Curiosity, continuous improvement and innovation. RiverRhee Newsletter, September-October 2018

By Elisabeth Goodman, 8th October 2018

Francesca Gino’s article on “The business case for curiosity”, in the September-October issue of Harvard Business Review (pp. 48-57) is my source of inspiration for this issue of our bi-monthly newsletter.

The newsletter also includes details of our remaining scheduled courses for 2018, and some early plans for 2019.

2018-10-08 12.59.13

Key points from Francesca Gino’s “The business case for curiosity”, Harvard Business Review, Sept-Oct 2018, pp.48-57

Francesca Gino’s article has lots of great fact and data from surveys and studies and case studies – which make the article a fascinating read should anyone wish to take a look for themselves.

I’ve pulled out the conclusions under three main headings: how curiosity leads to better performance, the barriers that can get in the way of curiosity, and how to encourage greater curiosity at work.

Greater curiosity leads to better performance

Curiosity in practice equates to an interest in new ideas, learning and development, continuous improvement, creativity and innovation.

Individual team members and leaders who demonstrate curiosity in these ways are more likely to:

  • Be more collaborative as they listen to and build on each others’ ideas
  • Demonstrate less un-constructive* conflict (for the same reasons)
  • Gain more trust and respect from their colleagues
  • Make more effective decisions (as they consider a wider range of alternatives)
  • Enhance their personal (or ‘soft’) and technical skills
  • Better position their organisation for success

[*We at RiverRhee strongly believe in the value and power of constructive conflict as a way of encouraging the open exchange of ideas, feelings and opinions – as described in this blog “Conflict is the lifeblood of high performing organisations”]

The barriers that can get in the way of curiosity

As with so many things, a leader or manager can easily discourage curiosity by their behaviour towards it

A leader or manager will put barriers in the way of curiosity if they are overly concerned about:

  • Timelines and efficiency
  • Avoiding potential chaos or conflict

How to encourage greater curiosity at work

And so a leader can do much to create a culture of greater curiosity at work.

Managers and leaders can role-model curiosity

A manager or leader who asks questions. listens to and acknowledges what others have to say will demonstrate what it is to be curious.  This, rather than telling, is likely to lead to trust and respect from others.  It’s OK to not know the answer, especially if that is followed-up with a desire to find out and learn from others.

Managers and leaders can give individuals the time and resources to explore

Key performance indicators are important drivers of performance, but so is the opportunity to learn and be creative.  If individuals and organisations are focused solely on meeting deadlines, there will be little scope for reflection, exploration and innovation.

Francesca Gino quotes Ford’s and Toyota’s approaches to process improvement and one of the principles that we teach is that it should be used to free up people’s time for reflection and creativity.

Dan Pink also emphasises the importance of giving people time to explore to satisfy their motivational need for autonomy and mastery. (See Motivation – a refresher… eight years on..) Some organisations go as far as giving people a periodic creativity day when they can do this.  Or they pay for learning and development opportunities that might be outside the immediate scope of the employees current role.

Hire for curiosity

There are some suggestions for how to do this in the HBR article:

  • Ask the interviewee about their interests outside work.  What they enjoy reading or learning about can be a good indicator of curiosity – especially it this goes beyond their area of expertise
  • Assess them on their collaborative skills as well as the depths of their skills (described as ‘T-shaped” skills by IDEO.  The horizontal stroke is the collaborative capability which should include empathy and curiosity.  The vertical stroke is the depth of skill.)
  • Listen to the questions that the candidate asks – especially if these go beyond questions on the immediate role – as another indicator of curiosity.
  • Administer a curiosity assessment (of which apparently there are many validated examples…)

(We have more tips on the interview process in our training on Recruitment and Interview skills.)

Teach and encourage people to ask ‘Why?’ and ‘How could we?’

The ‘5 Why’s’ that we teach in our Lean and Six Sigma training echoes one of Francesca Gino’s recommendations.  We also teach managers on our management training courses the value of asking open questions to promote the sharing of ideas by their direct reports.

