What would you choose – a sheepdip or a spa?

I’ve recently joined an entrepreneurs support network. There are five of us; Graeme Pegman (Vital Wealth Management), Giles Johnston (Smartspeed Consulting), Simon Heal (Simon CGI) and Colin Bell (Paramount Associates) and we get together every month to share ideas and suggestions on how we can each develop our businesses. We cram a lot into the sessions and I always come away from them with lots of great new initiatives to work on.
Yesterday when I was giving the guys an update on Sogno I used the phrase ‘we don’t do ‘sheepdip’ training’ and Simon wanted to know what I meant by that. I explained it’s a term used to describe the one size fits all, mandatory training programmes that we will have experienced if we have spent any significant time in a large organisation.
Simon shared with us the little movie that ran in his head when he heard the term – sheep being forced into a pen, no choice in the matter; feeling anxious and fearful about what they are about to encounter; wanting to escape but realising that resistance is futile; having an unpleasant experience, even if it might have been ‘for their own good’; feeling incredibly relieved to be out the other side; and running away as fast as possible. I thought that’s exactly it – that is why we don’t do ‘sheepdip’ training. Why would you ever want to repeat an experience like that?
Our model is based on a spa. Somewhere you can really immerse yourself in the joy of learning.
We ask people what they want; what they need to learn and how we can design workshops to enable them to learn in a way that works best for them. We then give participants an enjoyable, personalised learning experience that gives them new insights and knowledge that they want to put into action immediately. An experience that they want to build on, repeat and tell their colleagues about. We ask them what they liked so we can do more of it in the future and we find out what we can do to make the experience even better the next time. Then we put what we have learned into practice.
As HG Wells said ‘History is a race between education and catastrophe’. Creating a learning culture which fosters a thirst for continuous, lifelong development is at the heart of organisational growth and success.

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