Dove Nest Group

Leadership Programme Joy

What people say about Leadership Programmes

“I’m too busy, it would be a waste of time!” “A bit of a jolly really” – Leadership Development programmes have sometimes suffered from a bad reputation. There are lots of factors which influence this perception, but a key explanation might be expectations. This week I’m considering both the anecdotal evidence around what people really say about being on a leadership programme .

 “I’m too busy, it would be a waste of my time”

Leadership Programme too busy

The key phrase here is “my time”. Far too often, we might feel we have too little time, or just too too busy to take time out. Learning something new would simply add to our already groaning to-do-list. Perhaps we can’t be blamed too harshly for thinking this way. Lots of people do have increasingly long task lists and the UK has some of the longest working hours in Europe.

Early in my career I overhead a colleague exclaim, “I just don’t have the time to attend the course on working more efficiently”. Its ironic, that those who are busiest or overloaded, may well be the very people who would really benefit from taking time out for learning and reflection. Sometimes slowing down is the key to success, rather than cranking up the pace even faster. The Huffpost covers the idea of going slower to go faster.

Certainly anyone who holds this view of being too busy, or that learning is a waste of time, should not be thrust upon a development programme against their will. Some training is compulsory for very good reason, health and safety training for example. But in terms of professional development, when a programme is compulsory, it can generate huge resistance and therefore doesn’t work.

For successful development, understanding individual perceptions and expectations are key. If people see learning as a waste of time, then common sense suggests the need for an honest conversation about the reasons why.


“Great fun, a bit of a jolly really”

Leadership Programme Jump

Yes, its true, many leadership programmes are, and indeed should be, fun. There’s nothing wrong with that. All good providers of leadership and management development know how important it is for learners to enjoy themselves. Certainly, if social media is to be believed, all people do on leadership programmes is have fun outdoors! However, there’s always a point to the fun. The purpose of an exercise is often to stretch or challenge the individual, as well as being fun.

If someone comes back from a leadership event, claiming that it was fun and nothing more, then the development has clearly missed the mark. Worse still, this mindset can trivialise and devalue the company-wide perception of learning and development. If learning and development is seen as a performance reward, perk or bonus, then it can cause resentment and professional envy.

Great Expectations

Leadership Programmes Expectations

We’ve found that successful leadership solutions start with understanding expectations. We talk with Line managers, the intended participants and the wider organisation, to make sure we deliver a programme that meets and exceeds expectations.

Working with HR or L&D professionals, we research what the organisation expects, both from a programme and from their participants. Starting with the end in mind, we clarify what will be different, what will change as a result of the development.

For learners, we draw out their perceptions, motives and expectations. By doing this, we can demystify the development, making it clear what it can deliver. By having the conversations with them, we can also incorporate their individual goals into the programme, making their development more relevant and personal.

Speaking to line managers about their expectations is the other essential element for success. At the very least, line managers should know what the programme is about, but at best they can also become part of the process. They can take a supportive role, helping to embed learning in the workplace and promote development.

Expectations usually help shape outcomes. It comes as no surprise that we take understanding expectations seriously. So what do people say about us?

So what about Dove Nest programmes?

Leadership programmes feedback

Challenging, Interesting and Enjoyable. These are some of the words participants have used to describe their experiences from a Dove Nest Leadership programme. Like any good provider, we ask for feedback, not to just fish for compliments. We want to understand how they felt about the programme, what they took from it and what we can do to make it even better.

Here’s a few examples of what learners on a recent programme said:

What did they think about the programme?

An excellent couple of days, challenging and rewarding with clear links back to the business and practical applications. – Matthew

I was expecting a lacklustre day of death by PowerPoint…. but the activities and interaction was fantastic and from talking after the event the same thoughts were echoed with my colleagues. An absolutelyrebe brilliant day. – Thomas

Great content, great venue, engaging and stimulating set-pieces with Managerial SME’s. MOST enjoyable and rewarding. I intend this experience to make a significant difference to my managerial proposition! – Alisdair

What did they take from it, what will they do differently back at work?

Take on more challenges, actively seek them out. – Sean

Find out at what motivates individuals in my team to approach them differently to help them develop on what they want to achieve and what motivates them – Deborah

All very positive reports. We are proud of our learners, our clients and the work we do. But, there is always room for improvement.

Talk to us today about what you could expect from leadership development, email us at, or call us on 015395 67878.