New opportunities for the Autumn? RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, July – August 2015

By Elisabeth Goodman, 14th August 2015

Summer holidays – a time to think about and try something new?

A place for reflection on holiday

A place and a time for reflection….

July and August are a strange couple of months with colleagues going and coming back from holiday. Work can become fragmented as a consequence, but it can also be a very energising time with a bit of peace and quiet to think about and try something new.

We’ve been doing a bit of the latter, so that I’m using this relatively short newsletter to share some of our thinking about potential new courses and see if any of them might appeal to you.  I’ve also listed the courses that we have scheduled for the Autumn in case you would like to sign up for one of those.

Potential new courses

One of the ways in which we have been developing our thinking is in discussion with other organisations.  So for instance:
RiverRhee, which delivers the Introduction to Management, and Supervisor Training (and other) courses, and Perla Development, which delivers the Leading Virtual Teams course, are considering offering two new courses for One Nucleus members, and would like to gauge your interest in these.

Open Innovation from a Biotech or CRO perspective
Are you considering or already engaged in a collaborative working relationship with Pharma, the NHS, Academia and others? Would you like some guidance on how to do this more effectively? RiverRhee is considering putting together a one- to two- day course to explore the challenges and opportunities of collaboration in an Open Innovation environment.

Topics could include:
• What is Open Innovation, why do it? Developing a definition for your organisation
• Exploring case studies from other organisations
• Developing a strategy / roadmap for your organisation
• Identifying and addressing challenges, best practices and opportunities (organisational, cultural, technological, IP etc.)
• Developing individual action plans

Trainers and facilitators would include subject matter experts with direct experience of the various aspects of the course. Please contact Elisabeth Goodman (elisabeth@riverrhee.com, 07876 130 817) if you would be interested in participating as a delegate, or as a trainer/facilitator.

Management Development Workshop – deepening your management skills
Have you had some training in, or experience of, management and would like to explore ways to deepen your skills? Would you like to understand your strengths and potential blind spots better and use them to greater effect in your interaction with others?

As a manager and leader in your organisation it’s sometimes hard to deliver your team goals effectively. Successfully getting work done through others, effecting the change you want to make and influencing those above you takes self-awareness, self-management and an ability to maintain effective working relationships – the core elements of Emotional Intelligence.

“The rules for work are changing. We’re being judged by a new yard-stick: not just by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other” – Daniel Goleman: Working with Emotional Intelligence

Using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator as a platform for considering your work style, this half day workshop would create new insights on how to build on your natural style as a manager and work on steps to help you interact more effectively with others.

Have you recently attended the RiverRhee Introduction to Management or Supervisor Training courses, or have you been a manager for a while now and want to make a step change in your performance?

Do get in touch with either Elisabeth Goodman (elisabeth@riverrhee.com, 07876 130 817), or Liz Mercer (liz@perladevelopment.co.uk, 07825 229686).

The workshop could also be run within a single organisation for a group of interested managers.

Are you experiencing anxiety as the result of change in the workplace?  Is this affecting the quality of your work, or preventing you from achieving your targets?  Would you like to be feeling calm and in control of any change in your workplace? 

Managing and Dealing with Change
RiverRhee already runs a full-day course on Managing Change for business leaders, project managers and line managers which draws on a full range of behavioural and procedural concepts and techniques in a participative and practical way, to equip participants with the necessary skills and tools for effective business change.

If you are looking for something that will go deeper, and feel that you would like to address the anxiety that is affecting your ability to deliver, you may be interested in our proposed additional half-day course on Dealing with change. The course, which will also be available in-house and on a one-to-one basis, will help you to:

  • Understand the nature, root cause and triggers of your anxious responses to change
  • Access resources and solutions that will help you to address that anxiety
  • Begin to practise and embed your new responses to change

If you would like to enquire about our new Dealing with change course, please get in touch with Elisabeth Goodman (elisabeth@riverrhee.com, 07876 130 817).

Other courses available to you in the Autumn

We’ve been getting some wonderful feedback on our courses, and recently included the following testimonials in the publicity that we circulated for an exhibition stand at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge.

“The two trainers were brilliant. Very knowledgeable, fun, engaging and I would recommend this course to any managers.”

