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Helen Richardson

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

Professional Development Co-Ordinator

Read more from Helen Richardson

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ACL Exercise



I am in the process of developing an Introduction to Management course for employees who are considering that nest step into management.

As part of the course I would like to use the ACL model and am looking for ideas for exercises to demonstrate this.

Can any of you help


Helen Richardson

[email protected]

3 Responses

  1. Action centred leadership exercise

    Hi Helen

    In the past I have split the participants up into small groups, armed with a flip chart sheet and pens. Ask them to imagine they are following a very busy manager for a day with a clipboard, noting down everything the manager does. Write down those behaviours.

    I then give some input on the 3 circle model and ask them to review to their flip charts to classify the behaviours by writing TA (Achieving the Task), TE (Building the Team) or I (Developing (the performance of) the individual).

    Flips are displayed with participants walking around to view other groups' work.

    We then review their findings, concluding on which of the 3 aspects are represented; which are deficient. Finally we discuss the consequences of each of the ACL circles being too big, or too small for a manager.

    I have also used the LPT Productions ( range of ACL questionnaires for participants to assess their own circle profile.

    Hope that helps

    Bryan – training delivery and off shelf course materials

  2. Living the model

    Ask them to look at each part of the model and put it against their day to day job – ideally picking examples of DILO (day in the life) and what happened to the 'balance'. Use flipchart to show this visually. What you find is that the reality is very different and there are times when focus needs to be on task and the other areas get neglected. We then discuss the implications of these and review could they have done anything differently to try and keep a better balance rather than say just focus on the task. 

    I sometimes use a set of hoops to demonstrate the model physically.

    Hope this helps…


  3. ACL exercise

    In my experience the very best way to address this is to use an experiential learning exercise: anything that involves a team problem to solve works well. I divide my group into two, with half acting as observers and half acting as participants in the task. I ask each observer to work on a blank diagram of the 'three circles' model and to observe either the whole group, or in some cases a specific group member. They are encouraged to notice and write down I each circle examples of specific behaviours that addressed task, team or individual needs. Examples might be: TASK – Joe regularly clarified the operating rules and ensured that The activity was completed within the rules. TEAM – Sunil asked for everyone's agreement with the final strategy before they moved into action. INDIVIDUAL: Sarah noticed that Leon was confused and helped him to clarify his understanding of the objectives.

    i try to ensure that the role of participant and observer is exchanged, either within the exercise if appropriate, or in a second activity. The observers are asked to run the exercise debrief and to explore good examples of the balance between the three different sets of needs. 

     I hope this  is useful. If you would like examples of specific, suitable team activities, you can find useful ideas (and review guidelines) in a free Experiential Learning Manual that you can download from RSVP Design at


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Helen Richardson

Professional Development Co-Ordinator

Read more from Helen Richardson

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