Tag Archives: management development

Gaining value from investing in learning. RiverRhee Newsletter, May-June 2017

By Elisabeth Goodman, 7th June 2017

CIPD In-Focus Report - May 2017

Continuous learning opportunities not only at the individual but also at the organisational level are key factors for success

This is one of the conclusions from a recent CIPD report authored by Jane Daly and Laura Overton. Ways cited in which an organisation can benefit include increased growth, profitability, transformation and productivity.

This is one of several references that I have come across in recent weeks exploring the value that organisations can gain from investing in learning.

Not surprisingly, as a provider of training courses, workshops and one-to-one coaching, it’s a topic close to our heart!

The report makes several references to Senge, who was an early advocate of the learning organisation.  The first edition of his book, “The Fifth Discipline” came out in 1990.

The Fifth Discipline

The Fifth Discipline. The Art & Practice of the Learning Organisation. By Peter M. Senge.

His tenets have been adopted by Knowledge Management practitioners who advocate a range of approaches for connecting employees so that they can share knowledge between them.  These include for example:

  • Creating Communities of Interest or Practice to share expertise within and between organisations, irrespective of any hierarchical structure.
  • Ensuring that people share knowledge with peers before, during and after completing any significant piece of work, including projects.
  • Capturing knowledge from experts in a particular field to ensure that it is not lost when they leave an organisation.

These are approaches that we teach in our Knowledge Management and Project Management courses.

We also promote continuous learning and improvement in our Lean and Six Sigma courses, something that the CIPD report advocates as part of creating a “thriving ecosystem”.

Learning and development initiatives must be supported at an organisational level

The CIPD report emphasises that learning and development cannot occur in a vacuum, but instead must be set within the context of the organisation’s purpose.  As the authors say: employees are asking for clarity of purpose (the ‘why’) and top organisations are those that are sharing this – it’s the ‘golden thread’ for unlocking potential.

Delegates on our management courses and new leadership course tell us repeatedly that they struggle to set effective objectives for their direct reports when they don’t know what the organisation’s strategic objectives are.  Learning and development related objectives rely on that clarity of purpose.

Michael Beer, in the October 2016 Harvard Business Review (HBR) article “Why leadership training fails” also tells us that clarity of direction is one of the six basic steps for ensuring an effective outcome from investment in training.

Investment in training must itself demonstrate value

Training is an overhead, and opinion is divided as to whether or not to invest in it when times are lean.

So it is important to have some measures of the impact of training, as advocated in Kirkpatrick’s four levels i.e. it’s not enough to have a ‘happy sheet’ at the end of a training course (level 1).  Instead, we should measure the level of learning gained (level 2), how it has been applied (level 3) and what impact it has had (level 4).

We have been getting some excellent feedback from a current in-house management and leadership development programme that speaks to levels 1, 2 and intentions for level 3:

Delegates at a team building event on a RiverRhee management course

Delegates at a team building event on a RiverRhee in-house management course

“Another great training day. Having clear labels for appraising / coaching has been extremely beneficial and I am looking forward to implementing what I have learned”

 

We occasionally get an opportunity to carry out follow-up surveys to get a proper assessment of levels 3 and 4, as with one in-house client last year for whom we delivered courses in management skills, project management, communication and influencing skills, and time and meeting management:

 

Example of Kirkpatrick level 2 to 4 feedback

Example of Kirkpatrick level 2 to 4 feedback

There are many routes available for learning and development

The CIPD report mentions the value of coaching for all levels of an organisation.  Coaching is something that we embed in our management courses, offer as a stand-alone, and we have just launched a new Coaching Skills for Managers course. 

We also advocate the importance of a range of on-the-job learning approaches that organisations can implement for themselves, such as shadowing, buddying, cross-training, mentoring, and sharing insights gained from external courses through internal seminars. 

What we are more skeptical about is the degree of emphasis that the CIPD report puts on online learning as a major platform for learning.  Yes it is convenient and widely accessible, but, as the report says, people struggle to find the right information online, and to make the time to use it (“35% of employees say that uninspiring content is a barrier to learning online”).

Our experience is that face-to-face events still seem to suit a lot of people better in terms of their learning style, tailored content, and helping them to make the time.  The ability to interact and explore their challenges with and learn from colleagues is an aspect that they continuously rate highly.

