Microexperiences

Microexperiences are an approach for transforming leaders and organizational culture that I created during a 17-year period of extensive research and experimentation. According to our data, they are:

Microexperiences have been used to develop over 50,000 leaders, including executives as senior as Fortune 50 CEOs.


No Classrooms

Microexperience programs do not take place in classrooms. They leverage the normal workplace environment and real work in bite-sized chunks that combine learning and working (examples below). Most other development programs require leaders to stop working in order to learn, a tactic that consistently fails to improve on-the-job performance.


"I like the format; how it’s chunked into bite size pieces – easy to process and digest. It’s like having a personal trainer, I don’t want it to stop!"

Terri, Vice President


Examples of Microexperiences

Here's an example of a single, "bite-sized" microexperience. This one is designed to strengthen emotional intelligence and active listening:

Identify the next meeting on your calendar that has at least five people in it. During that meeting, as the conversation unfolds, try to imagine what each person is thinking and feeling but not actually saying. Take notes using a table with 3 columns: Name, Thoughts, Feelings.

Dozens of microexperiences can be designed for nearly any skill or job, from entry level to executives. Here's an example for more senior leaders, particularly for an organization that wants to be more disruptive in their industry and needs its executives to be more innovative and entrepreneurial:

Step inside the mind of your organization's Gen Z customers and identify what you believe their top 3 value drivers are–what they want most from organizations like yours and would be willing to pay top dollar for. Then quickly assess how well you believe your organization is delivering against those expectations in comparison to any other competitor of your choosing.

When a set of well-designed microexperiences is delivered at scale to hundreds or thousands of employees, they have the power to transform culture and accelerate organizational transformation initiatives.


10X More Effective

Microexperiences have a 90% success rate in strengthening targeted leadership behaviors on the job according to level 3 effectiveness data from actual microexperience programs. This means that 9 out of 10 bosses observed stronger on-the-job leadership among participants in the specific competencies targeted by the microexperience programs.

By contrast, success rates are typically below 9% in most leader development programs according to research from HarvardMITForbes, and others.


1/10th The Cost

Microexperience programs are much less expensive to build than conventional programs because they do not require traditional content like slides, videos, or e-learning. They use carefully designed on-the-job actions and quick reflections to drive development. These programs are also less expensive to run because they do not require instructors, classrooms, or travel. Average program costs are typically 1/10th of what most organizations pay to develop their leaders.

👉 See the numbers - Use this template to compare the costs of your company's development programs to a microexperience-based program.


Ultra Scalable

The low cost of microexperience programs makes them highly scalable. High-impact development doesn't have to be limited to a privileged few, such as executives or high potentials. Microexperiences truly democratize development, enabling organizations to offer high impact development to all leaders at all levels affordably.

When microexperiences are designed to advance organizational strategy and delivered to hundreds or thousands of employees, they have the cumulative power to transform culture and accelerate large-scale organizational transformations. They've been used in enterprise initiatives to enhance cross-functional collaboration, inclusiveness, innovation, organizational agility, and more.


"Looking for the customer viewpoint has made me change my strategy. I routinely challenge my team now to view things from the customer's perspective and I've changed our key metrics to make them more closely aligned with the larger business."

Jennifer, IT Director 


How it Works: A Process, Not an Event

Instead of the "fire hose effect" where participants must absorb a lot of content in a short time, microexperience programs use the "drip method"--small, spaced, high-repetition learning using the Transformation Cycle shown here.


The Transformation Cycle: Learning How To Learn Faster


Participants receive a new microexperience and complete the Transformation Cycle with it each week. This simple cycle triggers up to 10 different ways to learn from each microexperience. So a short 3-month program would generate about 120 discrete developmental "reps" for each participant. And since these reps are both micro-sized and integrated into the real work leaders are already doing, they aren't a huge burden to participants' busy schedules.
  • Self-Development - As participants settle into this rhythm, they take ownership of it and literally learn how to learn faster. Self-development habits improve substantially.
  • Developing Others - As they master this simple cycle, they share it with teammates, colleagues, and direct reports, improving their effectiveness in developing others.
  • Sticky Outcomes - A well-designed microexperience program is typically an unforgettable experience for participants--frequently described it as "eye opening" and "life changing." This helps the mindset and behavior changes stick. Our data shows that program benefits usually last long after the program ends.


