We recorded this Management and Leadership Development Programmes that work Podcast episode for you to listen to following on from an online community event we hosted on the subject.
We held the event, because for many, the current approach to designing and implementing leadership and management development programmes isn't quite hitting the mark. So we posed the question, what is the difference that makes the difference in programme design?
At the event, we shared our experiences in designing and delivering what our participants call life changing and hugely impactful programmes. We also opened it up to group inquiry, asking everyone in the room what their experiences were for the good and for the bad.
It was a really rich discussion and well worth a listen to!
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Transcript for Management and Leadership Development Programmes that work
Tony Nicholls 2:05
Alright, so welcome, everybody. Let me just start by very briefly talking about why this event and what we want to talk about.
So yeah, hey, go figure Mayvin does programmes, leadership programmes, management programmes, we develop capability in organisation design and development. We've been doing programmes a long time, and we wanted to share that.
We've been talking a lot about our programmes. I've just finished a book, which will come out in December. It includes some chapters on the kind of work that we do in programmes and the future of management development in particular.
So it's a topic of conversation for us at the moment. We've also been talking about the fact that our clients increasingly are saying things around leadership and management programmes in particular. They say that that they're lacking impact.
They're not cutting through the kind of leadership and management capabilities they're looking for currently, and in the future. Their current approach to programmes design and development isn't necessarily having the impact they want.
Which is, which is the opposite of the kind of feedback that Mayvin gets. So just a bit of a plug for us. We're getting some very positive feedback about the personal and systemic impact that our programmes have for participants.
So we've really been thinking about, why is that? What's the difference that makes a difference for the way that we put programmes together? And we wanted to share our experiences with you. We also wanted to hear from you. What are you hearing from your organization's, your clients?
And what experiences have you had personally in the programmes and the interventions that have created major shifts in your practice? Then we'll have a conversation about that. And perhaps look to the future, a little bit about what development programmes might look like going forward.
So that's sort of why we wanted to hold this event. I'll hand over to Sophie now we'll take it into the first part of the conversation.
Sophie Tidman 4:03
Thanks, Tony. You know, when we were talking about this. In preparation, me and Tony. I was reflecting. When I hear people talk about Mayvin's programmes in their experience, they often talk about it being life changing. Or, you know, just it seems quite monumental, in a way, quite, quite grand.
And that's also my experience. I've had programmes when I've had learning experiences that really kind of, sort of shook me. Reeally kind of changed something in me. And I've heard it from peers and colleagues as well. And what it sounds like to me is that it's it's like a rite of passage.
So it's, you know, which is interesting, you know. It's something you sort of go into as one person and you come out a bit different. And you see yourself very differently. You see the world, something shifted. Which I find really interesting because we don't have many rites of passages in our society nowadays. We don't, you know, we don't go in for that ritual and we don't have much sacred space.
It kind of feels a bit strange to say maybe we can have rites of passage like that at work. But you know, we do spend a lot of time at work, you know, it's a really big part. It's very meaningful, meaningful for a lot of people. So that concept might be a useful one to think about, as we go into these breakouts.
So the question if you could put the slide up, Claire. The question really for you is, you know, what? What experiences have shifted your perspective and practice? I think it's the one the first one. That's it.
Yeah, so it could be a formal programme or something. You experienced some kind, of course you went on, or it could be something else that really shifted your perspective to how you are in the world and your practice, like what you're doing in the world, something kind of just flipped.
So we'd be really interested to talk about what shifted? What What was that shift and your perspective in your practice? And what was it about that learning experience or that experience that made the shift that made the difference made it so impactful for you? And so yeah, breakout rooms, I think Claire's gonna put put you all into breakout rooms. Any questions before then?
Tony Nicholls 6:38
Could be 15 minutes. And then when we get back? We'll hear from you. You know, just briefly, what what's coming up for you in terms of these these questions? These reflections?
Tony Nicholls 6:51
Everybody back, welcome back. Yeah, so we've just got to do a few minutes. Now before we before we share our thinking or our programmes, it'd be great to hear from from you. And from a few of you, please do pop things into chat. If you've got anything you wanted to pop into there anything that's come up for you, what are you?
What are you noticing about these rites of passage? And interventions and or programmes that have created a significant shift in your practice? And we'd love to hear from one or two of you? What were some of the things that were coming from in your conversations? Maybe Sophie you were in there as well, maybe you could share as well? Juliet,
Sorry, Sophie, did you want to go?
Sophie Tidman 7:42
No, you're okay.
I mean, we, we spent so long introducing ourselves to each other, we didn't get much chance to talk. But, we were just kind of coming at the end to talk about how, when it's about us as people and and our self awareness. And our impact rather than any particular aspect of our leadership practice.
Or whatever the whatever the programme was. When it was just about a realisation about ourselves. Or perhaps getting feedback about ourselves how we show up and our impact. So that kind of personal growth actually stayed with us more than. Well, certainly with me, I can only speak for me, obviously. It stayed with me more than any particular kind of technique or you know, things like that.