“How could we?” is a great way of engaging people in finding ways to address problems – and one that Ludo Chapman of The Innovation Practice use in a recent strategy and team building event that I co-facilitated with him.

Create an environment that supports curiosity

We know that people learn and explore in different ways.  Some people do so more through individual research and reflection, others do so through their interactions with others.

Francesca Gino puts more emphasis on the latter: giving people the opportunity to network with others, creating collaborative working spaces, promoting cross-training.  We also believe that people need the opportunity for individual reflection, and encourage our delegates to find creative ways of scheduling such opportunities into their agendas.

Notes

Our schedule of remaining courses for 2018 and early planning for 2019 can be accessed on our web site and is also shown here:

For those on a management journey:

  • Introduction to Management (11th-13th December). An in-depth three-day course for those who are new to management or have been doing it for some time
  • Transition to Leadership* For those moving into a leadership role
  • One-day Supervisors’ course (10th January 2019). If all you want is one day of training to get you started
  • Coaching Skills for Managers (11th June 2019) To further develop your coaching skills
  • Recruitment and Interview Skills* Essential skills for managers involved in the recruitment process

For day-to-day process and project management:

  • Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma (6th November). Explore how you can gain up to 20% savings by improving your processes
  • Introduction to Project Management (8th November). All the basics for managing your projects effectively

For essential capability and confidence building skills in other aspects of your work:

  • Assertiveness*
  • Effective Influencing and Communication*.
  • First steps in selling (7th November). Building effective relationships with your customers when selling is not necessarily your thing
  • Presentation skills (13th November).
  • Managing change (15th November). How to deal with and lead change in your organisation

* Please enquire for dates in 2019.

 

All of RiverRhee’s courses can be scheduled on demand, either to run in-house for your company, or to publicise as an open course for other delegates. We can also explore most topics in one-to-one coaching sessions.

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee, 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 or contact Elisabeth on 07876 130 817.

 

 

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Adaptability, leadership and teams. RiverRhee Newsletter, July-August 2018

By Elisabeth Goodman, 8th August 2018

We like to build our bi-monthly newsletters around specific themes, inspired by recent events, or subjects we have come across.

Daniel Goleman et al’s booklet no.3 Adaptability, in his Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence seemed a fitting subject for this issue, which also includes details of our remaining scheduled courses for 2018

Adaptability_Daniel Goleman et al

Extract from Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence – 3: Adaptability, by Daniel Goleman et al, Key Step Media & More than Sound, 2017

Why is adaptability so important?

For the individual

As Goleman points out in his introduction to the subject, adaptability is the strongest predictor of an individual’s success in life and in their career (whatever the definition of success might be).  Apparently, adaptability tops all of the other 11 emotional or social competencies defined in the series for this effect.

We have been truly impressed by the quality of delegates that we have been getting on our training courses in recent months, and the extent to which they have demonstrated adaptability.  We encourage our delegates to develop action plans at the end of the courses.

These plans often demonstrate in-depth personal reflection and include intentions to adapt their behaviours and working practices.  Where we’ve had the opportunity to carry out follow-up coaching, the individuals have implemented the plans with very good results for themselves, their direct reports and their teams.

For the team

Adaptability is also an important competence for operational and project teams.  As Vanessa Druskat describes in her chapter on “Team and Adaptability”, change is a constant factor for teams.

They need to be nimble and respond to changes in remit and timelines if they are to be successful.  Druskat suggests that the highest performing teams regularly assess and update what they are doing in terms of their goals, plans and working practices.

Team diagnostic tools can help with this and feature in our Management courses and Team Development workshops. We also put a strong focus on proactive behaviours such as risk management in our Project Management courses, and problem solving techniques in our Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma.   All of these are approaches will help teams’ adaptability.

Adaptability is also a condition for innovation.  As Richard Boyatzis points out, in his chapter on “Adaptability and Leadership”, a leader can influence a team’s ability to innovate by being open to new ideas – not only in how they respond to suggestions from the team, but also by actively eliciting ideas from the team.

What is adaptability?

The illustration above is a handy description of adaptability.  Adaptability is about how one responds to change and uncertainty, how one innovates – whilst still being focused on the end goal.

