Tag Archives: John Hicks

Insights and highlights on management and team development from 2016. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, November – December 2016

By Elisabeth Goodman, 2nd December 2016

Celebrating the community of managers and teams that we have been working with in 2016

delegate-exercise-during-riverrhee-nov-2016-introduction-to-management-course

Delegates at our November 2016 Introduction to Management course

We’ve had a very fulfilling and enjoyable year working with managers and teams in 2016.  The organisations that we’ve worked with have ranged from start-ups to large corporates in the life sciences / biotech, management consulting, government organisations, the legal profession, the automotive industry and others.  We have worked with line and project managers, library / information management and IT professionals, scientists, sales staff, HR and finance directors and more.

We thought it would be fun to celebrate our work with this community by putting together a mixed platter of  insights and highlights that our readers might find interesting and helpful to sample!

Here is what this newsletter will touch upon:

  1. Listening, communicating, building rapport
  2. Using the GROW coaching model – and variations
  3. One-to-one coaching
  4. Motivation and delegation
  5. Using Belbin and MBTI to build personal and inter-personal understanding
  6. Dealing with difficult situations and managing conflict
  7. Appraisal training
  8. Understanding our relationship with time
  9. Team diagnostics and innovation
  10. Going beyond line manager and team development skills
    1. Lean Sigma – including Green Belt training
    2. Project Management – basic skills
    3. The First Steps in Selling
    4. Managing Change
    5. Good Practices in Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration

Listening, communicating, building rapport

We are social beings!  How we communicate is fundamental to achieving anything in work as in life in general.  Building rapport provides an invaluable starting point for effective communication.  We can also be so much more effective if we use our ears and our eyes to ‘tune in’ to the people we are interacting with.

What would you like to know about

Illustration by Nathaniel Spain from “The Effective Team’s Knowledge Management Workbook“, 2016

We introduced a stand-alone course on “Effective Communication and Influencing” this year, evolved our module on this topic in our “Introduction to Management” course, and explored communication skills in a team building exercise.  We also touched on the subject in a tailored version of our “Good Practices in Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration” course.  There are powerful insights to be gained on communication styles from NLP’s representational styles, and from the MBTI sensing / intuition, and extrovert / introvert preferences.  We also gained some new insights from Appreciative Inquiry to hone our skills in listening and in asking effective questions.

Using the GROW coaching model – and variations

We discovered that coaching skills are not only a powerful asset for managers, but can be a useful one for peers working within a team.  They help the ‘coachee’ to develop their own resources for problem solving and decision making, and of course develop those listening skills for the coach.  We enjoyed experimenting with the T-GROW variation where the coachee gives an initial definition of the topic (T) to be explored, before firming up on the goal (G).  Appreciative Inquiry introduced some additional variations with the 5-step approach that emphasises the goal to be moved towards rather than away from (Define), and powerfully engages the emotions in the goal to be achieved (Dream).

One-to-one coaching

John Hicks, our newest Associate for coaching and training addressing delegates on a recent course

John Hicks, our newest Associate for coaching and training addressing delegates on a recent course

We’ve had some very positive feedback from our increased one-to-one coaching activities this year, for example:

“Excellent 1:1 coaching, management ideas and tools very relevant and tailored, helped me to improve as a manager.” 

We’ve addressed topics such as transitioning to management, and developing management skills, career development and carrying out appraisals.

Several members of our team are able to deliver this coaching, and it’s been a pleasure to add John Hicks to our team to help us with this as well as with our courses.

Motivation and delegation

These two topics are the ones around which the most light bulbs seem to go off with the managers on our Introduction to Management course.  They realise that simple questions like “What do you enjoy most about your work?” and “What do you enjoy least?” can give them tremendous insights on what motivates their direct reports, and so manage, influence and develop them accordingly.  And they realise that effective delegation can make a big difference to their own productivity, as well as the motivation and development of their team.  The RSA video of Dan Pink on motivation continues to be a winner!

