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"The amount that you discover about yourself and about your practice is just enormous."

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Listen to this interview with MA participants Amy Martin and Priti Colbeck sharing their experience so far.
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We recently hosted an online event in which we talked about the future of organisational learning. We feel a big part of that is practice-based learning. And we are applying that in our masters programme. We were joined current MA participants, Amy Martin and Priti Colbeck. They kindly agreed to talk about their experience of the Mavyvin Master's in People and Organisation Development so far. Our faculty lead, Carolyn Norgate asked them a few questions. And we thought we'd share her interview with our MA participants here for you to listen to. If you're interested in finding out more about the Masters, please do get in touch with us on [email protected] . We're always happy to have a chat. Hope you enjoy.

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Transcript of the interview with masters students Priti Colbeck and Amy Martin

Carolyn Norgate 0:48
So let me bring in Amy Martin and Priti Colbeck who've been part of the first year of the masters. And hear a bit more from them about what this process has been like. And hopefully give you a bit more of a flavour of how the practice based learning in an accredited programme, in a masters programme works in practice. So thank you again, Priti, Amy. Maybe I can just invite you to say that. Just to sort of introduce yourself and what brought you to the masters. Maybe we start with you Priti

Priti Colbeck 1:01
Hi. Sure. Hello, everyone. Yes, I'm Priti Colbeck. So I work in government, I work with the Department for Transport. So I'm a civil servant. That's not my core. I've not been a civil servant all my life. I've worked in a number of different sectors. Everything ranging from advertising chocolate bars to procuring nuclear reactor plants and working in academia with Oxford University, the MOD. And now right now with the Department for Transport. I'm also an actor. What attracted me to this course was its different. So that's a little bit about me.

Carolyn Norgate 2:47
Lovely. Thanks, Priti. Amy.

Amy Martin 2:50
So I'm Amy Martin. I have been in one place pretty much most of my career. So I'm a veterinary nurse and grew up through the veterinary profession. But I've been a leader in that sector for about 18 years. I have been struggling in my practice.

I didn't necessarily consider myself an OD practitioner. So I kind of fell into this by accident and then realised that yes, I absolutely am. And I came to Mayvin through recommendation because of the way of learning. So the mix of you know in person residentials and online learning.

But I came really because I was stuck. So I was reading lots of things about leadership and having difficulty with applying that in my sector. I was fed up of hearing about how people are broken and we need to give them resilience training. That's what's wrong with with the world. And we weren't thinking about how we could make our organisations better. Or fixing the organisations in service of the people. So I like the practice based learning question in terms of it's helped me to understand how I can practice to make a difference in my sector at large.

Carolyn Norgate 3:59
Lovely. Thank you, and what brought you this way Priti.

Priti Colbeck 4:06
I think it was a lot of accidents, really. I had already done some training with Mayvin, on a programme they have with the civil service. So I was introduced to it that way. That was when I was with the MOD and then I wanted to do more.

I happened to change jobs and my new organisation was just very amenable to it. And I think what really brought me to it was a series of small accidents and things. But what's really keeping me engaged is just how different this programme is to any other programme that I've been on.

What it's really focusing on is, it sounds strange but what it's focusing on is you as an individual. But you as an individual, because you as an individual have an impact on the wider system and the wider teams. And that's why it matters. This is not like self therapy or something like that. There's a reason why there's a focus on you, is because you have an impact on others. And that's what attracts me to this.

Carolyn Norgate 5:15
And what. Just sort of building a little bit on that. Because that's very much in the "How can I?" part of that practice based question we talked about? What's the experience of sort of saying? It'd be good to hear from you a bit more about the experience of being on a practice based programme. And maybe share a bit about one of the questions you've been holding, or are holding now. Just to give people a flavour of how that's worked for you?

Priti Colbeck 5:38
So, yes. The question that's holding me now is: how can I use my difference, to make a difference, in the context of operating from the margin? I'm experiencing some interesting things at work, and that they've come to the surface, particularly through this programme.

And so what I'm exploring is, I, I've tried for most of my life to move to the centre. I appreciate, I'm using a lot of jargon here, but to operate from the mainstream. I've never really realised why there's always been this underlying feeling of this isn't right. Or this doesn't feel right, I'm not able to make the impact that I'm able to make.

This course, is helping me do that by exploring what my differences are, where they come from, what's driving them. That was very much the first year for me. The first part of this was trying to understand what my difference was, because that wasn't that easy to identify where it was coming from.

And this the second part that we're just coming into now with our work with the client. The 3rd sector client. That it's about, okay, so I understand where my difference is. How am I now actually going to use it to make a difference, as opposed to trying to quash it, which I've been doing for all the rest of my life. So what's happening in the second part is I've recognised, I have a difference, I understand where it comes from. And I now I'm going to try and use it to help this 3rd sector client. That's where I am right now.

Carolyn Norgate 7:37
And we talked a lot in that first module about the paradoxical theory of change. About how that from that notion from Gestalt. That changing by becoming more yourself. Which that last part of what you're just saying there Priti really, really showed up, as you were describing that. How about you, Amy how has the experience of the practice nature of this programme been?

