-part of the N4L Series; celebrating Learning at Work Week-
It’s my great pleasure to introduce Michael Jenkins…
I am Chief Executive of Roffey Park Institute (UK and Singapore). I’m a frequent conference speaker on leadership topics and am currently advocating for more compassion and better mental health in the workplace.
What networked for learning means to me
I was once lucky enough to be a member of a peer group of senior managers from a variety of companies and organisations. We met each month to discuss matters of common interest, usually around leadership development topics. We also had time during our meetings for each person to share a current challenge with the other members of the group.
The person sharing their challenge outlined the problem, painting a picture for the others. The others would question and probe the speaker for more data and after this round, would write down an insight or a comment on a post-it which was then handed to the speaker. The speaker was able to use the cumulative insight from the group (captured partly by memory but also on the post-its!) to plan the next action back at work.
In addition to this, the learning from others (that shared knowledge) became a precious thing, worthy of respect (not something simply to be discarded after the meeting). The learning became a kind of tool to enable the fostering of a sense of accountability. The feeling was very powerful: no one wanted to let the group down through a failure to act on what they had learned.
It also gradually dawned on me that this talented and perceptive group was part of a much broader network of knowledgeable people from whom they themselves had learned. While the opportunity to gain insights and feedback from people in the room was great, I realised that we were learning not just from each other but from the (potentially thousands of) people that we had learned from.
It struck me and still strikes me today – that these – call them cluster groups – are a living example of what Networked for Learning can mean.
My personal learning insights
I attended a two-day workshop on Motivational Interviewing to learn how to better understand/have constructive conversations with people who are suffering from different forms of mental ill-health. It was great to do some new learning and to be with like-minded individuals all wishing to make progress in terms of their ability to interact with loved ones and others who are suffering.
The really great thing was that you felt everyone had something of a shared experience even before we gathered together in the room. That made for an atmosphere of trust and safety, which in turn enhanced the experience overall.
The learning has been helpful to me in a personal context but it has also had applications in the world of work too, where you are trying to help people to look at and then tackle their challenges via a different route to the one might usually have taken.