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

By Elisabeth Goodman, 26th November 2015

Why a second look at project management?

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

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

Project Management summary slide

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

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

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

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

Working in a matrix environment – project charters

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

P1090047.JPG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learning reviews

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

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

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

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

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

Risk analysis matrix or FMEA

Risk analysis or FMEA matrix

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

Other news

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

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

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

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

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

If you would like to find out more

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

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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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Taking time to think differently. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, March – April 2015

By Elisabeth Goodman, 16th April 2015

“I would just like to reiterate that these last three days have been great, and gave me a lot of ideas and things to explore further. You make a great team, and have been amazingly welcoming to all of us!”  Quote from a delegate at our March Introduction to Management course.

An important aspect of our training courses and workshops, and one that our customers repeatedly cite in their feedback, is the time that we give them to think about their work, and the strategies and tools to explore how they could go about it differently.

Delegates reflecting during an Introduction to Management course

Delegates reflecting during an Introduction to Management course

As you are kindly taking the time to read this newsletter, we thought we would share with you five ways in which you too might like to think differently.

Treat problems (as well as opportunities) as treasures

One of our mantras in our Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma course, is to recognise that everything that we do is potentially very complex: a web of interaction between the people, the processes and the environment involved.

This complexity requires continuous study and improvement, so that we could regard every problem and opportunity that we find as a “treasure” that will help us to reduce the future need for fire fighting and associated stress. Delegates in our courses search for all the ways in which they might be wasting time, money and the talent of their staff, and what they could do to address this.

So, if you are not doing so already, you too could adopt a mind-set to look out for and welcome these treasures.

People who seem difficult may just be being different

We have mentioned this in one of our previous newsletters on creating exceptional managers, but make no apology for mentioning it again as it is a popular topic for discussion in our Supervisor Training and Introduction to Management courses. I have also written a full blog on how difficult people are not necessarily being difficult. The key aspects to bear in mind seem to be:

  • Recognise that people with different personality types will approach their work and communicate differently
  • Have conversations to understand each other’s perspective rather than making assumptions about why people are behaving in a certain way
  • Be assertive rather than aggressive or passive in your interactions with others

Welcome resistance rather than treating it as something to be dealt with or dreaded

Resistance still seems to be one of the major aspects that those leading change programmes worry about.  So it was good to hear Rod Willis during the recent APM Enabling Change SIG’s “Great Change Debate” echo our perspective that leaders should listen to resistance and consider what they might have missed in their planning.

We encourage delegates in our Managing Change course to engage their stakeholders in conversation so that they can discover what people might be worrying about in relation to a change and take action accordingly.

Adopting this mind-set will help you to improve your change strategies and to communicate with people more effectively. This approach is also one that I document in “The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook”.

Work with your stakeholders to develop risk management plans

We include a brief overview on Project Management in our Supervisor Training and Introduction to Management courses. We also cover it more fully in our 1-day course on Project Management, which we have been delivering for Library and Information Managers through TFPL but can also customise for other clients. An aspect that practising project managers don’t always apply to the full is that of risk management.

Yet, as delegates discussed at a recent PIPMG (Pharmaceutical Industry Project Management Group) meeting on the work of CROs (Contract Research Organisations), taking time at the start of a project to consider all the potential risks and opportunities is a powerful way to build on the participants’ experiences from previous projects.

For CROs, and indeed for anyone delivering a product or service, it is a great way to engage in constructive up-front conversations with stakeholders about what might impact the timing, cost or quality of what you are delivering, and what actions you might take as a consequence.

Remember to think about what is working well!

Throughout this newsletter, we have encouraged you to think about opportunities as well as problems! If you have not yet come across Appreciative Inquiry, you might want to explore this further. It is a discipline that focuses on exploring successes and what is working well, how these have come about, and how they can be built upon.

For those of us who have a tendency to dwell on problems, focusing on what is going well instead can be an uplifting as well as a productive alternative way of thinking.

Upcoming courses and events

We hope you have enjoyed this newsletter.  If you would like more opportunities to take time to think differently, do consider joining us for one of our courses or events.

Details about all of these can be found on the RiverRhee Consulting website.

Here is what is coming up in the next few months:

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.

 

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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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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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Notes for the occasional project manager. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, January-February 2014

Support for new or occasional project managers

In November last year, Elisabeth Goodman ran an introductory one-day course on Project Management (Effective project planning and management) through TFPL for a group of Library and Information Professionals.  Although Project Management is now a recognised profession, with a range of educational and vocational qualifications available, there are still many people who find themselves needing to manage projects without having had any formal training for how to do so.  There are others who have had the formal training, but would welcome some continued support as they start practising their new knowledge and skills. Our course, and the key themes in this newsletter are for these occasional and new project managers.

Articulate and agree the project goal and scope

Articulating and agreeing the goals and scope for a project are a critical first place to start.  Without these it is impossible to sensibly plan the approach, timescale or the right people to be involved  It may take some iterations, through crucial discussions with the sponsor.  The project goal and scope may also evolve as you start finding out more about the subject of the project.

By the way, there is a strong overlap between managing change and managing projects – some would argue that the two are synonymous! This is something that we are looking forward to exploring further through the newly formed APM Enabling Change Special Interest Group (SIG) that Elisabeth has been helping to set up.

Build your team

Project teams need to go through the different stages of development to reach high performance just as operational teams do.  Unlike line managers though, project managers tend to have limited authority over their team members who are often ‘on loan’ from their day job.  Clarity of people’s roles and responsibilities on the team, and some active team building are therefore doubly important – themes that feature strongly in our various courses for enhancing team effectiveness.

Manage your stakeholders

It is crucial to have the right sponsor, at the right time for your project, giving the right messages and generally supporting you in mobilising the people and budget involved, and in influencing the other stakeholders.  This was a theme that came out strongly in our recent presentation, and the associated discussion at the APM Midlands branch: Facilitating operational excellence in and for business change projects.  Again, as in change management, it is important to understand who your stakeholders are, their attitudes, knowledge and skills in relation to the project, and what you need to do to engage, influence and support them through the project.

Develop your plan

Inexperienced project managers can find this the most daunting of their responsibilities.  It lends itself well to a brown paper and post-it exercise and can be done with the whole team. We used a decision tree in the TFPL course to help participants identify all the key steps and their interdependencies.  We annotated each step with how long we expected it to take, and then mapped the steps onto a timeline running from the anticipated start time to the anticipated delivery time. It also helped those who had been set a fixed deadline to be able to argue what might or might be possible from a more informed stand point.

Project plan

Manage your information and access available knowledge

Library and Information Managers usually have well developed skills in managing information and accessing knowledge that they can apply in their role as project managers.  Whereas we have found that making sure the team learns before, during and after a project has been completed is an ongoing challenge for many other project managers.  The range of information to manage includes the various documents describing the project and its status, anticipated risks and mitigation plans, decisions made (to avoid reinvention), actions and their status, and more!

Put some good working practices in place

As your team evolves you will not only want to consider how to manage your sponsor and other stakeholders, team member remits, project plans and associated information, but also such things as meetings and communications.  There is therefore lots of scope to engage team members in creating some strong working practices for the team. Objective external facilitators such as ourselves can help with carrying out team diagnostics and with supporting the team in shaping these good practices.

Other news

We have a strong portfolio of courses for our clients to choose from in 2014.  We have just announced the dates for our Introduction to Management course with One Nucleus and will be holding it in the lovely new facilities at theMelbourn Hub in South Cambridgeshire on the 26th-28th March.  Janet Burton will be running this course with Elisabeth Goodman.

We also have a new course on Conducting Effective Performance Reviews and Appraisals with One Nucleus, and those interested can read a case study and testimonial of an in-house course that we delivered on this topic.

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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