So when it's focused on who you are as a person, and therefore, how you then show up in those roles. Wherever the role is from, for me that that felt really impactful. And really kind of sort of sits. Even if it's only a small bit of feedback that you get. Or, you know, it's, it sort of stays, it has an emotional connection, I suppose. That perhaps something more you know objective doesn't.
Tony Nicholls 8:58
Wonderful. Thank you, Juliet. We've got a thumbs up from Louise there as well. On that, okay. Other noticings around these rites of passage are impactful programmes or interventions?
Webinar Guest 1 9:16
Think for me, it's been where it has been experiential, immersive, visceral, kind of work. And you know, also. What you already said about getting feedback on I'll be sure that has been quite impactful.
Tony Nicholls 9:47
We're hearing. I'm hearing there is a growth on the idea of, of it's about me. But it's about me and I'm experiencing me through some kind of experiential process and through some kind of relationship with others. That's what I'm hearing. They're great. Any other thoughts?
Can I add, just very briefly to that, because we had a similar theme in our group. We ran out of time, on feedback. But it just occurs to me that. One of the things I was going to say about whether our leadership programme works or not. From the point of view of the organisation. Is I think sometimes organisations make the mistake. And I've experienced this. Of trying to kind of tell all their leaders how they should be. And not really leaving any room for that personal connection, and that difference between people.
I think that's quite an important lesson for anyone designing programmes. And how you negotiate that with the people in charge as it were, because they don't always get it. They're very impatient to get on with changing the organisation by changing its people. Yeah.
Tony Nicholls 10:53
Yeah, that the cookie cutter approach, which is easy for you to say. Yeah, that idea that there's a one way of being in this organisation. And we want everybody to stick to that. And I think there's a really good point, Jonathan, you make around the impatience that we noticing clients to get it done and to drive the changing behaviours.
Yeah, which which, which squeezes out space for what we've what we've just heard there around. I like your point in particular, around connection, and also inviting difference. And celebrating difference. Yeah, thank you. Maybe another Sophie did you have anything in particular, you want to pick up that you were discovered in your breakout?
Tony Nicholls 11:36
Yeah, the kind of resistance to content because you need that experiential bit. And you need and also the space that people need to really digest. And actually, because the world is getting ever more loud and right up close, the power leadership programmes just take us away and take a breath. Yeah, that space. Okay,
Webinar Guest 2 11:57
We built on that actually. We were talking about the experiential learning. Creating that right container in a way to be immersive in it. And, so that you can feel really uncomfortable and challenge. But I think to a good programme will set the right container for that to happen. And then also work, we were talking about working with the participants in the group.
So you know that you're not like talking down if you'd like to, as the lead developer. You're working with the needs of the group. And then seeing what emerges, and how important that is for that. Just picking up on Sophie's point about space and breathing. But also to yeah, to go at the pace of where the participants are. Push and challenge, you know, so that people feel safe to be able to. I mean, I was saying that I've been, you know. Not always been as courageous, but sometimes when I've learned the most is when I stepped into that space.
Tony Nicholls 12:50
A really interesting one for me in terms of this safe space to be uncomfortable. Which, again, is a difficult one for a lot of clients to sort of accept that's, you know, a necessary ingredient for good development. Because they don't like to feel uncomfortable. They like to feel like they know the answer. In fact, they're expected to know the answer.
So there's, there's a real challenge around that sometimes. It's something something I write about in the book in terms of this, this idea that we have that leaders are supposed to know the answers and therefore leaders should be confident and sure of what they're doing.
And uncertainty and vulnerability are not necessarily things that we want them to demonstrate. Even though we might talk about it. We will talk about vulnerable leadership. But I'm not sure that most organisations actually really understand what that is and and want to embrace it.
Thank you, Julian. We're recording it. So we'll, you'll be able to catch up the rest of it. Okay, so any, any any final points on that? Before we sort of, you know. There's a lot of resonance there with what we're about to say now, which is phew, you know, one of those. Okay, so I think what we wanted to do now is just talk to you about our programmes. So, Sophie, you want to start us off with why programmes and Claire if you could share the first slide?
Sophie Tidman 14:13
Yeah. So, what we're often being asked for is quite transformational leadership programmes. You know, people sort of recognise that going a bit faster, being a bit more efficient isn't really getting them where they need to go.
And this kind of comes back to the point about the cookie cutter. There's still a kind of desire right to, to just make leaders a bit better. And kind of thinking we know the answer about you know, well, it's these capabilities, we need to fit, people. They need to be better, at least these kinds of things, right.
But actually, what we're finding is that impactful development is predicated on paradigm shifts. So you know, different way of being in the world. Different way of thinking about ourselves in relation into our organisations and the purpose of our organisations.
And, you know, if we knew what the new paradigm was, then it probably wouldn't be a new paradigm. So there is all that uncertainty within that. So this, this implies that it's not really about models and tools, although they are very useful sometimes.
And there's also something else that we found it implies. And I don't I don't think we talked about this explicitly. But I think a lot of people touched on it in the group, was about learning and community with and through others, because we're social animals, right? I mean, you know, although we see learning environments as quite rarefied nowadays.
