Tag Archives: Cogent Skills

A second look at project management. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, November – December 2015

By Elisabeth Goodman, 26th November 2015

Why a second look at project management?

We have been running an introductory course on project management for Library and Information Professionals for a while now, through TFPL. This has just been rebranded as Successful Project Management.

We also include a short module on “Managing Projects, Processes and Problems” in our Introduction to Management course and find just this summary slide very effective to tease out challenges and opportunities for managing projects more effectively.

Project Management summary slide

One slide overview of some of the key components of project management

And our one-day course on project management for those working in science based industries has just been quality assured and approved for addition to our offerings via Cogent Skills.

Many people are expected to lead projects without having received any or very little formal training.  Although there are a lot of in-depth courses available for project managers, we’ve found we can make a big difference with just our one-day overview of the basics.

This newsletter picks up on four aspects of project management that have been cropping up quite regularly in our courses.  It also builds on one of our previous newsletters: Notes for the occasional project manager.

Working in a matrix environment – project charters

Many of the people we work with are both line and project managers.  Or they are managing people who also report to someone else in a matrix environment.

P1090047.JPG

Managers exploring aspects of their responsibilities during RiverRhee’s November 2015 Introduction to Management course

Either way, it can be quite challenging to ensure that project team members have the support from their line managers, and are themselves committed to providing the time and attention that the project leader needs.

Individual project charters are a relatively simple tool that can facilitate conversations between the project leader, individual team members, and relevant line managers to discuss and agree roles, responsibilities and time commitments.

We recognise that project priorities will change, and individuals may be involved in more than one project, but the project charter provides a starting point for facilitating further conversations and agreements.

What to do if the project is not initiated by the project leader; how to influence your business development team

Many of the managers that we work with ‘inherit’ their project from someone else.  Sometimes this is the business development team who liaises directly with the company’s customers.  Or it may be another member of the management team.

The consequence is that the project comes to the project manager with the timelines, budgets, resources already defined.  They are not necessarily realistic, and may not be open to renegotiation.

In the spirit of sharing knowledge and experience, continuous improvement, and learning in general, one approach might be to invite those who initiate projects, such as the business team, to project reviews. That way they can hear first hand what the impact of pre-defined timelines, budgets and resources have been on the project, what happened in practice, and what might be done differently next time.  There is more on learning reviews below.

Learning reviews

How to capture and make optimum use of learnings from projects is a perennial topic of conversation amongst both project and knowledge managers.  Project teams often do not make the time to reflect on how the project went, and to identify what successes they might build on in future projects, as well as what they might do differently.  Where they do capture such learnings, organisations seldom have a mechanism to act on these learnings in their future work.

We recently provided advice, organisation and facilitation for a retrospective learning review workshop for an organisation. The workshop participants identified 21 recommendations to act upon as a result of the learning review.  The organisation will also be adopting a simplified version of the learning review to support all future projects.

Risk management is not just for Health and Safety, nor just for Quality Assurance audits.

There is a lot of cross-over between the different disciplines that we support, as illustrated by a couple of seminars that I have recently co-led for the APM in my capacity as committee member for the Enabling Change Specific Interest Group (SIG).

We introduce our delegates to the FMEA (Failure Mode Effect Analysis) matrix used in Lean and Six Sigma.  It is a variation of risk management tools used in project management, in Health and Safety, and for Quality Assurance audits.

Risk analysis matrix or FMEA

Risk analysis or FMEA matrix

Project teams that take the time to go through this kind of analysis at the start of their projects, can do so with the insights that they and others have learned in previous projects.  Like all project management tools it is one to keep very much alive, constantly referred to and updated throughout the life of the project.

Other news

We also continue to be included in the ‘on demand’ course list for CILIP, and are in fact one of the first CILIP recognised CPD providers.  Our courses with CILIP include:

RiverRhee’s 2016 course and date list for Life Science companies is now available.  It includes the details for our one-day Introduction to Project Management course.

We are in the process of developing half-day versions of “Effective Influencing and Communication” and “Time and Meeting Management” to deliver to a local Life Science company and would be glad to discuss either of these with any one else who might be interested.  We are also able to provide training / coaching in Sales and Marketing.

We have also had expressions of interest for our new half-day “Management Development” workshop which uses the Myers Briggs (MBTI) tool to help participants gain more in-depth insights on their style as a manager and how to interact more effectively with others.  Do get in touch if you would like to join us for this.

Last but not least we could not resist sharing this wonderful testimonial from one of the delegates at our November Introduction to Management course: “I have been on numerous courses and this was by far the best.  Fantastic content, delivery and above all instructors.”

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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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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