Lena's Moves

We dedicate time to defining what the newly promoted managers need, we put the thematics together and now we don’t want to worry if people are disengaged! 

Making sure that a leadership development program is engaging can be hard, so let’s use this week to share our ideas and best practices and inspire each other



Every second day there will be a question on how to make #nonboring leadership development programs and you can answer in the comments!

In your comment:

  • Use the hashtag #nonboring
  • Nominate one or two people, who you would love to hear ideas from

At the end of the week, we will compile all the resources in an online library!

Monday | Your trick

What is your signature in what you do?! Something you do that moves people away from boredom! Share your own magic with us

Wednesday | Your engaging exercise

What’s your favourite non- boring exercise? I’m talking about an exercise that you did and the group was energetic, playful and got great insights about leadership!

Friday | Your wisdom

What’s a piece of advice out of your own experience that you would give to an L&D expert to make their leadership development programs non-boring?

Online Library


🪄|  Making sure the program is relevant: – identifying their needs and making the program relevant. Coaching, mentoring, peer coaching and accountability groups lead to great results here since everyone works and makes progress on the tasks and skills they struggle with.

🪄| Here are my thoughts. Make them personalized to every leader’s level of experience and needs. You can do that by identifying the skills and levels of mastery that leaders in this specific company need to have, and conduct assessments to help identify the gaps. And then each leader would have a personalized journey based on that. It’s more relevant and focused on skills they need to develop.

🪄| Magic ingredient number 2: Engaging, well-thought-through facilitation that takes the participants on a transformational journey from A to B, B being the desired state of having reflected on/learned whatever is on the agenda. I have found the fishbowl method to work wonderfully for stimulating reflection, discussion, and peer learning in leadership circles.

🪄| Designing experiences that offer discovery of oneself, team dynamics and behaviours when one is in a leadership position or is to follow others. So people can define for themselves what in their context leadership means, rather than me/others defining it for them.

🪄| I always encorporate an interview assignment where the attendees have to interview a leader from their business regarding the topic that was just covered. For instance: leadership style, does and dont’s in performance review conversations, pitfalls in delegating etc.
Afterwards they come back to the (virtual) classroom and share the outcome and their insights on this interview.

🪄| My trick for making #nonboring leadership development programs is to add serious gaming to the equation.

With a serious game, participants experience more “learner agency” and are emerged into the program, instead of just listening to a lecture.

Research of @Filip Dochy found this to be one of the pillars of High Impact Learning that Lasts.

For managers to experience and practice with Situational Management Styles I play the serious game Team Leader

You can add this to the list:

🪄| Love the question! Some elements to highlight:

🎯 Place the program in a wider context. Acknowledge that change is complex responsive process.

Imbed this in you’re design: Re-design your journey in line with what is happening in their context. (for example: strategic clock, change process). Prevent the parallel universe syndrome.

🎯 Focus on Mindset and Skillset

Co-design with your client as concrete as possible. Leaders need to work on their inner and outer game.

🎯 Use a faculty with different angles/approaches

Everyone needs a different button to be pushed, facilitate this.

🎯 Make it experimental

We learn most when emotional circuits within our brain are activated. Go from pre-planned teaching schedules towards self-directed experiences.

🎯 Give tools to transform the eco-system

Make sure Leaders need to transfer content into their teams.

🪄| Some things that worked for me:
1. Create a learning buddy or trio during the learning journey of the program and they can become accountability partners to practice the new skills and behaviors
2. Incorporate a surprise & delight element e.g. getting the CEO to join the cohort and provide an inspiring story or an Ask Me Anything segment for true vulnerability and engagement
3. Experiential – We used horses once for one of our Sr Leadership program. It was interesting, creative, and when linked to how leaders showed up and how they lead, to inspire their partners, it brought a lot of learning to people. https://coachingwithhorses.com/leadership-with-horses/
4. An insightful assessment tool linked to the program goals e.g. Enneagram, or VIA Character Strengths

🪄| Start with ‘the what/the why’ and nurture discussion around ‘what leadership means to you’ and ‘what leadership means to the organization’ and how these two visions interplay.

This helps to create the context, the buy in and the excitement of growing to become who they aspire to be rather to what we want them to be only.

🪄| Designing the program starting from the motivators that trigger a desired action. Yu-Kai Chou, gamification expert, created a framework called Octalysis, that illustrates the 8 Core Drives that he believes are behind every human action. We use this framework when we wish to create engaging experiences. It’s a human-focused design that optimizes for people’s feelings, motivations and engagement.

