Case Study #6: Experiential Learning vs. Static Roleplaying

A large construction company wanted to help emerging leaders gain the tools and confidence to handle critical conversations in the workplace. Project teams within this company are often isolated for long periods of time, so it is imperative that leaders are capable and competent to handle critical situations with minimal supervision. It was incredibly important that each emerging leader be an active participant in the scenarios and following discussions so they would viscerally and experientially learn how best to respond to a specific management situation. 

They had tried the same scenarios in another city without actors and the results were less than impressive.  It was possible that the exercise backfired due to the discomfort of the participants being asked to realistically respond to a scenario that felt extremely fake. 

We cast 16 diverse, engaging, fantastic actors to play the roles of employees at the construction company. We rehearsed, talked character development and did scene work based on the realistic scenarios provided by the company. We spent the most time on the specifics of each scenario, the people involved, company culture and structure and creating multiple realistic responses from each actor.

It was crucial each actor understand the company's specific framework, their unique scenario and the mindset of the people they were playing. And then to create realistic, believable characters to ground the scenarios in reality.

The actors were placed into separate meeting rooms where groups of 5 emerging leaders and their coach would spend an hour in each intense scenario. Every participant ran through every scenario. Coaches would lead discussion before the next ‘take' or change of participant. The actors would change up their responses and change characters between takes and between participants. As a result, the emerging leaders were kept on their toes as they thought through each scenarios. 

It made for an intense 2 days.  

Participants (actors included) debriefed at the end of each day. Best practices were identified. Emotional responses queried and explained. Goals of the program restated and agreed upon. 

Everyone loved it, and the results were astounding.  

Heated conversations, debates, even arguments broke out in the rooms as groups identified best methods for moving the conversations forward.  The participants were actively involved in their learning process every step of the way. There was a seriousness to the rooms but also a rambunctiousness as learning is always a energizing force and is best served by movement and impulse as much as by discipline and focus. 

Good communication is the backbone of any healthy workplace. Critical conversations are an essential part of any good communication.

Why waste time pretending to teach what is far better served by actually teaching? Spend the money where it is useful not where it is common. Hire us to turbo charge your learning process! Have your team learn what is needed through visceral and experiential learning so it is locked into their body and brain. Maximize your ROI by maximizing attendee engagement. The results will astonish you.