I mean, historically, from our early beginnings, learning was always done in community. You know, seeing seeing ourselves in others and reflecting back and, and building on each other's ideas. So, and if you're thinking about organisations as well. It's, you know, lots of separate enlightened souls are not going to make the change. It's kind of making those connections. Right? And, oh, you see that?
I also see that, you know, how can we change it. I'm gonna get sort of critical mass of change makers. And also that support right, more often is very tough environments for leaders nowadays. So yeah, I mean, you've already pointed this out. Well, what doesn't really cut through all that is one off workshops. All the content, a lot of theory, and kind of leaving people to figure it out by themselves with some good books. Why leadership programmes? You know, they're a bit of an artificial constructs, right.
So I kind of see it as a bit of potentially. I mean, I felt that in the past, kind of, you know, why do we need this kind of big fancy programme? But there's something I think really important in having. And Mayvin have found a way of having that separate space that we take people away to, so that they can have that space to breathe.
And they can have that space to unlearn. Because you've got to unlearn before you learn, unlearn what, what they're doing and understand it and bring self awareness to it. While also being conscious of the work and the day to day as well.
So it's that tension. We're trying to manage in leadership programmes, where we're kind of taking people away from work. But it's always there, kind of thinking about how this impacts the work, how can I be different in this? How can my practice be different? That is all a very disorienting experience for people potentially. Right.
I go back to this idea of rites of passage, you know, rites of passage are quite scary. And they're also done in community with support with kind of that validation, and that also celebration. And for facilitators, what we find we really, what's really valued is to hold that space. So you know, holding a very structured space really given. Holding people by the hand through it all and making sure that's quite cyclical.
So I think a lot of leadership programmes, that kind of do it quick, that kind of demand, for kind of getting there quickly. But actually, like learning takes time. There's a bit of cyclicality in it. Yeah. So you know, you have that cycle of reflection, you take it out into the world, and then you bring it back in. And so you need a bit of space in there as well. Yeah, I think that was everything. Tony in essence.
Tony Nicholls 18:29
Yeah. So you know, we sort of have that challenging conversation for ourselves. So why programmes because they're time consuming, they're expensive. And there's quite a lot of programme fatigue out there. But we, you know, we've revisited and said, they are the right structure, they are the right process, because we need that space. And we need that time to experiment with practice, and programmes are a good way of doing that.
Okay, next slide. Thank you. Yeah, so. So let's, let's have a look at the differences that make the difference. We put this slide together and we've been revisiting it. We really feel like it tells a story of how do we manage the tension between taking people away from the work from the work to talk to them and create safe space for their reflection whilst also bringing the work into that room into that space? How do we do that?
So we've we've found it critically important that on the left hand side there, we absolutely create programmes where their personal development needs are. First and foremost, what we're talking about, and they are their personal development needs. They're not this idea that there's a framework that they have to adhere to and become, you know, a robotic repetition of.
Its even if there is a framework. What's their personal interpretation of that framework and the asks of them as a leader or manager, or HR business partner or change practitioner. What's their personal interpretation of that and how do they personally embody that?
So what's their personal development needs, but not lose the business context and what the business needs? Because that's, that's the client really, isn't it? And they're there to deliver a piece of work for the client or a role for the client. So both are equally important. How do I show up within the context of my employing, or my client organisation?
So that's the frame that we bring to this. And we bring that through what through the use of action learning questions. Richard Hale, one of our Associate Consultants has done a lot of work in this space, and has written a lot about this.
And we use his methodology for creating Action Learning questions. They have a structure to them around, how can I develop x in my practice, which x might be around presence or organisation design? Or could be on group dynamics, but what's the x? What do I want to learn in my practice? How do I develop x in my practice in service of y project. Project being the work itself, that business need, that business context?
And occasionally, with for more advanced practitioners, we would look at a third element to that question. So how can I develop x in service of y project within context said? And we will get them to look really widely at the context in terms of what it is that showing up in their context, that means that they've got to show up as practitioners in a particular way.
Action Learning questions are run through our programmes, and are really what hold the whole, different elements that the participant needs to hold together. Then we have these lenses that I've talked about in terms of projects and action learning groups.
The project work lens is either we get them to start to focus on their actual day to day work. So they carve out at something that they're doing around that, then perhaps they're developing their team, perhaps they've got a particular project that leading on.
So what is it that they can get ahold of, and experiment with and within, that helps them experiment with their practice? In whatever practice that is whether as I say it's leadership, management, HR, change, and within that work space, take those challenges. They're finding them the experiments that they're doing, and take them to an action learning group.
And with a small group of people start to share their stories, explore, practice, get feedback, in that process, about how they're showing up. So these two elements, we find particularly important in developing effective programmes. They have both the project work element, and they have the action learning small peer group, reflexive space as well.
