Posts Tagged ‘Management Development’

Experience is the best teacher

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

learn I must Ever wondered about the best learning experience you ever had? I’ve been chatting with Vicky Deighton this week about this and she shared her best learning experience.

“I remember the first time I got into a light aircraft, it was a sunny day in August and I had decided to try and overcome my fear of flying. I was driving past an airfield and heard the buzz of the light aircraft, I pulled over and thought ‘I’m going to give it a go’.

I clearly remember the feeling as I got into the aircraft, it was a 2 seater little iddy biddy thing and this young chap sat next to me, the instructor, exuded confidence as we taxied out. We got airborne and I recall just looking around me thinking ‘I want to get out’. Two weeks later and I am back and this time I decided to try another flying school and a different instructor. This guy gave me control and told me I was ‘going to do the take-off’. As soon as we were airborne, he gave me control again and I just remember thinking ‘I love this’. What was the difference between the two experiences? Well there was nothing technically wrong with the first one, apart from I didn’t get a chance to try it. The second experience was completely hands on, I got a chance to try nearly all of the techniques, I was completely stretched outside of my comfort zone and when I landed I was exhilarated.

This learning experience that I had was completely experiential – that is I got to physically try out some of the techniques in a real-life situation. You may have heard of experiential learning before, according to Kolb we learn through experiencing, reflecting, analysing and testing and it’s this kind of learning that is likely to stick.”

Vicky’s conversation got me thinking more about our approach to experiential learning. At Pro-Development our Management Development Programme takes experiential learning to the next stage. Not only do our participants get to experience really life changing practical exercises that are completely unique, they then get to explore how these unique experiences apply to their leadership style and how they show up in their behaviours.

Imagine spending a day with Horses – these beautiful animals have a unique way of reading us and our intentions and they respond accordingly. Or perhaps you have spent the day with like minded people in the cookery school, preparing a menu with other team members. What does this have to do with leadership you might ask? This is where the experiential learning comes in, because as we raise our self-awareness, we observe how our behaviour unfolds, and this helps us to connect with how our thoughts, emotions and behaviours show up at work.

As for the comfort zone thing, it is these experiences that take us into a situation and or environment that stretches us outside our comfort zone. This is such a gift because it is when we are stretched a little, that our comfort zone expands.

At Pro-Development we feel very blessed to be able to offer this programme to our clients, and we know they are having some life changing experiences. If you are interested in finding out about how this amazing programme may be able to support you or someone you know, get in touch we would love to talk to you about it. Our video also gives a good overview of what to expect.

Cooking up a storm

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

This month our fearless Management Development Leaders got hot under the collar in our cookery extravaganza.

What can you learn about leadership in a kitchen we hear you cry? Well quite a lot as our Management Development delegates will tell you. Having to perform under pressure, in unfamiliar situations, providing direction, clarity and communication can be a regular feature of a leader / manager’s role. In the kitchen we simply re-create the business environment and observe people lead.

cook 1 march 18 So, what did the kitchen teach us?

• Keep your eye on the goal

• Spend time up front planning

• Take the time to observe what’s going on

• Use the skills and talents of those around you

• Listen to people and ideas

• Ask questions to understand

• As a leader, try not to get stuck in the detail

• Define the roles and responsibilities of those in the team

• Celebrate the success and reap the rewards!

And reap the rewards we did!

Can you handle the heat of leadership? Would you like to understand more about your style and the impact it has on those who you lead?

To find out more about our Management Development Programme CLICK HERE or give us a call on 01904 628838 for a chat about the programme and how it can help you and your business.

How good are you at delegating?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

delegate At a recent session we shared some recent research on delegation. In 2016 it was reported that only 30 percent of managers think they can delegate well, and of those, only 1 in 3 were considered to be a good delegator by their team members. This means that only about 1 in 10 managers are good delegators. This statistic didn’t surprise us as it’s one of the most common areas we address in coaching. What did surprise us was other research that found that there are gender differences in the willingness to delegate. Female leaders find it more difficult to delegate than their male colleagues; they have negative associations with delegating and feel greater guilt about delegating than men. As a result, females delegate less than males. However, there is good news. Reframing delegation as a social interactive task reduces negative associations. And we know that great delegation is a fantastic opportunity to work closely with someone to help them to grow and develop in their role, and in turn, this links to increased employee engagement. So, it is a win-win activity.

