If you read the post last week on the unconference sessions at the HR Director Business Forum in Birmingham you will know I was involved in starting one of the conversations.
I was fortunate enough to be joined by several people who it transpired were up for having a good open conversation. Credit where it’s due, they were:
- David Clutterbuck, Professor at Oxford Brookes & Sheffield Hallam
- Steve Moss HRD at Leaseplan
- Michael Keating HRD at Eaton Electrical
- David (who’s surname I didn’t write down), HR Insights
and here we are ‘unconferencing’
The topic I proposed was “Leadership Development: Making silk purses out of sow’s ears” and whilst I had a clear idea in my mind about what I meant it did appear in my haste to come up with a topic I created some confusion. The reference was not intended to refer to the participants but rather the process, how, in times like these where resources are constrained could an organisation still deliver great leadership development activity.
I made copious notes during the session and if I could find those notes now I would feel far more comfortable in writing this post but I opened the conversation with the question and about 3o minutes later we paused for breath!
Of the key points that came out of the conversation some were what you would expect but there were a couple that sparked new thought. The points were:
- Call it something different – calling it Leadership Development ups the ante
- There is a perception that external delivery/facilitation is better than internal
- Involve the wider business in delivering the programme
- Peer to peer power is often underutilised
- External consultants have far more freedom to challenge
- Use different businesses that are non competitive but that have characteristics you want to improve (e.g. one company in the service sector had spent time with a major supermarket understanding speed & urgency)
- Form a cooperative with complimentary but non-competitive businesses and share internal resource i.e. your internal becomes their external
It was the last two points of discussion that got me quite excitable.
The idea of modelling characteristics from other businesses I thought was great – I have worked with other businesses on practice or processes before and used their best practice examples in developing my own work but this idea of trying to understand their characteristics really appealed to me.
When it came to the idea of the cooperative I got very excitable. The last 2 years have been a real eye opener for me on the power of developing better networks and this idea appealed on so many levels. It could be about sharing best practice, about delivering great work more cost effectively, exposing colleagues to new companies/people, developing colleagues facilitation/delivery skills and building meaningful relationships with new people/organisations. It just has so many possibilities.
The session (and it’s follow-up) demonstrated to me, yet again, the power of meeting new people, getting involved in open conversation and the ideas have been added to ‘the book’ and will be brought to bear in the next role I land in.