The Value of Learning

By: Sonia Di Maulo, Founder and Lead Feedback Enthusiast

Like a responsible teacher, I left home with plenty of time to make it to my first class at the University.  I was about to kick off the fourth year of Consulting in Educational Technology for Masters’ students in the Educational Technology program.And then the unthinkable happened. 

Terrible congestion where there never is. 

Advancing at a snail’s pace. And the “extra time” I had buffered is now gone!

I was late!

So I starting thinking about the value of learning, versus this situation I was in.

The value of learning is often times priceless. And my goal is to help measure this value from today until the end of the course… to make this newly updated program better than ever. Memorable. My course design helps students master their learning, giving them permission to try, learn, and improve during the course of the 7-week workshop.

Together we will explore living systems thinking, business alignment, measurement, communication and presentation skills, asking the right questions, managing client relationships, developing a brand, networking, performance consulting analysis, recommending needs-based solutions, and the importance of self-leadership and self-awareness.

Together we will grow. Together we will learn.

Despite the way my evening began, it ended perfectly. After the 2.5 hours was up, I had had a great time getting to know 12 wonderful new people with drive to learn and grow.

This blog post will host their learnings over the next 7 weeks.

They will use their weekly postings to present their final assignment, which presents what they are able to do once the workshop is done!

What is the value of learning and growing to you?


I welcome comments below._________________
At Harvest Performance, we use the power of authentic feedback to help Leaders Cultivate Trust & Collaboration. How do you cultivate trust & collaboration to positively impact those around you?Sonia Di Maulo (B.A., M.A.) ― 14 years experience in performance improvement helping Leaders and HR Executives increase leadership effectiveness that grows team trust and collaboration and decreases conflict, turnover and time managing stress. Using proven performance improvement practices and principles from my book, The Apple in the Orchard, my clients see a 55% improvement in their work environment and team engagement. 

Let’s talk about how a custom strategy that measures results and value can work for your corporate culture.

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89 Responses

  1. Rong - June 6, 2014

    For this week, the most impressive thing was Wednesday’s presentation,because I had the chance to discover my leadership potentials, and improve my presentation skills. Besides, all my peers shared their unique stories and different understandings of leadership, which makes me know them much better.
    The second thing I like is Monday’s course about confidence. Sonia guided us to discover what elements interfere our confidence, and then told us how to overcome these elements to be a confident person. The Infinity Model was very interesting and inspiring. After learning this model, I realized that the feeling of fear is normal during each growth, it could become a great motivation to promote our growth as well. In addition, I found that actually success is everywhere in your life, for example, a failure or a change could be a success,what matters is how you view it.

    In the end, I want to say: just like my top guiding principle introduced at the beginning of my presentation(Always challenge yourself to reach greater heights. There is always room to be better, regardless of who you are or what you have done.), I believe Sonia’s course is one of the rooms that make me thrive and grow in my life!

  2. Tongkeh Joseph Fowale - June 6, 2014

    Hi All,
    As usual, the week was a fertile one. My biggest learning this week was on moving from knowing to applying. Put in other words, much of what we have learnt so far would pass for mere fiction if we cannot start implementing them. This is what makes the difference in the course – its richness and immediate applicability. Take the ‘pain-pleasure’ principle for example which is used to remind clients of an existing need. This principle is easily applicable in all situations were we have to convince others.

    Take the concept of an ideal client also. It can be used (with slight modification) to choose friends or those we want to connect with for different reasons. It highlights the need to align our interests, tastes, habits and even aspirations. This adds a new dimension to the character types we studied before.

    What made all the difference to me this week was the 5-minute presentation. This was the big brother of the 99-second presentation of last week. I was amazed at the amount of progress we make as a group, the uniqueness of ideas, the beauty of presentations and even the choice of images. What ties it all in one bundle is the trust and love radiated in the class and the honesty and constructiveness of the feedbacks. This is what learning is to me.

    Good night every one

  3. Yang Mei - June 7, 2014

    Hello, everyone
    Another fantastic week!
    On Monday’s class, we learned how to write performance gap, SMART model helps me get a clear idea of how to write an achievable and appropriate performance gap.
    Infinity is another model we learned on Monday. As many models we have learned before, it cannot only be used in performance consulting, but also in our daily life.
    I get to know during which period we have fear, the reason of fear and what can we do to pass the fear. Preparation and knowing what we want is the key to overcome fear.
    The 5 minutes presentations impressed me a lot on Wednesday. I had a chance to get to know more about my classmates and was touched by each presentation. To prepare the presentation allows me to think deeply about my strength and weakness. I really like the design of three presentations (99 seconds, 5 minutes and 10 minutes) and feedback after the presentation. It gives me an idea of how to improve my presentation skills and allows me to practice the skills I have learned.

    See you next week!

  4. Andrada Muntean - June 8, 2014

    Hi everyone!

    Thank you all for another amazing week. I look back at my first day in this course compared to where I am now, and I am very thankful to all of you for the growth I have experienced both emotionally and in terms of knowledge.

