“An idea is a feat of association, and the height of it is a good metaphor.” Robert Frost
I’ve been doing some curriculum design and delivery work for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, so transportation themes and metaphors have been on my mind lately. I have to admit that I’ve been having a lot of fun with them.
For example, here are the module titles and corresponding learning objectives for three different days of training.
It’s Both the Journey and the Destination, a one-day team building and change management training program for an intact unit (in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections):
Get in the Driver’s Seat: 1. Explain your contribution to the team mission.
Merge into Traffic: 2. Describe the importance of fulfilling the mission and leaving a positive legacy.
Anticipate Roadblocks: 3. List the distractions, disruptions and distemper that have impacted and will continue to affect the team.
Change Lanes: 4. Practice going forward even when the members keep changing and 5. Discuss how to sustain a team through membership changes.
Avoid Traffic Jams: 6. Assess how to successfully handle project meetings when they have limited authority.
Open Up on the Highway: 7. Plan how to stay on track in the face of changes, both large and small.
Reach Your Destination.
Day One of a two-day training series for new managers was titled: Getting Out of the Weeds.
Getting into the Driver’s Seat: 1. Define the roles and responsibilities of a manager.
Checking the Road Map: 2. Discuss the expectations of the senior management team.
Enjoying the Ride: 3. Describe how to function within the agency culture.
Reading the Road Signs: 4. Explain how to get to know your program area and 5. Identify where to get answers.
Turning on the Windshield Wipers: 6. Assess the skills necessary for managing your program area and 7. Plan how to organize your tasks and manage your time.
Switching Drivers: 8. Explain the impact of clarifying decision making authority and 9. Create a delegation action plan.
Taking the Off Ramp.
Day Two was titled: Where the Rubber Meets the Road.
Putting Gas in the Tank: 1. List the issues or concerns you have or anticipate having with your supervisors.
Adjusting the Mirrors: 2. Discuss project leadership techniques and 3. Practice team meeting management strategies.
Changing Lanes: 4. Assess the steps involved in implementing and managing change.
Watching Out for Pedestrians: 5. Plan how to relate to employees who competed for your position.
Deciding Where the Rubber Meets the Road: 6. Discuss the role of communication, coaching, mentoring and problem solving in effectively supervising supervisors.
Getting Past Roadblocks: 7. Determine the best response for handling real job situations and 8. Explain why it is important to aim for respect, not likeability.
Moving On: 9. Complete a personal development plan.
As you can see, cars were a rich minefield for me! I even found little plastic cartoon cars to reinforce the metaphor.
I’d love to hear about how you have used metaphors in your training programs!
May your learning be sweet.