Do get in touch if you would like to access some of our portfolio for learning and development

Courses workshops and coaching for managers and teams

Courses, workshops and coaching from RiverRhee for managers and teams

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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Inspirational leadership. RiverRhee Newsletter, March-April 2017

By Elisabeth Goodman, 11th April 2017

An effective leader is inspirational

We’ve been doing some background reading preparatory to launching RiverRhee’s new course on leadership, as the next step on from our Introduction to Management.  Claudio Feser’s new book has been giving us a lot of food for thought.  When execution isn't enough - Claudio Feser

The book is based on McKinsey’s practical experience and study of academic literature, and lays a strong emphasis on the qualities and skills of inspirational leadership.

Claudio Feser reassures us by saying that these skills can be learnt: they are a set of behaviours that address people’s “true inner motivators, values and emotions”.  The basis of this type of leadership is to have a strong focus on the goal to be achieved, to influence people in such as way that they are committed towards a course of action, and to encourage and support them to take ownership for their actions.

These behaviours are also symptomatic of having a strong emotional intelligence, and the ability to clearly articulate the vision or goals for an organisation.

Although Feser does not mention Robert Dilts’ neurological levels of change, there is a strong connection to this NLP (NeuroLinguisticProgramming) model.

We can learn a lot from neuroscience and from personality tools

Readers of my blogs will have picked up my digest of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) article about Oxytocin, trust and employee engagement.  The March – April issue of HBR continues the exploration of neuroscience in the context of personality tools, and Feser has a chapter on this topic too.

The Neuroscience of Trust_HBR_JanFeb2017

The neuroscience of trust, HBR Jan-Feb 2017

Leaders would do well to familiarise themselves with the current thinking on this topic, and also consider which personality (or psychometric) tools to use to aid their understanding of the strengths and diversity within their team.

We use tools such as MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) Belbin Team Roles to support our training for managers and teams, and will explore personality tools further in our leadership training.

An inspirational leader adapts their influencing style based on the circumstances

We know that effective managers and leaders adapt their approach based on the context and the people that they are dealing with.

I ‘grew up’ in the business world on Robert Cialdini’s “Influence: Science and Practice”, and am also a strong advocate of the strategies described in “Influencer – The new science of leading change”.  We use aspects of these in RiverRhee’s Managing Change, and Communication and Influence courses.

Kipnis Schmidt and Wilkinson influencing

Based on Claudio Feser’s description of D. Kipnis et al’s, “Intraorganizational Influence Tactics: Explorations in getting one’s own way”, Journal of Applied Psychology 65, no.4 (1980): 440-452

Feser introduces a set of nine hard and soft approaches for influencing, based on the work of Kipnis, Schmidt and Wilkinson.

He describes how an inspirational leader will adapt which approach she or he uses with individuals based on the context, the knowledge, skills and mind-sets of the people involved.

So for instance, hard tactics will be most effective in simple, clear situations with some sense of urgency, whilst softer ones will be best for dynamic, complex and ambiguous situations.

Another example, according to Feser, is that inspirational appeals will be most effective where people have strong values, and with those who are more energetically outspoken.  Whilst socialising strategies, those that start with something like “I see the problem exactly the same way…”, work well with knowledgeable people and those who are very conscientious about their work.

Inspirational leaders also operate at an organisational level

My work with the APM Enabling Change SIG has been a great opportunity to consolidate my thinking about the key factors for successful organisational change.  So it was reassuring to see Feser’s suggestions echoing some of these:

  1. Create a change story, or vision: at its most powerful it will reflect the organisation’s values and emotions and be cascaded through the organisation
  2. Leaders role model the values and arouse the emotions in their particular change story
  3. Build skills and capabilities
  4. Ensure structure, processes and systems reinforce the change that is expected

Again, these are all activities that are within the control and sphere of influence of inspirational leaders.

We look forward to bringing these concepts, and more, into our new course on leadership in the not-too-distant future.

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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Still thriving in times of uncertainty. RiverRhee Newsletter, January – February 2017

By Elisabeth Goodman, 25th January 2017

We are in the midst of change

Our readers will not need us to spell out the nature of the changes that they are currently facing!  Change brings uncertainty. Some of us will be quite relaxed and happy to wait for developments. Others will yearn for greater certainty, involvement and control.

enabling-navigators-of-change

Here are a few things that you might already be doing for yourself, and also some others that you could consider…

(RiverRhee works with managers and teams, so those are who we are targeting in this newsletter – but many of our tips can of course apply to anyone at work or in their home life.)

