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How to Use Experiential Learning with Kimberly Kleiman-Lee


Kimberly Kleiman-Lee is founder and CEO of Kimberly Kleiman-Lee & Co., a leadership development and training company headquartered in Wisconsin. For more than 20 years prior to launching her own company, she played a leading role at GE’s world-renowned training university. In her recent Training Unleashed Podcast with host Evan Hackel, Kimberly gave deep insights into the role experiential learning can play in developing extraordinary training.

We know these insights will transform your training. You’ll want to devote 30 minutes of your busy day to watching this great podcast. Here are some selected highlights.

On General Electric’s Belief in Training

Evan: General Electric’s university is one of the best corporate universities in the world . . . . I think it would be fascinating to talk about the culture at GE around training and why it was so important.

Kimberly Kleiman-Lee: Well, thanks, first of all, for having me on your podcast, Evan, it’s a pleasure to spend time with you. And you’re right. GE’s culture around learning and development was, bar none, top of its game. So let me share a couple of things about their culture regarding learning and development.

First is they believe in a leader in every chair, and the goal is to make sure that no matter what your role is, you have a responsibility to lead in it and make sure that everything you do comes from a place of betterment, moving the company forward and helping lift your colleagues up to a better place.

Second, they feel a true responsibility to make sure that leaders have the skills they need to do well, no matter where they are in their career journey. So they invest in it.

At one point, we calculated that GE was investing more than $1 billion in functional and leadership training. So training comes at every phase, every stage and every need in a leader’s journey . . . they believed not only in the concept of leadership, learning and development, but having a place for leaders to gather to do that great work.

On the Practice of Experiential Learning

Evan: I want to talk about experiential learning. I’m a big believer in it . . .. I know GE does it really well, and I know that your company does too. What does it mean when you say the words experiential training?

Kimberly Kleiman-Lee: Experiential learning means you put the learner in the center of the skill or behavior you’re trying to get them to adopt. So it’s less telling, more doing, and more feeling of being in the things you want them to learn . . .   

So if you want them to be more compassionate and empathetic to their customer, you need to put them into a situation that that helps them to adopt that. If you want them to understand what it means to be a servant leader, you need to have them serve, literally serve . . .  So it’s putting them in the center of the behavior or skill you want them to adopt.

On Training People to Become Servant Leaders

Evan: I love the concept of servant leadership, I’m a big believer. Why don’t you just take a moment and describe how that would work? What would that look like?

Kimberly Kleiman-Lee: If servant leadership or just a concept of serving is something that the company or culture wants to ensure their leaders are astute at, we would thread a component like that throughout a learning opportunity. It might not be the core focus, but it would be something that is experienced throughout a three-day workshop. Here are ways to do that.

One, I’m a big fan of leaders doing tours. Again, I work with more middle leadership and above. Oftentimes, by the time you get to be a senior leader, you are being served. So someone makes the reservation for you. Someone has the table set for you. Someone has the meeting coordinated for you. The plane is reserved for you. All of those sorts of things are done for you.

So to switch it up a bit, we have what I call the equivalent of tours. If I’m hosting a senior leadership team for a three-day workshop, I ensure that one of those days is reserved for lunch on-site and it’s catered. And the only thing that is done for them is the food is delivered to the site. They will each have a task that been assigned to them, written on the back of their nametag, which they won’t know about until they’re told to turn over their nametag. And it could be everything from set the table, serve water to your colleagues, clear the table, you name it, and it’s just a touch of, “Are you willing to do what it takes to make those around you comfortable?

Evan: Well, first, let me compliment you because one of my fears was that every example you were going to give was going to be so big and so difficult.

Kim: Absolutely . . . it doesn’t need to be big and grandiose. Being ready at hand means when you’re in a meeting and you see somebody struggling with the projector, if you know how to fix that, it doesn’t matter your level, your role, your responsibility in that meeting. What matters is that you help keep progress moving. And oftentimes, folks forget that that is, in essence, a big part of servant leadership.

Lecturing vs. Changing Behaviors

Evan: I know you do some really interesting offsite training. Can you tell how that works and what that kind of experience is like?