Using Belbin and MBTI to build personal and inter-personal understanding

MBTI summary slide

MBTI summary slide

We use whichever personality tools are most appropriate to the client and the situation that we are supporting.  These two are amongst the most popular.  We are now using the full Belbin questionnaire in our Introduction to Management course, and the insights our delegates gain from the feedback from observers are very powerful.  They illustrate how we can adapt our behaviours to the people we are interacting with, and the range of skills that we can draw on to enhance the performance of our teams.

Dealing with difficult situations and managing conflict

This is another module within our Introduction to Management course, and Elisabeth also delivered it as a stand-alone topic for TFPL.  We like how this light-hearted video illustrates the Thomas-Kilmann model for conflict management.

Appraisal training

We’ve had a tremendous demand for training on performance review processes and conducting appraisals, not only for managers delivering the appraisals, but also for those receiving it.  “Appraisees” can benefit from assertiveness skills to help them take ownership for their task-related objectives and development goals. “Appraisers” can help them to achieve that.

Some of our reflections on the approach for performance reviews, combined with insights from a recent Harvard Business Review article, can be found in Elisabeth and Liz’s recent blog: Performance Reviews – kill them or keep them?

Understanding our relationship with time

Illustration based on Graham Allcot's Productivity Ninja

Illustration based on Graham Allcot’s Productivity Ninja

Time management as a term is being replaced by such phrases as “focusing our attention” and “productivity management”.  Both Janet Burton and Liz Mercer have helped to develop our module on this in our “Introduction to Management” course, and this is also reflected in another new stand-alone course that we delivered on “Time and Meeting management”.  Organisations based on the Babraham Research Campus will have an opportunity to get a taster of our new approach if they visit our RiverRhee stand in the new conference centre there on 2nd February 2017.

Team diagnostics and innovation

We had a very enjoyable time working with a Life Science start-up where we combined our team diagnostic approach for team building, with a session on innovation. The ability to innovate is one of the attributes of high performance teams, but one that is not often explored as a stand-alone topic.

Going beyond line manager and team development skills

RiverRhee’s Associates have expertise in a range of disciplines, and it’s been exciting to be able to develop and deliver on a number of these this year.

We continue to get demand for our one-day course on “Lean and Six Sigma“, and also delivered our Green Belt training, consisting of 6-7 modules to ten delegates in an in-house course.

One-slide summary of some of the key aspects of project management - as used in RiverRhee's training courses

One-slide summary of some of the key aspects of project management

Our one-day course on “Project Management” proved very popular as an in-house course.  We’ve found that many project managers can benefit from having the time to learn about the basics of such things as: how to put together a project plan; tools to help them manage risks and issues, decisions and actions; the team dynamics they will encounter.

We ran our new course, with John Hicks, on The First Steps in Selling.

Elisabeth also had some great opportunities to facilitate events on the topic of “Managing Change” in her capacity as committee member for the APM Enabling Change SIG, such as the recent one on AstraZeneca’s relocation to Cambridge.

The Effective Team's Knowledge Management Workbook, RiverRhee Publishing, 2016

Last but not least, we had a big demand for our course with CILIP on “Good Practices in Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration“.  It ran three times in November, a timely complement to our new publication: The “The Effective Team’s Knowledge Management Workbook“, RiverRhee Publishing, 2016.

Wishing you an enjoyable and restful holiday – and all the best for 2017

We are aware that these final two to three months of the year are particularly busy for many of our customers.  Like us you’ll be ready for a good holiday with friends and families.  We wish you all the best, and look forward to working with you again in 2017.

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.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Newsletter

Focus on Lean and Six Sigma. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, March-April 2016

By Elisabeth Goodman, 7th April 2016

We’ve had a bit of a focus on Lean and Six Sigma in recent months, so it seems appropriate to make this a feature of today’s newsletter, especially as the last time we covered this topic was back in 2011 in Ten Top Tips for Successful Lean and Six Sigma Implementation – RiverRhee Consulting – February 2011.

