I have just returned from delivering action learning facilitator training in an unusual city, Monterrey in northern Mexico. There was a lot about the event that was unexpected. The city lies right beside some mountains and being flat desert area itself, attracts the most changeable weather. The first two days were 29 degrees while the second two were one degree, with people struggling to get to work as a result of the snow on their cars. Immediately afterwards the temperature soared again…..a real packing challenge.
It is a large city, population five million – almost the size of London, with lots of high rise buildings right alongside very simple housing. As Mexico’s largest commercial centre, it has very dense traffic.
The learning event had some surprises also. A group with their line manager and their manager’s manager – it was not immediately the preferred approach of working with peers. However, these talented people working in Development and Training, grasped the fundamentals of action learning and used the opportunity to present on new challenges they face in their roles.
A newly formed team, they worked hard to truly listen to each other and disentangle themselves from questions they may have had out of their own interest in the presentations.
As a result of listening deeply to each other and practising questions to help the presenter move on, they got to know each other much better, to understand each other’s values and motivations at work. As well as being able to run action learning sets, they finished the training with strong action plans for developing all of their new professional areas – so, of real practical team building benefit, although that was not the initial aim.