Kimberly Kleiman-Lee: It started actually when I was at GE . . . . when I first started, a lot of what we did was lecture-based, especially for the senior leadership group. We wanted to transmit knowledge, expose them to new and different ways of leading and strategizing and again, exposure to businesses.

All of that is terrific. But what we found was that it didn’t change behavior as much as we wanted. So after observing a couple of those classes, I thought, “I wonder if there’s a way to get the same lesson, but with a different approach?”

So we ended up letting a lot of our academic partners go for a while and said, I think we’re going to try this without the lecture and if anything, get to the point where there were no more than 30-minute lectures for any new content. And then the rest would be experiences where trainees would have to apply the learning.

So as we started down that road, we found that there were different ways to explain leadership by using metaphors for it. So, for example, I do a lot of work with my clients right now with horses. Horses are the second most intuitive beings and they are a terrific way to see your leadership loud and clear. We would bring leaders together with horses at a horse farm or barn or rodeo space. We’ve done it a number of different locations. We work with terrific gal who leads all of this learning. She will put you inside a stable with the horse, and she’ll say, “Have the horse do something you want it to do.”

Typical leadership behavior, right? So folks will stall for a while and then you’ll see them do a bunch of things. You’ll see them try to pull on the reins. Or talk nicely to the horse in English and try to explain what they want the horse to do. Some people will dangerously try to push from behind to get the horse to move.

And the gal that we partner with, says, “Look, the horse desperately wants to follow you. She just doesn’t necessarily know what you want her to do.” And then that, in essence, opens up the whole the whole dialog around the question of, how are you as a leader of people? Do they desperately want to follow you? They just don’t know exactly what you want them to do.

So that would just be one example of experiential  learning. We have taken folks to Normandy and studied World War Two, specifically communication and chaos theory around the questions of, “What do you do? How do you lead when your leader is not there? How do you step into that role?”

We’ve taken people to Silicon Valley to help them understand entrepreneurialism, design, thinking, being customer-centric and human-centered design. We’ve taken folks to Gettysburg to understand leadership through the eyes of Abraham Lincoln and some of the change management that he had to handle in a very unsophisticated way to make a huge difference. So . . . taking people to a destination. And your office could be the destination. Having them experience something is one of the best ways to learn.

A Special Offer from Kimberly Kleiman-Lee

Kimberly would like to make a special offer to all members of the Training Unleashed podcast community.

You are invited to visit and to sign up for Kim’s remarkable Manage Time in 10 program. In it, you will learn impactful strategies for making the most of your time.

About Our Guest

Kimberly Kleiman-Lee led General Electric’s Leadership Learning & Development strategy and solutions at GE Crotonville. For seven years, her intuitional and methodical approach to individual and team development earned her the respect of leaders throughout GE. As a player-coach serving 330,000 employees, her individual work was focused on GE’s top 2500 leaders – teaching, coaching, provoking, and inspiring change.

Kimberly knows that humans are the most interesting part of work. She attributes any career success to her insatiable curiosity and voracious desire to learn about humans at work and in groups. She’s a pattern studier and tirelessly seeks innovative ways to develop leaders to thrive. 

She, like others, thinks the world is in the midst of a leadership crisis. Kimberly launched her consultancy to prepare more leaders for the world.

2021-11-18T00:02:03-05:00November 17, 2021|

Critical Strategies for Protecting Your People and Your Organization from the Risks of Sexual Harassment with Kia Roberts


Every Training Unleashed Podcast delivers leading-edge strategies that will transform your organization. One recent podcast, however, takes it up one level higher, because it presents information that is not only important, but absolutely essential for the safety and wellbeing of your people and your organization.

 You will want to watch this important podcast today. In it, Evan Hackel spoke with Kia Roberts J.D., Founder of Triangle Investigations. Kia is a powerhouse, recognized as one of today’s leading authorities on sexual harassment in the workplace.

