Life in the fire and rescue services is surely demanding and action-packed. In the past few months we’ve seen the Fire and Rescue Services at the forefront of operations dealing with the devastating impact of flooding on local communities.
Strong relationships underpin the challenging work of the service men and women. That’s one of the reasons the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) decided to use action learning as part of their training plans. Through equal measures of challenge and support, action learning supports high-quality working relations; sound decision-making; resolution of conflict; better problem solving; better alignment with organisational values such as trust and respect; strengthened managerial relationships and greater staff engagement. As a result of the training, and the skill and motivation of participants, LFRS now has 14 trained action learning facilitators.
Sometimes just talking through a problem with the full attention and focus of a skilled action learning set takes the heat out of situations such that subsequent interaction with colleagues becomes more objective and productive. When an action learning set, through skilful questioning, enables an individual to look at things from different perspectives, there can be a transformational effect creating new ideas and new ways of thinking.
Action learning, whether seen as a philosophy, a practice, or a simple process, can transform individuals, organisations and communities. As we go about our daily business what we do matters a lot. How we are while we’re doing it can be what makes the greatest difference.