Do your managers need training or coaching on delegating well? If so, you may want to consider our Management Development Programme, more details can be found here.

Go on, look at your to do list and think about what you can delegate and what opportunities there are to enable others to shine!

The Journey of Authentic Leadership

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

2017-12-05 16.20.31 This month we said goodbye to another cohort on the Leadership Development Programme. It’s a strange time as on the one hand we are filled with sadness as we say goodbye to people whom we have built strong connections and emotional bonds with, yet on the other hand we see people who have been on an incredible journey over the last seven months and we know they will continue to be great and inspiring leaders in their respective workplaces.

On the last day of the programme we hear from the delegates what have they learnt throughout the programme, what have been their greatest achievements, we even want to hear about their biggest challenges as we believe we learn a lot from these.

Their personal stories are incredible! A couple of examples, yesterday was one individual stated how she had been described as going from ‘zero to hero’ whilst on the programme, this was a colleague describing the difference they had seen in her confidence and self-belief. Another individual had asked for feedback from a team member and both opened it for the first time and read it out loud to us. The feedback stated how this team member felt very disengaged with work and his manager, however went on to share how this has changed over the course of the programme and how he had seen his manager change his style to one which built a relationship of mutual trust and respect. Our delegate wasn’t surprised by the content of the feedback as he knew, through having regular honest conversations, what the feedback would say. All the same, a very brave thing to do and we admire him for it.

So filled with sadness and joy we say goodbye to this cohort knowing that we made a difference, and that is all we can ask for. The Leadership Development Programme is truly a remarkable programme, we are very proud of it and the difference it makes. It’s special, it’s different and it’s powerful. If you know of anyone who you think would benefit, then get in touch, we’d be happy to discuss the programme to see if it’s right for them.

We have a programme starting early 2018…Click here for more information and watch our video of a past delegate describing his journey through the programme.

How well do you listen?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Listening We were really excited to hold another of our Employee Engagement workshops yesterday. People often ask us what we mean by Employee Engagement. The definition we like to use is “a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their company’s goals and values, motivated to contributing to success and able at the same time to enhance their own sense of wellbeing”. This can be simplified to setting the right workplace conditions to help people to ‘be their best’. One of the most important things we can do is to really listen to people. Feeling that you are listened to is important, but to really engage people we need to go even deeper, do we really listen to understand people?

How do we demonstrate that we really understand people? Not through an annual appraisal according to recent CIPD research. Many companies are moving away from the traditional appraisal to an emphasis on a continuous development dialogue and high-quality conversations and feedback. Managers need to be supported in how to have rich conversations, including giving and receiving honest feedback. One of the greatest gifts you can give your people is time for them to talk and for you to listen to them, to understand them and to find out what really motivates them and how they like to feel valued and recognised. We often practice selective listening, or we listen to respond, to move our own agenda forward. Listening to understand is completely different. We listen with our eyes as well as our ears, and by really listening, we give the other person time to think. Stephen Covey calls this giving people ‘psychological air’. It’s rare but powerful and can make a real difference to engagement not just in the workplace but with friends and family too. We often find when we run employee engagement projects, that when we interview people and ask questions of how engaged they are at work and really truly listen to them, people will often tell us that it is the first time they have felt anyone has really “heard them” and will tell us that they have found it really helpful just being able to talk. Next time you sit down for a chat, think about the quality of your own listening, and take time to listen to understand – it can be very engaging! We’d love to know what difference it makes.

To find out more about our Employee Engagement projects including surveys and interviews click here. To find out how to support your managers to have honest conversations and to give and receive feedback, click here.

Listening 2

The Colour Purple

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Bluebells 2 Have you seen the amazing displays of bluebells this year? As we were wandering through the woods at Hazelwood Castle last week, observing our amazing management development programme delegates performance managing their colleagues through a variety of challenges, we came across a swathe of bluebells. It was truly beautiful and stopped us in our tracks. We felt a sense of tranquillity and calm and wondered whether it was the bluebells or the expanse of purple that had such a profound effect on us.

