............KNOWLEDGE BASE ARTICLE................................................
Serious OMD Training Principles & Pedagogy....
... personal views from Dr. Iain Jennings, Chartered FCIPD, PhD. Director i/c Training & Member of Register of Consultants , Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.
Serious training does not have to be machismo, but it does need to be carefully focussed on the agreed aims and aspirations of the participants.
A well designed "serious" outdoor/indoor residential development training programme can without doubt boost the profitability of your business. It can also help boost the perforamance of individuals and teams working in your organisation. It should be lots of FUN and if it is properly designed and properly run it will be enjoyable and have immediate and lasting relevance too. Such serious training, therefore, needs to be tailored around the client's specific needs...and in turn this requires very careful pre-event preparation and in depth consultations between the clients,delegates and the training facilitators and training consultants. We run pre-trip planning events to allow our senior chartered consultants time to get to know our clients' needs and give us an opportunity to agree key performance indicators and benchmarking criteria against which the success of such events can be meaningfully evaluated.
DON'T CARE IAIN'S WORD FOR THIS, PLEASE CLICK & SEE WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS WHO ARE CHIEF EXECS, FINANCE DIRECTORS & MD 'S OF SOME THE UK'S LARGEST, WELL KNOWN MANUFACTURING & COMMERCIAL ORGANISATIONS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF OUR EVENTS !
True training, in our staff's experience, is about reflecting on and changing people's attitude and/or behaviour in a mutually agreed way. "Jolly" team building has a valid place in our training repertoire but it is very distinct from serious staff development and process skills development training which we tend to refer toas OMD (outdoor management development ) training. We also refer to basic leadership skills development and management skills & process skills development...such as boosting problem solving skills, heightening decision making skills, grooming the ability to run meaningful meetings, and so on. As more and more clients become interested in continuous improvement processes - CIP - often using models such as the European Foundation for Quality Management's Business Excellence Model, we also refer to "serious training" also including forums for discussing and developing ideas for driving quality improvements within organisations coming away on residentials to prove a " level playing field" where staff of different grades can have open forums and frank exchanges of constructive ideas to help boost the performance of their teams. This sort of outdoor training event is, clearly, quite distinct and a little longer than the sort of team build event where one spends a half day paintballing and then slopes off to the pub to discuss the cricket scores ! All too often these days people contacting me refer to "team building " in such a loose way that it takes a while to find out exactly what's wanted. At Peak Activities we are always happy to run "jollies" and light-hearted social team builds through our Corporate Events division but our training personnel will always distinguish between true training per se. and "jollies" . They are not quite the same thing, although some people these days may class all outdoor training as essentially similar generic Outwa*d B**nd courses. Paradoxically a "serious" training event with us can be a heap of fun and involve lots more laughter than we see, say, amongst the Lycra clad stag groups we sometimes meet "enjoying themselves" in the local pub after a gruelling day of mountain biking - so the term "serious training" is perhaps a misnomer...we mean by that expression any training event which has serious intentions - often written down by ourselves and the clients as training objectives and measured and evaluated & benchmarked afterwards using prescribed key performance indicators and other pre-agreed measures of performance. In fairness if you looking through a bunch of photos taken from a training course and an activity holiday it may be hard at times for an outsider to tell which photo was taken on which event.They both will have images of fun and laughter, and both may involve drinking in bar in the evening .....so what's the essential difference ? There will be serious benefits with a serious event - rather than just having fun. Both may be perfectly valid things for groups to do, but below are some personal thoughts on what might make a Peak Activities Ltd training investment distinct from one of our "jolly" corporate entertainment events.... which really have far less impact on the attitudes, skills & behaviour of the delegates and stakeholders involved.Peak Activities' clients include Rolls Royce Jet Engine Designers. Outdoor training with Peak Activities will invartiably last several days and will usually involve a structured and carefully designed set of progressive task based problem solving sessions followed by reviews. The reviews will be chaired by our our qualified trainers where learning points can be highlighted, discussed and developed. Almost every experiential training company's site seems to be obliged to put a diagram of Kolb's learning cycle in to their texts at this point...so we won't ( just to be different...and to avoid patronising our readers). Suffice to say we can all learn from our successes (knowledge) and our failures (wisdom) and serious foul up's (what Oscar Wilde called "experience" !!!). We now have 25+ years of "experience" here and know that outdoor leaning can be very useful and non-threatening. At the end of the day a serious-at-the-time exercise can be put down to experience and hasn't cost the company millions in reality and will be the source of some good banter in the bar later ! As one of our clients once said at a pre-trip briefing " if a task's worth doing, it's especially worthwile if we do badly some of the time in training so we can learn from it, move forwards and avoid being complacent ! " As an explosives demolition expert himself, we could all appreciate what he was talking about ! All things being equal, we at Peak Activities Limited believe that in the field of outdoor development training training & experiential learning pedagogy, all programmes should be both client & delegate focussed. Insofar as possible the delegates should take on as much ownership of the event as possible..and they deserve designated champions to help, support and nature them after a course is ended. Programmes should also be safe both emotionally & physically for those with little or no prior experience of such training techniques..and for those with no special level of fitness. OMD Programmes should be designed to be fun, engaging & enjoyable, non-machismo & non-threatening and there should be no "hidden agendas". Moreover, we believe that when considering choosing a programmes' actual content with our clients... 