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From vulnerability to mastery in five steps! RiverRhee Newsletter, July-August 2017

By Elisabeth Goodman, 18th August 2017

Why write about vulnerability and mastery?

We pick a different theme for each of our bi-monthly newsletters, to reflect on a topic that relates to our work with managers and teams, as well as providing a medium to update you on some of our activities and events.

Our choice of the theme of vulnerability and mastery was prompted by a couple of videos that we came across in Marcel Schwantes’ 9 Best TED Talks to Help You Become a Better Leader.  These included Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability and Dan Pink’s The Puzzle of Motivation.

Brené Brown’s advocacy of vulnerability as a leadership quality gave me a lot of food for thought.  Whilst “mastery” is one of three key motivators endorsed by Dan Pink.  I believe that vulnerability and mastery are inextricably linked, and of great significance to managers and teams.  Hence the choice of this theme for this newsletter.

Vulnerability is the first step towards eventual mastery!

When was the last time you learnt something new? How did you feel at the start?  What was your inner voice saying?

In the early stages of learning something new, we can feel very vulnerable.  We can feel awkward or embarrassed.  Our inner voice may be telling us “I’ll never be able to do it”.  Alternatively, we might be filled with enthusiasm, eagerness and energy..

We are in that state of “conscious incompetence” as illustrated in this variation on the competence / consciousness model.

Variation on competency consciousness model

Variation on the competence / consciousness model

Although we might not all remember what it felt like when we started to walk, many of us can remember our early driving lessons.  The whole thing might have looked very straightforward as a passenger or observer, and yet almost impossible when we actually started to learn.  Yet through determined perseverance, trial and error, lots of practice, many of us are at the stage now where our driving skills are almost automatic: it’s not unusual for example to barely remember everything that was involved in getting from point A to B on a regular journey.

The same pathway from vulnerability to mastery, from conscious incompetence to unconscious competence, is likely to be true with any of our undertakings, whether in our personal or professional lives.

Accepting and acknowledging our vulnerability will enhance our authenticity! (Step 2)

Although the focus of Brené Brown’s TED talk is on vulnerability in the context of connecting with, or relating to other people, her message translates to the context of this newsletter too.

Brené recounts her own experience, and the results of her research with others, which highlights the difficulties people have in accepting and acknowledging their vulnerability.  Vulnerability is the opposite of feeling in control, or of having certainty, perfection even – this applies to emotions, personal and professional capability.  And so there may be a temptation to pretend that we know more or are more capable than is the case.  That route will lead to misunderstanding and potential disaster!

Accepting and acknowledging our vulnerability, enables us to be authentic and open to others, open to real connection (as Brené argues) and also open to the learning that will eventually lead to mastery.

To what extent does mastery of a field of knowledge or skill motivate you? (Step 3)

I referenced Dan Pink’s The Puzzle of Motivation in a recent blog: Motivation a refresher…eight years on.” Mastery” is one of three key motivators that he endorses, along with autonomy (the ability to work on something under our own direction) and purpose (feeling that we are doing something towards a greater good).

People coming on our courses often cite the ability to learn something new, or to improve on something they already do or know as a motivator in their work.  As trainers, facilitators and coaches, we are very aware that we work best with delegates and clients who are motivated to learn about the subject that we are addressing.

To achieve mastery in a field of knowledge or skill requires a lot of determination and perseverance.  If we are not motivated, we will not get there!

Achieving mastery requires concerted practice (Step 4)

Although there is some controversy about exactly how many hours are required to master an area of knowledge or skill, there is no doubt that some amount of concerted practice does help!

Concerted practice reinforces the neuronal pathways involved, and so trains memory, muscles and coordination.  The sooner we apply and re-apply what we have learnt, and the more often we repeat it, the closer we will get towards mastery.

We will also be most successful if we choose the format and medium for learning that is most effective for us.

Choose the approach for learning that is most effective for you (Step 5)

Some of us learn better through discussion and interaction with others, either in a group, or with an individual mentor or coach.

Others like to learn on their own, with written or auditory access to printed or electronic resources.

Or we might like a combination of both, and it might also vary with the subject matter.

The important thing is to find the approach that works best for you.

If you would like to know more

RiverRhee’s training courses, workshops for teams and one-to-one coaching are designed to help you on your vulnerability to mastery journey!

People attending our  management courses for example appreciate the opportunity to meet other people who are experiencing similar challenges to themselves.  They are often transitioning from being an expert in their scientific or technical field, to the novelty of managing others – and can feel quite vulnerable about it. We have recently added two new courses “Transition to Management”, and “Coaching Skills for Managers” for those who are ready to take the next steps in their management development journey.

We also have a new course – Presentation Skills – for those who are wanting to gain more confidence and competence in how they present.

