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  • Writer's pictureDarren Woods

Testimonial: "I didn't fall asleep... that's a first for me"

I recently facilitated a Lean Six Sigma and Operational Excellence training workshop with a team working in the Pharma industry. A team that would be all too familiar with training on a very regular basis. At the end of the workshop I asked for feedback, as I always do, and I laughed at one of the participants reply.

“I didn’t fall asleep during the training and that’s a first for me” he stated proudly, expecting me to be flattered by the statement. I will take any win in life, and I took it as a complement. I considered using it as the testimonial for our Lean Six Sigma yellow belt training but thought better. I did however reflect on why he might not have fallen asleep and what was different about our training.

I was introduced to Lean Six Sigma during my Engineering degree but I can honestly admit that despite writing my final year project on the subject I didn’t find it all that interesting and couldn’t envisage it being my passion almost 20 years on from graduation. I believe it was the way I learned about the topic that failed to land in university.

It wasn’t until I did my Lean Six Sigma green belt training in 2007 with the team in BOSE, in Boston MA, that I got bitten by the Business Improvement bug. The training was hands on, it was statistics heavy, it was intense but overall, it was FUN. I was blessed to have completed my training under the expert facilitation style of Charlie Peck and I hope he won’t mind me saying that I have borrowed many of his facilitation approaches to conduct our workshops in all topics.

It was always my belief that work should be fun and that laughter can be introduced at every opportunity. Other than making life a little more enjoyable I hadn’t really considered that there may be scientific reasons that this approach made training more effective. Turns out it does and there are many benefits to introducing fun and laughter into your workshops including;

  • Enhancing memory and recall: Laughter can stimulate the brain and increase the retention of information. It can also help learners associate positive emotions with the concepts they are learning.

  • Increasing motivation and participation: Learning a new topic can be a little daunting at times. Fun and laughter can make learners more interested and engaged in the training activities. They can also create a sense of challenge and reward, which can boost learners’ confidence and satisfaction. We like to have a healthy mix of traditional learning combined with hands-on activities where learners can apply principles and see the value in real time.

  • Fostering teamwork and collaboration: Psychological safety is so important in building an innovative and improvement culture. One where employees feel safe to take calculated risks and try new approaches. Fun and laughter can create a positive and relaxed atmosphere, where learners can interact and communicate more effectively. They can also build trust and rapport among learners, which can facilitate problem-solving and innovation.

  • Reinforcing key concepts and skills: Fun and laughter can help learners practice and apply what they have learned in a realistic and engaging way. They can also provide feedback and reinforcement, which can help learners correct their mistakes, in a safe environment, and improve their performance.

  • Reducing stress and boredom: Fun and laughter can help learners cope with the pressure and complexity of lean six sigma training. They can also prevent learners from losing interest and attention, which can affect their learning outcomes. It can stop certain learners from falling asleep midway through the session. That does nobody any good.

So, for anyone tasked with teaching a new skill or facilitating workshops in the future, introduce a little fun and laughter. It can’t hurt.

WD Excellence are a professional services team specialising in Organisational Improvement, Lean Six Sigma, Operational Excellence, Executive Coaching and Psychotherapy.

We are proud to say that 97.5% of training participants have never fallen asleep during our training workshops.

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