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


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

  1. Pingback: Engaging staff in operational excellence – a case study on the visual workplace | Elisabeth Goodman's Blog

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