1) One activity is more worthwhile than another it is permits students/delegates to make informed choices in carrying out the activity and the opportunity to reflect on the consequences of their choices. 2) One activity is more worthwhile than another if it assigns students active roles in the learning situation rather than passive ones. 3) One activity is more worthwhile than another if it asks students to engage in inquiry of ideas, applications of intellectual processes or current problems either personal, social or work-related. 4) One activity is more worthwhile than another if it involves students with realia (ie real objects, materials, data or artefacts). 5) One activity is more worthwhile than another if the compeltion of a task can be accomplished successfully by students of different fitnesses at several different levels of ability, if necessary with some inputs from Directing Staff. 6) One activity is more worthwhile than another if it chalklenges students to examine in a new setting an idea, an application of an intellectual process, or a current problem which has not been previously studied. 7) One activity is more worthwhile than another if it requires students to examine topics or issues that citizens in our society do not normally examine - and that are typically ignored by the major communications media in our nation. 8) One activity is more worthwhile than another if it involves students and tutors in "risk taking" - not a risk of life and limb - but a risk of success or failure. 9) One activity is more worthwhile than another if it requires students to rewrite, rehearse and polish their initial efforts.. 10) One activity is more worthwhile than another if it involves sudents in the application and mastery of meaningful rules and standards or disciplines. 11) One activity is more worthwhile than another if it gives students the chance to share in the planning, the carrying out of a plan, or the results of an interesting and engaging activity with others. 12) One activity is more worthwhile than another if it is relevent to the expressed training needs, interests and purposes of the students. 13) An activity which inculcates the desired outputs and effects enjoyably in a shorter time than others activities is probably going to be more useful to the delegates than activities which take up lots of time. 14) Activities packed into programmes which are too short a duration(say at the client's request) may be far less effective in providing useful forums for open discussion than activities within more realistic programmes of a slightly longer duration. (After comments on active learning curriculum planning by Rath 1970) Programmes should be vivid and engaging and should have everyone fully involved, but not necessarily all doing the same things, and it should inculcate a pattern of involuntary learning that means people can't help but get involved and learn and take away useful lessons and insights. At the simplest level, outdoor training is fun and a great way to get to know & understand people better. For new teams and newly appointed managers there are many lessons that can be learned quickly. At best a good programme can often be dovetailed into other inititives back at the ranch (PDP's, ISO 9000, Investor in People, etc.) and can really accelerate the learning process considerably and speed up the development of a wide range of management and teamworking process skills . At Rock Lea we have the means through various activities to heighten people's emotional states. For example, through exciting and challenging activities. Other means might involve a time limit or multiple tasking. This can make a leader's job much harder during an exercise..and of course doing a task underground or on water or on the edge of a clifftop may also heighten the pulse rate. In our experience people revert to type when under mild stress, and this is a useful phenomenon which can be used in a good humoured way to help discuss and reflect on leadership styles, decision-making processes, efficent teamworking methods, communications, delegation, etc. in subsequent reviews. At a higher level, outdoor based training may be able to afford delegates insights and changes in attitudes and behaviour patterns that may not be so easily or safely inculcated or fed back to people so effectively in their normal work environment. I frequently point out to clients that we are not "experts" in outdoor training, but we do have many years of experience of providing clients with appropriate "open forums" for colleagues in real teams to exchange of ideas, beliefs, values, and to heighten sensitivity of other people's problems, etc. Being in a strange new environment often helps strip away rank, clannish feelings, assumptions and prejudices, and can generate a real feeling of fellowship with a sense of open-ness, care and a willingness to help each other that is hard to describe in words to one who hasn't experienced the feeling. Residentials also helps clients get away from the ringing telephones and "chill-out" away from other distractions. Whether you're "up to your bottom in crocodiles" or "fire-fighting", a relaxing strategic review of modern swamp draining and fire fighting techniques might be just what you need ! A change can be as good as a rest and this is particularly valuable for cross-functional team development when lots of little teams need to start working as a more cohesive whole to enable cultural change, continuous improvement, implemenation of Kaizen philosophy and so on. I wonder how many firms are out there where their senior managers keep saying they'd like to see their teams working more closely together ? As well as running all kinds of traditional outdoor based sports, such as climbing and caving, we specialise in the design & provision of carefully tailored and supervised task-based problem solving sessions followed by reviews accelerating meaningful discussions of personal and team issues. We have over 2 gigabytes of exercises and training materials on file developed and tried and tested over 20 years. Some of these you may find elsewhere. Many are unique and the locations where we run these tasks, such as on our farm (above) are quite exclusive venues. Ideal for team building !
Many of our clients have found that a modest training investment with us has quickly returned massive benefits in terms of objective outcomes such as reduced lead times., team costs efficiencies, reduced scrap values, heightened customer satisfaction, greater staff motivation and so on. Such clients see our work as part of their targeted investments rather than as an outgoing on a training budget. Endorsements Lucas Aerospace, Rolls Royce and other case studies Please call us on 01433-650345 to discuss your specific needs & the various possibilities further.
- Endorsements from delighted customers and featured on television
- Getting to Hathersage and the Hope Valley and some useful maps
- The Peak District National Park
- Some of the many generic sports activities and team tasks on offer
- Team building Programmes and tailored Outdoor Development programmes
Rock Lea Activity & Training Centre Station Road, Hathersage, Hope Valley, Peak District National Park, S32 1DD Telephone +44(0) 1433-650345