Workshop Battles Boredom by Dropping Lectures for Experiences

Author: Barbara Palmer       

Workshop participants walk the fields of Gettysburg during an earlier workshop, “Commanding the C-Suite.” The July workshop also used past war experiences — this time from WWII — to talk about leadership.

Best in Show 2019: The Council Academy/The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers
July 30–31, 2019The National World War II Museum, New Orleans20 attendees
experiential events

Derrick Johnson

The Washington D.C.–based The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers declared war on PowerPoint and boring lectures in July, when the two-day leadership workshop, “Leadership Lessons From World War II,” was held in the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

“People learn by interacting and doing,” said Derrick Johnson, CMP, DES, senior director, meetings, for The Council, and the experience provided C-suite leaders “the opportunity to analyze the strategic planning and problem-solving processes of great military leaders.” The WW II era also provides parallels to the challenges that face contemporary leaders, including the appearance of new technologies during the war, the use of data on a mass scale, and an urgent need to address skills gaps. Developing leadership skills among its members is a major goal for The Council, added Johnson — more than a quarter of the insurance industry workforce is expected to retire by 2020.

The July workshop is an evolution of a workshop held in previous years, “Commanding the C-Suite,” which was based on the decisions leaders made at the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War and held at Gettysburg National Military Park. During that two-day experiential workshop, “participants walked the fields and talked through the experiences of key characters in the Civil War,” Johnson said.


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“There needs to be more to educating our members than PowerPoint and lectures. The world is full of so much history and so many opportunities to engage people in learning. We seek those unconventional opportunities to get participants out of chairs and into true learning environments.”

Barbara Palmer is deputy editor at Convene.

Attendees at the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers Leadership workshops listen during a tour at the Gettysburg National Military Park.

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