That we're finding when those lenses are applied, are bringing both personal and systemic impacts. So personal being their practice shift, or systemic in terms of their having an impact on the actual work, because they're doing the real work. And they're experimenting, the real work as we go. So they're, they're sort of the differences that make the difference that we're finding. Sophie, do you want to next slide? Yeah.
Sophie Tidman 23:02
So after we've all talked about how terrible theories and knowledge is, I've, I've got a theory or a model for you, which is that, it's alright, I'm not going to talk about it very much, I'm going to use it quite practically.
This is a Heron and Reason model about the different ways of knowing, right, and so this, this talks about, sort of the palette of knowledge we have as human beings and collectively as organisations.
So the way we mainly think about learning in our societies and our organisations is the kind of proposition. The kind of knowing that, sort of this objective knowing, expressing statements kind of ideas, quite conceptual, you know. Sort of exemplified in organisations by the kind of the power of PowerPoint, how the ubiquity of PowerPoint.
But actually, you know, there's a fundamental knowledge. All knowledge in the world is sort of grounded on our direct experience of sensory direct experience of the world, you know, how are you actually showing up? Or what how does that feel? Like, is it lonely at work? You know, how are you actually experiencing that? Is there joy there, and that kind of thing is so fundamental.
And that's, that's our grounds of difference right? as well. The propositional is a kind of cookie cutter, kind of, you know, trying to make universal truths, trying to homogenise. The experiential if we start there, which we often try and do in our programmes and that that suggests some vulnerability from participants that we've talked about before about stepping into that place of courage.
You know, when we start that there for a programme, we're actually exploring difference and how we're all different and how that can be really hugely valuable. I think that when I've done quite meaningful courses for me learning programmes. I always find the memorable bits is when I've kind of gone, oh god I really I really loved that bit and nobody else got it. And it was when my difference showed up basically. That was that was quite meaningful to me.
And a sort of recognition of self recognition, and affirmation. And also what we try and do that and that next level up there is presentation. Which is another Western kind of bit more intuitive artistic knowledge. So you know, the stories that are in your organisation. The stories you make up about your organization's, you know, things that might be captured quite well in an image or a metaphor.
So we often use artful practice, as a way of kind of surfacing a lot of stuff that's not not often said, not acknowledged in organisations and about our experience as well. And then, what's often forgotten is the practical so what is the? That's all very nice, what does that mean, in terms of the action, you might take? That sort of gesture you might put out into the world or into the system you're working in? And how you might continually change that.
So another part of this model, there's up and down arrows. So you know, there's that cycle. It's always experiential, we're always experimenting during the programmes and seeing what changes and that that data is hugely important. And useful, both for you and also for the wider, wider system.
Tony Nicholls 26:16
And I think just just to build on this. I've seen versions of this in terms of the way that programmes are designed, or learning events are designed in terms of the way that people are, like to learn, which I think is useful.
But we, I think for us, this is much more about how our people, how participants think about and explore and reflect on practice. That's what we're trying to develop here.
Such that this becomes we're developing within the participants, their ability to know differently, and in different ways such that when they're in their work and doing their work. They're noticing better, how they're showing up. How they're learning how others are showing up, how they are communicating with us with different ways of knowing the world as it were. And understanding the world and making sense of it.
Okay, thanks Sophie, the next slide, and then we'll start to move towards another breakout. So yeah, it's just some some critical factors that we really think really stand out for us that we're really exploring and there are more I'm sure, but these the ones that really stand out.
Fundamentally, whether we're talking about leadership, or management, or HR or change or OD practitioners, it doesn't matter really what the profession is that we're talking about, or the or the particular areas of expertise, we're developing, fundamental and foundational through all those are capabilities in relationship and group skills.
Organisations are relational, organisations are groups of people that come together towards some common aim. And the effectiveness of those organisations are, is predicated in on the strength of the relationships and the cultural factors in the organisation.
So therefore, relationship and group skills are fundamental for, for what we're trying to explore, with people for them to explore in their practice and to develop those capabilities. And, and within that, so within the book, I put forward three daily practices that I think managers could do well to think about developing and the first one of those is noticing.
And by that, I mean, I guess it relates to the previous slide in terms of noticing how they are showing up, more regularly in the here and now. Noticing how colleagues are showing up noticing how they are with each other. So just a noticing how they perceive the organisation.
And the stories and the narratives and metaphors that are going on around them, such that they can start to see how their perceptions dictate how they behave in organisations, and they've got more choice about how they can show up. So noticing is a practice that that we develop.
And then checking in, checking in for me is is a way of ritualizing and spreading the word around this noticing practice. So note checking in could be, you know, the formal check-ins that we might have beginning of meetings. But there could also be more much more informal in a moment here and now checking in. So how am I showing up right now? Why am I feeling this particular way? Why am I nervous?
I'm noticing I'm nervous. What is that about? How can I check in with myself? How can I check in with my colleagues about how we are working together? You know, using Ready's model around tasks, process and group process.
So checking in as a daily practice is something that we promote well. And then finally, this navigating complex, complexity sorry. We're noticing more we're checking in with each other. And we still have to act we still have to do stuff. So how can we do that? How can we move towards more uncertain futures? With incomplete datasets with discontinuous change?
