On Wednesday, 20th July, I spent the day at our Leeds offices taking part in the Executive ‘Roadshows’ with several other Execs, and Sheri Thureen (President UK Healthcare).  There were some formal presentations, followed by a ‘Floor Walk’, where Sheri and I met representatives of all the teams at Leeds.  A couple of things stood out for me: 

  • The enthusiasm and passion shown by various teams as they described what they do, day-to-day, in their jobs.  I found it really fascinating to hear about the details of aspects of other people’s jobs and the important part they play in making up the whole
  • The sense of being part of something really important to the NHS.  All of us do, or will, come into contact with the NHS – we are, or will be, patients or relatives of patients.  We therefore have a personal stake in improving the NHS so that it becomes one of the best healthcare systems in the world.

 In my view, we are at the beginning of what could be the most important and exciting change in the way the NHS ‘does business’ since its inception over 60 years ago.  The intelligent use of information and communication is starting to revolutionise the NHS, and it’s great to be at the forefront of this – and be reminded of it!

Action Learning – latest

Just returned from the 16th Global Forum on Action Learning and Executive Devlopment in Singapore.  This is the fifth time I have attended this conference, and this year I presented a session on ‘Internal Social Networking – a success story’.  This was an interactive session looking at how CSC is using a social networking plateform from Jive to add business value.

The audience was wide-ranging from large organisations, like DHL and l’Oréal to SME’s and individual consultants.  Everyone was impressed with what’s been done at CSC and could see the potential benefits to their organisations.  There were the usual concerns from ‘Baby Boomers’ and Gen X’ers, about barriers to
implementation, but overall, it was one of the most stimulating sessions.

Do you know about Action Learning?

Action Learning is a methodology for solving the intractable problems that keep the CXO’s awake at night!

In brief, it is ‘learning through doing and doing through learning’. The basic premise is that those closest to the problem are best able to solve it. It is summed up by the equation: L = f(P + Q)

where L = learning, P = programmed knowledge, (in other words, what we already know and carry around in our brains) and Q = questioning, (to gain insight into how people think, feel and preceive).

If the rate of learning exceeds the rate of change in the environment then individuals/organisations can thrive. If learning is less than the rate of change, then failiure is likely.

Reg Revans, a physicist, who worked at the Cavendish Laboratories in Cambridge, came up with the idea when wrestling with the structure of the atom in the 40’s!

I came across action learning a few years ago, and now see it as an extremely powerful methodology for organisational improvement. Business-driven action learning is a variant that aims to focus action learning on the busienss objectives of organisations. The Singapore conference I’ve just come from brings together best practice, and many organisastions similar to CSC have found it useful (e.g. Siemens, GE, Intel, etc).