Training from the back of the room – The Connections Mindmap

The first time I introduced my A3 & Kaizen presentation to the international community, I only had 30 minutes available. I was in Berlin, at the Agile-Lean Europe 2011 – easily the best community-driven conference I have attended to date. To my surprise, at the end of my session, a senior manager in a large organization came straight towards me with his business card, shook my hand and said: “when can we start?” (i.e. “when can you come over and help us out?”).
A similar episode happened at a conference that followed. Hey, what are the chances?

These episodes confirmed what I knew all along:
Forget the artwork, the story, the anecdotes, the techniques, the performance. Even forget the feedback, the invitations to other conferences, the interviews, the awards. They are either means to an end or basic (if not vanity) indicators.

The reward for crafting an outstanding presentation is your enhanced ability to inspire change.

But no matter how hard you try, even an outstanding presentation can only accomplish so much. It can create awareness and strong desire, not skills.
What I truly discovered however, is that people you touch will not only begin their journey but they’ll often ask you to join them.

So, consultancy work aside, I faced a new problem as I began asking myself a crucial question:

How would I craft a truly outstanding workshop?

Given the level of sophistication that I’m reaching with my latest speaking performances, you’d be forgiven if you assumed that I’d know exactly how to craft a stellar training experience.
Contrary to common practice, however, a day-long string of lectures (with the occasional exercise) does not lead to anything resembling an outstanding workshop. Not even close.

That’s too bad. How am I going to deliver my next Pragmatic A3 Thinking Workshop this Autumn? Why should anyone deserve anything less than an out of this world experience?

So I started again from scratch. Almost.

My journey began with a book some of you may have been exposed to: Sharon Bowman’s excellent “Training from The Back of the Room!“.
If you deliver any form of training and you haven’t read it (or actively used it), please respect your future learners  (and your craft) and give it a solid try!
Sharon illustrates a very effective instructional design model (4Cs) for very participative workshops:

  • Connections
  • Concepts
  • Concrete Practice
  • Conclusions

I won’t go into the details (you haven’t ordered the book yet? I’m waiting.)
To orient myself with all the ideas, I created a series of mindmaps for my own use and I thought I may just as well share them with you. They are unlikely to make any sense without the book, so you are warned.

Today, I’ll begin by publishing the Connections mindmap (PDF).

It’s to be printed on an A3 paper or larger. I quickly created the small drawings with my finger on my ipad as memory aids, so don’t expect a sophisticated work of art.

Claudio Perrone

My passion is to develop the critical thinking skills of people and help them bring the best of their work to the world. Lean & Agile management consultant, startup strategist, award-winning speaker and entrepreneur. Creative force behind A3 Thinker and PopcornFlow.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Alessandra

    Claudio, it looks like a good book! Thanks for sharing.
    Looking forward to more posts on the subject.

  2. jason

    Your mindmaps are always work of art. Shouldn’t put down your great drawing skills either :). Do you use one of those special Ipad pens? I find can do decent mindmaps on smartphone, but a pen would be essential for details like drawings.

  3. Claudio Perrone

    Hi Jason,
    I used my finger only for most of that mindmap. I bought a cheap pogo pen (I know I would loose it soon or later), but I broke its tip after less than 2 weeks (evidently I’m heavy handed). Right now I have an alu pen. It’s alright, although if you really need precision, nothing beats a good ‘old cintiq 😀

  4. Sam

    We transformed all our training in 4C’s and what a difference it has made! We started with 1 4C for day one and another for day 2. Now we have a 4C plan for each topic covered (more or less 45 minutes each) – what an amazing difference! We actually feel energised after a 2 day training session 🙂

  5. Claudio Perrone

    Awesome Sam! I’m really glad to hear it. It is certainly an effective and fun approach!
    It reminds me that I need to continue the series with the other mindmaps… so much happened since…stay tuned!

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