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Applications of Action Learning – A Practical Guide
Action Learning is the brain-child of Professor Reginald (Reg) Revans. Revans believed that management was a practical subject carried out by practical people in the real world of work, not an academic subject to be taught by University Professors who had no experience of the real world of work.
Action learning uses the participant’s actual job to identify and satisfy real learning needs; the specific Knowledge, Skills, Experience and Behaviour appropriate to the situation. Unlike training It provides a ‘holistic’ framework through which all four aspects of our behavioural ‘package’ are objectively assessed by the facilitator and ‘comrades in adversity’ to help participants identify the things they need to change to be successful. These needs once identified are met through a development programme created and monitored with the help and support of the facilitator and colleagues in the set.
1. Explains the philosophy of Action Learning
2. Describes the various models and their application.
3. Provides an objective analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the various options
4. Examines how Action Learning can help in today’s world to develop organisations and their people.
5. Offers reference information for those who would like to learn more.
Note. Whilst Reg’s focus for Action Learning was on management development this process is equally applicable to any personal or organisational development need. We hope you will find this book useful and are happy to help interested readers with further information or advice on specific programme design and management.
In-Plant Action Learning – Empowering Organisational Change
The productivity of organisations is determined by the efficiency of their processes and the effectiveness of their people. For ’new’ organisations this means starting with a culture that rewards productive behaviour. Achieving this in mature organisations however means going through the process of transition to change the existing culture to one that rewards productive behaviour.
This is difficult in mature organisations where custom and practice live in every part of the organisation. No one individual is the custodian of the organisation’s values; all employees are part of them and most work there because these values satisfy their needs. Thus to change the culture of mature organisations, we need a means of involving everyone in the change process. In-Plant Action Learning does this; it empowers employees by involving them, either directly or indirectly in the change process through an interlocking network of project teams.
If you are seeking a reliable means of delivering organisational change In-Plant Action Learning is for you. This book explains how the process works and leads the reader through the development and running their own programmes.
If you want to do it through them rather than to them,
In-Plant Action Learning is for you
Own Job Programmes
This book explains the process of Action Learning and describes how the Own Job model can be used to:
- Develop people using their ‘own job’ as the learning vehicle.
- Re-inforce learning. For example where people have completed a ‘self-assessment’ workshop an action learning programme can be used to re-inforce the learning back in the workplace
- To acquire new knowledge and skills. For example where a team is created to investigate a specific issue the learning from the experience can be captured through the addition of an action learning component.
The focal point of the Action learning philosophy is Revan’s original idea that mature people learn best ‘with and from each other’. In Action Learning programmes the learning opportunity is provided by a specific task, a project that each participant agrees with their ‘client’. During the project participants meet every few weeks with a facilitator. The role of the facilitator is to ‘manage the learning. In practice this means:
- Developing understanding of and commitment to the Nature & Process of Change.
- Encouraging participants to share their project experiences and reflect on the outcomes to identify their learning needs.
- Working with participants using the KSEB methodology to converted learning needs into ‘learning projects’ thus linking reflection and learning.
- Providing the environment in which participants are encouraged to achieve both their ‘task and ‘learning’ goals.
- Creating the conditions in which the set can become self-managing
Note. Whilst this book focuses on the Action Learning approach to Facilitated Learning all activities which have as their core purpose the goal of helping people to change their behaviour are facilitating learning.
Re-Engineering the Workplace
This book is based on our experience of running a series of Productivity Improvement programmes in the Czech Republic. The aim of the programmes was to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Japanese productivity optimisation techniques by helping line managers in Czech companies to use these techniques to improve performance. This book;
- Provides an insight into the Japanese approach to productivity
- Shows how these methods are used in practice
- Provides a detailed explanation of the 5 most commonly used techniques
These techniques enable managements to understand the real potential of their resources and to put in place programmes to optimise this.
Managers as Leaders
Management is a process; leadership is a skill. Management is concerned with creating the message; leadership is about the delivering it. This book:
- Describes the managing process
- Examines the leadership aspect of the managers role and our three step model for developing leadership skills
- Explains the ALA 4 step approach to empowering team leadership
- Offers a practical tool for assessing Leadership Skills and identifying development needs
Managing Difficult Relationships
All of us experience difficulties with our relationships from time to time. There are two main reasons for this, sometimes its ‘style’ the way I want to do something is different from the way you want to do it and sometimes its substance, you and I want something different. This book;
- Explains the basis of win / win relationship
- Offers an ‘expert’ approach to managing relationships
- Uses self-assessment to enable the reader to identify their development needs
- Identifies a number of different types of ‘difficult behaviour’ and gives guidance on how to handle them.
Being able to manage difficult relationships is a key skill for everyone with the ambition to succeed.
Change; Become a Winner
If you seeking promotion in your current job or perhaps to find a new job; would you like to run your own business, have a better work/life balance or retire at fifty? This book is for you. It;
- Empowers you to unlock your aspirations and create achievable life enhancing goals.
- Provides an insight, through our 4 step model, into the Nature & process of Change
- Enables you to identify and develop the Knowledge, Skills, Experience and Behaviors necessary to be credible in your desired position.
- Encourages you to start your journey to the ‘new you’ and shows how to find the support you will need along the way.
Organisational Performance – Values & Style
The common denominator in solving performance improvement problems is managing style. The things that stop people in organisations doing the best job they can stem from ‘them and us’ attitudes. We have conducted hundreds of performance problem surveys over the years and all identify traditional management attitudes towards work and people at work are at the heart of performance problems. These attitudes are based on cultural values and determine the way human beings perceive their roles and relationships within hierarchies; they dictate the managing style that fixes people in those roles.
This book explores the nature of values and style; particularly cultural values. It aims to provide some understanding of the process itself, and examines how it impacts relating relationships, and therefore the operating effectiveness, of individuals, organisations and societies.
Presenting Professionally – Learning in Action
Presenting Professionally enbles you to present yourself and your ideas to others is the key to the door of success. No one gets anywhere in life on their own, we all need the help of others. Some of us are lucky enough to be ‘born’ into environments designed to help us ‘get on’ in life. Others have natural influencing skills which make them ‘stand out’ but for most of us we only stand out, because we stand up. We have to work on ‘selling’ ourselves in the market place. This means being able to present ourselves as a person with something to offer, develop ‘rapport’ with the audience and make a compelling case for what we want