“This is the best course I’ve ever been on”

Oct 19, 2018

I wrote my own vignette for the book “Leadership Matters” while teaching our pilot resilience course, which ran from May to July 2017, and seemed to be extremely successful.

An obvious question to ask is how were our participants faring a year later?  We were able to make contact with four of our six participants, and with these four we conducted one more health check, with interesting results. 

The chart above shows the graphical summary of results of the original heath checks at the start (blue) and end (red) of the course for just these four participants.  Visually we can see that each subcategory score has gone up roughly from one horizontal bar to the next, ie by 3/30 representing an average increase of 1/10 for each question in the health check.

Ten months on from the end of the course, with the memory beginning to fade, we might have expected these scores to tail off a little, but hopefully not down to their original levels.  So what did happen?  The next chart shows the progression across all three scores, with the third set shown in green. 

Three scores did indeed drop slightly (engagement, determination, faith and values), but none by as much as 1/30, and none of the participants attached any real significance to this.

The remaining twelve scores continued to rise, half of them rising by more than 1.5/30, and participants did attach significance to some of these increases.  By and large, there was a “settling up” rather than a “settling down”.

All four felt that they had lived with a heightened sense of awareness around resilience since doing the course.  For John, this continued to be about how to build resilience in the school context, and his determination remained despite hindrances from some staff shortages.  His own resilience scores remained fairly flat across all three health checks.

For the other three, this was expressed in an increase in their own self-awareness, with an average final rating of 9 out of 10 over the three self-awareness questions.

For Tim, this had a knock-on effect in the area of intimacy, as he consciously applied the material we had discussed around relationships and emotional intelligence to his relationship with his partner following the birth of their first child.

Daina commented on how her boundaries were now “rock solid” something we had explored particularly on Day 2 of the course.  Her husband had finally left her two months previously, but whereas previously she would have fallen apart, she now felt strong enough to ride the storm, and not to take responsibility for her husband’s decisions.  

In response to the observation that his overall resilience self-rating had remained at 9 out of 10 from the start to the end of the course, with not much room for further growth, Mark commented that it was now “a more certain, more self-aware, less clandestine nine, as my story is no longer a secret”.  Mark had also encountered a situation in which greater moral courage was needed, and he felt that the course experience had contributed to his resolve.

Mark himself has a team which runs leadership development courses all around the world, but he summarised his feeling around the dinner table at our one year reunion:

“This is the best course I’ve ever been on”.