About Kia Roberts and Triangle Investigations

Triangle Investigations is a group of lawyers and expert investigators conducting misconduct investigations within workplaces, schools, and other organizations. Triangle Investigations developed and created Telli™, an exclusive, easy-to-use and first-of-its kind app that works as a reporting mechanism for persons lodging allegations of misconduct, both in the workplace and in other organizational settings. Triangle Investigations also conducts dynamic, customizable, and engaging employee/organization member training sessions, and offers policy and procedural writing services for organizations.

Prior to founding Triangle Investigations, Kia was the NFL’s first-ever Director of Investigations, a position in which she handled investigations into allegations of violations of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy (the NFL’s Code of Conduct), for all NFL players and employees, both nationally and internationally.

Within this position, Kia managed a wide range of investigations, including but not limited to: sexual harassment investigations, workplace violence investigations, bullying investigations, and investigations involving both criminal and non-criminal conduct, both in and outside of the workplace.

Kia conducted numerous high-profile, highly-complex investigations within this role, while supervising a global network of security contractors. Before joining the NFL, Kia spent nearly a decade as a Senior Assistant District Attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York. In her last years at the District Attorney’s Office, Kia was appointed by the elected District Attorney to the Office’s prestigious and highly selective Homicide Bureau, which was composed of the top 12 trial attorneys in the Office.

Kia obtained her law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville, Tennessee. While at Vanderbilt, she participated in numerous organizations, and worked as a writer for Obiter Dictum, a law school publication, and also served on the Student-Faculty Relations Committee. Kia obtained her undergraduate degree from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. While at Duke, Kia was on the Dean’s List, was a writer for The Chronicle, Duke’s award-winning daily student publication, and served on the President’s Council on Black Affairs, an advisory group to the President of Duke University.

What Companies Must Do to Protect their Employees and Themselves from Sexual Harassment

Kia explained to Evan Hackel . . .

“The first step is that companies really need to examine what their reporting processes are. Especially in the midst of the pandemic, a lot of organizations realized that they really didn’t have consistent and comprehensive reporting mechanisms for people to report sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.

“The first step is for the company to think about how people are reporting what’s going on. Are they encouraged to go to their manager? Are they encouraged to go to human resources? Does the organization have a hotline for employees to use . . . how is management learning about allegations?”

Sexual Harassment Can Occur in Any Kind of Organization

“Triangle’s client base is anywhere sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation can occur. That’s everywhere, from that small organization to a Fortune 500 company. Nonprofits too  . . . you need to make sure that you have those reporting processes in place. And once you learn of a concern or specific report about misconduct, you need to really be in a position where you respond to that complaint robustly and as quickly as possible. Delays in responding to allegations of misconduct can be huge in terms of legal liability and really open up a company to some very specific dangers if concerns aren’t responded to in a rapid manner.”


Where Should Employees File Harassment Complaints?

“One thing that we really impress upon the organizations that we work with is that they have to have a mandatory reporting requirement with respect to the person who receives the complaint.

“With a number of investigations that we get, unfortunately, things have blown up and are already in the press. You’re in the New York Times? You know, a group of employees has taken to or social media to talk about their experience within the organization and how poor it was. And what we see in a lot of those instances is that an employee has reported something to their manager, but for whatever reason, the manager didn’t take it where it needed to go.

“The manager either said, `I’m sorry to hear that’ or, `I’m trying to avoid getting involved because of office politics,’ etc. And then things fester to the point that they explode.

“When a manager receives a complaint about misconduct from an employee, they have to report that up to a designated person within the human resources or employee relations space to make sure that it’s appropriately addressed.”

Make time to listen and watch this podcast today.

An Amazing, Not-to-Be-Missed Offer from Kia Roberts to the Training Unleashed Audience

 If you contact Kia and her team by visiting, you can request a code of conduct, tailored specifically to your organization, at a special discounted rate. Now that is an incredible offer!

We hope you will watch this essential podcast [insert link] and begin applying Kia Roberts’s advice today to protect your people – and your company – from the dangers of mishandling sexual harassment complaints.

2021-11-11T13:36:55-05:00November 11, 2021|

How to unlock your leadership by Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina is an American icon – a businesswoman and politician best known for her tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, where she was the first woman to lead a Fortune Top-20 company. She led HP from 1999 through 2005. During that time, she presided over the greatest tech-sector merger in history when HP acquired Compaq. That acquisition made HP the world’s largest seller of personal computers.

