360 degree feedback, organizational trust, change & sustainability
360 in development – Part 3: Action Learning
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Friday, 26 June 2009
Action learning is an exchange of gifts. Staff members (managers or trainees - often young ) give ideas and effort in the pursuit of an individual project that has real payoffs for the organization. Or they carry out action plans based on feedback from others.

The organization gives opportunity, encouragement and resources to make it happen. The results are: professional development and experience for the staff members; development in terms of improved performance and output, and a more skilled workforce for the organization. Bob Dick offers this definition of the broad field of action/research/experiential learning:

action --> review --> planning --> action

When the organization provides the opportunity, 360 Facilitated® will do precisely this. Managers learn by getting an accurate understanding of how their behaviour is affecting their team and what they can change. Teams learn by getting a better understanding of their manager and what responsibilities they can take on. Together they plan better ways to get the job done. While development for all parties is a major part of the process, the context for the whole exercise is task improvement. How can you be more cost effective than that? While Action Learning has often been reserved for the young, 360 Facilitated® makes it available to all. Leaderskill’s motto has always been:

“Let your people contribute”.

Yes, they would like to, why not lend them your ear?
(to be continued…)

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posted by Dr Ron @ 23:09   0 comments
360 in development – Part 2: Managing by Numbers
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No one has demonstrated that putting numbers on managers is a reliable way to improve performance – any more than grades can be relied on to bring out the best in students. What does work, however, is feedback. Put managers in touch with the reality of what is going on and they almost always improve – which is what the numbers were supposed to do, but don’t. Why not? Because numbers don’t represent the complexity of the real world sufficiently well and because managers will do their best to fiddle numbers, but will usually accept reality – even if with some initial confusion and denial.

All right, I recant a little: sometimes in a really open environment managers handle the numbers well but conditions aren't always as good as some imagine – and not for all the managers. And there still remains the problem of: "This is the rating I got – now what do I do?"

The 360 Facilitated® approach brings a manager back to their team to face the reality of its concerns – perhaps the ultimate way to bring about change. But we shouldn’t expect that change always must always come from the manager - anymore than the old downward appraisal always assumes that changes much come from the staff! There will usually be change in the team, as well as the manager, and often in the organisation and its procedures and policies – the environment in which managers and teams must operate.

With the aim of creating an atmosphere of openness and dialogue between team and manager, the 360 Facilitated® approach keeps the profile confidential to the manager. The manager is committed to talking about it with the team, but at least the profile itself is theirs.

The 360 Facilitated® process succeeds in bringing real change and improvement quite independently of there being any manager appraisal process or rating systems. If you want to link the process to appraisal, you can’t use the manager’s profile. Why not? Simply because the profile is a product of team and manager in the context of the organization at a point in time – and the manager shouldn't be held fully accountable for all that.

Amusingly enough, in our work, we have seen extremes of this:
  • The easy-going team that had little change to suggest because it didn’t want to rock the boat and upset the low performing manager
  • The demanding team suggesting a lot of change to a high performing manager
  • The team suggesting a lot of change to a manager for problems over which the manager had no control – organizational issues.
The link you require to appraisal is therefore not the profile, but the output – the actions that are agreed by all parties as a result. This is what the manager signs off on, and this can and should be part of the performance management process: “You looked at the real situation with the team; together you created action plans – now what’s the result?” If performance management is truly about getting results, then this is the result we should be measuring.
To be continued…

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posted by Dr Ron @ 22:00   0 comments
Appreciative Inquiry and Coaching with Jo McAlpine
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Monday, 22 June 2009

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a powerful force when used in coaching. The International Coach Federation (NSW) is presenting a program with Jo McAlpine which shows neatly the links between the AI methodology and first class coaching:

NSW ICFA Chapter LIVE event

Thursday, 25th June 2009 6:30pm to 8:15pm

Members & Guests Welcome

But you do have to book:

Tel: +61 (0)2 4340 8871

See you there!

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posted by Dr Ron @ 18:23   0 comments
History getting closer
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Sunday, 14 June 2009
Interesting updates on Global Warming

Three segments worth hearing/reading:

1 - Review of Ian Plimer's 500 pp book 'Heaven + Earth' denying global warming. Compares it unfavourably to sci fi.

2 - Review of James Lovelock's 'In Search of Gaia'. A very interesting account of his life, hopes and concerns - and what he really means by 'Gaia'.

3 - Alan Weisman, author of 'The World Without Us' gives some clear examples of what is likely to happen around the globe, and what might happen if Gaia got rid of us altogether - (hope not, but not an impossible scenario).

And then: Paul Gilding - from Greenpeace to Business. A rough presentation of 'What really is our greatest challenge'. The great disruption:

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posted by Dr Ron @ 23:20   0 comments
360 in development - Part 1: Leadership
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Wednesday, 3 June 2009

We are often asked to explain how 360 Facilitated® fits into an organization’s development program that may well include leadership training, quality management, teamwork, communication, learning and development, performance management and much more!

The answer is that it contributes fundamental components to all of them – it can even be made central to all of them. Why? Because it is based on a holistic model of how managers and teams interact – which includes all of that. Let’s consider just one component...

Ideas about leadership can be learned in a classroom but leadership only becomes part of the person when they are confronted by the real world, make choices about what they do and learn from them. If we accept Peter Farey’s definition of leadership as proactive, future oriented, changing people’s beliefs and developing values, then the top half of his Leader/Manager Model (see the diagram) is about that. If leadership is thought to be lacking in an organization, then what better way to find out what is missing than by asking those who are led! Of course, you’ll only get their perceptions (what else!) but can leaders safely ignore perceptions?

If team members ask for more leadership, or less, then managers must act to change this perception – whatever the cause may be. And what better way to find the cause of a perception than ask the perceiver? The Leader/Manager Model has the virtue of raising the great body of leadership issues, whether of leading the people or of leading the task into the future. Yet at the same time it raises the management issues – how the people are being dealt with and how the task is being carried out – the issues that are in view right at the moment.

The Leader/Manager Model is not one of those models that in recent times discovered leadership as the new trend, another swing of the pendulum, and had to add it in. Because of its broad based, holistic nature, it has always (since Peter Farey first published it in 1988) stood for the balance of leadership vs. management, of future vs. present.

In its 360 Facilitated® programs, Leaderskill Group makes the Model its prime approach to developing the relationship between team and manager. When this interaction is facilitated, the invitation is given to all parties to be open to all the issues. A clearly structured process is used to build morale, develop understanding, take up challenges, and address the central issues, leading them through to action plans and learning contracts.

Facilitators demonstrate fast and effective leadership in the way they make this process successful, and encourage managers and team members to make the process their own. There is role modelling, learning and reinforcement. Yes, it is most certainly leadership development.
To be continued...

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posted by Dr Ron @ 19:25   0 comments
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