Turning traditional leadership training on its head

The Action Lab® leadership methodology launches in Australia 

Action Lab® is disrupting models of leadership training worldwide. And it’s here in Australia at last. Introduced by Geert Egger, the founder of Action Lab®, LTA launched this new method in Melbourne last week in an exclusive seminar for Australian business leaders. So what is Action Lab®? And how does it address the real, thorny issues of solving business problems?

Business leaders are becoming weary of the teams of consultants, suppliers, and innumerable methodologies based around leadership development. With no tangible ROI to show for it, leadership teams are asking: Why aren’t any of these ‘proven’? Why can’t we see where the money went?

At LTA, we also want our clients to get solid business returns for their hard work. We know Action Lab® has worked globally for over 13 years to solve the wicked business problems of large organisations, while building leadership capability at the same time. This is why LTA is excited to announce the launch of Action Lab® on our shores.

So what is Action Lab®? Why is it turning current leadership training around completely?

What is Action Lab®?

With change happening faster than most businesses can keep up with, ‘learning how to learn by doing,’ rather than teaching facts which quickly become obsolete, is a central approach of Action Lab®.

Using three types of delivery: Intensive (1 week), Condensed (6 weeks) and Classic (4-5 months) Action Lab® unites the best and brightest minds to work on your biggest business challenges. 

During Action Lab®, teams of key employees solve a real-life, high priority, unresolved issue of strategic importance to their organisation. At the same time they are engaged in a process of intensive and focused development.

How is Action Lab® different?

  • Learning is centred on the need to find an innovative solution to a real life problem or opportunity
  • Individual and team development is as important as finding a solution to the problem
  • Participants strongly take responsibility for their own learning
  • Action learning is a highly visible and empowering process. Over time, this builds learning and innovation into your organisation’s DNA.

Initial questions and impressions 

In only a few hours, Geert Egger introduced three real life Action Lab® case studies from around the world. Attendees on Wednesday 18th November asked excellent questions, some of which are outlined here: 

What are some of the business outcomes you have seen from Action Lab®?

One team developed a new 2nd-generation biofuel strategy for their organisation, which has made the business a world leader in their field. Another team surfaced severe business ethics problems – which were instantly mitigated with Action Lab®, and another team developed a significant business opportunity for a global IT company. Geert also reported that one team came back to executive management at the end of the Action Lab® week saying: ”We have found the problem, and the problem is you …” While this was initially very confronting, the executive were able to hear and work through the feedback leading to significant cultural change.

Have there been any obstacles/de-railers to Action Lab®? If so, how did you manage?

Geert observed that most obstacles come from within the team itself; that with no deep trust, then problems would ensue. Interestingly, he noted the difficulties experienced by the traditional ‘alpha male’ leader, and how the Action Lab® format encouraged over-or under-involved participants to engage. At the end of every day, ‘team optimisation’ sessions reflected on how the team operated that day, and how they planned to deliver the following day. 

Has Action Lab® observed any difference in outcomes between the 3 different methods?

In the Classic model, most teams have the opportunity to dig deep and (nearly) become specialists, whereas the Intensive model generally sees teams develop a well-qualified ‘shoot from the hip’. Geert provided a ‘rule of thumb’: in 4 teams, 1 will come up with something brilliant, new and challenging, 2 will come up with some nuggets of gold with other parts of their solution not being accepted by management, and 1 will come up with a solution management don’t like, for whatever reason. Every Action Lab® is unique and when the teams set out at the beginning of the week even the facilitators don’t know what kind of journey teams will take over their Action Lab® adventure!

A proven, engaging, and relevant leadership program

After the launch last week, initial impressions are excellent, and we’re so thrilled to have the chance to introduce Action Lab® to Australian businesses. At LTA we feel it’s a real catalyst for leadership development change:

Tried and proven: Key client Novo Nordisk has used Action Lab® for 12 consecutive years, and just booked their 13th year. In all our years at LTA as leadership development specialists we have NEVER heard of any initiative that has been used for this length of time.  

Participants love it: Action Lab® is a genuinely fresh approach. It stands out in people’s minds as unique, intensely challenging and rewarding, while building deep and strong connections across functions, people, and geographies. Participants genuinely drive their own learning, not because someone told them to ‘take accountability for their own development’, but because they wanted and needed to. 

It’s relevant: As an intensive, tailor-made program, Action Lab® is highly relevant in most business contexts. It brings about strong internal ownership, which increases the likelihood that suggestions are carried out throughout the organisation.

LTA People