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Find out how Mayvin's latest staff programme cohort feel about being in an action learning set

In this podcast Mayvin employees feedback on their participation in an action learning example programme like we deliver for our clients.
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Here at Mayvin, we do our best to walk our talk. So we offer our employees the opportunity to participate in a development programme similar to the ones we deliver for our clients. And it also shows our staff an example of an action learning set. Our wonderful associate Cathy Korn is facilitating our latest programme of seven employees across operations, client management and marketing.

The aim of the programme is to assist participants with personal practice development and to encourage relationships across the team. Like our client interventions, this programme had no rigid framework, allowing the participants to decide together what they would explore.

It involves learning with and through peers. It is focused on inquiry, not problem solving. And contains theory bursts, but only where appropriate to the exploration being undertaken. Keeps the exploration close to the grain of our real work and uses Action Learning Sets. The programme is at the halfway mark. So the participants came together to reflect on their experience so far to share with you. And here it is, enjoy.

Transcript of our staff Action Learning Set cohort reflecting on their experience of participating in a Mayvin programme so far

Suria Lonsdale 1:54
So we're kind of halfway through roughly, aren't we now on our action learning set programme. And I think it's pretty just a nice point for us to check in with ourselves and each other and see how we're all finding it. Because none of us have done one of these before. Most of us are relatively new to Mayvin as well. So what are you noticing? And what are you enjoying and finding so far within the action learning set,

Sue Jackson 2:25
So I tend to any issues, I tend to kind of internalise them and try and sort them out myself. And I think this group has made me feel that actually I don't need to. I could get a lot of different opinions. From a lot of different people with a lot of different experiences. It would make my life so much easier.

Abi Jackson 2:47
It's the opinions and support, isn't it. It's that sort of just knowing that there's, there's that support network, kind of with you. And when you do bring something to the group, like everyone is just so. Everyone does have their own opinions, but just the level of support is incredible.

It's created a really solid working environment for me. Because I'm the same. And I regularly think, oh, that's that's a good one to bring to Cathy's group, to our group. But it like you. So it's created that way of thinking. Actually, do I need to wait for that? Or should I just call someone and talk to them about it, you know beforehand.

Zoe Morrison 3:27
Having this group has made me feel more comfortable at work. It's just amazing to be able to bring like any random problem and have a whole group of people listen to you. And I feel supported in the group but supported in the company too. That you can sort of bring your whole self to this company. And that's such a rare thing to get anywhere. It just feels really amazing to be able to do that. And relieving in a way. Yeah.

Suria Lonsdale 3:54
I certainly feel like we've all been really, which I think is brave. I think we've all been really vulnerable and not one of us has sort of hidden behind a mask and only, you know, been professional Suria or professional Zoe. We've all been like our true selves.

It is really nice, because then you feel like you are genuinely getting to know one another. And where there are positive things raised, we can all really celebrate those. And then when there's things that were raised that aren't so positive, we as a collective, then go, oh, well. I could help you do that and get involved with this.

And had we not raised those things out of the fear of ooh you know, we shouldn't talk about things that aren't going so great at work. They then just fester inside of you and remain a problem but by us sort of bringing them to each other and being vulnerable and open and talking about them. We've managed to, you know, come across a lot of solutions for stuff that some of us are worrying about.

So it's been a really nice way of working smarter really as well, I think. I feel we really shape the way things flow. I feel like Cathy sets a really gentle, you know, like, this is how the day will go. And then we very loosely then we'll go off in any which direction

Sue Jackson 5:19
It is amazing if you think if we hadn't had Cathy, how long we would have all just stayed silent. Because as Coral says right at the beginning, we would none of us said a word. So kudos to Cathy to get us actually talking and to the level that she's got us now. I don't know how she did it. But it's like pixie magic, but pretty good.

Sarah Rahim 5:42
I think it all stems from the building of trust. So in the first session, where we were quiet, we didn't. Nobody was very forthcoming. It was, you know trying to get blood out of a stone in the first session. There was the element of building trust, is that, okay, I work with these people. What can I say in front of these people? What will they judge me on what will land back on my plate in a bad way.

And then once that's, you've done your first session, you thought that was that was all right. Not quite sure what I gained from that. When's the next one? The next one came along, and we've got through the first barrier, we realised that we're, we are a supportive team, we're there for each other, and there is no judgement.