“The atmosphere of the course was fantastic and the course content covered all the areas I needed help on. The one-to-one coaching session was especially helpful.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course, certainly an eye-opener – both trainers incredibly knowledgeable and very easy to listen to!! Thank you! P.S. Will highly recommend.”

If you would like to access similarly positive experiences, then you might like to consider one of our courses that have been scheduled for the Autumn – details of which are available through the RiverRhee Consulting website.

  • Introduction to Management (3-day course) – 22nd – 24th September
  • Managing Change (1-day course) – 12th October
  • Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma (1-day course) – 2nd November

Other courses that are available on demand include:

  • Building Highly Effective Teams
  • Supervisor Training
  • Conducting Effective Performance Reviews and Appraisals
  • Effective Project Planning and Management
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
  • Belbin Team Roles

Happy Holidays if you are just about to go – welcome back and I hope you are feeling refreshed if you have just come back!

About RiverRhee Consulting

RiverRhee Consulting has been delivering training, mainly in the form of workshops, and coaching since 2009.

Subject areas include:

  • Supervisor and management skills.
  • Team building & effectiveness.
  • Operational excellence (Lean and Six Sigma).
  • Change management.
  • Project management.
  • Knowledge management.

We are training providers for several library and information groups such as CILIP, Aslib, TFPL.  Discounts are available for One Nucleus members, and through the Cogent Skills, Skills for Growth programme.

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams in 2015 and beyond.

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The curious learner. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, May-June 2015

By Elisabeth Goodman, 13th June, 2015

Why be a “curious learner”?

I have just come back from an invigorating visit to Belgium and the annual awards ceremony for the students of the British School of Brussels (BSB), my ex-school and one that my father, Mike Goodman, was a co-founder of.  The school’s motto is “Learning together, inspiring success” and both the Principal of the school Sue Woodroofe, and the attending BSB Trustee, Belgian Minister of State Mark Eyskens, helped to drive this message home.

Leuven University Library

Leuven University Library – BSB students are presented with their annual awards in the nearby University hall.

The second influence for this newsletter’s theme actually came a few days earlier in the form of an article in The Observer of 7th June by Ian Leslie, author of “Curious: The Desire to Know and Why your Future Depends on it”. This is where I came across the phrase “curious learner”. Leslie’s observations on the importance of enquiring minds and continuous learning to create the intellectual capital that is crucial to today’s innovative world really struck a chord.

So what is the connection with RiverRhee Consulting?

We at RiverRhee are continuously developing our own knowledge

Sue Woodroofe suggested that the purpose of learning should not just be one of imparting knowledge, but of giving students the means to develop their wisdom! Ian Leslie suggested that we should be helping students to become not only specialists (suited for specific jobs) but also generalists, with a curiosity that enables them to span many disciplines; echoes perhaps of the likes of Leonardo de Vinci and the Renaissance man, but also of successful modern day managers and entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs and Richard Branson.

We are striving for something like this in developing our own knowledge at RiverRhee, continuously learning about new areas that will bring novelty and added depth to all of our offerings for enhancing team effectiveness and for creating exceptional managers and teams.

So for instance I attended the first of what I hope will be many more workshops with David Hall from The Ideas Centre to enrich how we facilitate workshops (see Facilitation – some new ideas) in general, and also approaches to continuous improvement in our Introduction to Lean Sigma training.

Using lego with The Ideas Centre for solution development

Using lego with The Ideas Centre for solution development

I have been exploring Motivational Maps with Joy Bemrose of Winning Workplace (this is also something that our Associate Lorraine Warne can also support) as something additional to share in our Supervisor Training and Introduction to Management courses. How to motivate their direct reports is something that our delegates often flag as a particular challenge.

Janet Burton and I are always looking for ways to deliver greater value to the delegates in our Introduction to Management course. The feedback that we receive is invaluable for this, but we are also going to pilot a new approach in next week’s course: inviting a guest speaker to lead a 30 minute slot on a new topic that we believe will be of interest. Next week’s guest is Jacqui Watson of SymplyChange Ltd, speaking on Transactional Analysis as an additional resource for dealing with difficult situations. We are open to suggestions as to what will appear in September’s course.

