Microexperiences

Microexperiences are the heart of an unconventional approach for strengthening complex leadership skills and organizational culture that I created during a 17-year period of extensive research and experimentation. They've since been used to develop over 50,000 people leaders, particularly executives up to and including CEOs.


"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 G, Vice President


This method is focused squarely on what generates measurable behavior change in leaders on the job. That context is critical since microexperiences leverage the busy workplace environment and real work in a way that does not translate well to a classroom or educational environment. That's because most development programs require people to stop working in order to learn, a tactic that consistently fails to generate behavior change on the job. It's why most of them don't actually measure behavior change. 

Data from well-designed microexperience programs indicates a 90% success rate, meaning 9 out of every 10 participants exhibited improved on-the-job leadership performance according to their manager and teammates.


"He is more collaborative than in the past. A good example is in managing our delivery contracts. Instead of him making the decision it was a team approach and coaching moment for many folks to go through this process for the first time and learn from it."

Linda D, manager of a high-potential senior director who recently completed a microexperience program 


Some Examples

An example of a single microexperience to develop emotional intelligence or active listening habits would be:

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. For another example, suppose an organization wants to be more disruptive in their industry and needs its executives to be more innovative and entrepreneurial. One microexperience among many would be:

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 carefully designed microexperiences is delivered at scale to hundreds or even thousands of employees, they can reliably transform culture and create new organizational capabilities like inclusiveness, cross-functional collaboration, innovation, or agility.


"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 M, IT Director


How it Works: The Transformation Cycle

Microexperiences can develop people, teams, and organizations faster than conventional programs because of these unique design features:

  • High Impact - integrates all 5 transformation drivers (below) for both horizontal and vertical development
  • On the Job - leverages real work to develop complex skills for a complex world
  • A Process, not an Event - embedded into everyday work and core work processes
  • Ultra Scalable - 10X more impact at 1/10th the cost of traditional training 👉 see the numbers

In a microexperience program, participants complete this simple cycle many times, each time with a difference bite-sized, on-the-job task or activity (microexperience):

The Transformation Cycle for Scalable Leadership Development
Learning How to Learn
  • Self-Development - As participants settle into this rhythm, they take ownership of it and self-development habits improve substantially.
  • Developing Others - As they master this simple process, they share it with teammates, colleagues, and direct reports, improving their effectiveness in developing others.
  • Sticky Outcomes - Participants literally learn how to learn faster. Many have described this cycle as “life changing,” and its benefits tend to remain 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 T, leader of a 300-person department



Why it Works: The 5 Drivers of Transformational Growth

The 5 drivers of transformation work together to generate both horizontal and vertical development in leaders. 
  • Horizontal development (acquiring new knowledge & skills) generates competence, which is good for leaders who are new-in-role but rarely generates high performance on its own. 
  • Vertical development (expanding cognitive complexity, learning agility, identity, awareness) is much less common especially for developing leaders. It builds on horizontal development to turn competent leaders into high performing and high potential leaders.

The 5 drivers of horizontal and vertical development


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 your own. 

⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯

NOTE: I typically do not build microexperience programs for my clients.
I train, equip, and certify the people that build these programs 
so they can generate 10X results on their own
and brand them however they want.

⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯

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



Phase 1: Upskill & Certify Your Organization in Microexperience Design

Strong on-the-job microexperiences are the active ingredient 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 up to 10 of your team members how to design high-impact microexperiences in a 4-part workshop, 1 hour/week, all virtual.

Up to 10 of 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

Task Design Essentials Seal for Scalable Leadership Development

MICROEXPERIENCE DESIGN CERTIFICATION & COACHING

I will further develop the microexperience design skills of 2 of your team members and help them create strong microexperiences for a new development program for your organization. 4 coaching sessions total, 1 hour each, all virtual.

2 of your 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 Microexperience Design Certification


Phase 2: Upskill & Certify Your Organization in Program Design

Having a set of well-designed microexperiences (from phase 1, above) is not enough to generate 10X impact. A strong program is what operationalizes the microexperiences to maximize participant engagement levels and completion rates, which drives developmental effectiveness. Weak programs produce weak results every time. 

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

PROGRAM DESIGN WORKSHOP

I will teach up to 10 staff members how to design a full microexperience program in a 4-part workshop, 1 hour/week, all virtual.

Up to 10 of your team members will:
  • learn do’s and don'ts about 
    • program structure such as duration, frequency, phasing, use of 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 this format with other formats like instructor-led training, action learning projects, and experiential learning events
  • experience what a microexperience-based program feels like as a participant
  • 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 Essentials Seal for Scalable Leadership Development

PROGRAM DESIGN CERTIFICATION & COACHING

I will further develop the program design skills of 2 of your team members and help them create a complete, launchable microexperience program for your organization. 4 coaching sessions total, 1 hour each, all virtual.

2 of your 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 Microexperience Program Design Certification


Phase 3: Launch & Support your first Microexperience Program

Phase 3 ensures a powerful launch of your new program with up to 100 participants (recommended minimum of 30).

PROGRAM LAUNCH WORKSHOP

I will deliver an unforgettable and inspiring 3-hour launch workshop to officially kick off your new microexperience program. Virtual or in person.

With up to 100 participants and their coaches (small group facilitators), 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 P, 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 P, 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

COACH PREP WORKSHOP

About a week before launch, I will prepare your program’s coaches for launch day and teach them how to lead their groups to maximize participant engagement, growth, and program impact. 2 hour workshop, all virtual.

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

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. 3 coaching sessions, 1 hour each, all virtual.

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


Contact me for more details and any questions such as pricing