The Development Academy of the Philippines thru the Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity conducted the second installment of the eight KARTILYA Sessions comprising the Productivity Series. The resource person was Dr. Robert Kramer, Professor of George Washington University. His lecture cum workshop was titled, “What ‘Develops’ in Leader Development?” He advocated for the use of action learning methodologies to solve major problems in an organization transforming leadership based on objective and empirical approaches. The Session put at the limelight the critical role of leadership in organization or institution to realize its dreams, plans, programs, and innovative schemes. With transformative action learning as a method, a wicked problem with no clear definition and no single correct solution can be unpacked and eventually be resolved to take action to address it. In the Session, he engaged all participants to get involved in solving a pressing issue in an educational institution given the principles and methods of transformative action learning.  

Dr. Robert Kramer facilitates the first activity on action learning to the participants before giving a lecture on leader development.
To Learn Is To Act Dr. Kramer emphasized that there will be “no learning without action” and “no action without learning.” In order to learn and make actions, he shared the following steps: (1) unpacking wicked problems; (2) building high-performing teams; (3) developing leaders; (4) learning how to learn; and (5) learning how to unlearn. He underscored the idea that “we see the world not as it is; we see the world as we are.” In learning, there are no correct answers but only great questions. Becoming A Leader Dr. Kramer shared ten leadership competencies and behaviors, which are: creativity, deep listening, powerful questioning, self-awareness, transparency, handling ambiguity, peer collaboration, passion for learning, synthesis, and grounded optimism. These characteristics have to be practiced by the leader as he plans to transform his organization through action learning methodologies. In the action learning strategy itself, the facilitator as the leader employs these characteristics to unpack wicked problems and arrive at viable solutions to these problems. Lessons Learned The lecture cum workshop provided by Dr. Kramer gave us some insights: first, transformative action learning as one vital way or approach in solving organizational problems and challenges; and second, we can solve these organizational problems and challenges if we engage ourselves continuously dialoguing and discussing to see different angles and various points on the issue at hand. Developing leaders would mean transforming information into something that is crucial for organizations.