England’s native bluebell is a deep violet colour and a mass of bluebells looks like a purple carpet. An expanse of purple in nature is rare and this may be why purple is often associated with having sacred meaning, and is traditionally the colour of nobility and of course, Pro-Development! Purple is made from a combination of red and blue and so embodies the balance of red’s stimulation with blue’s calm. The colour purple has been shown to affect us physically, lifting our mood, calming us, and boosting our creativity and imagination.

Challenge yourself, go outside and see a display of bluebells while they last, or better still, join us on our next Management Development Programme and you can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors whilst developing your skills as a manager. Click here to find out more.

Christmas Advent Calendar!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

DEC 2014 Newletter tree

Happy Christmas from Pro-Development! Its that time of year again!

This year, for a bit of fun, we have created an advent calendar with relevant hints, tips, quotes and information for each day of December!

Click on the date below for todays suprise! If its a video it will open in YouTube on our Pro-Development Channel. Click the back button on your browser to return to this page.

1st December 2nd December 3 advent 4 5 6 advent 7 advent 8 advent 9 advent 4 11 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 19 20 21 21 21 21

Appearing in venues near you…..Management Development Programme

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Pro-Development PresentDid you see our blockbuster? 145 hits and counting, small steps again, but small steps do lead to big changes.

So if you need a change in your business and need managers who engage and inspire the team to deliver great results then get in touch and we can share how this programme can unlock potential and create a life changing experience.

Remember we are a Growth Accelerator Accredited Leadership and Management Provider so, if you are part of the GA programme, you can access matched funding for the programme – don’t miss out!

If you would like to know more about the programme Click here, and if you would like to secure your place Click here for a booking form.

Best Year to date for Staff Development Company – York Press

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Uncategorized

Michelle - wall colour

We’re so proud of our achievements this year and York Press wrote a lovely article about us which we wanted to share with you here:-

A YORK company specialising in staff development has enjoyed its most successful year to date with a three-fold increase in turnover off the back of a major project with the Government.

Launched three years ago, Wilberfoss-based Pro-Development was a finalist this year in the Training Journal Awards with founder Michelle Mook shortlisted as Learning & Development Professional of the Year 2014 following the successful completion of a project wit the Cabinet Office.

Mrs Mook said after enjoy the busiest year since its launch in 2011, Pro-Development is set for further growth into 2015 as more companies start to make the connection between employee engagement and tangible results.

She said: “Companies with a factory full of expensive equipment that is fundamental to their business have a maintenance plan and budget in place. Regular service checks ensure that equipment remains at optimum productivity levels and downtime is kept to a minimum.

“Yet so many companies that rely on people as their most valued and important asset have no such ‘maintenance programme’ in place to make sure their teams are working at their best and ensuring the business remains productive and profitable. By engaging and developing their people, businesses can benefit from a real productivity boost.”

It was this thinking that led Mrs Mook and her colleague Suzanne Courtney to realise a career-long ambition to create a programme that would help managers become more effective in leading and engaging their teams.

The six-month management development programme they created has seen delegates abseiling, caving, orienteering, raft building and fire walking, among other things, all in the name of learning.

Mrs Mook said: “We know from two decades in learning and development roles that people learn best when they experience something, and so we set out to create a course that would enable our delegates to experiences some incredible things that would help them develop themselves as well as their skills and knowledge.

“The results have been fantastic, and we’ve had rave reviews from everyone who took part.”

On the back of the programme’s success, and demand from other local businesses, Pro-Development is currently recruiting for three more programmes that will run in 2015.

Management Development – Managing others through change

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

gorge-scrambling

This month the Management Development programme took us to HowStean Gorge where our fearless delegates embarked on a journey in an ever changing environment and led a team powerfully to success.

During the day the team conquered orienteering, caving, abseiling and gorge walking and in doing so experienced denial, resistance, anger and fear. They learnt on the way the importance of creating a vision, sharing that vision and to keep communicating the vision so its fresh in everyone’s mind. They recognised the importance of listening and to keep listening all throughout the change.

The team needed to enable actions to remove obstacles in their way. Obstacles could be a number of things but presented itself to us as resistance, fear, and not listening to your own state. However the obstacles were overcome through authentic leadership, revealing vulnerabilities, being brave, trusting those around them and supporting other through the change.

The results…the team achieved things they hadn’t even thought of, and took the time to celebrate their success and to recognise everybody’s contribution. What a day! What a team.