"What have you done to us?"

"What have you done to us?"

Kristina Vallin

What have you done to us?

Kristina Vallin

“What have you done to us?!”

The participant smiles while saying this during the final check-out round after three intense leadership learning session days at #högbobruk in Sandviken. The others start giggling, nodding their heads.

The content of this program has been worked out in deep collaboration with Alleima during 6 months. This resulted in clear and well anchored learning goals connected to the Alleima strategy and long term goals, a substantial digital training and well designed physical learning sessions. 100 leaders will have passed the program this year. It is clearly an understatement that project leadership skills have been key in rolling this out!


So what did he mean ”done to us”? It gives the connotation of being subject to influence rather than co-creator of learning. And yes, we really did design the entire program to enhance self-leadership and autonomy. Well – it was so simple it could really have gone lost in translation.


Me and my brilliant co-facilitator Peter Röjhammar usually meet a lot of managers that stay mainly in their heads, not using their emotional skills to a larger extent. And for this group it would have been understandable if they did – language barriers, new people, new country, new food etc, you got to keep your guard up a bit. But we really wanted them to experience how using your emotional skills can help opening up and start collaborating on a deeper level, co-creating psychological safety, enhancing learning and so on. So we encouraged our participants to take a silent break for 30 minutes. No talking, no interaction with other people, phones, computers, music, books, anything but walking in the beautiful nature surrounding Högbo Bruk.

And yes! This, at first sight, small change added so much more value than we could have ever expected. For many of our participants silence and reflection is a scarce resource. For some silence only occurs when using noice cancelling headphones, or maybe at night when parts of the city sleeps. And reflection then – very occasionally and almost never as a planned activity.

So – what did we learn? Of course the obvious – that learning design needs to follow the needs, attitudes and behaviours of the participants, and that reflection can come in different shapes; talking, writing or just being with yourself for a little while, observing your feelings, observing the surrounding. The most important though may be that we as facilitators underestimated the power of time spent on reflection. We thought they would be tired of reflecting after these three days, however it seems like the opposite where reflection together in teams, with your learning buddy or for yourself have given new energy and tons of new insights about how to deal with all different dilemmas in the daily business.

And for me and Peter – we are just even more humble and grateful for experiencing people connecting with themselves and with others for a more positive and sustainable future. Thank you Alleima leaders for this – you know who you are 💫🙏

Kristina Vallin

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