I have been working with another of our Associates, Margie Gardiner to develop some further content, in response to a customer’s request, for our Introduction to Lean Sigma course. Like many approaches to Lean and Six Sigma, ‘5S’ (Sort, Store, Shine, Standardise, Sustain) provides a relatively simple but structured approach for better organising and streamlining our work, and thereby make better use of our time and resources. This added content will also appear in my latest workbook “The Effective Team’s Operational Excellence Workbook” that will be coming out shortly.

Other ways in which we help our clients to be curious learners

Our ideal clients are those who come to us because they have a desire to learn some new principles and tools that will enable them to address their challenges at work. So we take an “action learning” approach to our workshops, and in our coaching and consulting. Our clients bring their challenges. We teach them some approaches. They apply the approaches and gain new knowledge and skills, as well as real solutions to their challenges.

People come to us as curious learners, and hopefully they continue as such beyond their interactions with us.

So our management workshops are very interactive, as shown in our latest RiverRhee Consulting: Management Workshops video.

An interactive exercise in our Introduction to Management course

An interactive exercise in our Introduction to Management course

As delegates to our November Introduction to Lean Sigma course will discover this topic is all about stimulating continuous learning for continuous improvement.

John Riddell’s and my upcoming conference ‘master class’ at CILIP’s 2015 conference will be promoting “learning before, during and after” to enable library and information professionals to act as ‘knowledge facilitators’ in their organisations.

Last but not least, October’s Managing Change course will continue to encourages those working in Life Science based organisations to learn to understand those affected by the change in order to more effectively deliver change programmes. In fact I was interested to hear Belgian Minister of State Mark Eyskens’ assertion that our general understanding of cognitive behaviour i.e. how we all think and operate, lags far behind many other branches of our knowledge. No wonder that their own and other’s behavioural reactions to change is the aspect that so many leaders of change find the most challenging!

Time to have some more conversations with Lorraine Warne on how NLP is an “instruction manual for the mind”.  We can learn a lot from personality tools such as MBTI and Belbin Team Roles too as per this recent testimonial from one of our clients: “I’m sure I speak for all of the team when I say how informative and valuable yesterday’s [Belbin Team Roles] session was.  I know that we will be able to use this new-found knowledge to grow stronger individually, as a team and as a business – thank you.”

Closing thoughts

I continue to do voluntary work as a Trustee with The Red Balloon Learner Centre in Cambridge, and have also recently become involved as a volunteer assisting the Cambridge Area 14-19 Partnership.  It is extremely rewarding to contribute to young people’s learning in this way and to gain a window into their world which is so insightful for our own approach to work and life in general.

I’d like to finish by quoting another article, this time in the Observer Magazine of 7th June, with Stephen Mangan who said: “I’d like my kids to know that everyone’s making it up as they go along. You want to find that balance between self-confidence and arrogance, and an ability to enjoy the moment versus an ambition to improve.” I might suggest replacing the word “arrogance” with “humility” and insert ‘by being a curious learner” before the final full stop. I certainly agree that we should have fun and enjoy our continuous improvement journey!

About RiverRhee Consulting

RiverRhee Consulting has been delivering training, mainly in the form of workshops, and coaching since 2009.

Subject areas include:

  • Supervisor and management skills.
  • Team building & effectiveness.
  • Operational excellence (Lean and Six Sigma).
  • Change management.
  • Project management.
  • Knowledge management.

We are training providers for several library and information groups such as CILIP, Aslib, TFPL.  Discounts are available for One Nucleus members, and through the Cogent Skills, Skills for Growth programme.

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams in 2015 and beyond.

Elisabeth Goodman receiving the Cogent Skills Assured Training Provider certificate on behalf of RiverRhee Consulting

Elisabeth Goodman receiving the Cogent Skills Assured Training Provider certificate in May, on behalf of RiverRhee Consulting

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Taking time to think differently. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, March – April 2015

By Elisabeth Goodman, 16th April 2015

“I would just like to reiterate that these last three days have been great, and gave me a lot of ideas and things to explore further. You make a great team, and have been amazingly welcoming to all of us!”  Quote from a delegate at our March Introduction to Management course.

An important aspect of our training courses and workshops, and one that our customers repeatedly cite in their feedback, is the time that we give them to think about their work, and the strategies and tools to explore how they could go about it differently.

