Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Let's all be Geese

I have completed the first two days of the new Accidental Managers course and don't know where to start in describing what we have covered. Not only did this course deliver some amazing managerial skills and insights it also, as strong as it sounds, potentially improved my whole way of life and how I interact with people.

The course was expertly delivered by Greg Orme (Founder of Kirkbright) and Adrian Banger (Paradigm Partnerships) and they instantly engaged the group and had us actively involved in the activities. Both tutors obviously have amassed a huge amount of knowledge on the subject and interweave often comical real life stories to explain their points.

The course involved a series of activities that needed to be completed before hand. One of them was a DISC profile. This is possibly a more honest and accurate view of me than I would even care to admit to myself. I would say that after completing the online survey and getting the generated PDF immediately back that 99.5% of all the information in it was spot on. By using this profile it is possible to work out what kind of person I am, how best to deal with me and what characteristics can be seen. By using this model it is also possible to start assessing others behavoir and work out how best to deal with them. This is extremely useful when trying to get the most from a team. For example, if you have someone that is a 'High S' as it is termed (See the link above for explanation of terms) they may be the kind of person who is non confrontational and just because they sit there silently in a meeting when you offer a solution to a problem does not mean that they agree. Therefore you begin to learn how to draw out what you need from different team members and how you need to act with different characters and situations in order to get the most out of the situation.

There were several sessions on team building/management, being a leader, understanding yourself and understanding others. I also now have a load of suggestions for follow up material and books to further delve into the area of managing people and building teams which I am looking forward to reading. It has really lifted my spirits and made me actually excited about the possibilities and the ways in which I can improve the teams at work.

I still have a few more days split over the summer that will cover things like finance, law, intellectual property etc etc and I have a personal project to complete within my company to try out what I have learnt and try and improve an area of the business.

Basically, there is a hell of a lot of content that was covered in the first two days. Far too much to cover now. I need to sit down, process it and work out how I am going to apply it to my business. Bottom line is...... I couldn't recommend this course enough so if it is ever running again make sure you are first in the queue. I will create another post after my last few modules for an update.

I learnt a lot from just the first two days of this course. I won't go into too much detail as I am sure I will be implementing a lot of it into everyday life at work and I wouldn't want to spoil the teams fun by giving it all away too soon.

Below are a few links to useful documents, sites of the people running the course etc. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

Visit accidental managers

Finally, an explanation for the title of this post if it is unclear. It refers to a slide in the course which asked if you would rather have a team of geese or canaries. Canaries are very much self focussed, with their own needs at the front of their mind and are oriented toward shorter-term targets. Geese work as a team. They fly in a V which creates an up-draft and allows the geese behind a much longer flight. When the front one becomes tired they switch to the back. If a member moves away from the pack two follow in order to help it and either rejoining the group or make their own group. They are far more focussed on a common goal and look to long term targets. I think this is quite an important if not abstract metaphor as if you have a team full of geese you are more likely to have a happy, effective and successful team than if you have a team full of canaries.