Training isn’t the answer!

What was the question?

I was recently invited to talk to a brilliant organisation about their training needs. I went in thinking that I might come away with some thoughts on workshops I could facilitate for them to help them develop their people – a reasonable assumption as a training provider, you might say.

Anyway I adopted my usual stance, and explored their organisation with them to help me understand who the key people are, what the organisation does and how it does it. (I use Big Picture for this; it helps me draw out great information. Take a look at yourbigpic.com). I uncovered tonnes of great information about their organisation, found out about their key challenges, and some opportunities for improvement fell out of the discussion too.

However, what didn’t fall out of the conversation was any clear need for training – exit stage left for Sticky Thinker? No! I hung around a while longer – in fact what this organisation needed was some thinking time to establish their business objectives. We concluded that there was not much point in training folk if you hadn’t first determined what you wanted them to deliver for you and assessed if they had the capability or the desire to do it!

The drive home gave me time to reflect…….

  • One of the things that struck me about my conversation with this organisation was just how much value they got from sitting in a room, removing all distractions and having someone give them their undivided attention for more than an hour. They did some great thinking and found some clarity that had eluded them until that point. (It’s not the first time this has happened, it’s a trend, and you’ve probably gathered that we take thinking fairly seriously given the name of our business!)
  • How many organisations fail to spend time doing quality thinking? And what’s the cost to the organisation and the impact on their people. How much more engaged could employees be if their employers immersed them in activities that encouraged them to think and not just take action? Not all the time, obviously, but when it matters.
  • Some organisations must already be doing thinking brilliantly, and I’ve seen a recent example in a contact centre environment where designated areas have been created for their teams to think and collaborate. Google are always cited as being the exemplars in this, but there must be others to learn from?
  • What if…… organisations everywhere had a policy that encouraged their people to take 14 minutes every day to engage in some high quality crystal clear thinking, either alone, if that’s their preference, or with others, if that works for them. That’s just 1% of the day dedicated to thinking; what more could they achieve?

If you happen to be reading this, I’d love to hear about you experiences and thoughts on thinking.

Sticky Thinking……

Or inventing the new goat!

We had an idea about creating a ‘Sticky Thinking Forum’ (STF) a little while ago; and finally on Star Wars Day (May the 4th) it actually happened!

The STF brings together people that we know and admire; people with shared interests and values and who will benefit from collaborating on real projects and challenges that are important to them. So in essence nothing more fancy than a bunch of like-minded individuals happy to share thoughts and ideas and to be creative together for everyone’s individual and mutual benefit.

The STF brought together a small selection of people from our true network, a network of real contacts that has built up over the years. For example, I met Ian Pettigrew (Kingfisher Coaching) on an NLP practitioner event in 2006, we met Andrew Rea (Ten Minute Trainer) on a 3rd Sector training event in 2008 and Bev met Bridie Philpotts (Bridie Philpotts Associates) more recently, this year in fact, at an organised networking event. We are like magpies with the compelling ‘shiny’ people that we meet, and don’t like to let them slip away once we have met them. Ian, Andrew and Bridie are some great examples of people that we admire, relate to and want to spend our time with.

Our aim for the STF was to keep it informal but focused, so our venue was carefully chosen for ambience and their ability to provide great coffee and cakes! North Tea Power in Manchester did not fail us and provided an excellent platform for coffee, good food, laughter, fun, and stimulating discussions that were limited to 60 minutes each.

So……what happened? We had 3 topics for consideration and each one was put forward in turn. What followed was the opportunity for questions, thoughts, challenges, much excitement and the generation of many ideas.  Creativity flowed and we even invented ‘the new goat’!

What were the benefits? Each of the Sticky Thinkers who shared a challenge were asked to record the briefest of initial thoughts and you can listen first hand here.

Here are some words from Andrew Rea and Bev Holden

From my personal perspective, it gave us all an opportunity to work with people with a genuine interest giving real, positive help and support. Our discussions provided a much wider perspective on the subjects under the spotlight, challenged us all to think differently, to explain things clearly, listen to opinions, come up with great ideas, and get involved in stimulating conversations.

Ask Yourself…..

> Who would be in your Sticky Thinking Forum?

> What would you table as your discussion point?

> How might being part of a Sticky Thinking Forum benefit you?

> What’s stopping you??

Given the resounding success of our first experience, our next Sticky Thinking Forum is booked for October and I can’t wait.

We would be thrilled to inspire some more Sticky Thinking around the globe, so what do you think? We’d love to hear your views. Contact me at kate@clearthinkinguk.com