Boyatzis has a useful addition to this.  He says adaptability is about being able to alter your thinking, approach and feelings to a response that is more useful or effective.

He also contrasts adaptability with rigidity.  Individuals, teams, organisations, nations etc. that demonstrate rigidity will often find themselves in power struggles.  The outcome of these struggles will be win / lose situations and unresolvable conflict.

However, Boyatzis also suggests that people might also want to retain a certain amount of rigidity to protect their values – so that it’s a question of balance.

Goleman emphasizes what distinguishes highly adaptable people in his concluding anecdote.  The individual concerned demonstrated a high level of tolerance for risk, ambiguity and stress – combined with a strong confidence in their ability to tackle any challenge that arose.

How to become more adaptable?

The authors of the various chapters have some great tips, ranging from the better known “Situational Leadership” approach that we teach in our management and leadership courses, to personal and team reflection, and neurological practices.

Adapting your leadership style

Vanessa Druskat reminds us of the importance of adapting your leadership style to the context.  This could be a team that requires a more directive or hands-off approach depending on the situation.  It could also be an individual that is in need of more coaching and support, as opposed to delegation and more scope for their initiative.  An adaptable leader will be aware of the best style to adopt for the given situation.

Personal reflection

Richard Boyatzis has some great tips for the kinds of questions you can ask yourself which I have adapted slightly as follows:

  • Ask yourself: “Is there another way… ?”… to do this, to respond etc.
  • In a conflict situation ask yourself: “What questions can I ask to better understand the other person’s perspective?”
  • In a group situation ask: “How could we approach this differently?”

By the way there is more about this in booklet number 10: Conflict Management, which is written up in Elisabeth Goodman’s blog Conflict is “the lifeblood of high performing organisations”.

Team reflection

The section above on why adaptability is important to the team already references some of the approaches available for teams to carry out self-evaluation.  Vanessa Druskat emphasizes the importance of making this a regular formal process for the team, with everyone included, and healthy open communication.

We also teach a range of learning approaches for teams in our Project Management, and Knowledge Management courses.

Druskat talks about the importance of a positive mindset or “Affirmative Environment” as a team norm.  And also a “Pro-active problem solving” team norm.

Neurological practices

Richard J. Davidson’s chapter on “Training your Brain to be Flexible” has some great insights on the neurological basis for adaptability.

He suggests that a healthy hippocampus is the key to this.  It is connected to other brain regions such as the amygdala (for emotions) and the prefrontal cortex (for guiding behaviour and anticipating the future.)

A healthy hippocampus will enable us to respond to the different contexts or situations that we find ourselves in at home and at work; when focusing on processes vs. interactions with people; when dealing with stressful situations.  It will enhance our adaptability.

The hippocampus has a high density of receptors for the stress hormone cortisol.  High levels of cortisol can apparently result in cell death and abnormalities, which will negatively impact the performance of the hippocampus and hence that of the other brain regions.

A healthy hippocampus is one where there is good cell growth (also referred to as neuroplasticity), and where this new growth is encoded with positive experiences.  We can encourage this healthy development through regular aerobic exercise and stress reducing activities.  Davidson’s suggestions include walks in nature, petting our pets, acts of kindness to others and meditation.

Conclusion

As Goleman and others point out, adaptability also relates to other aspects of emotional and social intelligence such as self-awareness, self-control and a positive outlook.

Goleman concludes that adaptability relies on a mindset where:

  • change is viewed as positive
  • problems are opportunities
  • conflict is productive

[Again, great messages that we reinforce in our courses that have been mentioned above, and also in our courses on dealing with or leading change.]

Adaptability relies on openness, flexibility and resilience.  People who are adaptable focus on anticipated benefits rather than a fear of the unknown, of pain or of loss.

Goleman encourages us to look for role models that we can learn from!

Notes

Other booklets in Goleman et al’s series that we have already written blogs on:

Our schedule of remaining courses for 2018 can be accessed on our web site and is also shown here:

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 15.58.11

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee, 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 or contact Elisabeth on 07876 130 817.

