Over the years, I have become more and more convinced of the value people get from reflecting on past experiences, and then using those reflections to interpret what is learned in any leadership development program. Each person has a unique background enriched by the amazing diversity of his or her life experiences. From being raised in different cultural environments to putting a unique spin on even similar circumstances, each person brings the entirety of his or her life to every workshop, course, seminar, relationship, or exercise.
It is important when delivering any leadership development program, to include time for participants to reflect on their own experiences, to interpret and analyze their opinions and thoughts about a concept or idea, and to enrich the course materials based on the unique situations of the participants. For this reason, even a course on the same topic will necessarily be different each time it is delivered because the participants change everything. If an instructor presents the same course over and over again without any deviation, that instructor has lost touch with the audience or participants, and is less likely to be bringing value to the group.
Reflection also works to reinforce learning and help the participant apply the concepts and topics learned to future situations on the job. Participants will be able to visualize themselves applying the learning in their own work situations when they are encouraged to reflect on what they have learned. To get real bottom-line outcomes, any investment in a leadership development program must result in participants applying what they have learned to achieve more and lead the organization toward accomplishing its objectives.