    Although I was aware of SMART goals, it had never occurred to me to make the connection between them and a gap analysis, but once it clicked, all I think about now is SMART when it comes to gap analysis or any other situation where objectives must be stated. Furthermore, I was very grateful we addressed, as a class, the concept of fear and overcoming it; it feels good to know I am not alone in this and have the support of such amazing people. The proof came out of the presentations and the feedback and contributions of everyone. All in all, it feels great to know positive environments do exist if individuals contribute to them. In addition, sharing tips about how to overcome fear has helped me improve a lot in a short amount of time. For instance, we discussed the elevator speech and I have to admit that having to acknowledge that underestimating myself has been a factor fueling my fear to take risks and just be out there. With help from the class, I slowly started developing the speech during the days that followed, and my confidence just boosted. Finally, I have learned that “failure” does not mean the end of the world. It is an opportunity for rebirth and growth…something positive. All in all, this week has brought me tremendous growth, because I tend to be shy, highly self-critical (99% of the time is negative), perfectionistic…but all of a sudden, this has changed and I am learning to embrace fear and failure for opportunities of growth that I will apply in every aspect of my life…Bring on the rubber suit! 🙂

  5. Francoise - June 9, 2014

    Hi everyone,

    I really enjoyed the week. It was a particularly challenging weeks for me with many activities on the schedule. So last night I realized that I have not had a chance to post on the blog. Sorry!
    I particularly appreciated to discover many of you. It is unfortunate that I had to leave early on Wednesday and did not have a chance to see all presentations. I appreciated the three levels feedback process with sharing three strengths and on opportunity to continue to develop. Thanks to Andrada for the nice notes she has taken on the three levels of the feedback.
    On another not, my team is ready to work on the next set of templates for discussion. There is still a lot of work to do. I work with amazing partners that are into it and they want to learn as much as possible. I look forward to more discussion on Airflow Airways to continue the learning journey.

    Best week to everybody!

  6. Najla - June 13, 2014

    Hello everyone,

    This week, we learned practical issues in consulting from Sonia as well as from the guest speaker: Chris Robson. We learned from him the role of the internal consultant and also the role of client, or his ideas of the ideal client. Chris remarked the importance of the needs analysis, and he also emphasized that the training is not the solution all the time. In addition, he explained to us how to guide the clients by asking them questions. We asked Chris several questions about sustaining performance over time, and also questions regarding us as consultants to be. I think it is a wonderful opportunity to listen from an expert in the field and consider his advice for the future.
    On Wednesday’s class, my team and I had a meeting with Mr. Joe (or Sonia) to finalize the templates for our study case. We asked some questions regarding the case, and worked together to present the solutions to Mr. Joe and also to the judges on next Monday and Wednesday. I will be working individually on the case study to present it on Wednesday. I will use the feedback that was given to me from Sonia and from my classmates in the last two presentations.

    Good luck everyone with your presentation!

    Have a wonderful weekend,

  7. Maya - June 13, 2014

    Good day everyone!

    I enjoyed this week learning’s and found them very valuable with our guest speaker Chris Robson especially because it gave me the chance to make the connection between what we are learning in this course and real life challenges. Chris’s experiences were very enlightening because he discussed the different ways of approaching clients to come to a common ground. He also suggested different ways for sustaining employee’s performance. I also appreciated his emphasis on needs analysis and its importance because we have been discussing this term for quite some time to become a successful Instructional Designer. However, at some point I wondered if this was really applied in the real world because it seemed that clients are always in a hurry to find a solution (usually training) without analysis, and I was glad to hear Chris’s emphasis on analysis especially with his long working experience and the appreciation of the educational background we have as Instructional Designers and following the ADDIE model to achieve the appropriate solution.
    I also found Sonia’s working session on Wednesday extremely helpful and I certainly crave for more of that because it made me connect the dots. My group and I had a lot on uncertainty and weren’t sure of the way we approached them and Sonia cleared that ambiguity. I was also glad because it gave me a positive boost knowing that we were on the right track but needed to dig more 🙂

    I wish you all the best in tour presentation and want to remind you that you are all great in your own way. I learned something new from each one of you. So be confident, believe in yourself and you will shine 🙂

    Have a lovely weekend!

  8. Elizabeth Lakoff - June 13, 2014

    Our guest speaker this week, Chris Robson, gave us some fascinating insight into the world of internal consulting. We were all very thankful to Chris for his insight and his willingness to answer our many questions.

    My first big take-away from Chris’ presentation was that consultants must be the advocate for the learner. This was an important reminder because it is easy to spend a significant amount of time thinking about our client’s desires because they are the people we interact with as consultants and the people paying us for our services. However, we might forget our most important role, which is to advocate for the learner. We must ensure that our learners get what they need from us because that is our ultimate goal.

    My second take-away from Chris’ presentation would be that a solution or recommendation will not work if it’s not “cool”. In other words, if the solution does not suit the culture of that company, it will not be effective. He gave the example of safety being cool at Exxon and how important it was to their company’s culture. This example emphasized how important it is to know the business, values, and goals of our clients.

    Wednesday’s class was very helpful, as it gave us the opportunity to sit down with Sonia and discuss our final presentation. Sonia, once again, was a helpful guide. I am still nervous about presenting, but I feel more confident than I did on Wednesday morning. The working session seemed helpful to everyone and I wish you all the best of luck!

  9. Yang Mei - June 13, 2014

    Hi, all

    I hope you all had a nice week.

    On Monday’s class, Chris’s speaking really impressed me a lot. I have two major take away. First, I get to know what does performance consultant do in in the real work place and how can they give suggestions to managers when they found training is not the right solution. I was always confusing about how does this work in real place. Chris’s answer helps me know that performance consultants can ask smart questions to let the manager realize that training won’t help, further more, they also need to be careful that the manager won’t feel that they are taken their job. When connected with what Orzu said “In working place 70% is about the relationship with other people, 30% is about work itself”, I believe knowing how to give suggestions is really important as this might be have a big influence to performance consultant’s interpersonal relationship.