MBTI sensing

Focus on Lean and Six Sigma

The focus of our previous newsletter on Lean and Six Sigma was on how to ensure successful implementation – and so this had to do a lot with managing change.

The current newsletter will highlight aspects of the principles and methodology that are resonating most with delegates on our one-day Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma, and our modular ‘Green Belt’ course for more expert practitioners.  (There is more information on our Lean Sigma training on the RiverRhee website.) I will use the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) framework as the context for this.

Engage with your customers to define your goals and your approach

We are often so focused on HOW we are doing our work that we forget WHY we are doing it.  At the end of the day, our business, and our teams only exist because we are delivering something to our customers, be they colleagues in another department, or the ultimate buyers or users of our services.  We generally think we know what our customers want from us, from the result of marketing surveys, or from the occasional feedback that we get.  But do we really know?  Lean and Six Sigma has many useful tools to help us truly understand our customers’ requirements, and hence what our goals should be and how we might arrive at them.

customers

We need to talk to our customers to truly understand their requirements

There is nothing like real measures to give you insights on what can be improved

Just as we think we know where the problems are in our work, perception will only take us so far and may be mis-guided.  Lean and Six Sigma teaches us how to follow the process: to monitor exactly what’s happening and gather data to give us baselines and targets for improvement.  These data are also invaluable in our communications with senior managers, colleagues, suppliers and customers when we need to influence them to support us in the changes that we want to make.

It’s surprising how powerful analysis and the resultant root causes can be for finding effective solutions to problems

I share a simple story about the Jefferson Memorial Building to help delegates understand the power of root cause analysis.

jefferson memorial coloured

Illustration of the Jefferson Memorial Building from “The Effective Team’s Operational Excellence Workbook”, RiverRhee Publishing, 2015

We know that the most effective treatment of diseases will always be to tackle the causes rather than the symptoms.  It’s the same with the problems we encounter in our work.  Taking time to analyse our problems will enable us to find the most effective solutions.  In the long term this approach will help us to make time so that we can engage the talent and creativity of our staff in innovation rather than fire-fighting.

Click here for information on RiverRhee's training on Lean and Six Sigma

Click here for information on RiverRhee’s training on Lean and Six Sigma

Being open to new, and not necessarily obvious ideas for improvement can yield interesting results

All of our training courses are interactive and centred around the actual challenges and day-to-day work of our delegates.  When they are exploring ideas for addressing the root causes of their problems, I encourage them to have lots of fun with this.  Anything goes! It’s often something among the last few ideas, sometimes from people who are not even directly involved in their work, that turns out to be the ‘winning’ solution.

Follow-through on the impact of the solutions through the control phase is invaluable

The last phase of DMAIC is the control phase.  This is where delegates are encouraged to monitor the impact of their improvements and to what extent they have delivered the anticipated benefits.  Again, it is this kind of measurement that will provide the information on return on investment that may be important for senior managers.  Results also provide the compelling stories to share with others who might be considering whether or not to adopt this way of working.

Figure 5.1 Embedding change

Embedding new ways of working. Illustration taken from “The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook”, RiverRhee Publishing, 2013

Click here for information on RiverRhee's training on Lean and Six Sigma

Click here for information on all of RiverRhee’s training for managers and teams

Forthcoming courses and other news

Our next one-day “Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma” will be on the 10th May.  Do get in touch to book a place or for more information on this or our tailored modular “Green Belt” course for more expert practitioners.  There is also more information available on our Lean Sigma training on the RiverRhee website

We also have upcoming courses on Managing Change, on Project Management and our popular 3-day Introduction to Management.

I am also delighted to announce that John Hicks has joined our RiverRhee Associate team, bringing invaluable coaching skills to support our work with new managers.

If you’d like to find out more

More information on the workbooks referenced in this newsletter and how to order your own copy can be found on the RiverRhee Publishing page.

Do get in touch if you’d 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Newsletter