Back in about 1989 I went on a rugby tour to play against a Royal Navy Field Gun Team in Portsmouth. Some of our team (Whitchurch Hospital Cardiff RFC) were on sabbatical from the Royal Navy and gave the following stern advice the evening before the game, “watch out for the Field Gun players with […]
Facilitation Essentials #1. Why I upgraded from a clockwork cat timer to a countdown /stopwatch app
I’m feeling very modern this week. I’ve upgraded one of the basics in my facilitation box, the cherished kitchen timer. Yes it was a clockwork cat, although it’s previously been a mouse and the inevitable chicken shaped egg timer. For me the timing device has been a very helpful facilitation tool, let me explain. Much […]
What do you get when you cross a Knitting Lesson with WordPress Users Wales?
Please pick one answer from the multiple choice list. a) a woolen laptop? b) a Fair Isle spam blocker? c) an Aran mouse? d) coworking? Obviously the answer is d), Coworking. This week WordPress Users Wales met to talk about plugins, it’s a bit technical but if you want an explanation check out this post on […]
Guilt Free Continuous Improvement with Cardboard and Sticky Tape
Good News! I’ve found a way of not feeling guilty about ‘over’ enjoying myself during the sort of team building events where I have to build the Eiffel Tower out of cardboard, pipe cleaners and sticky tape. Many people will have participated in similar exercises (with variable degrees of enthusiasm) but I suspect that most […]
Self Organised Workgroups – Keystone Cops or Well Oiled Machine?
Recently my kids held a ‘garden party’, which has reversed many of my expectations. The end result has been a much neater garden; some repaired power tools and an enhanced reputation for me as a really cool dad. I’d like to say it was down to my supreme leadership, but actually I had very little […]
Crowdsourcing, could this be the groovy new name for staff ideas schemes?
Recently someone important told me that Crowdsourcing was “old hat, and we’ve moved on from that”. What they had moved on to wasn’t explained but I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of Crowdsourcing in the world I occupy. Fortunately I went to an IdeasUK event last week which was focussed on how social media […]
Employee Engagement – is 150 the Magic Number, plus something else?
Is there such a thing as the ‘best’ or ‘right’ number of people in a successful organisation? Last week I was at the Cardiff University Distinguished Lecture Series where I listened to Professor Robin Dunbar explain that around 150 people is the optimum number to maintain the informal relationships and cohesiveness that allow a community […]
X Factor (not quite) Public Review as an Improvement Technique
Well, last week I got a taste of what I think it might be like to be an X-Factor contestant: Stand up in front of some highly experienced people; Deliver your best amateur effort; Listen carefully to what they have got to say about it; Then: laugh/cry/high-five/run away/smile graciously (delete as appropriate). No, it wasn’t […]
Bikeshedding: Organisations spend too much time on trivial decisions. Parkinson’s Law of Triviality.
Decision making has always been a challenge . Way back in 1957, to describe his ‘Law of Triviality’, Cyril Northcote Parkinson created the word bikeshedding. Parkinson was hugely experienced in the workings of Government and Academia. He was also responsible for a number of other ‘rules’ you might be familiar with like: Parkinsons Law No.1 ‘work expands to […]
Ritual Dissent – getting better proposals and dealing with saboteurs
Ritual Dissent is one of my favourite facilitation techniques. It gets good results quickly and is great for dealing with the saboteurs (see spotting field sabotage post). I was taught it by Dave Snowden of Cognitive Edge who also provides a method statement. It’s a very structured approach that minimises the opportunities for the saboteurs to do […]