Finally overcame my nerves and self consciousness about starting an ALA blog but a Premier Inn near the Cowley Road in Oxford hardly seems an auspicious place to start. I have been aware of how much our work is growing – shape, scale and spread. So, in the last few months we have been training people to be action learning facilitators in Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, London and Sydney. We have been working with corporate executives, first line managers, social entrepreneurs, independent consultants, theatre directors, writers and indigenous cultural leaders from Australia.
The common thread is action learning and a desire to develop together, share challenges and take action. We have trained people in action learning methodology because we believe they can use this powerful approach within their organisations or with their customers.
We are also spending many hours connecting with Africa, Russia, Australia, the USA and Europe through virtual action learning. We are learning to adapt our skills to ensure that it works just as effectively through Skype or teleconference as when we are all in the same room. Much lower carbon footprint too.
This blog will capture some of our learning, share our experiences as a group of associates, and begin a conversation about what is going on out there in the world of action learning and what difference it is making to individuals and organisations. With 15 plus Associates we are gathering a wealth of experience in different uses of action learning – whether it is for individual or organisational development, for social change or to improve corporate performance. We are becoming expert in the range of practitioner questions that arise when people learn new skills in action learning.
In the 14 years since I set up the company action learning has gone from being seen as a slightly left field whacky activity to now being accepted as a completely legitimate form of development for leaders. Many organisations now understand the need to connect learning to practical experience. The core activities of action learning – critical thinking, problem solving, group coaching – enable leaders to learn in a structured and safe environment.
The spirit of action learning has always been to share experience and so this blog gives us an opportunity to contribute and learn from others. Reg Revans invited us to swop our ignorance and not our cleverness so the blog may raise more questions than it answers but it will be written in the spirit of inquiry – why do we care so much about action learning? Why are we so passionate about its potential and why do we think action learning’s time has come?