Monday 13 January 2014

Learning from reality

One of the things I enjoyed about the Futures programme at Newcastle last week was the fact that the participants were asked to engage with serious current strategic issues facing the University, and come up with suggestions, which were taken seriously (and indeed valued) by the Faculty PVCs.

This, of course, is an excellent way of getting people to learn both about the specific strategic issues, but also to understand the nature of (some of) the work of the University Executive Board.

It was extremely interesting and challenging, and the Faculty PVCs were happy to share both sensitive data and their own thinking, which made for a very rich and stimulating session.

I'd love to tell you more about the content of the discussion, but as it was confidential and potentially sensitive, I can't do so.

That fact, too - sharing sensitive data and the trust implicit in that - is also very conducive to creating a good environment for learning.  Trusting people builds both trust and confidence, which makes honest discussion very much easier.

So an excellent day, and kudos to Profs Charles Harvey and Chris Day for their approach and contributions.

As a general point, it is very powerful to foster learning about leadership and management by getting people to engage with real issues and deal with them as the leadership team would have to; teaching them what we know is easier but possibly dated; getting them to help with what we don't know, what we are grappling with, is possibly riskier, but certainly very valuable.

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