Amy Martin 8:00
Um, I guess it's just. It's made me a little bit more settled in my own skin, I suppose in a similar way to Priti. So my question is about how can I use my voice in service of making the veterinary profession, a nicer place to be.

And I've tried working really hard and trying to get people to notice what I'm doing and seeing if I can make change that way. And then I've gone the opposite way and tried to shout really loud about the changes, I think needs to be made in my profession. Because I was interested in you know.

Desmond Tutu who says we need to go upstream and find out why people are falling in. Rather than just keep putting a sticking plaster over that problem or fishing people out of the river. I was really frustrated that my organization's haven't been ready to see that. And it was that was causing me quite a lot of anxiety and stress.

Suddenly, James said earlier about saving the world to saving the now. So what I've done is I've gone back to okay, what can I do right now? That's going to help my immediate colleagues helped me to build relationships so that I can make a difference to them, and therefore potentially later on a difference to the wider profession.

Carolyn Norgate 9:15
I got a lovely little visual coming up there of the you know, the older versions of you with a loud hailer shouting, pushing the rock and now kind of just standing right in it with the sort of arms and heart open. Yeah, lovely to hear. So as you're sort of coming towards this point of the programme, as we're finishing this first year, sort of any other key reflections you'd like to share or even thoughts for colleagues who may be thinking about embarking on this journey or talking to others about this?

Priti Colbeck 9:49
Um, yeah, I there's, there's so much I'd like to share like it's gonna sound like a cliche, and I'm sure most of you won't believe me today. But you, the amount that you discover about yourself and about your practice is just enormous.

And it's done in a very, very light handed way. I mean, I don't know how much experience you guys have of working in ALS or anything, I had none before I came on this. And the things that we discuss and the way that we discuss our questions, our problems, our inquiries, in the ALS groups. For me, that's been a real revelation, just how deep we go, and how quickly we get to that depth.

So that's something I really want to share with you. Because for me, that was just a complete new discovery, I just couldn't believe that. They're talking to you like five or six people for a couple of hours, we talked about the things we that we do, and they're really, really deep things. So what, what I would encourage you to do, and this is put the time into your ALS. It's sometimes seen on the surface as an optional thing, but really, you get so much out of it.

Carolyn Norgate 11:19
One of the things I'm hearing, there Priti, it's sort of. You know, whatever the kind of the structure isn't just, you know, noting how important that part of the structure of the programme has been to you. But an invitation to really take yourself and your practice seriously.

And really, and we often talk about, you know, holding, you know, when you're in a sort of critiquing world, which of course, you know, this is a masters programme. So critical thinking is key, but holding an element of your practice up to the light, and really kind of lovingly understanding, critiquing looking at it.

And in those different spaces, particularly in the learning sets. I know that through both modules, the learning sets change at each module, there's been a lot of activity in both the facilitated parts of the learning sets. And in the unfacilitated, which I think also says something about how valuable people have found those, those sessions and those that's that part of the community that they're in for that period of time. How about you, Amy?

Amy Martin 12:16
I think it's really the roll on, roll off nature of the Mayvin programme. So I was ready. And I think if you hadn't accepted me, when I was ready, I'd have either found something else, or I'd have gone off the boil. So you took me in at module two, and then I have to collect up module one, somewhere else, but I think Mayvin have been really supportive and the faculty in particular have been really supportive of coming in whenever your ready, and just for the for the now and so that I found that really, really useful.

And then also I found education a bit of a struggle in the past, because I have to be really interested to make me want to do it. And I haven't, this hasn't been a chore at all, even on top of a full time job. It's been interesting, because I've been able to.

Whatever rabbit hole I wanted to go down, I can go down it and the faculty have been really supportive of yeah, yeah, you should go and investigate that. That sounds like a good thing to go and learn about. So it's been completely self directed, which means I've been able to take myself off in that direction.

Carolyn Norgate 13:05

Yeah, and, yeah, not rabbit holes, really in the classic sense of how we call about rabbit holes, you know, holes, you kind of worth wanting needed to dig to do that, like critiquing. And that understanding and that that taking it seriously. Yeah.

Priti Colbeck 13:34
Can I just add that, and there is that there is a lot of self direction in that. But I have to say there is some there is some guidance being given by the faculty. And certainly in my case there was and just to kind of steal Amy's analogy. I think I was directed by James, you might want to go and investigate that rabbit hole over there. And it was I went down that hole. It's amazing. Amazing. So the direction from the faculty, which might seem light, but it's sharp.

Amy Martin 14:10
Sometimes it's only one word. But it sets you off in a direction of going investigating.

Priti Colbeck 14:17
Yeah.

Carolyn Norgate 14:18
Lovely. Okay, Amy, Priti. Thank you so much. As I was saying to you when everyone else was in breakout, all the things that James or I or other colleagues could say about the masters would be talking about your experience from that sort of slightly distant, more distant perspective. Of course, we're in it with you, but it's, it's your experience, and it's so, so rich to hear about it from from your particular perspective. So thank you both for coming and sharing now. Really, really appreciate it.

Claire Newell 14:50
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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