And then you start to let your guard down and discuss things and realise that you're not the only one that has those problems. And once you start sharing some issues and being honest with each other, the issues don't seem as big. Yeah. And you realise somebody else is maybe got a solution to a problem that you hadn't thought about, or an idea and you think that could work. And then something that was probably a little bit overwhelming, just becomes quite doable, and part of your day moving forward.

So you've built the trust, you start the dialogue, and then it gets gets more gritty that the last session was quite gritty, I thought, you know, there was a lot more substance to it. So I feel like we've really moved on. But stemming from trust and honesty, and having support there. Which, if we didn't do these programmes, this programme at all, that I don't think the team would be as strong as it is.

Now, we would have, we get along great, but there's a different, different dynamic now. You know, the doors open, everybody's door is open. It's not going to be shut in your face. You know, that you can press the button and speak to somebody. And whether it's a good thing or a challenging conversation, you're going to be heard. And then and then and there's help there. Friendships have become stronger. The team is stronger and more productive.

I can't see a negative to the programme at all. It's made really strong foundations for the new people to come into, and make connections within other departments. So like you said Suria, we don't normally connect throughout the week. We don't have much crossover with our workflow, but it's cemented friendships in other departments. So that's, you know, so it's a win win all round in my eyes.

Suria Lonsdale 8:34
Yeah. That makes me reflect and think that when I look back in other jobs, where I didn't work online. And I worked, you know, face to face with people for years. I've probably got better relationships with you guys in this action learning set than I do with some people who I worked with 10 times longer. Because we're given this opportunity to dedicate time specifically to our action learning set.

And although it's like a quite like a non structured thing. There is structure, obviously, but it's not like, massively, you know, like, this is what we're covering, systematically in a really programmy way. It's made me feel like the main thing is that the connection. And the encouragement of us being able to connect with one another.

And I really, really appreciate being given that because to walk into a room and feel so comfortable with you guys, where we are face to face, when we don't really cross over, we don't really get a lot of time together to actually have had the opportunity to build those relationships is really special and really, really great and something we'd only have gotten from doing this action learning set with you all.

Melissa Luckhurst 9:55
Yeah, I think as well. It's about the development of it. has made me think about the actions that have come out of it. So like, for me, personally, I, I have a similar problem to a couple of you in terms of feeling quite isolated sometimes. And I think that is that the nature of virtual working, I don't know, you think to yourself, oh, I work from home, and you feel, you know, on your own. But this action learning set has made me feel less so 100%.

And it's made me think about and create actions out of it. Which are scheduling regular check ins and things like that, that I wouldn't have done without this action learning set, I wouldn't have thought, oh, I can just go into the diaries and just book something in with someone, I wouldn't think I could do that at all. But after these sessions, I feel I can do that.

And the ones that I have done have been really, really good. And it's really made me feel more part of the team and all that stuff. But it's also just made my kind of daily working much more enjoyable. Knowing that I've got oh, I've got that check in call. So it's definitely made a, the proverbial safe space to be able to feel like you could do that.

Suria Lonsdale 11:23
Yeah, definitely.

Zoe Morrison 11:25
I like the opportunity to listen to other people's problems, and to be able to help them because it feels like they're trusting us as well. And it's nice when people feel they can come to you. I like helping people. And it's lovely to have that opportunity. And I don't know if other people feel like that. It's like, it's nice, both ways, it's nice to be able to share your problems. And it's nice to be able to help your colleagues as well. And to have that kind of environment where you can do that, is really special.

Coral Huggins 11:53
So nice. If someone else has the same problem, yeah, then you just feel like you're not on your own. Yeah.

Suria Lonsdale 12:01
And again, it's that vulnerability, isn't it, like, it's quite brave to be like, I've got this problem, or I've got this thing I don't like or it was something I struggle with. It's really like, for me, anyway, I feel like I have to be really brave to do that. Because it's not naturally been okay, in any of my other working environments, they've just been very corporate and very, you know, like, if you've got problem, you're weak, and you need to, you know, not have a problem, just do your job and get on with it and be brilliant at it 24/7.

