TVET @ Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting

Great discussion on how technical and vocational education and training can lead to empowerment. Audience and experts are of one opinion: the need for public-private partnerships from start to finish.

http://www.adb.org/annual-meeting/2016/events/empowerment-through-tvet

Advertisements

Meister meistern Herausforderungen

Der deutsche Industriemeister ist eine Schlüsselperson in großen Unternehmen: sie haben eine Sandwich-Position inne, in dem sie den Großteil der Belegschaft disziplinarisch und fachlich führen und für die fach- und Termin gerechte Umsetzung und Ausführung der Managemententscheidungen verantwortlich sind. Gefühlt ändert sich nichts so schnell wie der Industriemeisterberuf, und viele der Kollegen arbeiten 45 Jahre im Betrieb! Allein die Digitalisierung hat den Job revolutioniert, geschweige denn LEAN-Ansätze, Umstrukturierungen, etc. Ein Meister verbringt heutzutage die Hälfte seiner Arbeitszeit am Computer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Meister meistern Heraus-forderungen

Ein langjähriger und geschätzter Kunde von mir bei einem der größten deutschen Unternehmen hat diese Schlüsselposition erkannt und ich begleite ihn seit 2013 bei der Initiative “Meister meistern Herausforderungen”. Wie läuft die Initiative? Alles basiert auf den Input der Meister, die in einem ersten Schritt die derzeitige Belastungssituation analysiert haben und selbst Schwerpunkte für die Verbesserung identifiziert haben. Engagierte Manager begleiteten den Prozess und lieferten den Meistern die erforderlichen Informationen oder Unterstützungen. Auch bei der Lösungsentwicklung waren die Meister federführend dabei, mit den Managern zunächst die Optionen auf den Tisch zu legen und dann in umsetzungsfähige Konzepte zu gießen.

Die Skepsis war anfangs groß, dass diese Initiative einfach eine neue “Sau, die durch’s Dorf getrieben wird”. Dass sie ein beständiger Prozess geworden ist, verdankt sie der Kreativität und Veränderungsbereitschaft der Meister, dem Engagement der Manager und dem energischen Projektleiter, der im Laufe der gut zwei Jahre viel über sich und das Unternehmen gelernt hat und den Prozess als extrem wertvoll – für den Standort und auch für sich – sieht.

Ich genieße die Zusammenarbeit mit den Meistern. Ich habe viel gelernt und gelacht in den vielen Workshops, die ich moderierte. Ich schätze die Offenheit und Ehrlichkeit der Meister und ihren Willen, Dinge anzupacken und miteinander um die besten Lösung zu ringen. Mich hat auch beeindruckt, wie einige zugeben konnten, dass bestimmte angedachte Verbesserungen doch nicht so einfach umzusetzen seien, und diese Botschaft den Kollegen vermittelt haben. Das zeigt Größe.

Manager und Meister sollten sich viel häufiger die Zeit nehmen, auf Augenhöhe miteinander ins Gespräch zu kommen. Wir brauchen eine Diversitypolitik in den Unternehmen, die diese alte Grenze bewusst aufbricht. Gewinnen tun alle: Firma, Mensch und Prozess.

 

 

 

So the chase takes up one’s life, that’s all.

My wonderful professor from University, Lucy Newlyn, directed my attention to Robert Browning’s poem about hope and there’s a “motto” in there that I identify with and mean to think about for a while. Here’s the poem:

Life in a Love

Escape me?
Never—
Beloved!
While I am I, and you are you,
So long as the world contains us both,
Me the loving and you the loth,
While the one eludes, must the other pursue.
My life is a fault at last, I fear:
It seems too much like a fate, indeed!
Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed.
But what if I fail of my purpose here?
It is but to keep the nerves at strain,
To dry one’s eyes and laugh at a fall,
And, baffled, get up and begin again,—
So the chase takes up one’s life, that’s all.
While, look but once from your farthest bound
At me so deep in the dust and dark,
No sooner the old hope goes to ground
Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark,
I shape me—
Ever
Removed!

Isn’t it a curious, beautifully understated and thoroughly modern line “So the chase takes up one’s life, that’s all.”?

 

International Corner at Germany’s National IT Summit

The whole Cabinet of Angela Merkel’s government was there – it was definitely the place to show Germany’s effort in becoming a player for Industry 4.0 and other digital trends. And it was really national – almost everything in German and full of German players. Which is ok. But digitalisation is obviously an international topic and there are very few national borders in the internet world.