 

 

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Setting your company up for success. RiverRhee Newsletter May-June, 2018

By Elisabeth Goodman, 28th May 2018

Our new partnership with The Innovation Practice to facilitate workshops on team strategy, behaviours and working practices

RiverRhee has been facilitating team building and development workshops on and off for several years now.  We recently facilitated one of these for a team at Red Balloon. The result, as Karen Schmiady (Head of Fundraising and Communications) says, can be “a highly motivating and inspiring day [with] many useful actions that will really make a difference.”

RiverRhee has struck up a new partnership with The Innovation Practice, which is proving very exciting!  Ludo Chapman of the Innovation Practice and I have been talking to CEOs, COOS and HR Directors in SMEs about how we can help them set up their companies for success.

Together, we are offering an enhanced package for senior management teams and members of their organisations.  Ludo Chapman and I have been talking to CEOs, COOS and HR Directors in SMEs about how we can help them set up their companies for success.  The result is that we are developing workshops that are tailored to the organisation and to its requirements.  They typically include one or more of the following elements:

  1. Shaping and articulation of your strategy (purpose, values, key performance indicators etc.)
  2. Agreement on your core behaviours  – how you will communicate and work with each other and with others outside your team. (This is supported by analysis of your individual and team strengths.)
  3. Diagnosis and enhancement of your current working practices – through observation, team questionnaires, and discussion.

Successful organisations combine well-articulated organisational strategies with good people practices

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) continues to provide valuable insights on the latest thinking for successful organisations.  Ranjay Gulati combines a number of roles with that of Chair of the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School.  His article “Structure that’s not stifling” in the May-June issue of HBR (pages 69-79), reinforces what we are aiming to do in our new partnership with The Innovation Practice:

Ensure clarity of purpose and direction

combined with

practices that enable people to be at their best

Ranjay Gulati refers to the established phrase “Freedom within a framework” as one way to describe this approach.  Essentially, if people understand their organisation’s vision, mission, purpose, goals, values, rules of working – whatever the relevant mix of these is for their organisation – then it provides them with a framework within which to operate.

The “freedom” component is about giving people the ability to make their own decisions about how they will operate within that framework.  The decisions can be to do with customer service (as the author describes for Alaska Airlines), with employee terms and conditions or with product innovation (as he describes for Netflix).

Although Ranjay Gulati does not say too much about the actual practices that would enable people to be at their best, he does make a few passing references to the importance of education / training (aka learning and development), as well as role modelling by senior managers, and making time for “after action” discussions and reflection.

 

Learning and Development can have a very real impact on an organisation’s bottom line

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege to participate as a judge for the category of Learning and Development in the finals of the UK Employee Excellence Awards.  Entries came from a variety of sectors and from large corporate organisations as well as smaller ones.

UK Employee Excellence Awards

What struck me was the passion of those presenting the entries for their awards – and these were CEOs and other C-suite managers, as well as HR professionals and individual team leaders.

The best entries were able to relate how their Learning and Development programmes were having a positive impact on their company’s bottom line and to the quality of the service they provided to their customers.  This positive outcome was in addition to enhancing individual’s personal and professional development, and their perception of being valued by the company.

The programmes described included ones for management and leadership skills and for professional and ‘soft’ skills for the whole organisation.  The participants also described varying approaches for performance management and review.

Employees were involved to a varying extent in the actual development of the programmes.  Some award participants also used external support to develop and initiate their programmes before taking them over in-house.

Could we help you with shaping and implementing your learning and development strategies?

Many of the organisations that we work with have had a slow start to 2018 as senior managers’ and HR practitioners’ attention has been on securing the latest round of funding, or dealing with relocations, major organisational changes and/or recruitment challenges.

We have seen knock-on effects for learning and development, which frequently takes a lower priority.  However, if you have a performance management / review process in place, your employees will be identifying requirements which may be going unmet.  Addressing these requirements will have a positive impact on motivation and retention, on helping your employees be at their best and, ultimately, on your organisation’s success.