So to be able to be human at Mayvin, because it's human to have problems, we all have problems, things that we face that are a struggle, or hard or whatever, it's so nice to be in an environment where you can be open. To then, like, you know, peek your head up and say, I've got this thing. Almost shout it and get it out there and then to have the support of everyone go, do you know what, like, I've got that too. Or, I can help in this way, or I've got this solution? Have you thought of doing this?

That is just, it takes such a weight off your shoulders, doesn't it? And I think you will work more productively when you can feel like you can share things in that way. And because then you don't just sit suffering and silence over something. You 9 times out of 10 work out a solution and can move on and do more work and be more productive.

So yeah, so I kind of, I like that we have that opportunity. And I really respect that everyone in this particular action learning set has been that brave. All been that vulnerable as to get involved in those conversations, and not just sit and listen. But you know, give advice, share problems, the whole package. I feel we all have got involved and participated.

Abi Jackson 13:47
I feel like the action learning sets have completely, completely changed the way I work or the way I feel about work. It's they've given me more confidence about approaching everyone in the company they've given me, I kind of it's when something comes comes back in my back in my kind of periphery, I've got a place now where I can put it. And I can say oh yeah, I recognise this. And this is my reaction to this because this is what happens I do. Or this is how I feel about these certain things. And just allowing myself to reflect on that and tweak it and change it. So it then I can then it puts everything back in perspective. In my working day. It's had a huge, huge impact.

Sue Jackson 14:37
I'd agree with that. Abi being new as well and being in most of the same time as you, it's made my feelings about phoning directors or contacting directors with issues or anything. I mean, Mayvin itself kind of says that you can do that. As a company you should be feel very comfortable doing that anyway, because it's such a supportive company. But still in the back of your head, you're thinking you can't just phone a director, because you've got an issue.

And I think a few, because of the action learning set and speaking to you guys all the time, you kind of think actually, that is okay. It kind of expels into other parts of the company as well, not just the action learning set. That if you guys are all okay, and you guys are all, you know, supportive, that probably everybody is, and everybody's probably had these struggles, and perhaps we should just be a bit more open with them. And I have to say, 100% success rate so far from support with everybody. So kudos to Mayvin,

Abi Jackson 15:46
It really makes you realise, isn't it see that the kind of unlearning the learned behaviour? There is so much you carry and then it's just learning what it is and unlearning it. Yeah, I find that huge.

Melissa Luckhurst 16:03
It totally makes you realise what you're, it makes you think I mean, I don't know about other people. But I know that quite a lot of other people have come from quite dysfunctional and toxic workplaces in the past. A lot of what we've dealt with in our sessions has just made me think about. It's just reminded me of all these different examples in my old job where I think, wow. You know, we could have done with this environment then.

Although they were very, I came from very, very small place. So there weren't many people at all. And the, you know, the bosses were very, very remote from us. I mean, they're in a completely different country, but that's not the thing. It really has made me much more aware of the bad habits or negative thinking that I picked up from there just mainly about myself, actually. And about my own working.

Yeah, it's just really brought that to light a lot. I think it's just in comparison of how Mayvin works and how the action learning set encourages, you know, encourages all of us. It's made me really realise, wow, you know, Mayvin's definitely doing something right. Because it just feels a million miles away from some previous experience.

Sue Jackson 17:34
Yeah, totally agree.

Abi Jackson 17:36
It's like Mayvin, always like, on our team's chats, and everything. Everyone talks about the Mayvin family and the Mayvin community and you first kind of think yeah, right. But actually, it really is, it really is like a family isn't it.

Melissa Luckhurst 17:48
And it's like, when, when I applied for the job, I remember there being a bit of information, the Mayvin way. And it felt quite abstract coming from outside, but now I totally get it. I totally get the Mayvin way. And when I think back on, you know, one year ago, little Melissa, looking at the the job application that was talking about the Mayvin way, I had no idea how it was going to impact me and change how I work.

Sue Jackson 18:21
Yeah, yeah, totally.

Suria Lonsdale 18:23
And this is it, isn't it, because there's the Mayvin way, and how Mayvin do things and this opportunity, allowing us to do action learning sets, just really embodies the essence of that. Because Mayvin, like, walk the talk. Talk the walk, whatever way around, it's meant to be. Because, you know, we are Mayvin, and we're doing this, and there's obviously something we, our consultants do within their practice.

