Experience Explorer™ equips a facilitator with a simple, energizing tool to help managers explore their most memorable workplace experiences and what they learned about leadership from those experiences. This tool is based on proven research and offers the opportunity to accelerate leadership development – enhancing leaders’ ability to learn from experience at all levels. Experience Explorer™ is much more than a personal inventory of experiences and lessons. It emphasizes the specific types of experiences and dimensions of lessons identified by CCL research as common to leading in organizations. A coach or consultant facilitating Experience Explorer with multiple leaders or a classroom instructor facilitating an educational session will need to provide each leader or student with a personal card deck.
Learning from Experience: Making Leadership Development Intentional
By: Meena S. Wilson, Ph.D. & Anand Chandrasekar
In this 60-minute thought-provoking, interactive and experiential session, we will use a popular and internationally-acclaimed tool – the Experience Explorer™ (EE) card deck — to demonstrate how experiences can be used – by you and your teams – to become more effective and successful as leaders.
The two-day workshop was built around the CCL F-H-T Framework. Every module mapped to a part of their life journey:
a) Where I have come from (FROM)
b) Where I find myself now (HERE)
c) Where my team and I are going (THERE)
d) How I got here (FROM to HERE)
e) How my team and I will get there (HERE to THERE).
Participants mapped their learning on the walls in real time, resulting in 400 unique ‘selfies’ of these young peoples’ leadership journeys. The YALI program has offered rigorous, large-scale testing of the From-Here-To There framework and never fails to generate perspective and insight for users.
Here is a report from the field about using Experience Explorer in a program for youth leaders.
I’d like to share my first ever experience in using the Experience Explorer cards last Friday in a ‘live’ class. On the whole, it went well and was well-received by the participants.
Program: 3-day leadership program
Participants: Young or emerging leaders, mainly team leaders and newly promoted leaders who were individual contributors before. Total of 18 participants, mainly from Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia
I used the EE cards on the last day of the program with the intention of providing the participants to reflect on their earlier experiences and apply these with the key learning that was gained from the 3-day program.
Some comments by the participants:
“I saw my life and career pass before my eyes.”
“The cards allowed me to reflect on my past experiences and I realized that I had many good ones.”
“I realized that there are some other experiences I have yet to encounter.”
I drew a framework for the experiences on a flip chart paper and invited the participants to place a sticky dot on their experience segment. This provided a good summary of the distribution of experiences of the class. See attachment.
Most of the participants were able to have a conversation lasting about 10 to 15 minutes each in the paired sharing of experience session.
My ending was to suggest to the participants to look at their memorable experience and replicate it, and to also look at the experiences they have yet to have and make plans to experience one or two of these new ones.
These cards are great. It is like a mini career planner for understanding which experiences I’ve had–and which ones I haven’t.”
Anand Chandrasekar from the Center for Creative Leadership delivered an interactive workshop to 90 managers across four countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and India. This presentation was to CGG Veritas, a geophysical services company, with the theme of Learning from Workplace Experiences as the Portal to Successful Leadership.
Each manager received an Experience Explorer™ card deck for inventorying past experiences and leadership lessons learned. The cards supported in-the-moment data collection and feedback to participants about the distribution of experiences and lessons in their organization.
Several levels of managers gained insights about how to build a personal portfolio of diverse experiences, and learn important lessons for becoming effective senior leaders. The session was well-received with participants commenting: “I thought I was the only person who had taken up an expanded role without promotion. Now I see that almost everyone in the room had.” … “These cards are great. It is like a mini career planner for understanding which experiences I’ve had–and which ones I haven’t.”
Contact Meena Wilson Ph.D. about Learning from Experience resources at the Center for Creative Leadership, email@example.com.
Here is a taste of Experience Explorer in action. Feel the excitement and warmth as participants explore the leadership lessons learned from one very memorable experience which they identify and share with each other. …
David Magellan Horth conducted the first Experience Explorer™ session outside of India during the ASTD 2011 Conference. The crowd loved it! Thanks to all our fine CCL colleagues who made this happen! (Experience Explorer was formerly named LiFE Explorer.)