Delegates reflecting during an Introduction to Management course

Delegates reflecting during an Introduction to Management course

As you are kindly taking the time to read this newsletter, we thought we would share with you five ways in which you too might like to think differently.

Treat problems (as well as opportunities) as treasures

One of our mantras in our Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma course, is to recognise that everything that we do is potentially very complex: a web of interaction between the people, the processes and the environment involved.

This complexity requires continuous study and improvement, so that we could regard every problem and opportunity that we find as a “treasure” that will help us to reduce the future need for fire fighting and associated stress. Delegates in our courses search for all the ways in which they might be wasting time, money and the talent of their staff, and what they could do to address this.

So, if you are not doing so already, you too could adopt a mind-set to look out for and welcome these treasures.

People who seem difficult may just be being different

We have mentioned this in one of our previous newsletters on creating exceptional managers, but make no apology for mentioning it again as it is a popular topic for discussion in our Supervisor Training and Introduction to Management courses. I have also written a full blog on how difficult people are not necessarily being difficult. The key aspects to bear in mind seem to be:

  • Recognise that people with different personality types will approach their work and communicate differently
  • Have conversations to understand each other’s perspective rather than making assumptions about why people are behaving in a certain way
  • Be assertive rather than aggressive or passive in your interactions with others

Welcome resistance rather than treating it as something to be dealt with or dreaded

Resistance still seems to be one of the major aspects that those leading change programmes worry about.  So it was good to hear Rod Willis during the recent APM Enabling Change SIG’s “Great Change Debate” echo our perspective that leaders should listen to resistance and consider what they might have missed in their planning.

We encourage delegates in our Managing Change course to engage their stakeholders in conversation so that they can discover what people might be worrying about in relation to a change and take action accordingly.

Adopting this mind-set will help you to improve your change strategies and to communicate with people more effectively. This approach is also one that I document in “The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook”.

Work with your stakeholders to develop risk management plans

We include a brief overview on Project Management in our Supervisor Training and Introduction to Management courses. We also cover it more fully in our 1-day course on Project Management, which we have been delivering for Library and Information Managers through TFPL but can also customise for other clients. An aspect that practising project managers don’t always apply to the full is that of risk management.

Yet, as delegates discussed at a recent PIPMG (Pharmaceutical Industry Project Management Group) meeting on the work of CROs (Contract Research Organisations), taking time at the start of a project to consider all the potential risks and opportunities is a powerful way to build on the participants’ experiences from previous projects.

For CROs, and indeed for anyone delivering a product or service, it is a great way to engage in constructive up-front conversations with stakeholders about what might impact the timing, cost or quality of what you are delivering, and what actions you might take as a consequence.

Remember to think about what is working well!

Throughout this newsletter, we have encouraged you to think about opportunities as well as problems! If you have not yet come across Appreciative Inquiry, you might want to explore this further. It is a discipline that focuses on exploring successes and what is working well, how these have come about, and how they can be built upon.

For those of us who have a tendency to dwell on problems, focusing on what is going well instead can be an uplifting as well as a productive alternative way of thinking.

Upcoming courses and events

We hope you have enjoyed this newsletter.  If you would like more opportunities to take time to think differently, do consider joining us for one of our courses or events.

Details about all of these can be found on the RiverRhee Consulting website.

Here is what is coming up in the next few months:

If you would like to find out more

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams in 2015.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

 

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Building your team in 2015. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, January – February 2015

By RiverRhee Consulting, 2nd February 2015

We’ve had a busy start to the year delivering in-house training on management skills and performance reviews, and Janet Burton and Elisabeth Goodman are looking forward to delivering our popular “Introduction to Management” open access course in Melbourn (UK) in March. Details of this and other upcoming courses can be found at the end of this newsletter, or on the RiverRhee Consulting website.

We also like to add new skills to our portfolio each year, and thanks to Elisabeth’s recent accreditation, can now add the Belbin Team Roles alongside MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator), and NLP (NeuroLinguisticProgramming). These tools can be very powerful not only to help us understand our individual strengths and make better use of them, but also to foster stronger relationships and communication both within and outside the team.