    My second take-away is what abilities external consultants should have. From Chris’s speech, I leaned that, be able to fit in to the company or culture well, talk with senior manager and SMEs, know their business together with project management skills and professional skills are the criteria for choosing performance consultant.

    Wednesday’s class is also very delightful as Sonia answers our questions and make us more clearly about the expectation.

    Good luck to our presentation and hope everyone will have a nice weekend.


  10. Claude - June 13, 2014

    Hello everyone,

    During this week, we had the opportunity to hear from Chris Robson. I was pleased to notice many similarities between what he mentioned and what we have learned so far in this course. For example, he insisted on the importance of emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills.

    In addition, he clarified the role of a consultant by comparing it to a guide, or a coach. This analogy reminds me of one of my biggest learning from this class: “Instead of pushing solutions on people with the force of your argument, pull solutions out of them.” Indeed, the need analysis is done through questioning, which will lead the client to realize himself where the need is. This opening is essential when presenting solutions, especially if they are in different areas then initially asked by the manager.

    In the same way, Mr. Robson advised us not to take over the manager’s job! Instead, he suggested us to listen, try to understand, and be respectful and sensitive to the culture in place when developing solutions with a client. Hence, we should build on what’s already in place, acknowledge the good work and add/correct the source of the problem. Furthermore, Mr. Robson insisted that the solution should be learner oriented and therefore be very practical and tangible.

    Finally, I am thankful for the discussion session of Wednesday. It gave us the chance to review our work, as well as to confirm some points concerning the templates.

    Good luck everyone for the presentations next week!

    Enjoy the weekend!

  11. Tongkeh Joseph Fowale - June 14, 2014

    Hi All
    This week we had another guest speaker Chris Robson who shared his wealth of experience as a consultant with the class. I had two take aways from this talk. I had earlier conceived of the consultant as an all-knowing figure with a solution to every problem. I was earlier shocked when Orzu told us that there is noting wrong with telling a client that “Sorry I don’t know but I will get back to you later.” This was the same message Chris echoed when said that a consultant should be ready to ask a question like “How do you feel about this [solution] do you think it will work?” This helps me understand that it is not about forcing solutions, its about proposing them.

    Secondly, I was hit by another statement “Don’t take over the manager’s job. Limit yourself to the role of a coach. My takeaway here was that this has to do with role definition and respecting the positions of others. Put in other words, the consultant is only part of a team and not the team itself. Other areas of the discussion which aligned with our previous discussion were the importance of needs analysis and the need to connect solution to different cultural realities of clients.

    Sonia’s meeting session with our group greatly threw light on how to proceed with out templates. It provided critical guidance that we needed so badly especially after being drained by the templates

    Nice weekend to you all

  12. Roman Barba - June 14, 2014

    Every time Sonia brings a speaker to our class, I learn a story that completes the story about Consultant’s role.
    Chris Robson brought a lot of light into the discussion. His arguments and explanations based on newly discovered by some of us models as ADDIE, GAPS analysis etc. add up to a clear vision of consultant’s interactions with the different levels of the organization.
    I am happy with the fact that Chris mentioned regarding the possible requirements for a Consultant’s position. Chris stated that the perfect candidate is the one that can demonstrate all the work that was done based on a business projects, the choice of the teaching procedures as per the type of audience, and its needs, specific skills, and engaging training.
    Chris reminded me what Orzu mentioned in her presentation about the credibility, the management skills, the positive and confident approach and the respect for the skills and the personality.
    It is great to see the final steps of the case study. I am proud to be a part of the 3rd Lens Consulting. This company team has put all the effort to exceed Joe Wright expectations.

    Thank you All!

    Enjoy your weekend!

  13. Francoise - June 14, 2014

    Hello everybody,
    Another great week!
    Our guest speaker Chris Robson shared many of his secrets as an internal consultant. He is a great example of how a consultant can add value for the organization. I learned that his breadth and depth of experience in the industry and with the company brought him the credibility needed to challenge his colleagues. He earned the trust of the executives in his company. I particularly appreciated his ability to ask well thought questions easily when his colleagues brings to him solutions that might not be the only option to the actual needs. He takes in consideration always the cost/ benefit for the organization.
    • Be an advocate for the learner, know his environment
    • Be a guide to your client, sponsor
    • Plant the seed early, when you want to accomplish something
    • Coaching and training are not always the solution
    • Interventions more than training could be the solutions
    • Provide guidance for clients to find out what kind of solution is best for the situation:
    • In asking questions, they can arrive to their own conclusions:
    o What is the process to reinforce …?
    o What is the incentive …?
    o You want to make sure that this is a cool behavior…
    • Try to help the person see the process impact

    • Be a guide for management performance, facilitate group solving problems
    • Play the role of a coach, don’t take responsibility of the manager
    Chris mentioned the book of Peter Block, Flawless Consulting. It looks like a great resource to reinforce what I have just learned about the world of an internal consultant.
    Two main qualities that are important for Chris when he meets external consultants: CREDIBILITY and PRESENCE. He said that these qualities would bring you in the doors and keep you in. To demonstrate these qualities, it is important to understand the client business quickly, and one needs to listen well. Be professional in your approach to the client and show your strengths.
    In addition, I see that he also provided some tips for what he is looking for when meeting with vendors (External consultants): Consistence of the quality in delivery, excellence in instructional design, and, ability to understand the business. He also wants to see some previous work done, know more about the accomplishments of the person.
    Well, now back to Airflow Airways, there is much work to be done.
    I wish you all a great week-end, see you Monday, F

