Bon Newsletter Issue 6: It's About Time
This month, we explore the importance of time when designing great learning programs.
Hi there! ✋ Welcome to Bon's monthly newsletter capturing the transformative impact of programs around the world. This month, we are thinking about time. Be it a few minutes, several hours, many months or even years, how might we shape programs to make the most of the time that we have?
- Chris Batchelder
100 Seconds on Programs
Programs take time. Whether you are designing a single-day workshop or a multi-year initiative, how can you adapt the rhythms of learning to the time that you are given?
For many of us, the start of the school year marks an uptick in focus and productivity. This year, as back-to-school season kicks off with an avalanche of activities, we are thinking about the natural rhythms of the calendar and how we might leverage moments in time to optimize learning opportunities.
The power of routine. The predictability of a routine, whether it is an elaborate coffee ritual or simply waking up at the same time each day, can reduce stress and allow the brain to focus on new tasks. But managing routines is a balancing act: while establishing routines primes the brain for learning, breaking from a routine can reengage focus, improve memory and increase creativity. Maintaining the balance between predictability and novelty is the essence of designing an effective learning program.
The contours of learning. Every learning program follows a distinctive topography, defined by contours of time. The first contour establishes the boundaries of the program: the start, the high point and the follow-up. Once the overall shape of the program is defined, smaller contours are drawn. These define the landscape in increasingly sharper detail, describing each stage of the program and eventually becoming individual lesson plans within a workshop agenda.
Each contour bends and turns, navigating a balance between predictability and novelty in service of the overarching learning objective. A program is not a straight line through time. Like the cycle of the seasons or the school year, a program flows from periods of high-intensity work into periods of reflection and from the expected into the unexpected and back again, following a landscape designed to support deep learning.
Investing in time. As program professionals, we need to be very intentional with time, not only in the facilitation of a program but also in the time required to build an effective program that meets the learning objectives. Clients who understand the upfront commitment of time required to design an impactful program will see long-term benefits.
We'd love to hear from you! How do you think about time when designing programs? Is it a main character or just a part of the ensemble? Drop us a line and let us know what you think!
What We're Up To
More global gatherings coming soon! After a busy summer working hard on amazing projects for amazing clients, we are planning our new fall program of events with interstory, a global network connecting people building programs for a better world.
Stay tuned for this season's lineup of networking events, case studies and expert workshops led by inspiring program professionals, coming soon!
What's Inspiring Us...
- Managing your mindset: Whether it's toeing the starting line for a race or delivering a pitch to a potential client, we all feel pressure to perform at our best. In our latest blog, we explore the psychology of the "choke" and share the go-to tools for Olympic athletes and top professionals that you can use to manage your mindset and perform at your best, even under high-pressure situations. Read more here!
- Go deeper on stage fright: Our deep dive into managing your mindset was inspired by a recent episode of the Hidden Brain podcast, where host Shankar Vedantem interviewed Dr. Sian Beilock, psychologist and author of the book "Choke," to better understand the neuroscience of stage fright and the stress of performing in front of others. Give it a listen!
News from interstory
interstory is a global professional network created and supported by Bon Education that connects people building programs for a better world.
We are making the world a better place through programs! We are a global network of program directors, L&D managers, community organizers, civil servants, marketing and CSR professionals who support each other in creating, leading and managing high-impact programs.
Each month, we host gatherings, workshops and networking events to learn from each other and gather insights for designing and leading programs for a better world. To become a member of our community, sign up at interstory.com. Membership is free!
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien