Tag: learning

Online media in a box (wheel)

LearningStyles No Comments

Like many consultants, I like 2 x 2 grids (such as this one) and wheels (for example) to help communicate and explain. Last week I found myself drawn towards, (and drawing), triangles and matrices too.

I have a guilty secret, I am less sure about social media. So, I quite like this wheel as an overview of many popular brands and offers that puts them in perspective…though there are a few not present (TripAdvisor, booking.com and Get-Crtl).


Learning in action

Improvement, Organisations No Comments

We are used to hearing modern gurus claim how they can help the improvement of organisations. Many are from abroad and some pretty recent. Their books are in airport shops – and promoted by online retailers.

Looking back provides inspiration too, we believe. One of us has a passion for going back to the wisdom of the ancients (for example). More recently, in the immediate post war period, there were three things happening that are having a major impact in organisations still today – two of these developed first in the UK and were closely aligned to the health service in England.

At the time American academic Deming was popularising his important ideas in Japan, the ‘Tavistock’ approach to applying psychodynamic principles to groups and organisations was becoming well established in London.

We find the legacy of Deming important especially his PDCA model.  His work underpins most modern approaches to Continuous Improvement from the rebranded and practical PDSA cycle to lean and measurement more widely (see this previous blog).

The influence of the Tavistock approach underpins many contemporary approaches to organisational development – especially those that consider the ‘shadow’: the hidden, the avoided, the projected and the pathological in groups. We try to bring these insights in to our work in ways that don’t demotivate and are in balance (see p6 here).

The second UK Contribution, which is possibly less well known than these two traditions, is that of Reg Revans, which he also developed and tested in the NHS after early success in the coal industry. We use this inspiration in much of our work: in asking good questions, in peer review methods and clear 5-30-90 day action cycles. It is at the heart of our year long, 4 stage ‘Team XYZ’ approach: supporting a senior group to improve though the introduction and use of various frameworks, tools and the spirit of experimentation.

The Revans’ approach to action learning makes an interesting read. One of his legacies is that some people in some UK organisations now have experience of being in a ‘learning set’. Do you want to give it a go?

Try this checklist for a 45minute or so action learning session – think of it as peer coaching:

1) Meet with a small group of volunteer colleagues – or peers from other teams/organisations.

2) Take it in turns to have a go/‘take the seat’ – rotating the facilitation of the process too.

3) For 5 minutes share a challenge or question in your work, succinctly allowing questions for clarification only.

4) Move seats so you are sitting on a chair out of the group, but where you can hear clearly.

5) Allow the group to talk for 20-30 minutes: they can share their guesses or hypotheses of what is going on in your case or issue initially (Deep Think style) – and then move to listing questions for you to consider and they might  even note possible ideas for action for you (to post its, flip chart etc).

6) You re-join the group and for 5-10 minutes describe what you took from the conversation – you don’t have to correct their misunderstandings (allowing their ‘phantasies’ (sic) in the spirit of the Tavi!). You might want to commit to a PDSA or 5-30-90 action plan.

7) A more open final 5-10 minutes discussion can help to round off the session.

We find versions of this process work well in groups of all seniorities and sectors: from considering how to be more influential in a team to completing a project; from to managing personal energy to trying to challenge organisational culture. Let us know how it goes…

A couple of final thoughts:

First we note the use of mathematical abbreviations for management models in the 50s (DxVxF>R, PDCA, L=P+Q)…a sign of the(ir) times.

Second, we like this quote from Voltaire: “The best way to become boring is to say everything” –- so, whilst this is a longish blog (with lots of links!), there is lots more that could be stated and shared. Please ask if you have more questions…

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Venns in action: Where is the horsemeat in health care?

Values No Comments

Over the last few weeks there have been a number of key stories in the UK press. Two are especially notable: the Francis inquiry into health care standards and the scandal of unlabelled horse meat in burgers and ready meals.

What do these have in common, other than their prevalence in media minutes and column inches?  Both are about unexpected and once hidden failings in the quality and supply of a good service.  Both raise issues of legality and individual practice. Both raise issues about who you can trust in the supply chain – in terms of both its management and regulation.

Where do they differ? One affects human health. And the other is not a lot more than a bit of a yuk to many – and only worthy of a laugh.

Sadly, the NHS story is the one that is more profound. Already there are politicians in Europe decrying the scrapping of perfectly ‘good’ food (if labelled differently), at a time when increasing numbers of people face food insecurity. The health care stories raise issues that are, surprisingly to some, more rotten and that can’t be labelled away quite so easily.

Many are now talking much more worriedly and openly about health care culture and standards – probably a good thing.

In contrast, the horsemeat scandal has largely led to plenty of photo humour – and is already leading to improvements in supply chains that value more local sourcing and fair trade.

So, maybe the question is not ‘where is horsemeat in health care’, but

1) ‘why the scandal in health care’ (maybe it is a result of the sort of management promoted since the mid 80s…an example of values in action where generalist leaders have been promoted to achieve a certain narrow set of things, and have done so pretty well) and

2) what can be done especially at a time when no individuals are being held accountable by Francis.

To help think about this second question we will go somewhere pretty unsavoury – but illuminating too. Where might that be? From one animal to another. Not dodgy cuts of horse, but what comes out of a doggy. Something has changed quietly and profoundly on UK streets, namely the cleaning up of dog mess…more on this analogy later (but in the meantime, can you guess what the learning points are – let us know).

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Getting the dialogue going…or not!

Front foot No Comments

We are grateful to a reader for the reflections below on a previous blog – and thanks for the permission to publish then. We are delighted to share on the subject of how much interaction with people do we need/like in pursuit of the development of ideas:

“I was browsing through the Idenk blog this morning and came across your 5 November entry on the power of quiet: .

As a fully-fledged (almost off the scale) I, Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, was a fascinating read for me. At times, in fact, it read like a user guide to myself; something I wanted to hand out to other people and say “if you want to understand me, read this!” I have spoken to other introverts who are in leadership roles and they too have found the book to be right on the money.

If you have not come across it, Susan Cain’s TED talk is worth a watch too.”

And we see that the Cain TED video is in Bill Gates’ top 12 TED talks…


Love to Learn…?

LearningStyles No Comments

Last month many of these blogs made a big thing about curiosity. So, you are at first base…you are curious. You want to learn something. You want to improve

What gets you to second base? How do you love to learn…which of these development methods is most ‘you’?

Have you thought about how you like to learn? This model based on Kolb is one of our favourites – and here is a simple quiz to see what your preferences might be.

If you want to think a bit more about your favourite learning style have a look at this on VAK.

And maybe read some of the critiques here on learning styles!!


Where next for education?

Do No Comments

Having been doing more work in education, we are spotting things about the downsides of the education system and things that might improve it (eg Bill Gates’ favourite teacher).

And now with Jamie’s Dream School and the O2 website for teachers to post their favourite lessons, innovations to address some of the challenges are going more public and mainstream.

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Email: phil.hadridge@idenk.com