We have experience in designing and implementing performance management processes, in carrying out training needs analysis, and in helping organisations to identify appropriate learning and development programmes.  These programmes could include any of our own in-house courses and workshops, but we would be equally happy to guide you towards alternative suppliers of face-to-face or online programmes.

Could we help you with this?

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee, 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 or contact Elisabeth on 07876 130 817.

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Changing management practices? RiverRhee Newsletter March-April 2018

By Elisabeth Goodman, 3rd April 2018

Change

Changing images of the Cesse near Minerve in the Languedoc, March 2018

From long-term planning and rule-based approaches to “servant leadership”

Peter Cappelli and Anna Tavis tell us, in their article “HR goes agile”, in the March-April 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review (HBR) (p.46), that managers need to get used to “servant leadership” as their approach to leadership.

They argue that HR and management are changing from the long-term planning and rule-based approach that typified manufacturing industries in the post World War II era.  And are now adopting the more flexible, adaptable, customer and employee-based approaches derived from Agile IT and project management.

As we enter the second quarter of 2018, and RiverRhee’s next wave of public access courses for managers, teams and individual contributors, it seems appropriate to review what some of these “servant leadership” changes might entail.

Coaching versus telling

The concept of “servant leadership” is at the heart of Peter Cappelli and Anna Tavis’s article.  This is where supervisors and managers act as coaches rather than monitors for their direct reports.

Intro to Mgmt March 2018

Delegates at RiverRhee’s March 2018 Introduction to Management course

As coaches, managers give their direct reports the space and the time to reflect on what they are learning.  They create forums for people to learn together (we call these Action Learning groups).  And they focus on building people’s capabilities, and approach that typically leads to greater engagement as people feel more valued.

[Coaching is a skill we introduce to delegates on our Introduction to Management course, and is the focus of our Coaching Skills for Managers course that will be running next on the 24th April.]

Providing frequent and wide-ranging feedback, rather than single annual events

We know that many organisations have already been making the shift from the once yearly performance review, to more frequent and flexible approaches.  This makes sense at so many levels.

For those working in scientific environments, the nature of their work is too uncertain, and changing too rapidly to tie objectives down for a whole year.  The same is true for any environment that thrives on innovation.

Cappelli and Tavis stress the importance of frequent feedback to facilitate learning, for teams as well as for individuals.  They also remind us of the importance of collecting feedback more widely than from an individual’s line manager.  With people working in teams, and changing teams throughout the year, some organisations are using Apps to collect feedback from all those who will have input on an individual’s and team’s performance.

[RiverRhee can help you to review your Performance Management and Development processes, as well as deliver in-house training for managers and their direct reports.  Performance Management and Development is also one of the modules in our Introduction to Management course.]

Promoting reflection and continuous improvement

Agile management has some analogies with Knowledge Management and with process improvement techniques such as Lean and Six Sigma (both of which are areas that RiverRhee provides training in).

Agile teams carry out frequent “retrospectives”, a version of the “After Action Reviews” that we promote in Knowledge Management, Lean Sigma and also in our Project Management courses to ensure that teams take time to learn and reflect on what they have learnt.

The HBR authors also advocate that teams monitor and continuously improve the dynamics within their teams.  This is again something that we advocate in the Good Practices for Team Working module of our management courses and also support in our team building / team development workshops.

Moving to single project team membership, rather than a multi-team approach?

We know that there are many benefits as well as challenges to the wide-spread practice of multi-team project management. (See Addressing the challenges of multi-teaming in project management.)  This is a topic that we also explore in RiverRhee’s Project Management course, coming up on the 24th May.

Lisa Burrell, in the HBR March-April 2018 (p.54) write-up of her conversation with IBM’s Head of HR, Diane Gherson, describes how IBM has moved to a model of small dedicated teams.  People are allocated to a single team, rather than moving between mutiple teams, and this enables them to focus on the requirements of their clients in a way that also enables faster turn-around.

Is this a transition in management practice that more organisations should be considering?

Taking a more collaborative approach to recruitment

Recruitment continues to be a challenge for many of the organisations that we work with.  (See Tips for hiring the best people in rapidly growing Biotech and Life Science companies.)