But it's so nice that we're getting the opportunity to sit in the seat of the participant and just go through the motions of an action learning set, because every single one of us has identified different things that we've got out of this programme. And it's just such a healthy, personal and professional experience to have had for me, certainly anyway.

So I just have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. And we're only halfway we still got you know, the other half to go. So I'm kind of like if this is the point we've reached already, and we probably we probably got although you know, session one where the tumbleweed was blowing around we were all on mute.

Although there was that session, I feel like we kind of quickly transitioned into oh we are comfortable with each other and we're gonna, you know, like be really open now. So I'm really looking forward to seeing how much more we can develop in the last half of this programme because I feel like we've made like such a healthy start managed to you know, get comfortable with each other and really be vulnerable and open and talk about the nitty gritty stuff.

I feel like it would maybe naturally be something takes people a bit longer to warm up to do or it depends on the type of people I don't know. But for us, as we've got to this point, at the halfway point, it's exciting to think, well, you know, what developments and what growth and what things that we're gonna get out the rest of it. So I kind of look forward to that unknown, because it's, it's sort of definitely going to be a positive thing, we can get this this far, already?

Abi Jackson 20:31
Absolutely. It's gone from that moment of looking your diary and seeing a whole morning's being blocked out and thinking, oh, my goodness. I really need that time, I need that part of my day, I've got loads of work to do. To going to seeing it in your diary and going excellent, I'm really looking forward to that. You know, it's, the shift is quite big.

Sue Jackson 20:56
The thing that surprised me is like you Abi, I'd look at it and think, oh, I've not got time for that I've got I've got a list of things to do. But what I didn't realise is actually that's probably the best use of my time ever.

Because now I've got all the networks and all of the information that I need in order to make that list disappear. Because I can instead of working on marketing for I don't know, an hour and a half trying to find different bits and pieces, I would find Suria and go Suria, where's this and she'd say why it's here, here, here. And here. You just need to change that to that. And you're done.

So it's actually made me far more productive. Because in my former life, if someone had said to me, I want to take your team out for half a day, I would have gone I don't think so, that's really not happening. But now I've done a complete 360 I would think yes, you are. Because actually I need them to be. They need to be more productive.

And I want them to be happy as well. And feel supported. Because there's nothing like when you're in the trenches, and you're looking to your left and your right. And your best friends are there supporting you. But if you're in the trenches, and you look left and right, and you don't feel that there's anyone there. Everyone's I don't know back at headquarters drinking tea, you do kind of feel oh, this is not very good.

So, yeah, I would say that it's actually made me much, much more productive. And much more comfortable reaching out to ask for assistance or guidance. Especially when you're new, I think because you're on a massive learning curve anyway.

Suria Lonsdale 22:40
And personal connections make me want to show up better for my colleagues as well. Because I'm not saying that if I don't know someone, I'm not going to do what I've been tasked to do. But when you you know can visualise that person and you kind of like you have such like a rapport with them. Then it's like oh, they've asked me to do a thing for them. You almost kind of like want to drop everything and do it. And just like really show up for them because you've built this bond with them.

And I really feel that to everyone at Mayvin to be fair, because they do this across all their relationships. But certainly now with you guys who I didn't have those relationships with before. I just really want to show up for you. So that corporate as I call it way of thinking, of you know, oh this is a waste of time, it's a half a day. But so many of us are programmed into thinking actually the output of it and the productivity at the end of it because you then have these connections. You then know so and so can help you do this, which will take half the time. And you really get the money back tenfold don't the money the time back tenfold. So,

Sue Jackson 23:45
yeah, most definitely. Yeah.

Suria Lonsdale 23:49
Are there any final things that anyone any thoughts or feelings anyone has? Or do you feel like you've kind of all said your main noticings from the programme so far.

All good? Lovely. That was nice to just chat to you guys all again. We didn't, we're not really doing a podcast. I've made this up just so that I can talk to you all. Yeah, too big of a gap between our last action learning set and the next one. So I was like, How do I trick them all into talking to me?

Alright, guys, well, unless there's anything else anyone has, we can wrap it up. Thank you all so much for being part of it as well. It's really good because we've had so many different inputs and so much information from everyone. So thank you guys.

Claire Newell 24:49
Thank you so much for listening to us today. And we hope to see you next time. Take care bye bye

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