Meet the teamBy James Larter
It’s always good to know who you’re working with!
Over the next few weeks we’re planning to give you some behind the scenes background on the team at RoleplayUK and our sister company PRO.
Starting with – Phil Allen, Client Director at PRO
My first job after Uni was managing the world’s largest and oldest assessment centre – the Civil Service Selection Board – which was a great grounding to see the power of psychology in organisations.
I then went on to do 3 more years of selection and assessment, using lots of personality tools which, I found, starts to mess with your head after a while, as you gradually assess everybody! Hence the move into consulting with PA Consulting, where I spent 11 great years, in change management, communications, competency design, before moving more into leadership development, and finishing up leading the internal L&D team.
Over time I realised that I preferred being in-house to consulting, which prompted the move to Travis Perkins as the Head of Leadership Development.
TP was a great experience; a really down to earth culture and humble people who wanted to learn to be better leaders.
The moment for me came when I realised that there was something fundamentally missing from a lot of L&D design and delivery, and that was practice.
I’m a drummer and when I practice, I’m good; when I don’t practice, I can muddle through, but I’m not good.
I have also carried my drum kit into many a (quite dingy) practice room and those are the spaces where we get better, where your bandmates give you feedback.
But in the business world, we don’t have safe spaces to practice the conversations that are critical to be a successful manager and leader. We just give someone some models and theories in a workshop, training room, or e-learning and then say, “Now go and do that with your team”, or rather “Now go and fail live”.
So, when Felicity and Jim came to me talking about wanting to take the benefits of roleplaying online, we slammed our two ideas together and created Practice Room Online – a safe space for business people to practice, get feedback and improve.
For me it’s always performance.
This may be heretical in L&D circles, but I don’t really care if people learn something, or not. I care that they are able to perform better. We literally hold all the knowledge and information we need to do just about anything in our hands. L&D doesn’t need to provide people with more information, theories and models – stop recreating the internet on your intranet!
If I need to know something, I’ll Google it. This means that what we have thought of as ‘learning’ – ie knowing stuff and remembering stuff – is becoming much less useful.
What people now need is places to practice new skills and behaviours, using knowledge they are given or can find for themselves. They need feedback when they practice (my bandmates were brutal!). And they need the chance to try it again and see/feel the improvement.
That’s what changes performance!
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