Thursday, April 25, 2013

How to Give Effective Feedback Both Positive and Negative

The nuanced distinction in the article below between feedback for young people and feedback for senior people is important.  I like when the complexity of an issue is presented and this article does that.  It also validates my own experience.

At the goodbye party held for me at YU School Partnership I was touched and surprised by the ways that younger staff in the office articulated the positive impact my encouragement had on them.  They reported things like I had pushed them out of their comfort zone, helped them gain confidence and find their voice.

I learned a great deal from the feedback I received from Dr. Scott Goldberg my supervisor at YU School Partnership and Jane Taubenfeld Cohen my wise colleague.

Hope others find this useful as well.

Thank you to Kerri Kervatsi and Hildy Gottleib for bringing this to my attention.

How to Give Effective Feedback, Both Positive and Negative  By ALINA TUGEND

Monday, April 22, 2013

67% find company training/e-learning of little or no value – according to the Learning in the Workplace 2013 survey results.

This survey, by Jane Hart, (600 people sample) replicates the findings of Etienne Wenger's first study of IBM repair professionals (see #1 below). People learn best with contextualized peer-mediated learning. 

"I’ve aggregated the Very Important and Essential scores and  highlighted in blue the top 5 rated ways of learning in the workplace. This shows …
  1. that company training/e-learning is the lowest rated way to learn at work , and
  2. that workers find other (self-organised and self-managed) ways of learning at work far more valuable – with team collaboration being the highest rated."

"Nevertheless as a whole, these survey results are yet another piece of evidence that show how workers are continuing to organise and manage their own learning in many different ways –  and in doing so are bypassing the L&D Department. What’s more a comparison with the 2012 Learning in the Workplace survey results shows that this is a continuing trend."

How are you organizing learning in your workplace?

source:  Learning in the Social Workplace: Jane Hart's Blog
#1: A famous example of a community of practice within an organization is that which developed around the Xerox customer service representatives who repaired the machines in the field (Brown & Duguid 2000). The Xerox reps began exchanging tips and tricks over informal meetings over breakfast or lunch and eventually Xerox saw the value of these interactions and created the Eureka project to allow these interactions to be shared across the global network of representatives. The Eureka database has been estimated to have saved the corporation $100 million. source: Wikipedia article on Etienne Wenger

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Client Journal - The 'aha' moment

Exciting session with clients today.

My work is helping people who are accustomed to working in a hierarchical way to make room in their repertoire for working in a networked way.  They are embedded in a hierarchy but when they want to work on engaging their constituents, they need to shift their thinking - and it's hard - it takes time and conversation and dialogue because its so far away from their experience of what it possible. 

I need to say things like "what would happen if we tried it this way."  Its soo exciting when that 'aha' happens like it did today! 

We were talking about how to get staff onto the new webplatform.  And our introductory buddy system visit (see blog post ) worked well so we had leaders identified who were ready to go. 

My clients wanted to go back to planning mode, which is their comfort zone, get teams ready to go into the platform as a group -- like the marines - no man left behind - and I said "what about if we just let the people who are ready start now."  The teams can reflect on and organize themselves after we have some action and facts on the ground in two weeks from now.

A light bulb went off -- all of a sudden they did not have to carry their team members on their back into the platform -- it was every man and woman for themselves.  It was exhilarating.

Also a little scary.  But I reassured them the order and structure emerge from the activities of the individuals. Instead of hierarchical control - we have other means of control - like peer pressure, norms, policies, taxonomies, technology structures.

It takes practice and reinforcement to keep the light bulb lit - but I know over time it will become second nature. And then my job is done. 

At least until the community moves into another phase of its development.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Family Engagement Community of Practice: A Case Study of a Collaboration Model

By Naava Frank and Lara Nicolson
JCSA Journal of Communal Service, March 2013

How can you take a group of local federated agencies working in a similar fi eld— some competing, some working in synergy, some unaware of the others’ existence—and bring them together to have a profound impact on a critical sector of the Jewish community? This article tells the story of 12 months in the life of a Community of Practice (CoP) that shaped a collaborative culture among seven agencies of THE ASSOCIATED: Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and led to a shared grant for a project maximizing the impact of their work with Jewish families with young children. This article shares the successes, challenges, and learning from the perspective of the community facilitators and members. We hope that it will help other Jewish organizations use the CoP model of collaboration to strengthen professional networks. Although work with human systems may not always be replicable, the CoP model described here can be adapted with thoughtful consideration to differences in context.

Writing by Knowledge Communities