And we have consolidated the information available on our website for those seeking one-to-one coaching.

We also have a range of workbooks available for purchase for those who prefer to study on their own.

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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What motivates us in our work? RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, March-April 2014

What motivates us in our work?

In our Introduction to Management, and Supervisor Training courses with One Nucleus, we help delegates explore what motivates them and members of their teams in their work.  This is also a theme which Elisabeth Goodman is exploring as she writes the second of her RiverRhee Publishing workbooks – “The Effective Team’s High Performance Workbook”.  (The first, “The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook” was published in November 2013.) There are many models depicting what motivates us in our work, and yet Abraham Maslow’s (1908-1970) hierarchy of needs is still one of the most popular.  His hierarchy ranges from the basic physiological needs, through social belonging, and on to self-actualisation. We have also been expanding the pool of RiverRhee Consulting Associates, and so we thought it would be fun to find out what motivates us in our work as a way of  introducing all of us to you.  We would be interested to hear if and how what motivates us reflects or resonates with you.  Do you feel the same, or differently?

Bringing ideas and new knowledge into our work and that of others

Knowledge Management is a key area of expertise for John Riddell, so it is fitting that one of the things that motivates him is: “when people learn something that enables them to do their job better, whether this is by using existing knowledge or creating new knowledge”.

John Riddell is a certified practitioner in Lean Six Sigma and is highly experienced in knowledge management.

John Riddell is a certified practitioner in Lean Six Sigma and is highly experienced in knowledge management.

Other things that motivate John: “I get a buzz when I’ve helped people to help each other. I also love it when a plan comes together!” Elisabeth Goodman also enjoys “Translating ideas into something tangible that will help people think about their work differently”, she uses this creativity to shape the range of training, coaching, consultancy services, and publications from RiverRhee Consulting.

Elisabeth Goodman is an experienced and certified practitioner in change management, Lean Six Sigma, MBTI, and an expert in knowledge management

Elisabeth Goodman is an experienced and certified practitioner in change management, Lean Six Sigma, MBTI, and an expert in knowledge management

She particularly likes “Introducing structures and tools to teams and managers to take away any pain or anxiety that have been preventing them from enjoying or feeling fulfilled in their work.”

Helping people generally

Being able to help others is a big motivator for all RiverRhee Associates.  Here is an example from Sue Parkins: “Helping people develop and achieve their full potential.”  Sue has a proven track record in using these skills to deliver business benefits both in the Pharmaceutical Industry and Healthcare.

Sue Parkins Sue is an experienced and certified practitioner in Lean Six Sigma and change management

Sue Parkins Sue is an experienced and certified practitioner in Lean Six Sigma and change management

Sue is also motivated by “Adding real value and enhancing a process or business”

“Working with folk who care about people and quality” is also a key motivator for Paul Hadland, a great attribute for someone who has honed his IT-related skills by working as an information scientist, systems developer, and director of strategic consulting.

Paul Hadland has worked as a management consultant on change projects in pharmaceutical, animal health, consumer goods and consumer electronics companies

Paul Hadland has worked as a management consultant on change projects in pharmaceutical, animal health, consumer goods and consumer electronics companies

Paul is also motivated by “Making a perceptible difference.”

Making a difference to how people work

One of the main ways in which we make a difference to businesses and teams is by helping them to enhance their processes.  As Rose Bolton puts it, it’s about “Working with people to find ways of doing things that make work simpler, easier, more efficient and effective.”

Rose Bolton has a proven track record in managing service improvement initiatives, including the development and implementation of IT projects

Rose Bolton is a Human Resource professional with a proven track record in managing service improvement initiatives, including the development and implementation of IT projects

We also make a difference by helping people to increase their personal effectiveness for their work within formal and informal teams.  This is reflected by Lorraine Warne’s motivation “I get a great deal of work satisfaction by passing on the knowledge of mind tools to delegates, (teaching delegates to dip into their super computer, the unconscious) to increase work excellence.”

Lorraine Warne has a passion for working with individuals and organisations so that they can increase their personal effectiveness.

Lorraine Warne has a passion for working with individuals and organisations so that they can increase their personal effectiveness.

Many of us are running our own businesses as well as working as RiverRhee Associates.  This also enables us to bring a diversity of experience to the RiverRhee team.  So Lorraine also has this motivation “Making a difference to the human race through running NLP Practitioner and NLP Master Practitioner courses and 1 to 1 coaching.” (Incidentally, Elisabeth attended one of Lorraine’s courses during March, so that she is now an accredited NLP Practitioner.)