Whilst white water rafting may be one approach to building your team, it’s not the one that everyone would choose.  We thought we’d devote this newsletter to exploring how you could use personality tools and other approaches to engage your team members in building your team in 2015.

Using personality tools to develop the team

There is a whole host of tools available to help us better understand our own and other’s strengths, and so plan how we can make better use of these strengths to build stronger relationships and improved communication within a team.

Some people are concerned about the risk of being ‘put in boxes’, but it is the individual’s choice to share their profile or not. At any rate, we can all choose to and do behave differently from our profiles, and we can and do learn skills in areas that are not our natural strengths.

As accredited practitioners, RiverRhee Associates can help your team explore the ethical and constructive use of such tools as Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator), and NLP (NeuroLinguisticProgramming) for developing your team.

MBTI summary slide

MBTI summary slide

 

Defining a common team purpose and goals

Strong teams don’t just rely on good working relationships. They are also aligned around a clear team purpose and goals: the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ of their day-to-day existence. Having common values will also enable team members to work together more effectively and so become a high performance team.

As Elisabeth describes in Chapter 3 of her recently published “The Effective Team’s High Performance Workbook”, “a team’s vision sets out what it aspires to do. It is a futuristic statement .. [that] is meant to inspire the team and attract its stakeholders to do business with it.” So a team might have a vision something like this: “we are recognised as a centre of excellence in what we do. Our peers consult us as a role model for how they too can excel in their work.”

The Effective Team's High Performance Workbook, RiverRhee Publishing, 2014

The Effective Team’s High Performance Workbook, RiverRhee Publishing, 2014

As for goals, the ideal is to have a cascade from the organisation’s objectives, through to those of each department and team and hence to the individual: a joined up approach that not all organisations that we work with find easy to achieve.

Finally, as also described in the book, “values represent how we go about our work: how we see ourselves, what we would like others to hear about us, what we feel is important.” These values might include expertise in the team’s area of work, being attentive and responsive to customers, or always behaving with integrity. Team building events are a good opportunity for people to share what values they care about, and which ones they could align themselves around as a team.

Identifying and agreeing opportunities to enhance working practices

Team building events are also a golden opportunity to review working practices, and to engage everyone in how these could be improved. As external facilitators, we help people to articulate what could be improved, and how, if needs be anonymously. We collate all of the suggestions for improvement, as well as confirmation of what is working well, and so facilitate constructive discussions during the team building event.

Areas covered in past events have included internal communication, clarity of roles, managing workloads, meeting management and more. Again, a full list of potential working practices to explore, along with suggestions for the pre-workshop diagnostic, can be found in “The Effective Team’s High Performance Workbook”.

Upcoming courses and events

We are delighted that John Riddell and Elisabeth Goodman’s application to present a masterclass on “How to add value to your organisation as a ‘knowledge facilitator’” at CILIP’s 2015 conference has just been accepted. This interactive session will give us an opportunity to share and explore insights from our book: “Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry”, Gower, 2014 and more!

Details of all our upcoming courses and events are kept up-to-date on the RiverRhee Consulting website. Here is what is coming up in the next few months:

  • Managing Change (with One Nucleus and Cogent) – 23rd February, Melbourn (UK)
  • Elisabeth Goodman will be co-presenting at the APM Midlands branch event – How to keep programmes on track and teams inspired during periods of change, 24th February, Nottingham
  • Introduction to Management (with One Nucleus and Cogent ) – 17th-19th March, Melbourn (UK)
  • Effective Project Planning and Management(with TFPL) – 23rd April, London
  • Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma (with One Nucleus and Cogent), 27th April, Melbourn (UK)

If you would like to find out more

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams in 2015.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

 

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Looking back on 2014 and forward to 2015. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, November – December 2014

RiverRhee Consulting, 11th December 2014

Introduction

December is traditionally a time when many of us reflect on our achievements, what we have learned and what we can look forward to in the coming year.

2014 has been our most active and varied year so far, in the just over five years of RiverRhee’s existence. We thought we would share a little about our achievements and our learning, and several things that might be of interest to you in 2015 under the headings:

  • Developing management and interpersonal skills
  • Managing and dealing with change
  • Continuous improvement
  • Knowledge management
  • Strategy facilitation
  • Upcoming courses

Developing management and interpersonal skills is an important area for growing SMEs as well as larger organisations

Interest in Elisabeth Goodman’s and Janet Burton’s off-site courses and customised in-house training and coaching for new managers and supervisors has really taken off in 2014. Our client base for management related skills is continuing to expand with bookings for January through to March 2015.