Look after your physical and mental health

We all have things that help us to feel better.  Some, like food, drink or going for a walk have short-term benefits.  Longer-term benefits could be gained from spending social time with colleagues, friends and family, focusing on doing your work to the best of your ability, or developing a new area of expertise.

taking-time-to-connect-with-nature

Connecting with nature on a bright winter’s day.

Volunteering to organise a team building activity, finding ways to help colleagues, joining a workplace representation group – these are all things that could help you to feel more involved and so better able to cope with the uncertainty around you.

(I myself do a range of volunteer work, and recently donated, through RiverRhee via the Work for Good platform to Red Balloon – Cambridge, a charity that helps young people who have been bullied or suffered other trauma which means they are no longer in full time education.)

Whatever the approach, it has to be the one that is best for you.  You will know what that is.

Remember what’s important to you – and focus on your strengths

I have recently written a blog on how to help people discover what they enjoy doing the most at work, and how they can do more of that.  Sometimes just concentrating on what you do well, your strengths, can provide a much needed oasis until the desert sands have

stopped blowing around you.  This kind of coaching is something that RiverRhee Associates can support.

The same can be true for a team: focusing on its current purpose, and on how to do that well, will help to channel people’s energy and develop good practices to work from, whatever the future might bring.  This kind of team building, with team diagnostics and workshops is something that we support, and indeed did so with a local team during December.

Connect with your internal and external networks

This is a really important role for managers, and one that they will be best able to focus on when their team has achieved ‘high performance’: when team members have attained a certain level of autonomy.  The team’s stakeholders (customers, suppliers, senior managers, professional peers etc.) will be an important source of information during periods of uncertainty.  They will also be key people to influence and negotiate with in terms of the team’s future.

Dan Ciampa, in a December 2016 article in Harvard Business Review (“After the handshake.  Succession doesn’t end when a new CEO is hired”, p.60) emphasises the importance of building effective relationships with key stakeholders for CEOs who want to effect change.  The same is true for any level of manager who wants to have some level of influence over the fate of their team, at any time.  As Ciampa points out, understanding the “political dynamics” at work is a key factor for success.  Another factor is understanding the values and working practices that might influence any decision making (the culture).  A manager’s awareness of these will grow the more she keeps in touch with her internal and external networks.

Take advantage of free external events and networking opportunities

Free events or networking meetings could provide a welcome distraction from brooding about uncertainty! They could also provide some very helpful information about the change, or other resources to help you cope with it.

We hope that our upcoming event at Babraham’s new conference centre, The Cambridge Building, on Thursday 2nd February – What is your relationship with time? – will provide you with all of these benefits, and look forward to seeing you there.  If you cannot make it, but would like to explore this topic and associated ‘personality productivity’ resources, do get in touch with me at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

Spend time on personal development and on developing the team

Periods of uncertainty can also be a good time to focus on developing personal and team skills that will be valuable to make use of in the future – whatever that might be.

We have a wide range of coaching and training opportunities for managers and teams, several of which will be running in February and March, and for which we still have spaces available.  These include:

  • Introduction to Management – 14th-16th March
  • Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma – 21st February
  • The First Steps in Selling – 22nd February
  • Introduction to Project Management – 23rd February
  • Managing Change – 28th February

 

 

 

 

We also had a very positive response to our “Good Practices in Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration” on-site course with CILIP which we ran three times last November, and look forward to opportunities to run it again during 2017.

figure-4-5-mountain-rescue

Illustration for a team collaboration exercise from “The Effective Team’s Knowledge Management Workbook”, RiverRhee Publishing, 2016

“The foundational principles of Knowledge Management were clearly explained.”

“The interactive nature was welcome.”

“Delivery was excellent”

“Good, well structured.”

“Real life examples”

 

 

We look forward to exploring how we can help you thrive during these times of uncertainty

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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Moving closer towards creating exceptional managers and teams. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, September-October 2016

By Elisabeth Goodman, 8th October 2016

We are preparing to deliver our 10th Introduction to Management course since we first started running it in 2013. Our 60+ alumni, from 20+ organisations, know that we are committed to continuous improvement, to ensuring that managers receive the very best guidance to help them and their teams excel in their work. We do this by acting on the feedback that we receive, and by monitoring and incorporating what external experts are saying and doing across the 13 modules that we cover in the course.

