Action Learning Associates

This site reflects our forty years’ experience with Action Learning, or as it is also known, Action Reflection Learning. Unlike traditional training, Action Learning is holistic, focusing on the 'complete' person or organisation. The process of Action Learning enables them to identify the knowledge, skills, experience and behaviour necessary to be successful and empowers them to achieve. In it's personal development form it uses the participant's 'day job' or a specific project as the learning vehicle through which participants are able to identify what they need to know or be able to do to be successful. In its organisational development mode the focus is on the new knowledge and skills the organisation needs to prosper and the values and behaviours it needs to adopt to be successful.

Action Learning empowers change. It enables us to let go of the past and embrace the future

Learning in Action - Helping people to help themsleves

Action Learning empowers people; it frees them from the constraints of traditional thinking and enables them to both develop themselves and optimise the performance of their organisations. We have successfully run both Personal Development and Organisational Change, what we call In-Plant programmes, in many different parts of the world in widely differing cultures and languages and in every case those involved have responded enthusiastically to the opportunity to help themselves. We are happy to share this experience with you.

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Involvement leads to ownership which creates commitment

2020 an even more interesting year?

It’s 2020 and another ‘Brexit’ year begins. As ‘action learners’ it’s not the actions but the learning opportunities provided that are the most interesting for us. It seems to me that there are four main learning points from the experience of the Brexit years thus far.

Planning – Chris Argyris said that ‘what we for don't plan for others plan for us’. To successfully deliver any project we need a vision of where we want to be; why and when; then a plan setting out how we will achieve the desired outcomes. The Conservatives lost the referendum because they didn’t plan to win; lost their majority, in 2017, because they didn’t plan to manage the Brexit Party and were unable to deliver Brexit, because they did not understand the nature of the problem.

Getting the ‘right’ problem – Reg believed that ‘You can always put right the wrong solution on the right problem; what you can never put right, is the right solution on the wrong problem’.  To successfully solve a problem we must first identify the right problem. Then clarify whether it is open or closed as the nature of the problem determines how we go about finding and implementing the solution. Closed problems have ‘right’ answers. These once found, are clear and accepted by all. Open problems have no specific ‘right’ answer. There are usually a number of possible actions that could be taken, the most appropriate being those that are most acceptable to the majority of those affected by the actions. The Conservatives had the task of delivering Brexit which they saw it as a ‘technical’ closed problem when it was and is, neither of these so they failed.

Winning Elections - It’s not well crafted speeches and serious faces what win elections in today’s world. Its simple statements charismatically presented that win the hearts and minds of voters. Donald Trump won in 2016 with simple messages and the ability to develop ‘rapport’ with the masses. The Conservatives lost the Referendum and their majority in 2017 because they did not have the simple messages people wanted to hear or the ‘charisma’ to deliver them. Labour lost in 2017 and 2019 for the same reason.

Whipping – ‘You can only whip with impunity if the dog is afraid to bite’. Whipping is the basis of ‘party’ Government.  Parties select and support candidates to get elected. Candidates when elected, ‘recognise’ this support by voting for their party. This was a problem for both major parties. MP’s in both had strongly opposing views on the party line. The whipping didn’t work for either party and Mrs May’s Government was unable to deliver Brexit.

Who has learnt most? Clearly it’s the Conservatives. They created the problem; fumbled the ball for three years and came out ‘smelling of roses’. They achieved this by choosing a new, charismatic leader, focusing on contact with voters and simple messages that people wanted to hear and returned to Government with and a 80 seat  majority. In Government they see the real problem as ‘leaving the EU’ and have a simple plan for doing this. What we will do to creste 'the brace new world' after we leave and the impact this will have on the 66 million inhabitants of GB is not yet clear. By this time next year we will know more.

Note. It seems that both parties have focused on putting the ‘whipping wheels’ back on the wagon. The Conservatives, with an eighty seat majority, should have little problem with legislation. The Labour Party is currently a ‘work in progress’ and we will see over the coming months what they have learned.

Take care and enjoy 2020


February 2020

George receiving his Award in Warsaw June 2017

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