  14. Rong - June 14, 2014

    Hello everyone! Time goes fast! We will soon present our solutions to the clients…..I am excited and a little bit nervous. That’s why I was so concentrated on next Monday’s presentation and forgot to post here last night.
    For this week, I am so happy that Sonia invited Chris to speak on Wednesday’s class. Like last time with Orzu, I have learned many things in his phone speech. Some of my learnings are:
    Strategies to find business gap:
    in a professional role, proficiency
    put yourself in the learner position, see how people do their job
    observe how business works, think about what they need in daily life
    tell them what things are important to them and what can be changed to help them perform better
    Clients usually put goals very high, but what we do is put goals into small practical goals
    Strategies to reframe client’s focus(training are not always the solutions):
    appreciate client’d idea
    guide and mentor to these people, make sure you do not take over the role
    ask them questions to guide them, e.g. where makes the problems go away; is this behaviour connect to…?
    How to deliver the solutions
    be confident

    In the end, I hope everyone will have a nice weekend and good luck with your presentation!

  15. Dominique - June 14, 2014

    Hi Everyone

    I apologize for the late reply- I had a long day at work and a longer day at home yesterday and I have no excuse save for some single parenting time as the hubby was set free for an evening haha. It just completely skipped my mind, despite the reminder.

    What a treat this week was! SO many good things once again. Chris Robison was a wealth of knowledge and despite his many intimidating titles, I really loved how he talked with us on a really reachable level. It was like sitting around talking shop. He gave us some great question suggestions on how to get ppl to see things in a more aligned way—- “So what do you want them to do at the end of training”… What they know you can’t see, what will they do? How can we measure it?”

    Also I really enjoyed the group work and feedback session with Sonia. Had some great many Aha moments to attribute to how to really figure out/ talk about the potential money lost if measures (our solutions) aren’t taken.
    How much water will trickle out of the tub?

    I will be presenting first. I feel like expectations are high and i don’t know if I will certainly try. Speaking of trying– time to get back to my slides.


  16. Najla - June 19, 2014

    Hello everyone,

    This week was the week of presentations, 11 presentations!
    In groups, we had to work on the case study which we received by Airflow Airways collaboratively. We had fun in communicating with Mr. Joe Wright by asking him questions. My team (Dominique, Claude, and Roman) was great! I loved working with them, and each one of us had something valuable that was added to our project. We were happy with what we have done with the templates of the case study. However, when I worked individually again on the case study for my presentation, I discovered a lot of things and altered the recommended solutions for the case. Then, each member from each group had a presentation in the front of Airflow. Each presentation was truly unique, and I could see the improvement of everyone in giving presentation within this short time! Some of my classmates were good at analysis, some of them were excellent in answering the judges’ questions, and some of them were incredible in persuading the judges. The judges provided us with valuable feedback, and I took advantage from not only their feedback for me, but also from their feedback for everyone else. I loved this stimulation, I have never had something like that before, and I really enjoyed it!

    Thank you Sonia for providing us with this unique opportunity that we might be facing in our real life.


  17. Roman Barba - June 20, 2014

    Wow! Such an experience! During this week, all the companies that accepted Joe Wright’s challenge brought to the floor their best consultants. It was an impressive battle of knowledge and expertise for the contract. Every participant brought to the floor his/her unique approach of solving the Airflow Airways issues. All the presentations showed deep analysis and effective solutions.
    3rd Lens Consulting consultants after long intimidating hours of work and spent energy were awarded with several awards. Having this opportunity, I would like to show my appreciation for all the work that has been done by 3rd Lens Consulting Team (Dominique, Claude, Najla and Roman). Thank you very much for all your work, passion, energy, patience and presence.
    The case study was an opportunity to try all possible hats using different perspective lenses. It was a great learning process with a good flow. Moreover, the participants presentations, judges feedback and peers comments helped to improve the vision of consultant actions. To conclude, the awards were pieces of puzzle that when completed showed a clear portrait of a successful consultant.

    Thank You All!

    Enjoy your weekend!

  18. Rong - June 20, 2014

    The week of presentations!

    It is such a great week that everyone brought different perspectives on the same case study, presented it in an unique way, and answered various questions from the “decision makers”. I want to say thank you to Sonia, because I had the chance to experience a real consultant’s ten minutes in front of “clients”.

    Also, I want to appreciate my team memebers who worked with me through this case study. I learned many things from them and I really enjoyed the time we spent together.

    Have a wonderful weekend and see you Monday!

  19. Elizabeth Lakoff - June 20, 2014

    Hello Everyone!
    This has been an exceptionally challenging and fulfilling week. The presentation was the culmination of all our hard work. My group did a lot of preparation and I knew we performed a strong analysis. Thank you so much to Rong and Francoise for all their hard work and help. I would have been lost without their assistance. Overall, I felt very confident in our information. However, this time of year also marks the end of the school and final exams for my students. Therefore, I did not have a significant amount of time to prepare and rehearse, so I felt very nervous on Monday. When I finished, I knew that this presentation was not my best, but I felt I had done alright.

    I was exceptionally impressed with the progress that all my classmates made. Maya always sounds so relaxed and in control. I am always impressed with Claude and Yang, who manage to overcome language barriers and present so beautifully. I always grin now when I see Najla panicking before her presentations because I know that she will get up there and just be outstanding. Overall, I was impressed with everyone!

    When I was awarded the contract, I have to admit that I got a bit misty-eyed. To some of you that might seem silly, but to me, being awarded the contract was a big deal. You see, when I started this program, I wasn’t sure I could do it. A lot of people questioned how I would be able to work full time, raise two young children and go to school. To me, this contract, although fake, is a real confirmation that I can do this, and I can do well.