Getting that positive feedback

One of the ways in which we build continuous improvement and quality into our work is by asking for feedback from our clients during and on completion of each of our engagements.  We take suggestions for improvement seriously, but also enjoy receiving that positive feedback. Here’s how Margie Gardiner puts it “A big motivator for me is when a client ‘gets’ it and can see how the tools and methods can be applied to their business problem and bring improvement – it’s the ‘aha’ moment from the client that brings the training to life in a practical, beneficial way.”

Margie Gardiner has an extensive background in business redesign and change management, Lean Six Sigma, programme management, clinical research, and training

Margie Gardiner has an extensive background in business redesign and change management, Lean Six Sigma, programme management, clinical research, and training

Sometimes that feedback may come a while after the event, as stated by Janet Burton, who incidentally neatly sums up many of the motivators of our team “I really am pleased when weeks or months after a training session, people come up to me and tell me just how much they enjoyed the training, how much they use their new knowledge in their work and how much difference it has made to their output and efficiency.”

Janet Burton uses her experience of training and management to help people develop their skills, enhance their confidence and change for the better

Janet Burton uses her experience of training and management to help people develop their skills, enhance their confidence and change for the better

Other news

In March we delivered a tailored version of our One Nucleus one-day course Smart Working for Business Growth and Innovation for an NHS-related organisation.  Many thanks to Janette Thomas of Accentbio Ltd who stepped in to help us with this course. Also in March, Elisabeth presented and facilitated a discussion at an IMPI (Information Managers in the Pharmaceutical Industry) meeting on “How Information Management roles are evolving”.  Thank you to TFPL for putting this engagement our way. We are also continuing to periodically deliver a tailored one-day version of Smart Working for Business Growth and Innovation to an existing client – with two more sessions running in April. A new contract also kicked off in April for some Operational Excellence consultancy with an academic library. We are starting to review the proofs for our publication with Gower “Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry” – which is now scheduled for release in September. Last but not least, we are looking forward to our forthcoming courses with UKeIG  “Getting Better at Everything you do” (May 14th in London), and with Shaida Dorabjee “Marketing and Internal Change” (4th June, also in London).

If you would like to find out more

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers, enhance team effectiveness and create an exceptional team.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

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“It’s all about people”. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, Nov-Dec 2012

“It’s all about people”

This was a key message from the recent joint ASLIB / IFEG half-day conference on Knowledge Management at which Elisabeth Goodman and John Riddell presented and, of course, all interventions aimed at improving the way people work will come down to the people themselves!

We have therefore chosen this as our theme for our November – December 2012 bi-monthly newsletter.

Knowledge Management depends on accessing and sharing people’s experience and expertise

In their presentation at the ASLIB/IFEG meeting, John and Elisabeth focused on making knowledge accessible through such interventions as “Learning before, during and after”, Communities of Practice, and Collaborative working.  In doing so we spoke about the importance of:

  • Focusing on the business goals and tasks that people seek to achieve,
  • Defining clear working practices,
  • And above all: understanding and building on the differences and strengths of the people involved,

We will be exploring these three interventions in more detail, in our new “Knowledge Surgery” column for Aslib’s “Managing Information” which begins in December.

Open Innovation is enhanced by the right mindsets and personality types

This was the theme of our Sept-Oct 2012 newsletter, and featured in the break-out session which Elisabeth and Lucy Loh ran for “Open Innovation in Action” the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst Open Innovation Summit, on the 15th November.

Speakers and delegates throughout the conference, as well as in the break-out itself, explored how different mindsets and personality types do in fact have a major role to play in innovation, whether ‘open’ or otherwise.  You can read more about this in Elisabeth’s recent blog.

Any form of collaborative working relies on building rapport and trust

Elisabeth continued on the theme of Open Innovation in her introductory workshop for project managers as part of PIPMG’s: “Discovery to Market: Three Critical Stages – Turning Ideas into Projects” on the19th-20th November.

Open Innovation brings added challenges in working across organizational boundaries and cultures, with the consequent importance of building strong rapport between the people involved.

Part of the workshop involved a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis on Open Innovation.  Whilst the strengths included the opportunity that OI provides for greater personal development and engagement, the threats included the heavy reliance on trust that working in this way will also require.

Focusing on what motivates your staff will make you more effective as a manager!

The theme of ‘intrapreneurs’ came up during the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst Open Innovation summit.  Whilst not everyone in an organisation will view themselves as an ‘intrapreneur’, understanding and responding to what motivates your employees will help managers to engage them and support them much more effectively.

This is a message that Elisabeth introduced in a recent small group training session on conducting Performance Appraisals. The training was very well received!

If you’d like to find out more

Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house courses, and how we can help you to not only enhance team effectiveness but create an exceptional team.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

 

Best wishes for a healthy, restful and peaceful end of year to you all…

 

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