Delegates at our Introduction to Management course, September 2014

Delegates at our Introduction to Management course, September 2014

We have learnt that some SMEs can spare the time for people to attend our off-site 3-day Introduction to Management course and really appreciate the opportunity to network with and learn from colleagues from other companies.

Equally important though, is our ability to customise our Supervisor Training course so that the content and duration match what other clients would prefer to have delivered in-house. Elisabeth and Janet ran one such course for Red Balloon, Cambridge and subsequently shared the experience in the blog “There will never be enough time

Sometimes our support takes the form of short coaching sessions with individual managers – we did some of this in 2014, and are due to do more in 2015.

How to enhance team effectiveness is one of the topics included in supervisor and management training, and Elisabeth recently published “The Effective Team’s High Performance Workbook”, now available through Amazon as well as through the RiverRhee publishing page.

We’ve also found that SMEs appreciate the help we can give them in reviewing and rolling out improved performance review and appraisal processes . And we have used Elisabeth’s and Lorraine Warne’s skills in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and NLP (NeuroLinguisticProgramming) to help individuals understand their strengths and enhance their interpersonal skills.

Managing and dealing with change is a big topic of interest

We have run workshops and delivered seminars on the subject of change for Library and Information organisations (CILIP, UKeIG, Health Libraries Group), and at Project Management (APM) events in 2014 (see for example “Common factors for managing successful change“).

Changing the way we change - APM event at GSK June 2014

Changing the way we change – APM event at GSK June 2014

This subject continues to be something that people would like more help with, so that they can make change happen in a more positive and effective way.

We have introduced a new off-site course on Managing Change for Life Science organisations in 2015 and look forward to finding out how popular this will be.

Elisabeth Goodman became the ‘pillar lead’ for Capabilities and Methods in the APM Enabling Change SIG, and this is already giving her access to new knowledge to bring into our work with clients. We also recently heard that Elisabeth’s jointly authored article with Lucy Loh’s “Organizational Change: A Critical Challenge for Team Effectiveness” is to be included in a collection of such articles in an academic work entitled “Change Leadership” edited by Colette Dumas and Richard H. Beinecke which will be published by SAGE Publications in May 2015.

There continues to be an appetite for continuous improvement

We have continued to run in-house courses on Lean and Six Sigma, and are now offering this also as an off-site course in 2015. In fact, this is one of three courses (the other two being Introduction to Management, and Managing Change) that we are now accredited to deliver through Cogent as another source of potential subsidised funding for SMEs. (Elisabeth also continues to be a registered coach and trainer with the GrowthAccelerator programme and organised a fairly well attended free event with them at Babraham Science Park in the summer.)

We delivered a half-day version of the Lean and Six Sigma course as one of two seminars with Janet Burton for the Herts Chamber of Commerce, and there are prospects of delivering more of these in 2015.

We facilitated some in-house continuous improvement with an academic organisation during 2014, and a few of the delegates who visited our stand at One Nucleus’ recent Genesis event also expressed interest to Sue Parkins and John Riddell in potential support from us in this area in 2015.

(By the way, Sue joined our team of associates during 2014, along with Paul Hadland, Rose Bolton and Margie Gardiner.  We shared a little more about the team under the theme of “What motivates us in our work“.)

Look out for Elisabeth’s next book on the topic of continuous improvement in 2015: “The Effective Team’s Operational Excellence Workbook”.

Our work in knowledge management has picked up some new momentum

The big news was the publication of Elisabeth and John’s book with Gower “Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry” at the end of August. An immediate outcome was that we were invited to give an “inspiring” talk to help a Pharmaceutical company develop its knowledge management strategy.

Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry, by Elisabeth Goodman and John Riddell

Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry, by Elisabeth Goodman and John Riddell

Elisabeth also delivered a session on Knowledge Management to IMPI earlier in the year on behalf of TFPL, and worked with the Open University Library Services to carry out an audit and facilitate a stakeholder workshop for their metadata project.