More about the 8 Core Drives here: https://yukaichou.com/gamification-examples/octalysis-complete-gamification-framework/

Or watch his Ted talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5Qjuegtiyc

🪄| For me, the non-boring part comes from their direct involvement. For example, rather than generic ‘what is leadership’, its what does leadership mean to me as an individual. What skills that I already possess, can be re-used here? What are employees of this company asking for from management, that they haven’t got in the past.

My biggest one is Psychological Safety.

Completely agree with you, Anamaria! And there are tons of ways you can try to keep it #nonboring and engaging participants (whether it’s your approach, or the technology you use, games, etc.), but one thing that I’ve learned is that participants have to finish the program with a clear action plan and next steps. Knowing this from kick-off really makes a difference in how participants feel about the program!

🤲| Oh, i love non-boring exercises… i’ve done many during my trainings, workshops and coaching interventions. And they all boil down to one thing: get the body moving and surprise the mind.
So have your attendees stand up, walk around, give them a topic to talk about and take your learning outside the room or even outside the building. I once delivered a whole module on change management outside in closeby park and had my attendees interview random people on how they deal with change.

🤲| I never started a session (face to face) without a colorful ball. Even when I travelled to a new city, I would buy one there. Variations of the group game with targets, time, groups, leadership styles – this game got insights n lessons during the debrief like no other. I miss this. 

🤲| Haven’t tried this one, but it might be fun 😅

Scavenger Hunt for leadership traits & capabilities – you give them a set of articles, videos, movies, famous person biography, etc – they need to research and identify the leadership traits they can find in each example. (Happen asynchronously).

On the next sync workshop, split them into groups to create a map of leadership traits/ capabilities and take this further as you see fit for your program

🤲|Have the team stand in a circle and two of them have to clap at the same time – then one of them passes the clap on to another person so that they clap at the same time. Difficult to explain but easy to do. The one who receives the clap passes it on to someone else and so forth. You start in the circle and you end up moving around the room still doing it, still being present and aware of sending and receiving claps.

🤲| Before the pandemic, we used to have teams gathered together to play collaborative boardgames and then we debriefed the experience, connecting it with what happened in real life, at their workplace. We asked questions like ‘What leadership trait did I bring to gameplay? How does that reflect my leadership style in real life?’

🤲| I was creating a Google form scavenger hunt and thought it may be good to try it for leadership. Your idea is even better. Love it 

🤲| Some great activities…. face to face I love a good value exchange. Random cards picked and people have to negotiate to change them. It highlights the most driven common values and starts an energetic discussion. #nonboring.
Virtually.. there are so many. I love when the leaders experience chaos of not clear communication linked to task assignments. This creates a feeling of panic and uncertainty that I am sure most of people’s reports feel. This can be done with vague instructions and time limits.

🤲| I have 3 I go to all the time for creative thinking. Heads, shoulders, eyes and nose game where we switch instructions. Peanut butter sandwich instructions. Aaaaaannnddd having the whole group try to count to 20, out loud, one number each, eyes closed, no overlaps. If there’s movement or sound in an activity – it’s already my favourite 🤩

💡| I’ve included ‘leadership round tables’ (discussion sessions) all the way through a course – this is designed to not just share the leaders own experience but to create discourse on how different techniques work for different teams / different cultures

💡| Piece of advice would be: Don’t over-think, over-engineer and over-complicate things.
Have a clear goal around behavior change that ties into business results.
Start small, pilot, experiment, learn, iterate.
Talk to the people you are designing this for from the get-go.

And have fun 🥳

💡| Of course 1:1 coaching for leaders – but not your typical “talk talk” sessions. Providing them with a digital coaching journey that’s designed parallel to the trainings they received. And then having 1:1s with the coach based on that – to internalize the learning and turn it into “development” 😉

💡|  One part psycho/neuro education, one part regular attention exercises, one part 1:1 coaching in cohorts following the same reflective/teansformational arc of three years, take before and after fotos

💡|In the topic of behaviour change and business results, make participants think about something concrete they want to change after the program, what’s their own metric of success? That can be a very powerful accountability factor and a motivator 💪

Leadership is a social skill, so include social learning. It works wonders for leaders to benchmark themselves and gain self-compassion. One of the most repeated sentences in the leadership trainings I’ve done has been “I just realize I’m not the only one dealing with this issue!” Formats like Case Clinics and Socratic Circles can spark very insightful conversations.

Also encourage bonding outside the program. Drinks, a game night or anything, it is fun and do wonders for the safe space.

💡| To have a curiosity mindset and acknowledge that “I do not know” everything, as that creates the context for all future learning. Be open to be proven wrong and that is actually a good thing as you discover something which you were unaware of earlier.