How can we for example, utilise the adaptive action cycle, for example, as a framework through which we can start to navigate complexity better. So three daily practices that I think when we really distil down what it is we we're developing in our participants of our programmes that stand out for me anyway.
And I think another final critical factor for me is, is and we would say this wouldn't we is, you know, facilitators with the right experience. But you know, tongue in cheek, I say that, but I say that with all seriousness.
Because in order to create the safe spaces you've talked about, that you experienced, in those significant shifts of practice, those rites of passage, we need people who can help us create safe spaces to do the right kind of work where we can, where we can feel and be vulnerable, we can enter into inquiry and have people feed back to us and hold up their mirror for us about how we're showing up, which can be very exposing, you know, that that requires some really the right kind of facilitation to do that.
And to do that, quickly enough, such the programme can get started. You know, we've had a conversation about that several months ago, within Mayvin, about how a facilitator can create a space quite quickly, where vulnerability and inquiry is, is is available to us.
And we talked as much about that says about as much as leaving leaving stuff at the door. It's yes, we bring capability, we bring structure, but we also leave stuff at the door around power and competition, etc. So yeah, I think it needs that right kind of facilitation. And I think I also heard you talk when we first opened up around difference.
Like Jonathan, you mentioned that how do we value and encourage difference such that we both bring in difference from a ideas, perspective, but also difference in terms of the potential the potential for conflict? And how do we work with that, and create safe space for that as well.
So some critical factors that I'm sure there are many more, but they're the ones that are standing out for us at the moment. And that's partly why we wanted this conversation to hear from you about where we think, we can add to our thinking around these critical factors that makes the difference. So Sophie, over to you, you want to take us into our next session.
Sophie Tidman 32:17
So this is, so we'd love to do some sensemaking with you now. So back into breakouts, back to you. What's coming up for you really, what resonated? Where does this fit in in terms of what your organisations are asking for?
I'm particularly curious, what what do you think development programmes might be looking like in 50 years? I'm very curious about that question. But our organization's might be totally different. Our world would be totally different in 50 years, where do you think we're?
Where do you think some of the threads pointing? And then what questions do you have? Why might we be missing here? So Claire's gonna put that into the chat and I think we've all got 15 minutes.
Tony Nicholls 33:02
Yeah. So quicker instructions, if you'd like to, you know, get to know each other. And then give yourself some time for these for the conversation. Or they will, you know, bring bring your questions and your thoughts to the plenary, and we'll we'll have plenty of time before two o'clock to have a conversation as a group.
Tony Nicholls 33:19
Welcome back everyone. Hopefully, it was a fruitful conversation. And hopefully, you've also met one or two people that maybe you wanted to catch up with, or you've met for the first time. That's partly what these are all about, is meeting people.
So we've got a bit of time to hear back from you. In response to those questions, I'm looking for Sophie, and I can't see there she is there. So Sophie, do you want to start us off? Sophie, was there anything that you? Yeah,
Sophie Tidman 33:48
We had some really interesting points. Actually one of them was, which we haven't talked about, which is really important about like, how does the Leadership Programme interact with the wider system, right?
Because, you know, often you'll have like the senior, the top team sort of saying, this is a problem go and sort our leadership out, and it's a broader systemic thing their sort of sidestepping was the word we used, which is quite nice. And then also point about scale.
So kind of, actually notice that you can also have smaller, and Nicoll was talking about triads. And then, you know, in our programmes, we often have community events, very big events, and we'll have different scales, different formats.
You're and that's always quite interesting as well, it kind of means it doesn't get stale. And you're sort of practising different things and learning different things in different types of groups. Then we also didn't finish our conversation, which I'd be quite interested to hear.
Nicoll finished off about kind of structure and how much do you need to hold a structure and how much actually you challenge groups to develop their own, like their own mini learning organisations? Nice, nice term from George.
Tony Nicholls 34:54
Okay. Let's hear from others. What was coming up for you in in that conversation? And how do your experiences resonate, resonate with ours, at Mayvin, what additional thoughts have you got? What questions do you have? Hi Louise, you've got your hand up.
Hi, so we were talking in our room and I wasn't really contributing, I was percolating, and now thoughts occur to me, which I knew it would.
So we were talking about the kind of the demand for little chunks of learning and people wanting things at speed and people wanting things sort of like right here and now. And not having lots of time maybe to dedicate to their learning, and how do we get them to, you know, extend that into thinking about every everyday is a school day and, you know, learning throughout all the time that you're in the workplace.
And we've made some changes recently to the way that we are designing all of our our Learning office actually within the Leadership Management Department. So that there's a big push on what happens before you get into the classroom.
So there's no turning up blind. We've banned, the term pre-reading, that's not a thing. It's, it's not, you're not reading something before you start learning, you're starting learning before you join the facilitated sessions.