New markets. New partners. New solutions

New markets. New partners. New solutions – international cooperation and the digital transformation. 18.11.2015, Copyright: Thomas Koehler/photothek.net

Which is why I was proud and excited to moderate the only international corner at the IT Summit: “New partners, new markets, new solutions”, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Development Cooperation BMZ. We had a fantastic discussion and great fun too! BMZ’s just produced a summary of the event (attached). OK, so it’s in German, but hey… Zusammenfassung BMZ Panel auf Nationalem IT Gipfel 2015

SIMEI 2015 -sustainable wine must be good

2 years after the first International Congress at the world’s most important wine exhibition (SIMEI) in Milan, the 2015 International Congress brought experts and stakeholders from all over the globe to discuss sustainable wine and how sensory analysis can also be used to determine whether a sustainable wine is also good. As a wine hobbyist (yes, that also means I really enjoy drinking it!) I’m keen to support the socio-cultural, aesthetic and gustatory aspects of retaining a sustainable world for future generations.

http://www.simei.it/en/congress/sustainability

Structure!

Facilitation is about organising content.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s a bit like putting together this Scottish Highland picture: it’s not just about building a wall that should be robust enough to stand the elements, but also about ensuring that the big picture – in this case the mountain – isn’t lost in the process. It’s about changing perspectives – on the one hand to deal with the details where they’re needed, and also to become more abstract. It’s about empowering a group to work out the best way to put their expertise, ideas and interests together: building a wall that will not fall down at the first stress-test. And it’s about creating a result that is pleasing – that the group can take pride in.

How does it work? What are the essentials of structuring content as a facilitator? This list is not exhaustive!

  1. Invest time and effort in establishing a joint understanding of and buy in for the goals, deliverables and agenda (structure) of the meeting. A group of people will only feel motivated and dedicated to building a wall if they’ve agreed that’s what they’ve set out to do!
  2. Ensure joint understanding – this sounds obvious, but most of my speaking in the facilitated meeting is spent on making sure what people want to say is said and heard by the others (i.e. “translating” and summarising complex or unclear messages in the most efficient way possible – active listening). People need to share an understanding of
    1. where they’re coming from (history, problem or potential),
    2. whether they have a similar or diverse position on the issue and what that position is/those positions are (consensus/disagreement),
    3. what people feel is important and relevant or irrelevant (priorities),
    4. why people feel and think the way they do (rationale),
    5. how people suggest a problem should be solved or potential achieved (propositions),
    6. where opportunities for collaboration lie (partnership),
    7. the way forward (plan) and
    8. how success will be measurable.
  3. Recording (visually) the main points of the discussion (see 2.) and how they relate to each other (this is wall-building),
  4. Interrupting or even disrupting the wall-building to make sure people are still aware of why they’re building the wall, how high it has to be (i.e. in order to frame the mountain) and which stress-tests it will need to withstand. This can involve inviting external expertise – independent – into the group to allow it to question itself,
  5. Making sure the right people are involved – the evolving and final structure depends on the input received!
  6. Separating brainstorming (opening out) and prioritising/rating/ranking (funnelling and closing). If you mix these processes, you will not only lose the structure of the content, but also most of the people involved in giving it.
  7. Ensuring 100 % participation. The results are useless if half the group lets you know at the end of the process that “it’ll never work”.This means structuring the room and time of a meeting to cope with dealing with multiple voices and, interestingly, creating an atmosphere not of power or importance, but of trust and curiosity. Only then will people listen to each other and stop merely thinking about how to say what they’ve probably said at many meetings before…

Smile!

Facilitation is about creating bridges between people.

Natasha Walker

 

Those bridges can be semantic and factual; they can be inventive and suggestive; they can involve “translation” of one participant’s meaning to another’s understanding; they can mean putting up stop signs to protect participants’ feelings and allow them to hold their heads high and they can be bridges of energy and stimulation to get participants thinking and working together.

 

One of the most effective bridges is a smile, which is infectious and can even lead to laughter, one of the best ways to cement humans together.

I don’t always smile when moderating. My mimicry obviously tends to reflect my feelings – concentration (e.g. on complex material) or concern (e.g. for the process) will often produce a frown. But there are many opportunities to smile and we should use them: welcoming participants individually and as a group, thanking them for input, encouraging participation, etc. I’m not talking about forced smiles or smiling when there’s clearly no cause (e.g. when recognising a crisis or standing up for process fairness). I’m talking about liking (I would like to actually say “loving”, but it’s been so romanticised by today’s usage) one’s participants and accepting them for who they are. Because they are the resources and the capacity of the process. They are its problem-solvers and driving force of change and implementation.

We should show them we appreciate them being there and trust in their competence and ability. And what better way do we human animals have to do that than with a smile?

A smile is a self-fulfilling prophecy: all will be well!