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The Secrets of Great Groups

I’m re-reading a tremendous book I picked up a while ago ‘- Leader to Leader’, from the Drucker Foundation. It’s a compendium of short, highly readable articles by great leaders and organisational thinkers and researchers. One particular article has my attention at the moment. Warren Bennis in his article, ‘The Secrets of Great Groups’ suggests there are enduring lessons to be learnt not only from studying personal leadership, but from studying group leadership. He suggests that the “few great accomplishments are ever the work of a single individual”. Mythology refuses to catch-up with reality, according to Bennis, so the myths… Read more
Posted in Action Learning, AI, change, co-create, Complexity, courage, Culture change, cuts, Executive coaching, Future Search, ideas, leadership, Leadership styles, learning, Peter Drucker, Public sector cuts, strategy, Summit, Talents, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Transform the Culture as well as the Structures and Systems

David Clark, Chief Executive of SOLACE, (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives) wrote this weekend about a recent survey of Chief Executives throwing up some interesting views on the subject of transformation. “Many (most?) councils feel they must “transform” themselves, if they are to survive the harsh conditions of austerity. Many embarked on large “transformational” programmes, some even appointed new staff to lead the transformation and a few now report that their transformation has now been concluded successfully. But these transformations are in no sense homogenous. They have often started in very different places. Some have included customer led service… Read more
Posted in Appreciative Change, Behaviours, change, Complexity, Culture change, customer service, cuts, engagement, leadership | Leave a comment

Does it have to be like this?

It’s been quite a week or two from a number of perspectives, with several occurrences that have caused me more than a little pause for thought (and emotion) around people, services, systems and perhaps leadership. The examples and analysis I offer are less felt as an organisational consultant, ‘though I do analyse these things from more than one perspective, and much more about what I find as a consumer, client, customer; call me what you will. Nor are these stories meant as gratuitious criticisms, borne out of a simple impatience or ingratitude. They are offered more as a narrative as… Read more
Posted in appreciative, Behaviours, Culture change, customer service, leadership, Leadership styles, Metaphor, reputation, service quality | Leave a comment

It’s the questions that count – particularly if they are appreciative

Reading across some blogs today, one in particular caught our attention: http://solutionfocusedchange.blogspot.nl/2012/03/can-questions-lead-to-change-experiment.html?m=1 This article looks at how questions might influence outcomes. Most questions have implicit unstated pre-suppositions. The researchers wanted to test the assumption that questions differing in their pre-suppositions can affect the person answering them. Aside from the intrinsic interest and value of the research quoted, it also chimes with what we know from Appreciative Inquiry (AI) anduestions. AI tells us that what we inquire into is fateful. So, if we inquire into implied or explicit failure, problems and errors, i.e. deficits, then we will indeed find ample evidence… Read more
Posted in AI, appreciative, Appreciative Change, Appreciative Inquiry, Appreciative questions, assumptions, Complexity, Culture change, learning, Make a difference, solution-focused | Leave a comment

Change and ensuring great culture doesn’t go in the cuts

As we enter a period of substantial, long-term and  discontinuous change for organisations in all sectors, the reality that we will lose massive experience and talent is unavoidable. The headlines tend to concentrate on the loss of jobs, people and resources – rightly so. There is though another risk of loss that is less obvious yet potentially more damaging to the long term health of an organisation. That is the loss of ‘culture’, i.e. “the way we do things around here”, the often ephemeral yet vital social ‘glue’ that binds many organisations together, sets them apart from the herd. This… Read more
Posted in AI, appreciative, Appreciative Change, Appreciative planning, Behaviours, Culture change, leadership, Positive core, Public sector cuts, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Experiment! Don’t wait to be an expert to try some thing new

  In a recent blog post at Random Acts of Leadership, http://randomactsofleadership.com/experiment-like-an-expert/ Susan Mazza introduced the notion that too often we wait until we are ‘experts’ in something before we have the confidence to act. Whereas in her recent experience the way forward is often to give ourselves permission to experiment; to follow two rules: STOP trying to figure it all out and START experimenting! Experience is truly the best teacher This reminded me of how I became involved with and then started to use Appreciative Inquiry (AI). I first heard of AI at a business breakfast event in 2001… Read more
Posted in AI, Appreciative Inquiry, courage, Strengths, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The NHS, leadership development and the public service orientation

Two recent articles in the Guardian’s Healthcare Professional Network have brought NHS leadership styles and leadership generally to the fore, specifically in relation to the Mid-Staffs Hospital Inquiry and more widely to the raft of process changes underway in the NHS. Part of the debate now involves the leadership style that seems to have been the predominant style desired in both recruits to a senior level in the NHS and, by inference, being turned out by the NHS Leadership Academy. Either way, the critique seems to be that the so-called ‘pace-setting’ style of leadership, whilst appropriate for a wide range… Read more
Posted in leadership, Leadership styles, learning, NHS, Public Service, Public Service Orientation, Public Services, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Strengths work for students and graduates as well as senior leaders and managers

I’ve been working with Strengths profiles such as Strengthsfinderhttp://sf1.strengthsfinder.com/HomePage.aspx  and more recently Strengthscope http://www.strengthscope.com/  for over ten years. My assignments have involved working predominantly with leaders and senior managers of large public bodies, ‘though not exclusively, with my work taking me into the voluntary and community sector and commercial organisations as well. Most recently and very differently, I had the opportunity to provide Strengthsfinder and Strengthscope profile feedback sessions to several younger people; a current student and two recent graduates now looking to start their careers. One of the recent graduates had spent the better part of a year working… Read more
Posted in Executive coaching, graduates, Strengths | 1 Comment

The Open Channel – October Newsletter

We are delighted to welcome you to the October 2012 edition of The Open Channel Newsletter. The Open Channel is a venture borne out of a passion for supporting change and our belief in the strength of people and organisations. Janet Dean and Steve Loraine are senior practitioners in public sector service delivery and work collaboratively with private sector, voluntary and community organisations.  Do contact us to find out how we can assist you to manage your change challenges. Led by Janet Dean and Steve Loraine, two highly respected and experienced independent public service advisers, The Open Channel has a… Read more
Posted in Accelerated Learning, Action Learning, AI, Appreciative Inquiry, Appreciative planning, Dementia without Walls, People, Performance Review, Process, SOAR, Strengths | Leave a comment

Leading Change and the Metaphor of the Rings

As we navigate complex change, as a result of the government’s public services transformation programme, i.e. cuts, or other models or imperatives to change, we can often benefit from stories and metaphors to help us understand change in different ways. One such metaphor is the Metaphor of the Rings, which we found in David Noer’s excellent book, Breaking Free. Here it is… The Metaphor of the Rings It begins with the vision of a series of gymnastic rings, hanging by ropes. A person jumps from a platform and grabs a ring with the right hand and then – while maintaining… Read more
Posted in change, Complexity, Metaphor, Transformation | Leave a comment
Steve Lorraine