Each Duke Energy leader had a wealth of knowledge about their particular business function within a business division, so rather than bringing in experts and simply having them lecture about popular management topics, Duke engaged us to carefully facilitate an exchange of knowledge among its leaders while at the same time developing their skills, competencies and critical thinking capabilities. The Knowledge Maps were structured to encourage collaboration and constructive conversation as much as possible, while still providing leaders with the foundational data needed to ground their ideas in facts. Another important outcome was the networking opportunities generated by the quality conversations between leaders. The effectiveness of any leader is determined by the quality of their peer network, and Applied Learning helped each participant heighten that effectiveness by guiding them through several experiential activities with a cohort of other leaders. By the end of the learning session, the quality conversations they had engaged in created stronger bonds within each cohort of leaders.
The Knowledge Maps were also designed to ensure that high-level strategies were examined in light oftheir real-world applications. For example, Duke Energy had variation across the positions of its employees, so that even one executive engineer working in one division might need very different skills than an executive engineer working in a different division. This made Duke Energy’s overall goal of standardization of leadership skills very difficult. Through the learning process, Duke Energy leaders were able to work through this tension and gain a better understanding of the diverse parts of their organization.
By the end of the leadership program, participants not only had shared their knowledge and thought about the practical applications of high-level strategy, but they had also all learned valuable general knowledge about the company. Among other things, the learning experience covered the changing nature of the energy market, the many different types of energy, their major competitors, the main stakeholders in the company, and talent management. In just one day, the Knowledge Map engagement experience was packed with useful activities that kept participants engaged and informed.