On Friday 29th April 2022, I was invited down to Birmingham to deliver a taster session to a team of consultants from One Advanced (People Management), who deliver software based solutions to HR, Payroll and People management. Slightly outside my usual stomping ground, I found the whole experience to be enlightening in many ways.
One of their lead co-ordinators, Sam, had attended a two day course I delivered around 5 years ago in Blackburn, for the Careers service. In this, we spent 2 days exploring NLP, (Neurolinguistic Programming), self awareness and communication. Sam had not only remembered the session, but also said it had been a pivotal point for him in moving forwards with this own life and was keen to offer the same kind of opportunity to his teams.
He explained his teams were going through a challenging time, and although their company was experiencing huge growth and success, this was not without its challenges. This huge growth meant that the company was having to adapt its working practices at the same time as delivering them, which meant the systems to support them also having to adapt and change, and through this transition, lots of challenges were being faced.
Sam wanted to give his teams some tools to help them manage their expertise in what they do that recognised these challenges and gave them some practical approaches that can help them manage in the most resourceful ways possible. Sam explained that their most precious resource was time, and that although he recognised he couldn’t give up two full days of his teams time, he could manage 4 hours within a planned team day he had coming up. With this in mind, we discussed what outcomes would be most important and realistically achievable, within a four hour time slot.
Challenging my usual working habits, I put together an electronic presentation and abandoned my trusty flip charts and pens. I wanted to be a able to begin with a clear context that put how important our perceptions and interactions really are in the context of organisations and organisational frameworks. It just so happened, thanks to Chris Grimsley’s MA in organisational studies, (thanks Chris, NLP in the Northwest :-)) I knew a model that could help me do just the thing.
Task‘s usually get the attention, the copy and the limelight. Most organisational identities produce mission, vision and values statements, policies, procedures, hierarchical structures, job descriptions, financial statements and strategies. These things aim to describe the ‘what’ and sometimes the ‘why’ of ‘what’ organisations do. However, as important as these things are they are not the whole story. In fact it’s very rare that these documents alone can describe the experience of working with or for an organisation. That’s because these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to organisations. The fact is, it’s the very human processes underneath these tasks that keeps it moving, set’s direction and directly experiences the daily grind of the wheels of the organisation in motion.
That’s where I come in, recognising I don’t know anything about the job, the expertise or the experiences of any of the teams, I do know a fair bit about human interaction, perception and difference, and seem to have developed a ‘knack’ in sharing this with people over the years. To challenge ‘stuck thinking’, increase choice and opportunities and promote win/win outcomes.
Very few people aim to learn more about their psychology, and the way in which they make sense of the world around them. Yet it affects everything we do, your own experiences and the experiences of everyone you meet. One of the biggest challenges we all face in the world, workplace and at home is dealing with people, (non more so than dealing with ourselves!).
Imagine the possibilities of being able to manage yourself and others better more of the time, to make more sense to more people more of the time and to communicate with each other in ways that avoids drama and conflict. How would that improve the processes of your organisation? Your teams? Your Outcomes? Your Tasks?… For me, it’s not only important, it’s fundamental.
A Big ask in a small session, I know. If all I can do in four hours is give people a model of understanding themselves and others that promotes understanding rather than judgement, openness rather than defensiveness, and tools to promote self empowerment and understanding. I think there’s huge value in that.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is never underestimate the potential of planting a seed. In four hours, lots can be learned that challenge the fundamental basis of what we think we are, and what we’re capable of. A small change in perception can create a huge change in opportunity.
Love my job.