1. The value of reflection in developing people and ideas
Kolb told me yet again that I'm an Activist (someone who gets stuck into a new project without concerning themselves with the details or potential pitfalls along the way). Reflective behaviours are my weakest learning tools (unusual for a historian?) so I approached this topic warily. However, going through the concepts of Reflexive Thinking - thinking specifically about successes, challenges, objectives and the actions which caused these to come about - and discussing how this could be applied to improve productivity and relationships in the workplace took me back to a thought I'd had the other day about how much of my life at the moment is spent receiving information rather than creating it. It made me think again about how I need to exercise that part of my mind a bit more, and perhaps attempt to sell it a bit more at work. It's certainly something I deploy when trying to get the answer I want from somebody I'm giving advice to.
2. The disputed value of performance appraisals between managers, jobholders, and HR professionals
It popped up as a bit of a salient topic, this, but it is the one that will stay in my mind because of how frequently it crops up at work - from managers, staff and senior managers. When people talk about appraisals, it is almost always shorthand for the document that HR sends out and expects back from each member of staff, rather than what it should be, which is a framework by which managers can measure and shape somebody's performance. One person in the group said that they felt appraisals in their organisation were little more than a paper(less - it was completed online) exercise that bore little relation performance management in the workplace. Another person felt in contrast that their appraisal process was a valuable one, particularly their Personal Development Plan. It was discussed how different staff gained different amounts of good from the process depending upon the attitudes of the manager and the jobholder and how transparently the process tied into reward. It reminded me to make sure I write up the HR Assistant's objectives and achievements for the last quarter, and to check with some other managers, particularly operational managers, at work to see how much they value the appraisal process.
3. The concept of Distributive Leadership
I'm looking into this one as we speak, because it was only mentioned in passing, so I know almost nothing about it. But it sounds from the articles I've picked up that it holds some interesting ideas for organisation development, even if it's contested as to whether it exists, let alone works. The (very) basic thrust appears to be that if you push leadership responsibility down through the organisation, your teams work more effectively together. More on that as I take it in, though.
The only other outcome I feel worth mentioning is the sense of weary deja vu with Harvard referencing (which is coming up in a few weeks). For my undergraduate degree we were allowed to reference in any way we saw fit, as long as it was clear where the source had come from. I feel that the University of Greenwich (and I think it is them this time, rather than the CIPD) places greater emphasis on how the information is presented over and above the merit or use of what is actually said. This disappointed me last year; it disappoints me no less this year. In the University's defence however, there are still people coming into the course who aren't clear on the various academic referencing styles, but again I refer back to my preference at spending time looking at the value of what someone's saying, rather than how they've referenced it.
* I chose 3 points because it focuses my attention on the things that stuck in my mind; each additional point beyond will be harder to follow and less valuable to refer back to.