Ms. Fiorina was also a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, and a forceful presence in the Republican presidential debates. In 2018, she founded Carly Fiorina Enterprises, a professional training and coaching firm headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

We are proud that this leading American executive and inspiring woman was featured on a recent episode of Training Unleashed where she shared her insights on leadership, management, training, company culture and more with host Evan Hackel.

We know you will want to spend time watching this remarkable episode of Training Unleashed and we are excited to share the following excerpts of her comments with you here.

Carly Fiorina on the Importance of People – A Company’s Most Important Asset

“The truth is that most companies will say platitudes like, `People Are Our Most Important Asset.’ But they don’t really act that way! The truth is people are the business. Companies think that a business is its products, its profits, its manufacturing. Yes . . . and people do all those things.

“So I think the people in a business, whether it’s a giant business or a tiny business, are literally what makes it go. And so if people are the business, then you must invest in those people. And the way you invest in people is, you develop them. You train them. You empower them. You encourage them. You challenge them. You hold them accountable. You give them real responsibilities. That’s how people perform at their best. And so if you believe people are the business, and they are, then you have to invest and that starts with training.”

Carly Fiorina on the Critical Importance of Company Culture

“Culture is one of those words in business that gets downplayed a little bit. You’ll hear people say, `Well, yeah, culture, it’s important, but it’s the soft stuff.’

“In my experience, `soft stuff’ is a dismissive term. Culture is the hardest stuff of all! It is the most difficult stuff to change. It is also the software of a company. It’s the software of any team. And so just like a piece of technology, if the software doesn’t work, the machinery isn’t going to work! And that’s true for teams and organizations as well.

“Companies need to start by honestly figuring out what their culture is, and it isn’t the platitudes on the wall. It’s not the code of conduct. It’s not the statement of ethics. It’s not the aspirational mission statement. I mean, maybe it is all those things, but actually culture is reflected in how people answer a really basic question:

What’s it like to work around here?

“That’s the culture of the team. It’s the water the fish swim in, the air we breathe. Often, a culture is counterproductive to what people are trying to accomplish, or sometimes culture can accelerate what people are trying to accomplish. It can encourage collaboration. It can encourage empowerment. It can encourage the development of new skills. It can encourage people taking on additional responsibilities. All of those things in a culture can encourage people to say, `I want to go to training! It’s not a waste of my time. It’s not a distraction from my main job. It is my opportunity to invest in myself or the organization’s opportunity to invest in me . . . it  is the most important thing we do around here.’”

Carly Fiorina on the Value that People Bring to Companies

“One of the things that I’ve learned through experience – and I learned this before I came to HP – is that people in an organization know what’s going on. They know what the problems are. They know what the potential is. They actually know what needs to happen. They’re rarely given an opportunity to make it happen or to say what needs to get done.

“When I arrived at HP (if you’ll forgive a bit of a story) everyone was talking about a transformational leader and saying, `we need change.’ And yes, the company was in real trouble in very serious ways. I purposefully came in alone. I brought no one with me. And I did that very deliberately because I said to the organization, you know what we need to do . . . you know what’s wrong . . . you know where we’re falling short.

“And so for me, the issue was not to give them the answer. The issue was to unlock and unleash their potential, their ability to identify problems, to identify solutions and to move the organization forward. And so very specifically on the issue of culture, we started by asking employees, `What’s it like to work around here?’ And we got a lot of answers. And then we asked them, `What do you want it to be like?’

“And guess what? The cultures that people aspire to are usually productive, high performing, collaborative, ethical, empowering organizations. And so the point is, the answers were there all along. As a leader, I was catalyzing people to do what they needed to do. Not telling them from on high, `This is the change we’re going to make.’ And so they owned it, literally.”