"I have come to more fully realize the impact I have on my team in living our company's values and carrying on the culture."

Brad, leader of a 300-person department



Why it Works: The 5 Drivers of Transformational Growth

The Transformation Cycle integrates leading science from many disciplines including adult developmental psychology, transformational learning, behavior change, and habit formation. 

It generates both horizontal development and vertical development in leaders by leveraging all 5 drivers of transformational growth shown in the table below.
  • Horizontal development generates competence with new knowledge and skills. It gets people to the middle of the performance bell curve, i.e., competent in their role. This is perfect for those in a new role to get them up to speed quickly. But horizontal development (on its own) rarely gets people to the right half of the bell curve, i.e., high performance and high potential.

  • Vertical development transforms competent leaders into high performing and high potential leaders by expanding cognitive complexity, learning agility, personal identity, and overall awareness. Research strongly correlates vertical development with leadership effectiveness, but it is not broadly understood or used by program designers, especially in the workplace environment.



Making it Work for Your Organization

The full power of microexperiences is unlocked when your organization builds the internal capability to create these kinds of programs on its own. 

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KEY POINT: I typically do not build microexperience programs for my clients.

I train, equip, and certify the internal staff that build development programs 
so they can generate 10X results on their own
and brand them however they want.

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Bringing this design capability in-house typically happens in 3 phases over a 6-month period.



Phase 1: Upskill & Certify Your Organization in Microexperience Design

Strong on-the-job microexperiences are the key that creates highly effective programs. But less than 10% of instructional designers and educators can design them well. That's because instructional designers design instruction, which is only 1 of the 5 drivers of transformational growth (see the 5 drivers above). Instruction on its own largely fails to generate vertical development or change on-the-job habits, especially for complex skills like leadership.

MICROEXPERIENCE DESIGN WORKSHOP

I will teach your team members how to design high-impact microexperiences through a 4-part workshop series.

Your team members will:
  • experience what a microexperience-based program feels like as a participant
  • learn the design process, principles, and criteria for strong microexperiences that drive horizontal and vertical development in leaders
  • receive templates, tips, and examples of strong microexperiences
  • compete in an internal design competition
  • engage in open Q&A sessions

MICROEXPERIENCE DESIGN COACHING & CERTIFICATION

I will further develop the microexperience design skills of select team members and help them create strong microexperiences for a new development program for your organization. Usually 4 small-group coaching sessions.


Your select team members will:
  • bring their recently-designed microexperiences to each coaching session
  • receive tailored advice on how to make their microexperiences even stronger
  • participate in an advanced design challenge
  • get an individualized report of their strengths & weaknesses 
  • deepen their understanding of how to scale development programs, such as balancing horizontal and vertical development for maximum impact
  • read articles and scientific research on vertical development and related topics
  • test their knowledge and pass the Microexperience Design Essentials exam
  • create an individual development plan to further sharpen their Microexperience design skills
  • earn a Level 1 Microexperience Design Certification

Phase 2: Upskill & Certify Your Organization in Program Design

Although well-designed microexperiences are the active ingredient in a highly effective program, they are still only one ingredient--and insufficient to make a strong program. A strong programs adds the other ingredients to operationalize the microexperiences properly and maximize participant engagement levels--which is the real driver of developmental effectiveness.

Phase 2 shows how the whole system works – microexperiences, small groups, the weekly cycle, accountability, measurement, and more – along with common mistakes people make when trying to build these programs on their own.