So yeah, lots of accountability, learner, lots of things that need to happen before you get into the room. And it'd be really interesting to see, that's a big culture shift. It won't happen overnight I don't think. It'd be interesting to see how that sort of lands with people. And how many people still got sort of shuffling around at the back of the room saying I didn't do the pre-reading when we say it wasn't pre-reading.
Say, yeah, really interesting to see how that develops. But I think it is one really sensible response to this idea that people don't feel like they've got a lot of time to carve out in their in their diary for formal learning opportunities.
Tony Nicholls 36:58
That's really interesting. Yeah, thank you for that. So that's, that's shifting us away from this sort of the story we have that programmes are a bit like school. And if we're in school, we're learning and if we're not in school, we're play.
And how do we actually promote the idea that, well, if how we show up is important, then we're showing up all the time, so therefore, every moment is an opportunity to do something that's really good. Thank you. You're shifting, specifically shifting the language around what you're doing there? I think it's really useful. Thank you.
James Traeger 37:33
I was really struck by what Jackie was saying about what is the word I would use this system learning. So it's not about individuals learning, it's about the system learning. So how do you create processes and practices that are development of the quality of leadership in the system? I don't know if you want to say more, Jackie or say it from your, with your words.
And I think that describes it really well. James, I guess, collective leadership is is kind of what we I don't know if that's what we call it just in Scotland. But that's kind of where I'm coming from. And one of the things that it does is it, I think is it shifts the focus from a kind of designated leader or a designated role on to the actual challenge.
So it's a way of inviting people to see the challenge from their own perspective, but also different perspectives. And maybe takes the burden as well, a little bit off the notion that one person or a team of people have to solve this. I'm very much linked to that sense of how can we as an org, how can we be a learning organisation that just constantly sort of doesn't.
Yeah, it doesn't see anything as finite. What role do I have to play today? What part can I play tomorrow and into the future? And it kind of calls to mind what was introduced? The other question as well is, what what will it look like in 50 years time?
What will what programmes will be needed? And I think it's very much linked to well, what's what's what's being asked of is what does the world ask of us now and in future? What does? What role does your organisation have to play in that?
Tony Nicholls 39:36
That's, that's really interesting. I've got an image of leaders going to work every day and asking themselves that question. So what is the world asking of us today? What does our organisation need of us today?
That's a very different way of operating to, well, we've, we've got a pre we've got a three year plan and we need to just deliver that, don't we? That's a really interesting shift in focus. Thank you, Jackie. I can see some questions and some points coming up there some conversation between Louise and Nicoll there in terms of the phrasing that you're using, around learning in classrooms, etc.
Thank you. Any other thoughts? Any other questions or insights people have had during this process? What's Mayvin missing that we haven't spotted yet? Well,
Jonathan, in our group raise this, but he's popped off for a little bit about ethics and sort of talking about ethics and that might be a bit of a content thing. But there is, you could argue that reflexive practice would help you with your ethics practice, too.
So I thought that was interesting in terms of our leadership development, and why that's going. And another sort of reflection in the group was as careers start to become much less about you know, a job for life and a company for life and start to become a bit more bitty with coming out of organisations doing some freelance work going back in, you know, is there a space also for Development Practitioners who just create change wherever they are and create development wherever they are.
I mean, you know, in wider OD theory we always talk about like, managers or leaders as a primary practitioners of OD. So I think, yeah, I wonder if a kind of in the future there's something about programmes being a thing that can be run in house or by an organised, by a person working across multiple organisations, in the same space potentially.
Tony Nicholls 41:58
Really interesting. The ethics one, just on the ethics find on for anybody else wants to comment on that, but just coming from me as we don't necessarily always introduce ethics as a content or a topic, but we tend to find it comes up as an outcome of conversations around we start, people start to notice the ethics of their practice as they start to reflect on practice, particularly when they have.
They bring both the business context or the organisation context on their personal practice into the conversation, they notice how there are clashes and misalignment sometimes. So ethics comes up as a natural process or conversation. Any other experiences around ethics or observations on ethics, I think it's really interesting topic? Juliet, you got your hand up there.
Thanks. So yeah, it wasn't about ethics, actually, it's about it, it was something that we we spoke about in our group only, only slightly, but I thought I'd share it anyway, was something about sort of engagement with the learning and motivation for the learning.
We're sharing some experiences where some had been very successful, but it was because people chose to engage with the learning, they sort of put themselves forward for, for the programme and, and were therefore committed, and really got something from it.
Then other experiences where it was, it was more of a you will do this, and how that changed how they brought themselves to the learning and the motivation to do it.
And actually, I'm curious, I suppose how that might link with some of the comments around language as well and how we're, how we're framing what this experience is to, to change people's response to it and their desire to want to engage with it, whether you know, it in whatever structure that is. Yeah, so hadn't really developed our thinking on that, but I just thought I'd share that.
Sophie Tidman 43:53
Yeah, that's a really good point, I think what we often talk about is community so that your accountable and having the kind of smaller groups, thinking about and languaging this thinking about the accountability as to your group, not to not have to the sponsor, of the course, though, you know, or to the facilitators is to this small group and that, you know, that is much more powerful often for people.