Cappelli and Tavis describe a collaborative approach to recruitment where recruiting managers form a cross-functional team, rather than relying more exclusively on the HR function to do this.  The managers prioritise the recruitment effort based on urgency and readiness.  They share information on the candidates in case they fit more than one position.  They monitor and improve on the cycle time for recruitment and so reduce the risk of losing candidates to competitors due to poor follow-through.

[RiverRhee offers in-house courses on Recruitment, Interview Skills, and Employee Relations.]

Providing individually tailored Learning and Development programmes

I wrote previously about the importance of company learning and development strategies.

MOOC research on learning

Illustration from “Can MOOCs solve your training problems” by Monika Hamori, Harvard Business Review, January-February 2018, pp. 71-76

Such strategies demonstrate that companies value their staff, as well as equipping them with the capabilities to provide value to the organisation.  Companies are increasingly sourcing online programmes to provide more flexible and affordable training for their staff.

Cappelli and Tavis describe the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to help match Learning and Development modules to individuals and their roles.

The predominantly SME-size Life Science and Biotech organisations, and the Library & Information Management clients that RiverRhee works with may not yet be using AI to design L&D programmes for their staff.  However, we do like to think that they are providing their staff with opportunities to tailor their training to their needs.

Here are a few of the areas that we have planned to help managers and individual team contributors polish their “soft skills” in our open courses in May and through our in-house courses:

 

  • Develop your assertiveness, influencing or communication skills
  • Be more confident with your presentations
  • Learn how to build more effective customer relations
  • Be more efficient with your time, processes or projects
  • Deal more effectively with all the changes going on in your business or team
  • Increase your success rate when recruiting and interviewing candidates
  • Manage your employee relations, performance and development with conviction…

Concluding thoughts..

How do these changes in management practice reflect what is going on in your organisation?

What about the whole field of emotional intelligence, which Cappelli and Tavis do not mention, but which could help managers be more effective in a coaching-style role?

[This last is an area we include in many of our courses, and especially in our Transition to Leadership course which runs next on the 26th April.]

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house courses and workshops and one-to-one coaching, 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 or contact Elisabeth on 07876 130 817.

 

 

 

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As you prepare for 2018…RiverRhee Newsletter, Jan-Feb 2018

By Elisabeth Goodman, 8th February 2018

Snow drops in the winter garden

Snow drops in the winter display of the Botanical Garden, Cambridge

Many of our clients are in the midst of planning their objectives, and their learning and development goals for 2018.

So this newsletter is a reflection on some of the ways that RiverRhee’s learning and development resources have been evolving in the past year – in case this resonates with your needs.

Exploring mindsets as well as ‘how to’ processes

How we think about ourselves and what’s possible can have as great an influence on our capability for doing something, as having the right tools, skills and knowledge for doing it.

RiverRhee’s courses have evolved since our early days in 2009 to include more and more of the softer or people aspects of our work, as opposed to just the ‘how to’ process.

So for instance, our Lean Sigma training emphasises the mind-set of continuous improvement, and of seeking out problems so as to prevent them recurring, rather than rewarding fire-fighting.

Effective Project Management relies on creating and sustaining a high performing team, and of understanding the soft skills that people bring to it. These are just some of the challenges and opportunities of working in a matrix environment and on multiple simultaneous projects.

Managing Change is of course all about understanding how people are perceiving and experiencing change and how to respond to that to get the desired outcome.

And, Sharing Knowledge and Collaboration will be easier to do in a climate of good relationships and trust.

Our ability to:

are all as much a factor of understanding and working with the strengths of different personality types, as adopting smart personal and team practices.

(*Assertiveness is our newest course and is currently in development.)

Accessing the rich resources of Neurodiversity

In November 2017, we delivered a seminar on Neurodiversity with Carol Fowler, co-sponsored by Abzena and Babraham Bioscience Technologies.

We are now offering in-house seminars on this topic, with a view to building managers’ and HR professionals’ awareness of the rich resources that could be available to their teams.

How we recruit, interview, and support people with Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD and other cognitive differences will determine how well we can access the unique skills that they bring and ensure their well-being at work.

