Tag Archives: management training

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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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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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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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.

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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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