Never in my classroom – stick to the plan



Often as trainers we are told to keep up-to-date with the company website. It certainly has benefits, but is this just a Director of Studies ploy or trainer fail-safe.

Yesterday I was searching for input on the theme “Encouraging innovation and independent thinking”. So naturally after scouring resources, and calling out to colleagues on Eltas facebook group, I went to the horses mouth. Neigh was I ever so wrong.

I was so enthused to talk about what is new with them, and return to this general small talk topic I opened with (as I hadnie seen them for 5 months). So being prepared I went to the more specific topic of their company –

“the relaunch of the Web portal has resulted in an on-line customer center for commercial and residential customers characterized by its user-friendly interface and powerful customer orientation

Only to have the wind taken from my sails.

Paraphrasing what they all reiterated, this is just marketing jargon, it has crap functionality, “was a good idea at the time”.

What to do? Luckily I had also prepped another course on the qualities of visionary companies. Courtesy of a book I am reading for my studies, “Built to Last” by Jim Collins.


So improvising I asked them to consider these qualities and if they were necessary, on demand, and unnecessary.

  • One student of the six students to do the white board.
  • One to read 3 of the qualities to the others from the doc on my lappi.
  • Rotating these two roles after every 3 qualities read.

What ensued was a fascinating discussion that will also be taken up next week, as 30 mins was not enough to cover everything.

On an additional note this reading from a doc and white board work I have used with more frequency, and find the dictation, as well as the discussion leading roles to be beneficial for all concerned. Likewise some have noted improvement in their board work skills that helps with studies and meetings.

But let me return to another floppy sail plan. A dear friend of mine Anne Hodgeson suggested the “Six thinking hat model”.

Which I was also so excited about, and approached from the angle of

“How is the utility company  innovative in their involvement in the Energiewende?”

Have to hold my hands up and admit my enthusiasm took over from practicalities. This is why I think the idea fell on its face –

The gap they had taken between made them apprehensive with anything so ambitious.

The new students, 2 of the 6 were not used to my less than conventional style.

And maybe the model suits a theme that needs to be prepared before the actual discussion, To feel comfortable wearing the hat, and to have enough information to hand to effectively explore the role you are given.

But let me finished on a more positive note. We also discussed when the visionary companies in the aforementioned book were founded, and what made them visionary, according to the “Built to last” book.

This task/plan I also altered as the original task had 17 companies, which was too much and caused some lack of focus when I had run it previously.

I am pretty chipper about how it turned out, to continue the Visionary Company Qualities discussion, and try out these tasks with other group dynamics. As well as finding out more about the companies involvement in the Energiewende, especially as I have just finished a proof read of a financial report that included this fascinating topic.

Jobs a good un!!!







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