Going beyond introductory management skills

Delegates at RiverRhee's June 2017 Introduction to Management course

Delegates at RiverRhee’s June 2017 Introduction to Management course

Our 3-day Introduction to Management course (running next on the 13th-15th March) continues to be our most popular course.

With over 100 managers having now taken part, some of them are now looking for options to develop their skills beyond the introductory level.

We now offer a 30-minute follow-up call as an integral part of the course, as well as the one-to-one coaching that each delegate received during the course.

Our Associates are also available for further one-to-one personal coaching – to which we bring various specialisms such as dealing with Dyslexia, coaching in French, and transitioning to leadership roles.

In 2017 we added Transition to Leadership and Coaching Skills for Managers to complete our portfolio of resources available to managers beyond the introductory level.

Tailored in-house programmes

All of our courses can be tailored for in-house delivery.  In 2017 we worked with 4 clients to customise and deliver variations of our management and individual contributor courses for their staff.

These programmes included tailored versions of:

(*We were delighted to have Alison Proffitt join the RiverRhee team of Associates in January to support us with this and our other offerings.)

Concluding thoughts..

Hopefully there is food for thought there for you as you prepare for your learning and development in 2018.

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 one-to-one coaching, 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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13 good practices for effective management. RiverRhee Newsletter, November-December 2017

By Elisabeth Goodman, 12th December 2017

We have had over one hundred managers complete our RiverRhee Introduction to Management course since we started running it in 2013.

We have thirteen modules in our course and there are some key learnings that our delegates have helped us to identify from each.

We are planning to use these key learnings in some free taster sessions for managers in 2018, and thought our readers would also be interested in a free preview of the headlines now!

Key learning 1: John Adair’s 3-part focus on individuals, teams and tasks helps our managers identify and balance their different responsibilities.

Courses workshops and coaching for managers and teams

John Adair’s model is at the heart of RiverRhee’s training for managers and teams

Key learning 2: Job descriptions, project charters, SMART objectives – are 3 invaluable tools to clarify and communicate expectations.

Key learning 3: Managers can learn a lot about what motivates their staff by listening to how they talk about their work and observing what they do.

Key learning 4: A manager should adapt the style of her communication so as to be better understood.

Key learning 5: The style and content of performance reviews is evolving.  A focus on developmental opportunities and goals vs. retrospective reflections could be more productive.

Key learning 6: Developing your coaching skills as a manager will support both your own and your direct reports’ performance.

Key learning 7: When in difficult situations, it’s useful to first consider your own mindset and assumptions.

Key learning 8: Managers of high performance teams make it natural to discuss ‘the elephant in the room’.

Key learning 9: Skilful managers understand and develop the diverse personality strengths within their teams.

Key learning 10: High performing managers and their teams excel with a clear purpose and roles, strong relationships and good working practices.

Key learning 11: There will never be enough time.  Effective managers focus their attention and manage their productivity rather than endeavouring to “manage time”.

Illustration of the Productivity Ninja

Illustration based on Graham Allcot’s Productivity Ninja

Key learning 12: Delegation, for a productive manager and their direct reports, is both a necessity and an opportunity.

Key learning 13: A structured approach to projects and processes makes it possible to identify and share good practices and to continuously improve.

Other news from RiverRhee

RiverRhee schedules its courses on topics, at times, and in locations to meet anticipated need.  Dates for upcoming courses can be viewed on the RiverRhee website.

If the course you want is not available when or where you need it, then do get in touch. We may be able to schedule an extra course, arrange a workshop for you in-house, or deliver it in the form of one-to-one coaching.

We’ve been enjoying a particularly high demand for our in-house courses during 2017.  Here is some of the feedback we have been receiving from delegates:

  • Onsite course for CILIP “Making the most of your time and resources”: “very good introduction from an excellent trainer”, “lots of information but not overload.  Good that we were able to use specific examples relevant to what we do.”
  • Onsite course with CILIP “Good practices in knowledge sharing and collaboration” “A knowledgeable trainer and a focus on practical tasks very much helped to embed the learning”

We also had this feedback from a client who received one-to-one personal coaching on what they valued most about it: “Having time to think about my personal development which I wouldn’t have had normally”.