 Carly Fiorina on Her Journey to Leadership

“I started out as a secretary and when I finally landed in corporate America, you know, I didn’t know what management or leadership was. But what I figured out was there were people all around me who understood what the problems were but had never been given a chance to solve them, who wanted things to be better, but didn’t think they were empowered to do so. And so a lot of what I have put into my online training and the advice I give to companies and executives . . . is what I’ve learned, not just as a CEO, but from being a secretary all the way to becoming a CEO.”

Carly Fiorina on the Critical Importance of Training

“If there’s one thing I want people to take away from an interaction with me or an experience with our training, it’s that all of us underestimate ourselves! Everyone is filled with more potential than they realize. And each of us actually can change the world. It’s just we talk ourselves out of our ability to do so, or we don’t invest in our ability to do so, or others overlook our ability to do so too.”

Carly Fiorina on Her Current Priorities

“One of the things we do through our Unlocking Potential foundation is to provide leadership development to nonprofits. And if you think it’s hard to get training programs through in the corporate for-profit world, it’s very hard to get them through in the nonprofit world because resources are so scarce.

“And so we have developed a set of programs specifically for the nonprofit world. One of those was for an Easter Seals organization, and in that particular case, we brought together the entire organization at one time, from the CEO to CIO to the van driver who brought disabled children and adults to the classroom every day, and everyone in between . . .

”We had everybody together and together, they worked on the goals that they thought were most important. And together, we developed problem-solving skills for each and every one of those people, regardless of the job they were in. Because here’s the thing. The context for the van driver was different than the context for the CEO. The problems the van driver encountered were different from the problems the CEO encountered.

“But problem-solving is always the same. It takes the same fundamental characteristics and qualities, just as leadership is always the same. It doesn’t matter what the context is. And I’ve learned that through experience as well. And so that was a really different kind of experience for them. I have done that subsequently with other groups, and it was an incredibly productive experience for them because on top of learning new skills, they got to know each other better and they got to understand each other’s jobs better, which always brings a team together.”

Carly Fiorina on Human Potential

“You know, Evan, human potential is the only limitless resource we have. Money is limited. Time is limited. Resources of all kinds are limited, except one,  human potential. If it’s unleashed, if it’s unlocked, if it’s leveraged, it can literally do anything . . .  solve any problem, achieve any goal. And so the reason I devote my life to this, the reason I spent so much time as a CEO investing in people is because human potential is the most valuable resource we have, and it is also limitless. But it’s only limitless if we invest in it and hone it and develop it and then leverage it.”

Carly Fiorina on the Difference Between Management and Leadership

“First, there’s nothing wrong with management. Let me quickly say it’s needed, but managers do the best they can with the way things are. A manager may produce really excellent results, but they accept the way things are, they operate within the constraints and conditions and the context in which they find themselves.

“Leaders change the way things are. Leaders change the order of things for the better. And you have to ask yourself, why is it in organizations that problems fester all the time? It’s not because people don’t know what the problems are. It’s because they’re not willing to change things, to challenge the status quo in order to solve those problems. And so it takes leaders and leadership to challenge the way things are.

“Leadership is about changing things for the better. Leadership is about solving problems so anyone can lead.”

A Big Success Tip from Carly Fiorina

“Run to a problem! Don’t run away from it! Don’t avoid it! Run to the problem!”

An Offer to Our Training Unleashed Audience

Carly Fiorina invites you to visit her LinkedIn profile and sign up for a subscription to her weekly newsletter, Leadership Matters.

About Our Guest

Carly Fiorina is an American businesswoman and politician best known for her tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 through 2005, where she distinguished herself as the first woman to lead a Fortune Top-20 company. She holds degrees from Stanford University, the University of Maryland and MIT.

During her time at HP, she presided over the greatest tech-sector merger in history when HP acquired Compaq. That acquisition made HP the world’s largest seller of personal computers.

In the political sphere, she ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010 unsuccessfully. Later, she was a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, during which time she became the vice-presidential running mate of Senator Ted Cruz until he suspended his campaign.

Since 2018, she has served as Chairman of Carly Fiorina Enterprises, a professional training and coaching firm headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. Her books include Find Your Way: Unleash Your Power and Highest Potential.

2021-11-11T13:37:13-05:00October 26, 2021|
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