Firstly, we are MAD…
… M.A.D. standing, of course, for ‘Making A Difference’.
Here are some examples, in the client’s own words, of how we have made a difference.
Having worked with ETD on and off for over fifteen years when I moved from National Museums Liverpool and joined English Heritage (EH), I found myself, after 18 months, taking on a much bigger team and geographical area. I naturally turned to ETD for assistance. Like many public sector organisations EH was undergoing a modernisation programme but becoming a bit change-weary. My mission was to merge my well-established properties management and outreach team in the south west of England with the team from the West Midlands with the administrative base of the new ‘territory’ being Bristol.
Arnie facilitated the team day for us: from background music to get us relaxed at the start of the day to a summary action report within 24 hours of the finish, having discussed the objectives and background issues in advance. Given that there were 18 of us in the team/group (were we a team or a group was one of the points discussed) that was no mean feat.
Issues as to how we were to work as a group given our dispersed locations, how to achieve consistency of practice across the two regions and how best to communicate given how busy and constantly on the move we all were, and what we expected of each other (team leader vs. team member roles) were key topics. One of the agreed outcomes was that we would come together as a complete group every two months, with the core business group responsible for delivering and reporting on business targets meeting every month.
Two years down the line we are still operating this system and the Group Director who meets the team once a year has commented on how well we appear to work together. There’s no ‘appear’ about it. We are a well-functioning team – everyone makes a distinct contribution to the successful performance of our properties in the west territory – and that team day was fundamental in setting us off down the right track. As team leader I particularly benefited from being able to be part of the team but to sit back and listen for a change whereas team members appreciated the fresh insight and perspective an external facilitator brought to their sphere of operations. Time and money well spent.
I have been a training & development officer for the last 3 years. Prior to this I trained on an ad-hoc basis ie as and when the service needed. Throughout my 5 years of training and developing staff I had never been taught the basics of preparing and evaluating training courses. The training I delivered was based on my own experience and style. I knew what I wanted to do but this was all in my head and never a structured plan for others to see.
I developed my own evaluation techniques from observing other training departments and amended the courses according to feedback from previous trainees. Although my training courses always received good feedback, my method of working was not consistant and each task was approached differently. The evaluation process I conducted was fairly superficial.
I was able to have a full day one to one coaching session with Arnie Skelton from ETD Ltd based on the subjects I wanted to cover, these included: training preparation & planning, evaluation process, training needs analysis and project management.
The coaching session gave me an insight into the needs of clients as well as those who were to attend the course. Therefore, my preparation has taken on a very different meaning including much more consultation with managers (on individual & group basis), timed structures to the course programmes, etc. I have a greater knowledge of evaluation techniques that have improved the learning process and assisted supervisors in monitoring staff performance when they join the various teams. I have led on projects set by management and found the experience more enjoyable and productive for all who are part of the project team.
We requested support from Effective Training & Development to help us re-launch, re-invigorate our Corporate Mentoring Programme.
The programme had been running for about 18 months but was not attracting enough participants and was basically not adding value to the organisation.
Following on from a briefing session, Arnie researched the area of mentoring drawing on best practice form other organisations and designed a Corporate Mentoring Scheme Folder.
The folder was designed in two halves – the first for the mentor and the second for the mentoree.
It included clear and attractive pro-formas which could be used by the mentor and mentoree to track and record their progress.
It detailed the practical steps needed to access the programme but also some really useful information on what it means to be a mentor and the skills required.
In addition to the Folder, we also received an Introductory CD Rom. This was used as part of the induction and training for mentors and mentorees. It followed a mentoring relationship from start to finish giving examples of what worked well and how the folder could be used to help structure the meetings.
The work carried out for us on the Mentoring Programme really did provide what we asked for. It gave us a structure and direction for the programme. It gave us new materials that looked professional and were easy to use. Finally it also gave us an updated approach that was based on good practice drawn from a variety of organisations. It allowed us to re-launch the scheme with confidence and the feedback from participants has been extremely positive.
I wanted to let you know about the School Open Days we have held in Payroll this week in the conference room. We invited all Stockport schools in to meet staff and to see a presentation on what we do in Payroll. About 50 schools came in and we held 5 sessions between Tuesday and Thursday this week. They went very well and have hopefully raised our profile out in the schools. The feedback has been very good. The main point I am pleased with is how hard we have all worked together in the department to make it a success.
We have put together a useful information brochure, so that schools could take this away and use. We put together a presentation and as usual didn’t have time to have a trial run but we didn’t need it! We used some of the skills we picked up from your course. We thought it would be a good idea for a few of us to be involved in the presentation to show how we work as a team and to keep people’s interest. It worked very well. The team all played a part in the presentation and we all chipped in answering questions as we went along. One staff member who has always been a little shy did particularly well. In the last session we couldn’t get her to sit down! We also had a representative at each session from HR to show that we are trying to work together.
After the presentation, the payroll staff came in to meet the people from the schools that they deal with. Everyone worked very hard, some in particular with the organisation of the Open Days but even those who didn’t directly get involved, either helped to create a good atmosphere by talking to the school staff and by keeping the department running while we were holding the sessions. We even had people on car park duty!! We also used one of your techniques and had music playing before the sessions started and at the end. Our Deputy Director invited the staff in this afternoon to thank us all, she was really pleased about how well it went. Just thought I’d let you know – thanks for all your help.
The situation: Group Foundation GNVQ Tutorial.
Following your course, I asked them six things they wanted from me as their tutor.
Blank, surprised faces, silence, most had never been asked this before
and did not know what to say.
In the first group they asked for: support; help to communicate; more time in tutorials to catch up on course work; be patient with me; you’re great as you are; support me if I get into trouble; time out if I feel sick or angry.
Group two said more or less the same things, but three of the students who have been like walls so far, opened up to me about their needs, failings and desire to learn.
I was deeply touched by today’s session, using your suggestions. It has given me a deeper insight into my tutees and the fears they have. The need to ask them ‘what do you want’ is crucial, and has underpinned my student centred teaching.
I will go on after half term and allow them to do course work in tutorials from time to time. I will tell them too what I want of them.
Today’s tutorial group was one of those special times a teacher never forgets – such openness, and in depth communication. I have always believed in putting the student first, and with your help I witnessed today two minor miracles.
The course was simply the best and all week applying the learning to my teaching has been so rewarding.
I wanted to let you know that your course has really helped me to become more effective in my role.
I was one of those managers who thought I had to sort everything out straight away, I was good at the people side of management but not always so good at the difficult aspects. I now realise I was not using my time effectively and since the course I have encouraged staff to make appointments to see me rather than just popping in and stopping me from completing what I am doing in order to deal with them immediately. I have realised by encouraging them to make appointments many of the more trivial issues get sorted out among themselves. Obviously if something is urgent I will make time to meet them but I have now explained that I can’t always deal with their issues immediately but if they email me I will respond within 24 hours. This is working really well.
I also got them to identify moans/groans about the job and positive aspects of the job and that has helped to resolve some of the niggly issues that really irritate people.
I have also used the ideas you demonstrated in a “dealing with difficult staff” role play to challenge a member of staff’s negative attitude. She was amazed that I had taken notice of her and told me she has been depressed of late. It’s not perfect but at least she now realises the way she has been acting is unacceptable for someone in her job role.
I really wish I had done the course a year ago when I first became a manager, although I probably wouldn’t have known what the questions I needed answers to were then!