Inroads Consulting Group, LLC

Action Learning Leadership Development Program

Action Learning Leadership Development Program - ImageThe Inroads Action Learning Program is an approach to working with people in small groups to solve relevant organizational problems.  Action Learning implies both self-development and organizational development.  Individuals learn through a cycle of taking action on meaningful organizational problems, reflecting on their behavior as a team member, and applying new effective strategies for decision making.  Organizational learning occurs in parallel with individual learning as participants take action to solve “real” problems that have immediate application in the workplace.  In short, action on the problem changes both the problem and the person acting on it.

Position your organization for optimal growth and change with the Inroads Action Learning Program.  This highly participatory learning experience based on a powerful Action Learning process — will accelerate the development of high potential as well as seasoned leaders, enhancing the competencies essential to driving performance and results in today’s competitive and dynamic environment.

Inroads Action Learning participants learn to:

  • developthe leadership competencies vital to reaching higher levels of performance and meet future challenges.
  • synthesize learning in a way that accelerates individual and organizational leadership development.
  • solve complex, multi-layered organizational problems while learning.

The Inroads Action Learning Program is designed specifically for organizations who want to further develop proven leaders to take the next step toward building a pool of individuals who are ready for future leadership roles.

Inroads Consulting Group, LLC works with Partners for Learning & Leadership to provide your organization with a proven track record of implementing Action Learning in organizations, as well as experienced coaching professionals to get the most from your investment.

How Action Learning Works

Your organization will receive the maximum investment from the Inroads Action Learning Program because participants work on critical organizational problems while immersed in leadership competency development.  Using a high-leverage, collaborative action learning process, the Inroads action learning coach helps participants throughout the Action Learning Process — providing feedback and facilitating learning.  Participants experience real-time learning through a continuous process of questioning, reflecting, discussing, learning, and taking action on problems.

The Action Learning Cycle

Action Learning Cycle - Questioning -> Reflecting -> Discussing -> Learning -> Action ->


Achieve real results by framing and solving many types of organizational problems or issues in real time

Action Learning involves working with business owners, colleagues, and peers in focused teams to achieve successful learning outcomes, as well as recommendations for organizational problems and issues that have not been solved by the usual methods. Participants work on problems identified by top management and make recommendations that typically result in improved organizational effectiveness. 

Examples of Action Learning problems/challenges:

  • Does a plant closure fit the firm’s current business strategy? (healthcare)
    • Developed recommendations for a new risk-based decision model for analyzing plant closures
  • How can we reduce costs of overhead engineering and construction by 10-20%? (utility)
    • Saved 508K/year & Team Corporate Excellence Award
  • What effect would an automated and customized marketing message delivered by the field sales force to our customers have on our business? (pharmaceuticals)
    • Sales force productivity increased 5% (more visits to customers per day)
    • Sales increase of $25 million for a $2 million investment

Leaders Practice Critical Leadership Competencies

In Action Learning the learning and action occur in the context of solving significant organizational problems.  Learning from action and the ability to transfer that learning to the workplace is a primary objective of the Inroads Action Learning Program.  Within that framework the following objectives are part of every Action Learning program.


  • develop leadership skills that enable them to work above their current levels.
  • make sound strategic decisions that achieve results for their organization.
  • challenge assumptions and expand perceptions to move more easily from debate to decision making and implementation.
  • gain fresh perspectives and new ways of approaching organizational issues.
  • develop strong team, interpersonal, and “consulting” skills to improve ability to influence others.
  • blend systems thinking with creative thinking to find new solutions to organizational problems.
  • learn more effectively from and through experience.

Program Design

The Inroads Action Learning Program is a 10 -day program that runs over a period of six months. Below is a brief description of the activities that make up the program.


Prior to the program, selection of the participants, executive sponsors, and organizational problem(s) occurs.  Participants receive a Pre-Program 360 assessment to help in identifying personal learning goals.  The Inroads coach provides help to the participants in selecting a learning goal, as well as working with internal Human Resource personnel with the logistics and steps involved in starting the program.

Program Kickoff

The three-day program kickoff session introduces and prepares the participant for the leadership development experience.   It also provides an opportunity for the CEO & Executive Team in your organization to discuss the importance of the projects and the participants’ development to the success of the organization. The following areas are covered in the kickoff session:

  • Overview of the basic principles and practices of Action Learning
  • Introduction of and work on the organizational project/problem selected
  • Work on personal learning goals and contracting with team members for support
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator – understanding how different styles contribute to task and team effectiveness
  • Tools for collecting and recording observations, learning, and change

Team Meetings

Action Learning team meetings are scheduled during the program. During the meetings, each team member is given an opportunity to discuss his or her personal learning goal and to establish how the team can support their efforts.  The team collectively works on the project with other team members using a process of reflective questioning and listening.  Discussions and reflections on the learning experiences of the action learning team will be linked to key leadership competencies and individual leadership development goals.

Taking Action – Between Meetings

Team meetings prepare participants for taking action between meetings. Throughout this process, participants reflect on their actions, results, and their overall development as a leader.

Program Review

The final two days of the Inroads Action Learning Program include a review and reflection of the two dimensions of action learning—solving organizational problems and developing team and individual leadership competencies.  The program ends with a presentation of project recommendations to the organizations executives for approval and possible implementation and a well deserved celebration.


Action Learning teams are typically involved after the program with the implementation and transfer of their recommendations to the appropriate area of the organization.  Click here for a sample Action Learning Program agenda (Adobe Reader required for viewing)

For more information on costs and how to get started contact Bob Ward at Inroads Consulting 732-597-5931 or email

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