Why the Workshop Didn’t Work

I often get calls from potential clients requesting a workshop: either on No-Drama Leadership for executives, or a Stop Workplace Drama workshop for the managers. When I tell them that a workshop is like a bath, not a permanent solution, they want to know why.

The reason a workshop alone won’t create culture change is because the new behaviors and mindsets take a lot of practice to take root. There’s a favorite old book I refer to once in a while entitled, The Master Key System. Author Charles Hannel says, “Ease and perfection depend upon the degree to which we can depend upon the consciousness.”

What does that mean?

1. The conscious mind must direct the subconscious mind for a new habit to form.

2. A new habit is developed by practice.

3. When the new habit becomes rooted in the subconscious, change happens effortlessly.

When your people attend a workshop, they think it’s going to be easy. Or they roll their eyes and say, “I already know that.” Knowing something and living it are two different beasts. I look to see if they are a living example of what they say they know. If not, then I know that their talk does not equal their walk. Aligning talk and walk is not about struggle. It is about a conscious effort to make the behavioral and mindset changes that align with your stated values.

Most do not understand “HOW” it all works.  The key is in how the conscious and subconscious work as a team. The conscious mind makes a decision to focus, practice, and learn. Once the learning becomes a habit, the subconscious takes over, making the new habit and mindset a part of who you are. Instead of having to “work at it” you now exhibit the new habit, mindset, language or behavior with ease and perfection. It is in understanding this process that helps a mediocre leader become a great leader, however it starts with desire and commitment.

This is what Charles Hannel means when he says “Ease and perfection depend upon the degree to which we can depend upon the unconscious mind.” If you always have to work at it, you won’t stay with it. The price you pay for ease and perfection is practice, practice, practice until your new habit has taken root in the subconscious mind.

When a workshop works is when participants take the lessons to heart, and they do the work needed to make change. When a workshop doesn’t produce results it is because the new habit was not practiced until it became rooted in the unconsciousness.

Personal transformation can lead to cultural transformation. But, it’s usually not going to happen with just a workshop. You will need to make a conscious decision supported by practice, accountability and usually some coaching to help you make the changes you seek.

Marlene-Blk4Marlene Chism is an executive educator, consultant, and author of Stop Workplace Drama, (Wiley 2011) and No-Drama Leadership (Bibliomotion 2015). She works with executives, and high-performing leaders who want to transform culture in the workplace. To explore opportunities please email marlene@marlenechism.com