Our strategy facilitation skills have been in demand

We returned to the EU organisation that Elisabeth and Lorraine Warne had worked with in 2013 to help them shape their forward strategy.

We called in another independent consultant, Janette Thomas, at the start of the year to help us with a strategic workshop with a health research organisation.

And Elisabeth has been working with a government organisation to facilitate a workshop and a focus group to help shape one of their strategies.

Upcoming courses

Details of our upcoming courses and events are kept up-to-date on our website. Here is what the list is looking like at the moment:

If you would like to find out more

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams in 2015.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

Meanwhile, we wish you a healthy and happy end of year and start to 2015…

 

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Five golden rules for performance reviews. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter September – October 2014

Why focus on performance reviews and appraisals?

It’s that time of year again when managers and their staff are preparing for performance reviews and appraisals. It’s a topic that can be very emotive. If done well it’s a tremendous opportunity to build engagement, generate fresh energy, and position the organisation for growth and innovation. If done poorly or not at all, performance reviews can be serious demotivators and lead to organisational stagnation and attrition.

Performance reviews and appraisals and how to do them well were the subject of animated discussion in two recent management courses that Elisabeth Goodman and Janet Burton ran with One Nucleus and with the Herts Chamber of Commerce. The following are some of the key points that emerged from these and our previous work supporting SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) in particular with their performance review and appraisal processes.

Some of the delegates at the recent 3-day One Nucleus Introduction to Management course, held at the Melbourn Community Hub.  Feedback from one of the delegates: “Thank you very much for an excellent course - I found it very informative and well run. I should have done it years ago.”

Some of the delegates at the recent 3-day One Nucleus Introduction to Management course, held at the Melbourn Community Hub. Feedback from one of the delegates: “Thank you very much for an excellent course – I found it very informative and well run. I should have done it years ago.”

1. Performance reviews are a 2-way process

The review should be, in transactional analysis terms (Eric Berne 1960s), an “adult to adult” conversation jointly owned by the individual and their manager. For the employee it is a time to get formal feedback on their work and to plan what they will be doing in the coming year. For the manager it is an opportunity to provide that formal feedback and direction. A manager could create an opening for that 2-way discussion by asking such questions as: “How could I help you to make 2015 a real success?”

2. There should be no surprises

Although the formal review takes place once a year, it should definitely not be the first time that comments on requirements for improvement, or positive feedback are exchanged. Nor should it be the first time that issues with or adjustments to objectives are first discussed. These things are relevant to day-to-day work and should be discussed as they arise.

3. Objectives should cascade down from the organisation’s goals

What is often quite striking when we work with SMEs is how well connected and engaged people usually are with their organisational goals. There is a clear connection with what the organisation wishes to achieve and the individual’s role in supporting that goal. This is something that can be harder to achieve in larger organisations where there can be quite a gap between the two and quite a delay before objectives are confirmed for the coming year.

4. Performance reviews are an excellent opportunity to support personal and professional development

This aspect of personal objectives is what helps to make the discussion a two-way process. As SMEs are by definition often small there may be limited opportunities for progression through management ranks, but this should not be an excuse for limiting career development. Motivators for people in SMEs are often self-actualisation or, in the words of Dan Pink, mastery and autonomy. Providing opportunities for personal and professional development should be possible whatever the size of the organisation.

5. Make sure that your objectives are SMART

People may be dismissive of acronyms but this one is a useful one to ensure that both the individual and their manager are unambiguously clear about what they have agreed and how the successful achievement of objectives will be assessed, whatever the individual meaning of the letters. We use the terms Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timed and that seemed to work for the delegates on our courses!

How effective is your performance review process?

Do you have variations on these five golden rules?

Let us know if you would like us to tailor our performance review and appraisal training to help you with your process and coach your managers and staff for greater engagement, innovation and growth. You can also read more about this topic and other ways to create high performance teams in Elisabeth’s book “The Effective Team’s High Performance Workbook” now available from Amazon as well as through the RiverRhee Publishing website.

Other news and upcoming courses and events

RiverRhee gained Cogent Sector Skills Council accreditation during September, which, amongst other things, means that our courses can reach more small businesses across the UK. We are offering our Introduction to Management, Introduction to Lean Sigma, and also Managing Change courses through Cogent.