PROGRAM DESIGN WORKSHOP

I will teach your team members how to design a high impact microexperience program through a 4-part workshop series.

Your team members will:
  • experience what a microexperience-based program feels like as a participant
  • learn do’s and don'ts about 
    • program structure - including duration, frequency, phasing, how to use coaches, etc.
    • participant selection
    • coach selection
    • technology selection
    • constructing small groups - including sizing, diversity, psychological safety, etc.
    • increasing participant engagement
    • measuring effectiveness 
    • demonstrating impact
    • integrating microexperiences with traditional delivery formats like instructor-led training, action learning projects, and experiential learning events
  • receive templates, tips, and examples of strong programs for both horizontal and vertical development
  • compete in an internal competition on designing program objectives for optimal mindset and behavior change
  • engage in open Q&A sessions

PROGRAM DESIGN COACHING & CERTIFICATION

I will further develop the program design skills of select team members and help them create a complete, launchable microexperience program for your organization. Usually 4 small-group coaching sessions.


Your select team members will:
  • learn how to 
    • cultivate executive buy-in for this new approach
    • strengthen its internal credibility
    • calculate cost benefits
    • contrast it with traditional training
    • position these programs as direct enablers of organizational strategy & mission
  • bring their recently-designed program components to each session
  • receive tailored advice on how to make their program stronger
  • deepen their understanding of microexperience-based development, such as how to leverage these programs for organizational transformation and culture change
  • read related articles and scientific research on shifting the performance curve and related topics
  • test their knowledge and pass the Program Design Essentials exam
  • assess their individual strengths & weaknesses
  • create an individual development plan to further sharpen their program design skills
  • earn a Level 2 Microexperience Program Design Certification

Phase 3: Launch & Support your first Microexperience Program

Phase 3 ensures a powerful launch of your new program that your team members can learn from and emulate in future programs.

COACH PREP WORKSHOP

About a week before launch, I will prepare your program’s coaches (small group facilitators) for launch day and teach them how to lead their groups to maximize participant engagement, growth, and program impact. Usually a 2-3 hour workshop.

Your program coaches will:
  • learn how to facilitate people through the Transformation Cycle to drive horizontal and vertical development
  • practice with real-world scenarios from different types of participants 
  • prepare to overcome bad coaching habits and address common situations like missed meetings
  • participate in a challenging and insightful role play to further sharpen coaching skill
  • review launch day agenda and all program materials in advance
  • get comfortable with the supporting technology
  • rehearse the activities they'll lead on launch day

PROGRAM LAUNCH WORKSHOP

I will deliver an unforgettable and inspiring launch workshop to officially kick off your new microexperience program. Usually 2-4 hours.

With your participants and their coaches, I will:
  • activate a collective growth mindset among participants
  • create psychological safety within each small group
  • prepare the entire group for deep and lasting transformation
  • lead the groups through “forming” and “norming” activities to gel quickly as a team
  • equip them to accelerate their own horizontal and vertical development together
  • set the whole program on a trajectory for maximum impact

"You feel like you just experienced something life-changing...not just a cookie cutter session."
Alvic, San Diego, CA

Jimmy Parker speaking at a Scalable Leadership Development launch workshop

"Jimmy is the most captivating speaker I have seen in 10 years!"
Sean, Virginia Beach, VA

Your program's participants and coaches will:
  • experience what microexperience-based development feels like
  • complete their first trip through the Transformation Cycle
  • check off their first microexperience and first group meeting
  • integrate lessons learned and advice from prior participants
  • receive a program guide for running great group meetings, facilitation do’s & don’ts, advanced coaching tips, and more

ONGOING SUPPORT

After launch, I will meet regularly with your program's coaches and team members to gauge progress, provide tips and advice on any concerning trends, answer questions, and help ensure maximum program impact from your investment. Usually 3-4 small-group coaching sessions spaced throughout program.

"Jimmy was the driving force behind our success."
Greg, CEO


Contact me for more details and any questions, including pricing