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 one-to-one coaching, 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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Managing complex change. RiverRhee Newsletter, September – October 2017

By Elisabeth Goodman, 11th October 2017

Why choose the topic of complex change for this newsletter?

In August, the APM Enabling Change SIG proudly released its first publication “Introduction to Managing Change”.  It was the culmination of the SIG’s first 2 years of work, and a publication I am pleased to be a co-author of.

APM Introduction to Managing Change

APM Introduction to Managing Change

As described in the opening chapter, the purpose of this book is to “introduce the importance of managing change effectively”.  It describes key principles and practices and provides guidance on applying different methodologies and on the resources available.

Autumn’s issue of the APM’s Project magazine appropriately features an interview with Dr John Kotter, one of the gurus on managing change, whose eight-step methodology was outlined in his 1996 publication “Leading Change”.

Kotter’s methodology is one of those referenced in “Introduction to Managing Change”, and is expanded upon in the Project interview, in the context of complex change.

Last but not least, the concept of “complex change” is one that many of our clients will be familiar with, as exemplified by a couple of other recent publications:

  1. An article in Labiotech, with the CEO of the Babraham Bioscience Technologies, the organisation responsible for the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge, UK.  This describes some of the complexities that small Life Science organisations experience as they seek the resources and opportunities to translate new ideas into tangible revenue and growth.
  2. A House of Lords Library briefing on Globalisation, Technology and Demographic Change and the Future of Work reflects some of the underlying complexities affecting all sectors of work.

So how can complex change be managed for a successful outcome?

As Kotter explains in his interview for Project magazine, his eight-step process still applies, even to complex change programmes.

The challenges brought by scale and complexity are two-fold.

Firstly, leadership teams need to maintain operational excellence whilst steering strategic change – something that they are not always best-equipped to do. My recent blog outlines why and how senior management could pay more attention to operational excellence (The blog is based on a Sept-Oct 2017 Harvard Business Review article by Sadun et al on this topic, describing insights from 15 years’ of research with more than 12,000 organisations in 34 countries.)

Top of the list for maintaining operational excellence is commitment from the top: ensuring that there is a clear vision, visibility and role modelling by senior leaders – themes that also feature at the top of the APM Enabling Change SIG’s, and RiverRhee’s key factors for successful change.

The second challenge of more complex change is how to ensure that all those affected by the change are optimally engaged in helping to make the change a success.

We know that what people find most difficult about change is the associated uncertainty, and the lack of control, as referenced in a previous RiverRhee newsletter on dealing with change  Providing information as early as possible, and finding ways to involve people are key ways to counteract these difficulties.

enabling-navigators-of-change

Kotter’ three strategies for ensuring success, referenced in the Project article are to:

  1. Involve lots of people
  2. Win over their hearts as well as their minds
  3. Give them freedom to act

This type of involvement will need some careful and coordinated steering and management!

So, as Kotter also says, complex change will require involvement from experienced change management specialists, above and beyond skilful steering by a programme or project management team.

If you would like to know more

RiverRhee’s training courses, workshops for teams and one-to-one coaching are designed to create exceptional managers and teams.  How you manage any type of change will contribute to that excellence.

Managing Change is one of RiverRhee’s training courses for managers and teams coming up in November and December.  Other courses in the next few weeks include: Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma, Introduction to Project Management, First Steps in Selling, Coaching Skills for Managers, and Transition to Leadership.

All of these topics and more are also available as in-house workshops and can be covered in our one-to-one coaching.

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 one-to-one coaching, 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.

Other notes

John Kotter’s eight-step process, as summarised  on page 21 of the APM’s “Introduction to Change” are: 1. Create a sense of urgency; 2. Build a guiding coalition; 3. Form a strategic vision and initiatives; 4. Enlist a volunteer army; 5. Enable action by removing barriers; 6. Generate short-term wins; 7. Sustain acceleration; 8. Institutionalise change.

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