    Thank you to everyone for the amazing week and congratulations to all of you on your presentations.


  20. Dominique - June 20, 2014

    Pppfft. Of course you can do it Liz!!!!!
    You are rockin this stuff! Not worried about you at all.

    Hey gang- We did it!!!
    I’d like to ffith- sixth… whatever number this post is and say this was such a fun experience. 3rd Lens team– all the TLC came from you over to me… haha Claude- Roman- Najila! Such a treat to work with all of you, and you humbled me with your work, enthusiasm and presentations-
    Everyone – the whole class did so well!
    The judges gave great feedback- useful and the questions were great. By watching and learning from you all I got to see my own opportunities for improvement- the need to back up my analysis,
    incorporating nice touches… Ohhh I will borrow from you all- not to fret!

    Truly a fun/challenging way to grow.
    Francoise- as you won’t be able to make it Monday- thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your advice, knowledge and willingness to share and help us all grow.
    Hope to see you next semester!!!

    everyone else- See you monday! Rain o Shine!

  21. Francoise - June 20, 2014

    Thanks fo your very touching comment. I will stick around doing my thesis in September. Hope to see you all back, our paths will cross again,
    Have a great summer,
    I expect to send the next post while on vacation somewhere on the shores of the majestic St-Lawrence river… Take care, Françoise

  22. Francoise - June 20, 2014

    What a week!
    I really enjoyed to see all your presentations. It is the approach that each one of you used that I really appreciated. You have worked very hard to produce a high level presentation. Congrats to each one of you!

    A big Thank to my super team! I greatly appreciated working with you. Your professionalism and eagerness to learn made the experience very enjoyable. We will keep in touch for sure!

    I am still working on my final report using Slotovich and Keeps (2004) Training ain’t Performance book. It is a nice complement to our Performance Consulting book. It is the book that made me discover the true meaning of performance in my HPT course. I am stil going deeper in Systems Thinking to understand its full meaning, I think I will use the rest of the summer to digest it. So far, I feel this book is very powerful. Organizations are complex systems, it is fascinating how they can work smoothly.

    Have great week-end,


  23. Claude - June 20, 2014

    Hello everyone,

    This week, we had the chance to present our work to judges. While at the beginning I didn’t understand the purpose of having guests to evaluate our work (or I was too stressed to appreciate it!), I am now very thankful for their time and feedback. Their rich experience was showing during the question period and when they were given individualized and constructive feedbacks.

    Also, I am so happy about my second place!! I couldn’t sleep at night 🙂
    It made me feel very satisfied and reassured that I was studying in a field I am still discovering and starting to love! I believe I can apply my skills and develop many more. Therefore, I am even more motivated to pursue my master in ETEC!

    I am very thankful to my team (3rd Lens Consulting: Dominique, Roman & Najla) who showed comprehension, understanding and patience when I was completely lost at the beginning!

    Good job everyone! Like Sonia said, surprisingly we all had very different approaches!
    See you all on Monday!

  24. Maya - June 20, 2014

    Good evening,
    Wow..what a wonderful week!! Although anxiety had me at a certain point, the positivity and good work of all of you guys and Sonia’s motivation was at its best. You know Liz, I know exactly how you feel. When I was enrolled in this program, I was feeling exactly like you. I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. Just like you, having two kids and not to mention that I had been out of school for almost 10 years! But it only takes will and hard work, and you certainly exceeded in both and everyone in this class, like Dom said , you certainly can do it and you should be proud of yourself for this amazing award you got..Well done to you and to everyone. This week’s learning’s were really special because every single presentation was different , yet everyone mentioned something that no one else touched on and I thought it was amazing because we all had the exact same case and none of the presentations resembled to the others. I would like to thank my team for the long hours we spent analyzing the case and trying to come up with the best possible analysis, Mei, Andrada and Joe, you all did great!
    I found the information offered in all the presentations very useful because it gave me a different perspective of the case that I had not thought about. I am also grateful for the wonderful judges we had the privilege to present to and learn from their experience and from the generous feedback and advice they offered. I know I have so many things to work on for the future but I am glad I know what they are and how I can change them. The feedback also from my classmates was so helpful and so encouraging. In a nutshell, this was the best constructive feedback I have ever had because it told me exactly what I am good at and what I should be working on and for me this is my most important learning because I know I might never have another chance to do so, therefore, I am so glad and grateful it happened.
    Last but not least, thank you Sonia for providing us with your valuable feedback. It was the reason to keep us on the right track. Your detailed feedback on the two templates made me understand the case better and opened doors for improvement and better performance.
    Thank you for all those opportunities of valuable learning which as many of you said, we might never get a chance to have again!
    So excited for Monday to see you all:)

  25. Tongkeh Joseph Fowale - June 21, 2014

    The past week was an energy-packed one. If the 99-seconds presentation brought us fright, the presentations of last week took this fright to a higher level. At the end, however, at the end. I was all joy and fun, and as Sonia always said, we could do it.

    My biggest takeaway for the week, however, was an important lesson drawn from the feedbacks offered by the judges. I was particularly drawn to the comments offered by one of the judges who said that everything we are doing now will make sense only later. I felt highly consoled hearing this from someone on the field.

    That aside, it was a great learning period for me, working in a team of dedicated mates. I thank all my team mates – Mei, Andrada and Maya for all the support. Being my first course in the program I needed and obtained guidance which I think will shape my attitude towards all other courses in the program.
    Thanks to all

  26. Yang Mei - June 21, 2014

    Hi, everyone

    This week’s course gave me another wonderful experience!!

