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Social Networks – a Short Early History

Émile Durkheim

Emile_Durkheim[2] Émile Durkheim has to rank among the great names of social science and is, perhaps, the founding thinker in our modern ideas about social networks.  He first distinguished between ‘traditional’ societies where individuals bow to pressures to subsume their individuality into a homogeneous whole; and more ‘modern’ societies where we seek to harness the diversity of people, by co-operation.  Social phenomena, he argued, are the result of these interactions.

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Ferdinand Tönnies

525px-Ferdinand_Toennies_Bueste_Husum-Ausschnitt[1]His contemporary, Ferdinand Tönnies, distinguished between ‘community’ and ‘society’. Communities share values and beliefs, whilst a society is tied together by formal links such as obligations, management and trade.

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Georg Simmel

Simmel_01[1] A third contemporary, Georg Simmel, first looked at the social distance between people and how this can affect our sense of individuality if we get too close to another person, or our sense of connection if we are too far.

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Jacob Moreno

Jacob_Moreno[1] It was Romanian-born American psychiatrist Jacob Moreno who gave us the tool that I want to focus on: the sociogram.  He looked at how interactions occur in small groups, such as classrooms and workplaces.  Sociograms are still widely used as a way of charting and understanding the relationships among groups of young people.  Some of the earliest graphical depictions of social networks appear in his 1934 book Who Shall Survive?

Jump Sixty Years

Network Nowadays, we are all very familiar with the way the internet is widely connected and the concept of ‘small world’ networks is widely bandied about.

However, these diagrams derive from Moreno’s sociograms, which remain a powerful tool for charting workplace networks.

Stakeholder Analysis

Sociogram As a project manager, I have used sociograms to chart the relationships between stakeholders within and outside organisations, to better understand how I can anticipate and handle resistance to change, and how to harness and reinforce the support that I have.

Anticipating Conflict

9781903776063Max Eggert and Wendy Falzon recommend using sociograms to anticipate conflict between co-workers.

In their Resolving Conflict Pocketbook, they give the example of a workgroup of five colleagues.  They show how, by drawing a simple sociogram, you could anticipate which potential sub-teams could lead to conflict.

Other Management Pocketbooks you might enjoy

The Handling Resistance Pocketbook

The Working Relationships Pocketbook

The Discipline and Grievance Pocketbook

The Influencing Pocketbook

The Networking Pocketbook

The Handling Complaints Pocketbook

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An Infinite Number of Coaching Acronyms

Coaching seems to be one of those disciplines that everyone likes to invent their own process.

I’m not sure if it’s because I like systems, or I like to collect, or I’m just a coaching ‘geek’, but I have been collecting coaching process acronyms ever since I did my first coaching training with Sir John Whitmore in the late 1990s.  So here’s a survey of some of my favourites:

One of the first, one of the simplest and one of the best: GROW

Developed by Graham Alexander, Alan Fine and John Whitmore, GROW is fully described in ‘Coaching for Performance’ by Sir John Whitmore.

Goal
Reality
Objectives
Will – Way forward

CoachingSession

ACHIEVE

Dr Sabine Dembkowski and Fiona Eldridge developed the ACHIEVE Model to make the details of the steps more explicit.  It is one of many, many variants on GROW.

Assess the current situation
Creative Brainstorming of alternatives
Honing goals
Initiating Options
Evaluating Options
Valid action plan design
Encouraging momentum

OSKAR – a Solution Focus Approach

In their book, ‘The Solutions Focus: Making Coaching and Change SIMPLE’, Paul Z Jackson and Mark McKergow introduce the OSKAR Model, which introduces the importance of getting a perspective on the scale of the problem to GROW and its many variants:

Outcome
Scaling
Know How
Application
Review

Don’t confuse this with Worth Consulting’s OSCAR model

Outcome
Situation
Choices and Consequences
Actions
Review

Many, Many More

Here are some more I have inventoried – you may like to look some up on your favourite search engine: WHAM, OUTCOMES, PIDREF, STEPPA, FLOWS, CLEAR, ACHIEVE, ARROW, ACE.  I don’t have the space to spell them all out for you, but if you get really stuck, do feel free to ask in the comments.

