Thursday, 20 December 2012

Festive Quiz

As it’s that time of the year again, I thought I’d lighten the mood with a wee quiz.  It’s more fun if you don’t Google the answers!  And I’ll post them in the comments section in a day or two.  No prizes, just the deep satisfaction of being a know-all.
1. What is the usual colour of a flight recorder black box?

2. How long did the Hundred Years War last?

3. What country makes Panama hats?

4. What animal(s) do we get catgut from?

5. What town do Grimsby Town Football Club play in?

Good luck, and seasonal goodwill to all.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Health & Safety Culture

As we approach the end of 2012, I'm reflecting on a year when human resource issues were frequently to the fore.  Back in January, the government jumped on the bandwagon of complaining about health and safety "red tape".  David Cameron promised he was "waging war against the excessive health and safety culture that has become an albatross around the neck of British businesses".

How quickly we forget! A generation ago, Britain experienced a run of tragedies, at the rate of more than one a year for five years, each causing multiple deaths, and touching the lives of so many of us. Our health and safety culture, far from being "excessive" is a product of those experiences, and our society is better for it.

Lest we forget:

1985              Manchester Airport             55 deaths

1985              Bradford                            56 deaths

1986              Sumburgh                          45 deaths

1987              Herald of Free Enterprise    193 deaths

1987              Kings Cross                       31 deaths

1988              Piper Alpha                        167 deaths

1989              Marchioness                      51 deaths

1989              Hillsborough                      96 deaths

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Against the herd

When I worked for Pearson plc in the 1990s, I was part of a newly-created business, Financial Times Management, specialising in management education.  When that business was just two years old, a decision was taken no rebrand it as FT Knowledge.  There was great enthusiasm for this tie-in with the in-vogue concept of knowledge management, but I felt it was too soon to be changing and the gains from this change were at best transitory and at worst delusional. I dissented and left the company, which went on to fail.

I was reminded of this when I saw a lot of praise for the latest restyling of People Management magazine.  Haven't we just had a restyling?  Are the benefits of the latest change a worthwhile use of CIPD member subscriptions? I think I'm facing the wrong way (or is it the wrong way?) on this one too.

It's a fairly minor thing, so I haven't said anything - until now.  I suspect others feel the same, but who wants to be the solitary guardsman facing the wrong way?

In the financial markets, this can be a valuable attribute.  Warren Buffet is the classic example,and we have many in Britain too - perhaps I should move into contrarian investment management.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Another evaluation update

In June, I wrote about progress in what was then a brand new action development programme.  That was the first cohort, since completed, of LEAD, which stands for Learning Evaluation Action Development, and is Airthrey Ltd’s flagship programme.  LEAD aims to support and equip those responsible for learning evaluation to conduct their own evaluation project (something real, not a simulation).

LEAD includes: a launch event, Masterclasses on learning evaluation approaches and applied research methods, individual tutorials, an action learning set, an online workspace, and a day of final presentations.  It also offers transparent evaluation of itself as an exemplar for participants.

The first cohort concluded in September, with three out of four participants successfully completing.  Their investigations are only now starting to yield impact measures, and their feedback is emerging.

I noted in June that one LEAD participant had said “it changed my life!” and I can now offer a more to-the-point testimonial:
"The LEAD programme was a great learning experience with its unique blend of workshops with Ken and Alasdair, supervised application of the learning to a real life evaluation project and learning from each other through the action learning set. I would highly recommend this programme as it provides foundational knowledge, skills and experience for anyone tasked with evaluating learning in their organisation.
(Alan Forsythe, Training & Development Manager at SHARE, and one of the participants in the first cohort).

A second cohort started in September, involving another four organisations, from sectors as diverse as mechanical engineering, defence, economic development, and a care charity.  Once again, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and plans are already underway for a third cohort of LEAD to begin in February 2013.  Further information about LEAD, including how to book for the next cohort, is available at the Airthrey website.

It looks like LEAD is now a fixture in the evaluation calendar.

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