    It’s great to see those fantastic and different presentations on the same topic or even works in the same team. ☺ I would like to thanks for Sonia’s three-presentation and feedback design for this course. It makes me think about what should I improve and give me chances to put it into practice. I really think I have improved and become more confident.

    I also experienced what it looks like in the real life when different consulting teams compete in front of their client. Judges’ feedback and decision makes me think about how can I present to the client in the way that they can understand and also give them the impression that this company’s analysis is very professional.

    At last, I would like to thank all of my teammate for their supportive and commitment when working together – Maya, Andrada and Joe. I am happy to be their teammate. ☺

    And thank Sonia for providing such a great course. I not only learned much valuable knowledge in the course, but also learned how to get along with other people. The whole class is like a supportive and optimistic big family.

    I hope everyone have a great weekend!

  27. Andrada Muntean - June 22, 2014

    Hi everyone! Wow, I just realized that not only am I late with this week’s blog post, but I never wrote last week’s post! I was overwhelmed by the stress related to the presentations and many other things that decided to all roll down on me at the same time. Thank you, Mei, for your e-mail reminder!!!

    So, I will start with last week’s blog. Although I was absent that Monday, Roman kindly sent me his notes to fill me in. The first learning for me that popped out of Roman’s notes was the Google Images option for free use and share. That is awesome! I never knew such option existed and I am definitely making use of it in the future. Usually when having to present, I would cite the link or keep dwelling on whether I should include the photo or not, but with this option, such worries will be eliminated! Very nice! The second learning (which is more like a wake-up call since I always knew it in the back of my head, but I had to be reminded once again) is the fact that a consultant is there to guide, not to take on the roles and jobs of managers and other stakeholders. I think I find it a hard time to delineate the role of the consultant and where it stops, but this statement just made it clearer to me; it kind of says “If you feel you are taken the role of someone else, you went beyond your role as a consultant.” I must keep this in mind, because I tend to have this instinct of doing everything for someone else to help them, but at the end of the day it takes a toll on me and if something goes wrong, who is to blame? C.Y.A.! Lastly, I would like to mention my gratitude towards my team and working so well under pressure and stress the week before the presentations! We managed to collaborate and cooperate so well despite time constraints, and I am very happy with the results! It was a great team experience for me and enjoyed the exchange of ideas and support very much!

    Now, the week of presentations! Oh my! I have to admit here that I was…terrified! It was the most anxiety-provoking presentation of my life because of multiple elements, but mostly because of the presence of judges and a lack of time to prepare. The day of the presentation, I was hurrying to put together a PPT, which ended up more like some notes on the screen, and forget about practice! After the presentation, the stress was still there…I was so frustrated and disappointed in myself, because I was looking forward to this experience and wanted to give it my best, but couldn’t! However, with the support of some of the classmates and friends, I became aware that I did give my best given the environmental constraints and realized that that one situation does not represent my potential; it was an environmental, rather than individual, factor. I put on my rubber suit and changed lens, and then was able to see all the positive feedback received from the judges and classmates, and I felt better…I felt they looked beyond my “handicapped” presentation skills of that day and judged me on my content, which I appreciated because I knew I worked hard on it. In addition, I was ready to incorporate the “do betters”, which I was well aware of during my presentation. As someone mentioned to me, it is a big step to be aware of what I have to improve…all is left is the practice to change my current habit and make the “do better” a new habit. All in all, another harsh reminder that I underestimate myself way too much, which usually does not correspond with how others see me. I am not sure how this can be changed as it is part of my personality since forever, but I started meditation quite recently and I have noticed an improvement in my anxiety level. Maybe if I continue for a little longer, I will be able to diminish it even more! I must admit that the supportive atmosphere of this class has also helped me come out of my shell and increase my confidence, and I thank you all for that! It means the world to me! Finally, I would like to thank everyone for the amazing presentations! I was so intrigued by each one of them, and was eager to hear all of them! Another proof that nothing is black and white and that there isn’t THE ONE solution, but rather different paths to the same goal.

  28. Andrada Muntean - June 22, 2014

    Oh, and I forgot to mention! As anxiety-provoking as these presentations were, we were able to come close to real life and realize that classroom presentations are not the same as presenting for a client. I believe it was a great and valuable learning experience and we had the chance to “practice for the real world” in a supportive environment, which many consultants may not get the chance to do. I suppose we can call it a necessary evil :-). Thank you, Sonia, for giving us this opportunity! At least for me, the ETEC program is now starting to make more sense thanks to this course!

    See you all tomorrow! Enjoy your Sunday!

  29. Francoise - June 23, 2014

    Hi all,

    Today is my last blog on lessons learned. The greatest lesson of the week is certainly that the whole is strongest that the parts. In teams we have more ideas and we can build on each other thought and bring greater and stronger solutions. I am amazed by the level of information and details we went through together and the outcomes. I would have never been able to submit a final paper of this quality just on my own. Thanks again to my teammates Rong and Liz!
    I will not be there tonight to celebrate with you but I will be there in thought I can assure you. It is the first time that a class takes time to celebrate and I feel very sad to miss it. Celebration is an important part of building on success to go further in life. Wishing you fun, joy, good food…
    Take care and Have a wonderful summer,

