Our unique approach to learning features participants taking action to improve their own performance and that of their organisations. WHILE they are doing this they reflect on both positive and negative experiences to learn and develop from the process. It is LEARNING BY DOING in the workplace where the individual's job becomes the 'laboratory of learning'. It involves working on real time problems, on defining and implementing pragmatic solutions that lead to measurable improvements in performance and bottom line benefits. Therefore the majority of our programmes are undertaken IN-MINISTRY or IN-COMPANY or IN-PROJECT and they are part-time taking into account the pressures managers are under in their 'day jobs'. Typically they last for 12/15 months and consist of 5/6 modules lasting 4/5 days each designed around the four elements; customised workshops, individual and group projects and personal development plans.
These last for 2/3 days and cover 'best international practice' in the client's 'business'/subject area delivered by experts who have been senior managers in similar organisations or taught the subject in universities and senior managers from the client organisation. These inputs are set within the latest thinking in general management customised to the client and delivered by the Programme Director (eg management of change, leadership, performance management systems, total quality management, total factor productivity, HRM etc). Detailed action plans are developed via a collaborative learning approach which includes developing the workshop material into a form which others in the organisation can use,
Participants are divided into small groups to work on analysing and solving a problem of significance being experienced in the organisation (eg why is the strategy not cascaded effectively, how do we introduce a PMS approach, how do we improve customer satisfaction or project management or introduce PPP into the Ministry of Transport etc). This is the group TASK where the skill of posing incisive questions and questioning assumptions behind working practices is developed.
The second focus is on how the group develops into a high performing team through an understanding of group dynamics. This is the PROCESS of the group development where individuals share their learning particularly around improving the effectiveness of their own departments (the subject of their individual projects) and how they can lead their teams in these departments in implementing their strategies. The results of these projects are ideally accepted by the directors and implemented.
Most of the participants on our programmes are managers of parts of a single organisation. They are given a task to develop and implement a performance improvement plan (PIP) for the part of their organisation they are responsible for. The PIP consists of what initiatives the manager intends to take to improve overall performance and what they learn from its implementation.
This PIP approach is precisely what every manager should require their subordinates to produce, ie an annual operating plan and as such are NOT an add-on. They are an integral part of managerial best practice. If each subordinate implements their plans well then their boss will be able to meet their targets defined at the beginning of the year by their boss and so on up and down the hierarchy.
Everyone in an organisation has weaknesses and strengths both in the technical and managerial areas of their jobs. The PDP is a systematic approach to improving overall performance via self development in which the individual and the programme director play active parts.
The Programme Director will present a template of what a PDP should include, what excellent organisations do in defining the generic competencies they want their managers to possess and how best practice suggests these competencies can be developed. They will feature how to develop leadership skills. Individual tuition is given to ensure managerial strengths are built on and weaknesses removed during the programme and participants learn how to learn from reflecting on their day to day experiences and then take action to improve performance.