Tony Nicholls 44:16
The point around language is a pertinent one for us as a provider of programmes how do we how do we message what it is we have to offer in a way that is, is different but not so weird, they reject us. That's, that's one of the challenges because we approach clients systems who already have a language around programmes and we have to use some of that language.
But we also have appear different enough but as I say, not so different that they think not, don't want to rely on that. So there's a constant tension for us around how we language this. We're, this is part of that experimentation around that.
On Aneesa, your point around all managers, developers, I'm really interested in that that's something I'm passionate about in terms of what if, in 50 years time we had, we have managers that actually considered themselves to be practitioners, not managers, but practitioners, and that their role in life was to develop their own practice and the practice of others, how different organisations might be.
So that's definitely something I've latched on to and want to want to promote the idea that if we, if managers understand what it is to be their practice, and that who they are and how they show up each and every day, each and every moment is really matters, then I think we might see a shift in the way that they want to develop their practice, and what it is they think they're there for in organisations.
Okay, a few more minutes. Any other? Any other thoughts? What else has come up for you? Any questions you wanted to ask of us on a particular topic?
Sophie Tidman 46:08
I did put something on the sidebar. Sorry, it was just to respond to what you said, Tony, about how do you present this to senior leaders? I mean, obviously, you know, the challenges that they're facing in the public sector, the latest is to reduce the size of the public sector by 20% 40%.
So just recognising, and aligning with the sort of challenges that they're facing and how your approach, you know, can can help to support or deliver some of that, although that might not feel very palatable. The other thought that I brought up was that 50 years seems an age away. I mean, obviously I won't be alive then. But I mean, things are just changing so fast.
And I come down to simple pragmatic nudges and steps. That would would start us as of today on the journey, whether that is how people recruit people, or if people are promoting people into line manager roles, a leader roles, then, you know, thinking about the sort of values and the ways of working?
Yeah, so just kind of very practical ways that we can start to nudge organisations rather than expecting the Big Bang, not not that I'm saying you are, but yeah, thank you
Tony Nicholls 47:26
No it's really interesting. Thank you. Just wondering,
James Traeger 47:30
I wonder whether, you know, in order for us to have a public sector, which is 20 to 40%, smaller in terms of headcount, we need much more focused activity, and much more better quality decision making.
And that requires reflective practice. It requires anybody in the system being prepared to step back and reflect on what is useful action and what they're doing and what is pointless activity.
And it strikes me that there's an awful lot of pointless activity, most of which is about putting slide decks together on the on the strategy for the next five years, which is usually out of date. By the time it's, you know,
I don't I don't disagree. What I would say is, if we're talking about systemic leadership, and if we're trying to talk about, I don't know, a healthier education, sorry a healthier population, or more educated population, whatever, if you look across the various remits of different departments, you know, there's there is duplication and overlap.
And if we could kind of have, have an approach, you know, that is cohesive, and as you said, gets rid of nuggatory activity that isn't necessary. And we're really focused on outcomes, rather than spending budgets and departments. It is a totally different approach.
But you've got way into the civil service, OD and D team and that, you know, that there is an innovation challenge out at the moment, you could submit something to that which will go to whoever the chancellor is right now. You know, there are afterwards, identify the synergies. I just think there's a real opportunity now.
James Traeger 49:21
Yeah, no, I absolutely agree. Okay, every organisation not just civil service, but in every organisation. But it needs a big mindset shift. Yeah.
Sophie Tidman 49:34
Yeah. And I wonder in terms of the future leadership and might not be that far in the future. You know, we're talking about organisations that the main unit right, and, you know, because they're not learning organisations.
Most organisations so creating leadership programmes that can model it and take it to the wider organisation, but in future it might be that need leadership programmes for ecosystems.
That might be the next challenge in getting people to actually work as an ecosystem rather than a specific singular organisatio. Like on the how can we have better health, how can we have a flourishing, healthy population.
Yeah, which is which is, which, which is a very different, which is a challenge, particularly in the private sector, but I think in the public sector as well in terms of how we structure organisations, now we think about ownership of organisations.
It usually ends up with some kind of pyramid, and therefore, there's a person at the top that owns that, and therefore controls that and has a vested interest in keeping that as it is. And that really challenges this idea that we perhaps need to be more community based.
So there's a fundamental shift in how we think about organising, which is, which is a, you know, something that we're, we're talking we're gonna be talking about with our participants on the Masters in terms of the future and of organising, we're just responding to a couple of comments.
So Anisa, is the manager as practitioner idea featuring your book, yes, it does devoted quite a bit of time to talking about practice. And James, in particular, has been instrumental in educating me on that subject, and therefore I've put that in the book around how can we think about management as a practice?
What is it? What is this thing? So yes, that's a big part of it. And yeah, we'll invite you along to other events to talk about that when as when it comes along. Karen definitely shifting the NHS move to systems increasingly?
Yeah, I think I think they're, they're probably the one public sector space that I've seen as much effort as possible going into how do we start to think systemically beyond the boundaries of the traditional organisation? Okay, cool. Any any final final observations or questions or comments before we move to a close?