  30. Maya - June 27, 2014

    Hello everyone,
    There was no better way to end this amazing class than what we did on Monday. Not only was our day-out filled with warmth and appreciation for all the learning and hard-work we all put in. And it made me realize while writing down my list of take-away that I have learned so much about this field and it felt awesome. It was also a chance to thank Sonia for this valuable opportunity she gave in sharing all her knowledge with us. Personally, I was empowered in a way I never thought I would. Now, I can say that I am ready to go out there and be confident about myself and what I know, and also to be comfortable with saying I don’t know but I am willing to learn. In addition to all the valuable learning I gained in this course throughout the past weeks, my next biggest learning in this course was confidence, positivity and feeling empowered to change and add value to people’s lives.
    We don’t often come across people like Sonia with such a positive energy and dedication for making a change and improving not only performance but also the community we live in. I think the latter is priceless and can only be learned from people within this field and observing real life experiences such as the ones we were exposed to with Sonia, Orzu, Chris and our skilled judges that we had the privilege to meet with.
    I couldn’t have asked for a better learning opportunity such as this course in terms of the learning itself and the high level of engagement and interest it created.
    Thank you Sonia for changing our lives too and now ..I am ready!
    It was a pleasure working with every single one of you. You all shined in your own unique way and taught me something I am grateful for.

    Have a lovey summer..and see you around in this amazing field!!

  31. Elizabeth Lakoff - June 27, 2014

    Good Afternoon Everyone!
    I must say that I agree with Maya when she stated that she could not have asked for a better learning opportunity.This has been quite a journey and I am very thankful that I was able to travel along with you all, even if it was for a brief period of time.
    Monday’s class was a wonderful closing to a wonderful course. I enjoyed our final time all together, as it gave us an opportunity to fulfill one of our guiding principles, which was to celebrate our successes. We can all celebrate the successful completion of the course, the attainment of knowledge and the formation of friendships. I also found our last activity to be very useful. I have discussed the course with so many people over the last few weeks and I always have so much to say. It was nice to take a moment and really think about my biggest “take-aways”.
    Finally, I would like to give some thanks. Thank you to Sonia for the gift of her book and the note within. Thank you for being so supportive and encouraging. You are a wonderful instructor and mentor. Lastly, thanks to all of you. As a teacher, I know that occasionally, you come across a class that just . . . clicks. We were such a class. Sonia created a structure that facilitated and encouraged the formation of a strong group dynamic. However, we as learners can choose to “buy in” or not. I believe that we actively decided to learn from each other and grow together. It was wonderful to collaborate with you and learn from all of you. Thank you and best of luck in the future.

  32. Najla - June 27, 2014

    Hello everyone,

    It is our last week of this amazing course…and finally we made it! On Monday we discussed about our biggest learning from this course, and I listed in many points what I have learned in this course that I would tell anyone if I was asked. My biggest three learnings are: Six Boxes Model, delivering presentations, and 3+1 feedback. I believe that the model is very useful to determine where is the gap performance, so you can provide a proper solution, and we had a practical assignment (the case study) in which we applied the model. The presentations we gave were useful too because I could see everyone improved from the feedback in their last presentations. I chose 3+1 feedback as one biggest learning that I will apply it in the near future. Because this course was full of positive energy, I tried to spread the energy around me using 3+1 feedback. I am glad that I had the opportunity of working with a wonderful team, of using the model to solve the case, and presenting my solutions in front of experts.
    In order to become a good consultant, I have to work on my knowledge and skills. I am planning to read the recommended books and work on my communication skills. However, I am ready to spread the positive energy around me!

    Thank you Sonia and everyone, it was a pleasure that I learned and worked with you during this amazing course. Have a wonderful summer!

  33. Andrada Muntean - June 27, 2014

    Hello everyone!

    Wow…we are down to the last blog post…Where did time fly?

    This week has concluded the list of our class guiding principles, which is celebration of success. I really don’t have any words to describe the warm and welcoming feeling this class has created through its interactions. We all started this course a little shy because we didn’t know everyone in class. We went together through stress, laughter, anxiety, learning, challenges, and here we are now…discussing our biggest take-aways from this course!

    Personally, this was the best class I’ve taken from so many points of view. In a matter of a few weeks, I grew both intellectually and emotionally. Sonia’s class helped me make sense of this program and feel confident to be a practitioner in the field. Not only did I acquire valuable knowledge, but I was given the opportunity to put in action what I’ve learned. If a job offer in the field were to present itself tomorrow, I am not scared anymore because I now have the tools I need to do well.

    So, takeaways from this week? Amongst many others, I see how important it is to build a network and to celebrate success. No mater what obstacles arose in the way, it is healthy to keep in touch and take time aside and celebrate the positive aspects of any experience.

    Thank you, Sonia, for being not only a teacher, but a role model, mentor, and friend. I look up to you and I am sure everyone from the class is on the same boat as me. Thank you, all my friends, for sharing and helping me see myself through your lens. I am now more confident than ever, and I end this class inspired, knowledgeable, loved, and ready to continue spreading positive energy around me!

    See you all soon! 🙂

  34. Claude - June 27, 2014

    Hello classmates,

    As mentioned by others, Monday was the perfect last class! The weather was nice, the food was good and everyone was smiling.

    During the discussion, I shared that my biggest learning of this consulting class was how to present in a unique way and how to differentiate from others. Thanks to the video recording of our presentations and the excellent feedback, we were able to realise and understand our DW & DB.

    My second biggest learning is concerning how emotional intelligence and relations with others are essential for success. A useful tool to increase our understanding of others’ reactions is the 4 profiles (driver, analytical, expressive, supporter).