Delegate ratings for RiverRhee's Introduction to Management course since it started in 2013

Delegate ratings for RiverRhee’s Introduction to Management course since it started in 2013

You can read more about our goals for excellence, how we are doing, and our forward plans, at the end of this newsletter.

For now, for the benefit of our alumni in particular, here are some extracts from two issues of the Harvard Business Review that we feel support the benefits that we focus on: how to help you become more confident and capable in your role as a manager.

(References:

Amy Gallo. Get your team to stop fighting and start working. HBR June 09, 2010 – thank you to Tony Jones of One Nucleus for sharing this with members earlier this year.

Linda A. Hill. Becoming the boss. HBR January 2007. Reprint R0701D – selected by RiverRhee Associate Liz Mercer.)

Being the boss does not give you automatic authority

Many of the managers that we work with have been promoted to this role because of their strong performance in their previous scientific or technical role. It can be disorientating to then find yourself in a role with different criteria for success. You may also have to manage people who were previously your peers, have more years’ experience, or who have different areas of expertise from your own.  Linda Hill reminds us that a manager does not have automatic authority in these situations, and that, in fact, an autocratic and controlling (or micro-managing) approach is the last one to aim for.

Instead, she suggests that your power as a manager will come from your ability to listen to your direct reports, and then exercise judgement and influence to get them and others to do the right thing.  It’s about ensuring that the goals are clear and that individuals take accountability, supported by the high level guidance that you give them.

Your focus should be on the team rather than on the individual

The last point in the previous section also emphasises the balance that you should be aspiring to as a manager: to delegate more of your work so that you can then focus outwards from the team.  This will enable you to concentrate on developing relationships within and outside the organisation that will anchor your team and its work more strongly in its wider environment.

Linda Hill argues that you should be focusing on what will make the team successful, rather than focusing exclusively on the individuals within the team.  This seems like a balancing act too.  We use John Adair’s model with the three overlapping circles of individual, team and task. You do need to understand and build rapport with the individuals within your team, but not to the exclusion of the overall success of the team.

You may need to make hard headed decisions to fulfil your role as a manager

Linda Hill’s previous points about having a whole team and an external orientation mean that you will be better able to make objective decisions about what you need to do to ensure that your team is performing at its best and to make the changes needed to meet your strategic goals.

Amy Gallo has some more tips on how to create a high performance team, a topic also covered by one of the modules in our course. Like us, she acknowledges that conflict is a natural and healthy feature of team dynamics. She also suggest that there are things you can do to minimise the damage, such as making time to agree and reinforce the team purpose and its norms (or ground rules). She stresses that is important not to let conflict fester, to discuss it early and to resolve it as a team, and to then ensure that those involved get re-engaged quickly in some group task, however small.

We will bring all of these ideas, and more, into future iterations of our Introduction to Management course, the next one of which is scheduled for the 15th-17th November.  Do get in touch if you, or others you know, might be interested in coming along.

Some closing notes on our targets for excellence for the Introduction to Management course

We use Kirkpatrick’s first and second levels for evaluating our courses: delegates’ ratings of the course against various criteria combined with their comments on how they will apply what they have learned.  Our target is to achieve consistent (100%) ratings of 4 or 5, on a scale of 1-5 where 1 is low and 5 is high, across all the criteria that we assess in our end of course feedback.  We are currently achieving 98.5% 4 or 5 ratings for the quality of our presentations, the value that delegates gain from the course, and the extent to which they would recommend RiverRhee to others.

(Interestingly, the September 2016 issue of HBR contains a model for assessing customer value that Bain and Co. have evolved from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We might explore ways to apply that model to delegates’ evaluations of our courses.)

From November we are going to start including more insights from external experts, enhancing the style of our hand-outs, and exploring the best approach to and balance of individual and group discussion and exercises. We have also, reluctantly, decided that we have outgrown our current training venue at the Melbourn Community Hub for the 3-day course, and so have booked the more spacious Copley Hill facility near the Babraham Research Campus, for 2017. Our 1-day courses tend to attract smaller numbers, so those will continue, for now, in Melbourn.

What will you do next?

Would you like to work with us to develop your managers and your teams?  Are you, or someone you know, interested in attending our November 15th-17th Introduction to Management course?

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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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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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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