James Traeger 51:40
Just to make a comment about the system, the danger when you use the word system is we think that the system is something out there. And actually, we are the system.
The system is embodied through us and how we connect with each other, there is no other system, we're it? So there's something about making it much more personal.
Yeah, I think link to that there's something about scale scale keeps popping up for me. So I can understand my current organisation as its own ecosystem. I hear I was in a meeting yesterday, people talked about silos. So we had the conversation about are they infinitely bad?
Or do they have their place talked about an ecosystem that exists within us? We also recognised and eco we were part of a wider one. So yeah, I suppose there's quite a lot that I've heard today, that's got me ruminating on scale, actually.
And that, you know, like the intrapersonal thing through interpersonal. Yeah. Yeah, that whole, so that's what I'm doing on my Friday afternoon, clearly.
Tony Nicholls 52:45
But Nicoll for me, that's a perfect example of what if all managers and all organisations started to think that way and starts to ruminate that way and start to think that way. Then then I think we're starting to generate some kind of sea change in the way that managers see their role and their organisations and where their organisation boundaries don't stop. Yeah, be interesting,
Webinar Guest 2 53:09
Tony, that Friday, I know some OD practitioners in the NHS and got Nicoll and myself as part of that role to look across that systems. And to see that system thinking and see that bigger picture, think systemically and systems I agree with James, you know, there's so we are part of that system.
But also I think that step back and thinking about how can we look at what's happening in whichever system, ecosystem we're talking about? And how can we integrate?
In the NHS, we've moved into that collaborative systems, leadership and systems thinking. Just becoming so key, but interestingly, places moving to that, isn't it in integrated care, design, and that collaboration. So there's different aspects of leadership and OD that come to the fore? So it's an interesting space, I think.
Tony Nicholls 53:58
I think I mean, I've heard it said, I have a particular view on OD. The OD practitioner, for me is there to bring to bring the difference to the system. So if the system starts is thinking about systems Great, then what else can we get it to think about? We're always trying to get it to think about what it isn't currently thinking about.
Webinar Guest 2 54:16
Yeah. And system learning that really struck me today. I really liked that thing about how do we, you know, see the system reveal itself, but also that system learning? I think it's a really interesting piece.
Tony Nicholls 54:26
OK. Right, I think I think I think we're almost there. Thank you so much. That's been a really useful conversation. Sophie, I don't know if you wanted to anything you wanted to comment on but I've noticed quite a few things there that I think are additional nuances and additions to our thinking so it's been really useful.
Thank you for that, you know, insight coming our way which we'll build into our thinking and into our practice. Hopefully, we've it's been a great space for you to reflect and think about your practice in your organisation Sophie anything you wanted to say,
Sophie Tidman 55:01
No, I found it really insightful. Lots of things there to borrow and build on love this points on language. It's languaging stuff, and how that kind of melds and change and systems.
Tony Nicholls 55:13
Thank you. The motivation for having a glass of fizz on a Friday afternoon, I think will absolutely make that a practice whether Wimbledon is on or not. Claire, did you want to share that last slide? And I'll just talk very briefly about what's coming up on future events.
So we've got our regular series of artful events. In July, that's this Monday coming actually, The Headless Way with Richard Lang (this event has now passed, but take a look at our Events calendar to see what is coming up). So we were talking about that. And we think that's about how do we move to more embodied ways of knowing and understanding the world? Moving out of our heads
James Traeger 55:51
If you've never experienced The Headless Way is it fantastic, I really value it
Tony Nicholls 55:55
Right? Okay, there's a plug from James, get yourself along to that. And then September, the Fertile Void with our very own chair, Tony Fraser. Apparently, this is our most searched for and popular article on our website. So the fertile void, Tony Fraser.
In September, we will be launching an alumni network. So we're talking about programmes, all those people who have been through programmes with Mayvin, whether in public sector, private sector, third sector, and whatever type of programme.
We're going to be putting together and network and do some regular events, maybe twice yearly, plus some communications with them to start to promote that community of practice amongst our alumni.
And then in September, we'll be starting to think about and starting to look forward to our cohort two of the Mayvin masters. Cohort One is underway, and he's going great guns and we'll be looking to launch our cohort, second cohort in next year. So look out for information and open days on that going forward in the autumn.
Sophie Tidman 56:57
Just to say that July Artful is a week on Monday, not Monday, so you'll still have time to move your diaries around so you can make it.
Tony Nicholls 57:05
Yes week on Monday. Okay. Thank you, going to stop the share. Thank you so much for coming along. We're a couple minutes ahead.
But we'll be sending out some notes after this and the recording for you to have a listen to again, if you want to follow up with us, any of us was myself, Sophie, James or anybody after this event, please do just drop us a note. It's been great to hear from you. And as I say, it has proved really useful for our thinking.
So thank you once again. Thank you.
Claire Newell 57:33
Thank you so much for listening to us today. And we hope to see you next time. Take care bye bye