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Making it simple to engage with managers

The third in a series exploring the impact of Emerging Stronger's tools, Laura Overton embraces evidence-informed tactics to improve wider business impact from strategic L&D.
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Laura Overton - Guest Contributor
2022-09-01

Over the past year, the Emerging Stronger team have developed a series of tools to make it simple for L&D professionals to embrace evidence-informed tactics to improve business impact. In the third of this series of “Making it Simple to Do the Right Thing”, Laura Overton introduces you to the Power Hour tool.

Making it simple to engage with managers

Table graphic: Using the Power Hour tool

The Power Hour: supporting learning as part of everyday teamwork 

When it comes to organisational learning – managers matter. Back in 2003, I asked 2000 learners, "whose opinion matters the most in encouraging you to learn?" Guess what? Managers were at the top of the list and members of L&D or HR were at the bottom.

The same question was asked 18 years later. Guess what? Again, managers were at the top of the list and L&D and HR were at the bottom.

Clearly in the last 20 years, the role that managers play in the learning process has been recognized. People professionals have been busy providing them with coaching skills, templates and dashboards to help them track engagement with L&D initiatives. This on top of their day job. No wonder there is often push back. In 2022, the top barrier to L&D success is reluctance of the line manager to make time to learn!

The Power Hour Tool was designed to approach the challenge from a new angle - the perspective of the line manager.

Rather than introduce another new tool that looks at learning, let’s focus on a tool that releases a team’s Potential, Outcomes, Wisdom, Exploration and Relationships within their current rhythm and routine of work.

The Power Hour does just that – within a simple, meeting-in-a-box format that can be introduced for a season to support a specific initiative or as an ongoing check-in used within the normal flow of work. 

You choose! What’s more it gets teams working together, learning together and capturing progress. 

Here we will guide you through the benefits of using the Power Hour tool – with some handy hints on how to best incorporate this tool into yours and your manager’s toolkit.

Download the Power Hour tool here.

Here the Emerging Stronger team shares the impact of this tool

Benefits of helping managers use the Power Hour Tool

This tool works as a  conversation planner for managers to use in a regular team meeting that will help them to: 

  • Carve out time and create rhythm
  • Build trust and create permission to learn and explore
  • Understand interests and create opportunity to practice
  • Accelerate results and create new pathways of success
  • Support self directed learning – and create new habits for growth

Power Hour framework tool overview

If you are struggling to get managers on board, why not introduce this tool as part of a specific skills initiative that they are already committed to. You’ve identified the business need and curated a pathway to support individuals, now help the managers help their team members put the learning to work- literally.

The tool has 4 parts

Part 1 – Power Hour ground rules

  1. Recommended the ground rules to share for maximum impact
  2. Modelling psychological safety, ensuring the manager and their team know it’s OK to share what they’ve learned (even if it’s been the hard way!)

Part 2 – Preparing for the Power Hour

Managers and their teams have a short template to prepare for the Power Hour meeting.

  1. What are their goals for this Power Hour 
  2. Plus 3 questions that promote active reflection ahead of time

Part 3: Running your Power Hour

  1. Guidance for how to use the time
  2. Focus on collective reflection and prioritizing collective action

Part 4: Keeping Track with the Power Hour template

A simple template to help keep track of the conversations that:

1.     Help managers consolidate and reflect on the team’s progress, and;

2.     Help L&D leaders to tune into the main outcomes of the Power Hour in order to track progress, improve support and adapt solutions.

Download the tool for guidance notes for each part of Power Hour journey. It also outlines a number of variations to adapt the tool to your organisation’s needs. 

Scaling the Power Hour in your organisation

Whilst the Power Hour is great as part of a focused L&D initiative for helping managers embed new skills into their team, it can also be used to drive impact and support a learning culture across the organisation.

Table graphic: Scaling the Power Hour tool

Next steps

The Power Hour is a framework to support managers in inspiring their teams to learn, grow, adapt and perform. When working with managers, isn’t it better to help them do their job smarter than blaming them for not helping you do yours?  

Experiment with the format, make it easy for managers to adopt in their own flow and rhythm of work. But don’t forget to check in, listen to what is happening – the Power Hour outputs will revolutionize your insight and relationship with business.

In this series we have seen that some L&D tools , like this one, though valuable on their own, work best when combined with other complementary tools. Fertilizer alone works just fine to nourish plants, but when coupled with good soil and mulch the results are ten-fold . 

Of course you can use the Power Hour as a stand alone tool to help managers support their teams. But coupled with the other tools in this series, it becomes even easier to do the right thing and see results that increase business impact. 

Download the Power Hour Tool here.

Download the Go1 Step Further toolkit here. Including each of the tools below.

Use the Power Hour Tool with other tools in this series:

Needs Analysis Tool: The Power Hour works best when it’s supporting the priorities of the team - use the Needs Analysis Tool to make sure you are working on common goals with your managers.

Curation Decision Tool: Carefully curated playlists target new knowledge to support team objectives – why not use the Power Hour Tool to uncover what the team has learned and what they need now to apply it? 

Communication Plan Launch Tool: We know that however useful our interventions are, we need a smart communication plan to connect and engage- if it makes sense for individuals, then it makes sense for managers too.

Workplace Communities ToolWorkplace communities provide fertile ground for cultivating individual and team learning – why not use communities to continue the Power Hour conversation and use the tool to provide focus to what’s happening in the community?

You may also be interested in the previous blogs in this series:
Making it simple to conduct a needs analysis conversation, where Shannon Tipton covers delivering valuable content with the Needs Analysis Tool.
Making it simple to curate with impact, which dives into moving beyond learning aggregation with the Curation Decision Tool.
Making it simple to market learning and increase engagement, Laura Overton explores the Communication Plan Launch Tool to assist in elevating the marketing reach and engagement of your learning.

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
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