    Finally, since it is my first class in this program, I have also appreciated the presentation of all models to assess business needs, explain the causes and develop an aligned action plan. (in particular the V-model and 6 boxes)

    Thank you very much to Sonia for this incredible learning journey 😉
    Thank you to everyone for participating and respecting others’ ideas

    See you soon

  35. Rong - June 27, 2014

    I could still remember the day when I first met Sonia at the event of Educational Technology Alumni cocktail on 24th April. While talking with her, I felt this lady was very energetic, had a sweet voice, and always kept smiles on her face. All these initial feelings made me believe I would obtain something “special” from her and her course. After the 8-week study with her, I have to say it was an amazing experience to travel with her in performance consulting field, because what I have obtained is much more than I expected.

    This Monday, when Sonia asked us to write down the list of key learnings, it was actually a great opportunity for me to review the knowledge and skills I have acquired in her course. Obviously, this course is so valuable that the little paper was not big enough to cover all things I wanted to say. However, as I mentioned during Monday’s discussion, I will bring the Feedback Dairy in my life, which could always remind me what I should do better in the future.

    In the end, I want to say great thanks to Sonia, you brought me such a memorable travel this summer and I will never forget it in my life. I also want to thanks to all my peers. I am so glad that we could have the chance to learn together and share our learnings with each other. I hope everyone will enjoy a lot this wonderful summer!

  36. Tongkeh Joseph Fowale - June 28, 2014

    “You never know what you have till you lose it,” the saying goes. Luckily we have not lost it all. We started the program by recognizing the importance of information technology and signing up to linked-in and face book, and we have made excellent use of email communication. We are still connected, or in the language of performance consulting – aligned, right?

    I started this course not knowing to expect. The challenge was enormous because my background was not related in any way to ETEC. My biggest worry therefore was to find a meeting point between the program and my previous studies in order to find reason and inspiration to continue. I can sufficiently convince myself that this course took away the cloud of doubt hovering over my head.

    How was this done? The course provided enormous challenges that made me question myself. And then it convinced me that these challenges constituted an important part of the learning process. This was a path to intellectual growth. Secondly, the course placed me on the path to self-awareness. Before the course, I spoke a lot about self-awareness without understanding its root meaning. When faced with the question ‘who am I?’, that was when I gained new insights into what it really means. Lastly, but most importantly, I found a ‘god particle’ in the systems theory. This has been an important missing link that I needed to discover.

    The journey has been rewarding though the task was daunting. Success would not have been possible without the inspiring leadership that Sonia provided. The learning environment was excessively cordial. We met all the expectations that were outlined at the beginning of the course – expectations of the teacher, friends and the course. For me in particular, having gone through this baptism of fire, having found this amount of energy, knowing how to put on my ‘rubber suit’, it will be smooth sailing henceforth.

    The success we celebrated on Monday reminded me of the value of team work. I was blessed with great team mates and I think they shaped me a lot. I cannot find words to thank them enough. To all of my classmates, I extend boundless gratitude. Thank you all for identifying my weaknesses and strengths. One aspect of this course that we have always missed the opportunity to comment about is Sonia’s methodology. It was through this teach-by-example methodology that we got connected to former students of the course and practitioners. There is no better way to show the future to those who are desperately hungry to see it. It feels good to know that the future is bright though challenging. In this regard, I thank Orzu and the talented judges on behalf of my classmates.

    One of my ‘do-betters’ was to keep my voice low. I promised to work on this and I start by ending here.

  37. Yang Mei - June 28, 2014

    I can’t believe the amazing course has passed so fast… I must say I am so lucky to choose this course and this is the best way to end all of my courses.

    At the very beginning, my expectation for the course is to review HPT’s knowledge and put it into practice in a real case. At the end of the course, when I look back, what I achieved has been far more than that. I have learned performance consulting in a practical way; get to know what performance consultants do in the real life; the knowledge and soft skills we need in order to be a performance consultant; improved my presentation skills and get to know how to improve the presentation skills, CYA… However, this is just a small part of my take-away. More importantly, I have got to think about my personality, strength and weakness by preparing the presentation, learned the art of communication throughout the whole course (four performers), improved my confidence and become much more positive. I feel that I am passionate to be a performance consultant.

    I would like to thank Sonia again, for providing such a supportive and encouraging course. You made me enjoy the course rather than just have the course. Your positive energy and passion not only shine, but also light other people.

    At the end, I want to say I am really happy to meet everyone in the class. We came to the same course and don’t know each other. After only less than two month’s time, we have got through many things together. I feel that we are a big warm family. I wish I had more time to get to know you but however, this is my last course. Hopefully I have chance to see you in the future.

    Best Luck to all of you in the future!

  38. Dominique - June 29, 2014

    Apologies again for my late posting- my very best friend got married yesterday and the friday and yesterday were pretty much a whirlwind of prep and execution… which was pretty darned good I have to say!
    We had such a delightful last class together last Monday and luck that the weather held out!
    I came into the class, like Yang, having only a vague idea of what was to be covered, but never expected to come away with having learned so much.
    I learned about myself, about you all, about some of the things I want and don’t want in my career.
    It has been a pleasure working with you all and Sonia! I wish you all a fantastic summer! And hope to see you around the water cooler.

  39. Roman Barba - June 29, 2014

    All mentioned above comments are priceless with a positive and emotional vibe.
    I consider Sonia’s class a great success because of her mastery to link all of us together with broad background and level of knowledge to work and to succeed as a whole. Sonia introduced us to the infinite theory that helped me to visualize all steps of the professional life cycle. At this stage, I feel reborn and ready to face new challenges in the ETEC field.
    Taking this opportunity I want to use all the given to us awards and to share them all with Sonia. I am confident, that list of awards corresponds to puzzled characteristics that belong to an entirety called Sonia Di Maulo!
    I’m happy to meet you all and to work with you in a harmony sharing the evolvement as ETEC professionals.

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