This is the third perspective of how a High Performance Learning Journey looks like. While the first articles took a closer look at training effectiveness from business relevance, manager and the process itself, this reflects the trainee perspective. Maybe it is the most relevant one for the reader and it reflects the level where it is the easiest to measure training effectiveness.
“It was the second year of the insurrection against the sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood was walking around the camp. In the cooling air of the evening, it was a pleasant smell of barbecue and happy voices of men could be heard around. Still, Robin was deeply concerned. He couldn’t recognize not even half of the men he met during that day and the music and the dance that his men were about to start made the camp look more like a country party at the end of the harvesting season, than a military camp. How did he get to that point?”
In the previous article (The dinosaurs of our time) I promised that I will provide an example of how we create an engaging atmosphere in our virtual workshop, using HPLJ approach and case studies. The beginning of this article is part of the Robin Hood case study, a very successful business case study, worldwide know, published in 1991 by University of New York. Even today, 30 years later, it works brilliantly, due to the simple and relevant structure. Shall we begin?
I’m sure you are familiar with Robin Hood, the vigilant from the Sherwood forest. If you read the classical story or saw one of the last 30 years released movies about him, the story mainly remains the same. Robin Hood’s revolt against the Sheriff began as a personal crusade. In the first year of the revolt, he built a large body of men with grievances, made a disciplined fighting force housed in the Sherwood forest. His mission transformed in reality with every action “rob the rich and give it to the poor” made his fame to grow faster than he could anticipate. Because he couldn’t adapt his organization with the ever-increasing number of people, discipline slackened, and food was scarce. Revenues were running short as the rich people were avoiding the forest. As you remember, Robin Hood wasn’t alone: he had a few worthy people by his side: Little John – in charge of discipline and archery training, Will Scarlet: shadowing the Sheriff and his men and also collecting information on the travel plans of rich merchants. Another help for Robin Hood came from Scarlock, who took care of the finances, converting loot into cash and Much, the son of Miller, provisioning the ever-increasing band of Merry men.
Do these information sound familiar? Yes, they do – this is one of the major advantages of this case study: the story’s awareness makes it easy for everybody to participate. How do we use it as a part of an HPLJ experience? We part the learning journey into 3 stages. First, the theory. Second, the problem and the key outcomes, relevant for participants. Third, the way to apply it in real life.
First step: we let people learn theory by themselves – so one week before the workshop we give participants access to a 5-minute video description of this case study. At the same time, we challenge them to answer the following questions:
- If Robin Hood was a businessman, what was his business?
- What kind of organization is it (profit, nonprofit) and who is his competition?
- What is the structure of his organization – the key position and departments?
- How would it look like, a day in the life of a food soldier in Robin Hood’s troop?
- In what stage of the life cycle of an organization is Robin Hood right now: launch, growth, maturity or decline?
As you can see, all these questions are timeless, and they are more prone to a business consultancy approach. Can you think about the answers? Do you see Robin Hood running a nonprofit, service providing business? Robin Hood was indeed robbing travelers but try to picture it this way: he simply took a charge of 100% of travelers’ fortune for safe passage of the forest. How is that possible? Because RH was in a context of monopole. His vision “rob the rich and gave it to the poor” made his organization a nonprofit one, while his competition was the Sherriff and his men.
How was his organization structured? RH was the CEO. Little John was the HR manager. Will Scarlet fulfilled two roles: CIO and Head of Marketing, Scarlok – CFO, while Much was the Supply and Logistic Manager.
I bet you never thought of Robin Hood this way – and the similarities with a modern business don’t stop at this point. Try at this moment to picture yourself as a student, as a trainee. Are you challenged enough to be willing to participate in a live, yet virtual workshop? This is the next step – and for two hours using few economic instruments such as Porter analysis, SWOT or PESTEL, soon it will become clear for everybody that Robin Hood’s organization is about to collapse. Here is the best part: the workshop is now relevant for you as a participant because we are asking you for solutions. It’s not anymore, a puzzle, but a problem you have to solve. You will be part of a team and you will compete against other teams in developing the best solution for RH. The most common solutions address people’s engagement, recruitment process, changing the mission of the company or transforming the band of thieves into an army and saving King Richard. The conclusion: now we have at least 4 different strategies to reignite RH’s organizations and every one of these new strategies have pros and cons.
The workshop is the second stage of the process – applying the theory and solving problems. Can you imagine the level of engagement in such a workshop? Do you feel people’s excitement being involved in the process of designing such solutions? I bet you do, but there is a problem: what about the objective of this workshop? How is it relevant for people working in a bank, in FMCG or pharma? We use this study as a corner stone in programs for management. For managers the Robin Hood case study gives them a new perspective of their role and how to work with people. Accepting that change will bring conflict, demotivating people and resistance to change – and simply telling people what to do in a new context is not enough. You as a manager have a different role. People expect you to set a direction, with a livable vision, to support them overcoming obstacles, to listen to them and to provide feedback or to challenge them. Even if you’re still the best fighter, your archery skills are not an asset anymore. As a manager it is hard to accept this new perspective, because it takes time and a lot of effort and uncertainty, right? And here comes the relevance of a High Performance Learning Journey, because this transformation is a process, not a single 2 days interaction.
I think you have enough information about Robin Hood – as a businessman of the 21st century, right? And you too have an idea how we use it, at least in a program for managers. Is this the only case study? No, but if you want to know more about our programs, I don’t know which one I should detail next: could it be the customer experience where we use the Tesco case study – with William, the worm, or “Why do planes crush? – revealing the impact of effective communication, or team effectiveness studying a basketball team. Or simply, if you feel that you’re curious enough, just reply to this message and ask for a demo, right?
What is the next article? I think we will introduce videos next time so… Stay tuned for the next article in the HPLJ series.
(checkout his Linkedin Profile)