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The ART of Connection in Leadership Development

Connection is the core of effective leadership development.

All leaders grow at their own pace, given their strengths and opportunities and the context of the situations they face. What is common across all that uniqueness, however, is the power of connections as the foundation for growth. The Insight Experience ART methodology focuses on design that ensures connection between people, ideas, and action.

Connections accelerate leadership development in multiple ways. Certainly, connections with other leaders (the traditional “networking” sense of the word) helps a leader see role models, validate his or her challenges, access great practices, and identify resources and support. Connections to peers and others, both inside and outside the organization, offer new ideas and spark growth through the interaction.

But connections to accelerate leadership development are much broader than just growing your network of contacts. Effective leadership development helps leaders understand connections in their mindset and behaviors. Effective leadership development enables leaders to see new possibilities and, as a result, take action. Those connections come from a broader range of juxtaposed ideas and conversations:

  • Connections across ideas. Leadership Development programs offer new ideas, models, or perspectives on leadership. Those ideas are most useful when a participant can connect those ideas to her or his own experience. Artful design offers room for reflection and learning thinking prompts to help leaders make those “idea connections.”
  • Connections of causality. Leadership is often a “long lead-time activity.” The most valuable leadership actions can take time to show benefits, and it’s easy for leaders to miss the cause and effect of their leadership. Artfully designed experiential learning and business simulations help leaders telescope time and understand the long-term implications and benefits of their actions.
  • Connections to the culture. Leadership drives results, and it creates the working environment of an organization. Leaders often think about developing their effectiveness to deliver value to customers, shareholders, and communities but don’t as frequently think about how their leadership creates the culture of work. Artful design highlights connections between leadership and culture as a powerful additional lens for leadership development.
  • Connections to opportunity. Personal growth is challenging. For many leaders, their existing behaviors have been wildly successful for their careers and for their organizations. Growth requires motivation, and artful designs enable even the most talented leaders to see a connection between their growth and new opportunities.

Connections, as they are broadly defined, are a critical ingredient for leadership learning. Every leadership development program should be intentionally designed to enable connections of all types. At Insight Experience, we use our ART methodology to ensure targeted connections for each audience.

To find out more about the ART of Connection, click below.

Targeted Connections


Amanda Young Hickman is a Founding Partner at Insight Experience, a Boston-based firm delivering contextually rich business simulations and learning experiences to accelerate and integrate leadership, business acumen and strategy execution. 

Amanda Young Hickman
Amanda Young Hickman
Amanda Young Hickman has over 20 years of experience advising and leading clients on the design and implementation of strategic change initiatives and leadership development experiences. She is an expert facilitator and a seasoned program designer who works in all phases of learning experience design and delivery. Amanda is a founding partner of Insight Experience and believes in the impact a leader has on an organization and its results.