply what you’ve learned or created in a group setting for two reasons. First, your personal insights are inspiring you to take action. They’re basically your ideas; not someone else’s. And second, you have peer pressure and support to do something with your insights and ideas.
4. Sustaining your actions. You can keep the momentum going because your peers can keep you accountable, as well as cheer you on, serving either as a formal or informal sounding board. That helps you bridge the often huge gap between the “visionary planner” and the “short-sighted doer” inside all of us that executive coach Marshall Goldsmith warns against. Also, with The Communication Leaders Circle, we’re spacing the six sessions over a three-month period. This spacing aids adult learning, as explained in the paper Learning That Lasts Through the AGES from the Neuroleadership Institute.
5. Introducing your learnings to others at work. Besides personally benefitting yourself, you can become an ambassador for peer-by-peer learnings at your organization and introduce the involvement techniques you’ve experienced. By doing so you further embed the learnings in your brain, while helping your leaders improve communication and build greater trust among key stakeholders.
All of these contribute to making peer-by-peer learning enjoyable, memorable and valuable.
In fact, in my experience and the survey on peer practices that I conducted in 2013, peer-related programs—formal and informal—such as peer recognition, coaching, training, etc. are popular. But they often get short shrift because there’s no one responsible for them, except for maybe recognition plans. So the external peer learning programs can fill an important void, especially in getting you out of your silo and echo chamber.
If you’re a corporate communication pro and are interested in joining us in The Communication Leaders Circle, we can find a spot for you. To try it out, sign up for a preview on Friday, Aug. 21 from 1-1:30 PM ET. You also can contact me if you have questions.
Circle members also will be able to take advantage of a number of other Communitelligence benefits. All of us are smarter than one of us, especially when we flip how we learn.
How ready are you to flip the script on how you learn?
Connect the dots plus dot the “i”s to be more intentional, inquisitive and inclusive
How well are you tapping into the skills and wisdom you need to lead in a BANI world?
All the old playbooks are out-of-date. Instead, you need to reach inside yourself, tap into your wisdom, and connect the dots for yourself and others.
To start, you can use these 5 tips to embrace your humanity and become a better leader.