Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Use of Actors in Learning Events

The following HR Zone Article provides a good summary of the role Actors & Forum Theatre can play in delivering engaging training & learning events.

In my experience, this approach is more widely understood and deployed in the UK than the US.

As the article highlights - the costs of using actors for 1:1 role-play are high (and can often be replaced adequately by other participants on the training course, playing the 'other' role).

I'm a fan of the (most cost effective) forum theatre approach - where scenarios can be played out based on the suggested words offered by the training class delegates (e.g. what are the actual words you would us if, as the manager, you are faced with this situation ....). Not only can this approach demonstrate different reactions you can get to the same approach (for those managers who don't vary their style depending on both the situation and person involved !), but also the scenarios can be 're-played' allowing the delegates to learn rapidly by trial and error.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Another 'First 90 Days' Text

Peter Fischer has recently written a book called The New Boss

Why is this of interest ? - well many L&D Curriculum focus on providing support at 'transition' points (building from the framework of The Leadership Pipeline by Charan et al).

For me (and others) the key text for building further on the work of Charan is The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. Hence, it is interesting to reflect on whether this new book offers further insights (for future inclusion into Leadership training courses).

According to Fischer, there are seven building blocks to creating a successful leadership change:

  • Managing Expectations Proactively
  • Developing Key Relationships
  • Constructively Analysing the Initial Situation
  • Establishing a Set of Motivating Goals
  • Fostering a Positive Climate for Change
  • Initiating Changes Effectively, &
  • Using Symbols & Rituals

Clearly there are significant overlaps with the ideas of Watkins - a rough (and simplistic) mapping could be:

  • Managing Expectations Proactively = Negotiate Success
  • Developing Key Relationships = Create Coalitions
  • Constructively Analysing the Initial Situation = Match Strategy to Situation
  • Establishing a Set of Motivating Goals = Build Your Team
  • Fostering a Positive Climate for Change = Secure Early Wins
  • Initiating Changes Effectively, = Expedite Everyone
  • Using Symbols & Rituals = Achieve Alignment

Hence, at least in these simplistics terms of comparision - Watkins apears to place more emphasis on self - with advice such as 'promote yourself', 'accelerate your learning' & 'keep your balance'.

Equally, Fischer helpfully provides a richer focus on communications - specifically highlighting the 'use of symbols and rituals'.

Symbolic management is the skillful and consistent combination of symbols and rituals into a convincing message. This is why it is important to ensure that what you say is consistent with how you behave. It is a symbolic expression of a different management style

..... an area worthy of further discussion within a 'new leader' training class ?!

Monday, 1 October 2007

'Excellence in HR 2007'

The following link: http://www.business100.tv/ provides some interesting links to videoclips exploring the subject of Excellence in HR

I've yet to view them all - but Peter Cook of Hyman Dynamics does a great job in showcasing themes from his recent book 'Sex, Leadership & Rock'n'Roll'

Peter draws on the metaphors of:

  • Sex = focus on relationships [e.g. Collaboration Skills, Communication Skills]
  • Drugs = motivation [e.g. Colleague Engagement Skills, Change Management]
  • Rock'n'Roll = performance & delivery [e.g. Performance Management Skills, Innovation]

not a bad starting point for a robust leadership training curriculum !

NB: if you get time to explore other clips - please add comments here on their key take-home messages