We will be active on the Project Management front again in the coming weeks. Elisabeth is now leading the Capabilities and Methods Pillar for APM’s Enabling Change SIG (Specific Interest Group). She will be co-presenting at APM’s Project Management in Practice event on behalf of the SIG, and will also be running the Effective Project Management course for TFPL in November.

Finally, do come and find John Riddell, Sue Parkins and Elisabeth on exhibition stand 2 at One Nucleus’s Genesis event in London on 9th December

If you would like to find out more

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

 

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Discovering and building on what we know. RiverRhee Consulting newsletter, July-August 2014

It all begins with reflection

Reflection around a piece of bamboo

Reflection around a piece of bamboo

Summer holidays offer us a host of opportunities for rest but also for personal development. Elisabeth Goodman had a wonderful time attending a summer art course in the South West of France, at Cubertou, rediscovering knowledge and skills that she did not think she had, and taking some exciting steps towards developing them further. Given that a large part of what RiverRhee does is to help our clients with discovering and building their own knowledge, we thought it would be fun to draw some analogies from Elisabeth’s experience.

“Our course tutor, Jo Buffery, encouraged us to find something we would like to work on, and then to really look at it: its shape and components, contrasts of lightness and dark, and eventually the colours. It was a very peaceful and reflective exercise, like a meditation.”

We also encourage our clients to bring something to our workshops: a process that they would like to improve, a change that they would like to introduce, a project that they are working on, specific management challenges that they would like to address. They also spend a lot of time reflecting on the current state of these. It is not necessarily a peaceful exercise (!) but the nature of our workshops is such that people do appreciate the time and space away from the stresses of their everyday work for this reflection.

Next step – iterative trial and learning

“We were given a choice of tools to experiment with, and encouraged to first do a line drawing of our chosen object, then try shading, then blocks of white and black, and then some watercolouring. Finally we were encouraged to have a bit of fun by making giant painting tools out of whatever we could find in nature.

This was an exciting time for experimentation, discovering what we already knew, and really developing our knowledge and skills. We were not only learning from ourselves and from our tutor, but also looking at and talking about what others were doing and learning from them. Some of it felt very awkward, but we all believed that, with perseverance, we could achieve something worthwhile, and everyone else was very supportive and encouraging.”

Iterative experimentation and learning with alternative tools

Iterative experimentation and learning with alternative tools

Again, there are strong analogies with our RiverRhee workshops in terms of the new tools that people can experience and practise with, the journey through ‘conscious incompetence’ to at least ‘conscious competence’, and the mutual learning and support.

Fast forward to what we can do with our new knowledge

“I used my new skills to produce a tile in the bamboo colours, the pattern of which was inspired by the real tiles in the farmhouse bathrooms, and to stencil a T-shirt combining evolved versions of the patterns and colours in the tile and the bamboo.”

A rendition of a bathroom tile in bamboo colours

A rendition of a bathroom tile in bamboo colours

Final piece: stencil of tile and bamboo

Final piece: stencil of tile and bamboo

The analogy for our clients is that of being able to apply some lateral thinking: using their new skills and knowledge to tackle other processes, projects and change initiatives, and to manage individuals, teams and tasks in a variety of ways.

Opportunities to discover and build your knowledge in September

Whilst we do not teach art courses, we hope you’d like to take advantage of the opportunities we can give you to reflect, try out and learn some new knowledge and skills, and apply all of this in tangible and positive ways.

During September Elisabeth is teaming up with associate Janet Burton, and also with Sarah Hillman, to deliver a series of half-day workshops in Hatfield with the Herts Chamber of Commerce. These include:

We are also running our Introduction to Management course with One Nucleus on 23rd-25th September, in Melbourn.

Other news

We have 2 new books available for purchase:

The Effective Team’s High Performance Workbook (Elisabeth Goodman) will enable you to identify and value the individual strengths within your team, build strong working relationships and develop sound working practices. Please use our contact form to enquire about ordering this book.

Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry (Elisabeth Goodman and John Riddell), published by Gower. Click on the link from the book title for further details about the book and how to order it, or contact us directly for information about our authors’ discretionary discount.

If you would like to find out more

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers, enhance team effectiveness and create an exceptional team.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

 

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