Two more – called COACH

Coincidentally, our very own Pocketbooks have two more models to offer you, that are both called COACH.

The Coaching Pocketbook, in the Management Pocketbooks series offers:

9781903776193C – competency – assessing current level of performance
O – outcomes – setting outcomes for learning
A – action – agreeing tactics and initiate action
Ch – checking – giving feedback and making sense of what’s been learnt

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And my own current favourite (if it isn’t a little disloyal to the Pocketblog) comes from the Teachers’ Pocketbook series, and The Coaching & Reflecting Pocketbook:

9781903776711 Clarify the Issue

Open up Resources

Agree the preferred future

Create the Journey

Head for success

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Add your own …

If you have a favourite coaching model or process, please do add it, using the comments section below.

So here’s the deal

No one process is better than the others, so you pays your money (or you get the basics free, online) and you makes your choice.

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The Awesome Power of Mentoring

Mentoring is everywhere!

Mentoring helps people to:

  • Develop knowledge and solve problems
  • Develop leadership
  • Be creative and innovative
  • Make better decisions
  • Develop confidence, commitment, motivation and morale

Mentoring in History

The first mentor was the Athena, goddess of wisdom, in Ancient Greece.

Athena took the form of Mentor, the trusted friend and adviser to Odysseus, King of Ithaca. When Odysseus left for war with the Trojans, Mentor helped his son, Telemachus to learn how to become a king.

Image of Athena by hslo

Fénélon (1651-1715), Archbishop and later tutor to Louis XIV’s son, wrote Les Aventures de Télémaque. This took the mentoring theme of Homer’s Odyssey and turned it into a case study of leadership development. Fénélon said that leadership could be developed but Louis XIV didn’t like that very much and banished him to Cambrai and cancelled his pension. Typical behaviour of elitist egotists!

Louis Antonine de Caraccioli (1723-1803) wrote Veritable le Mentor ou l’education de la noblesse. He says that his influence was Fénélon. Caraccioli invites mentors to work with the mind as well as the heart of mentees.

Honoria wrote two books called The Female Mentor 1793 with a third volume in 1796. The mentor, Amanda, knew about Fénélon and his approach to education and life.

And nowadays?

Nowadays, mentoring is talked about as a learning relationship between two people. It needs active commitment and engagement to be effective. Mentoring also involves skills including listening, questioning, challenge and support. All relationships have a time scale and mentoring maybe life long relationship or just a few months.

Why is mentoring awesome?

Mentoring is a powerful approach to learning and development because, nine times out of ten, it works! People learn and develop, make changes to their lives and feel good about it. Mentoring links to loads of theories on learning and it is mainly based on the idea that it’s good to talk with a purpose!

What makes it work?

Top ten tips for mentors

  1. Keep in touch
  2. Always be honest
  3. Don’t judge listen instead, you might learn something!
  4. Don’t give advice – no-one takes advice unless they want to!
  5. Don’t expect to have all the answers
  6. Help your mentee get resources and further support
  7. Be clear about expectations and boundaries
  8. Stand back from the issues your mentee raises but work together on them.
  9. Respect confidentiality
  10. If the relationship falters – hang on in there!

Top ten tips for mentees

  1. Accept challenge willingly.
  2. Share with your mentor how you feel about the way the relationship is working
  3. Be positive about yourself
  4. Do something!
  5. Trust in your mentor
  6. Talk openly
  7. Take a few risks
  8. Think about other ways to develop yourself outside of your mentoring relationship
  9. Don’t expect too much of your mentor.
  10. Talk about the end of your relationship when the time comes.

Management Pocketbooks you might enjoy

The author of this guest blog, Bob Garvey, is co-author of the Mentoring Pocketbook, which has recently been re-issued in its third edition.  Check-out the fantastic new cover!

The Mentoring Pocketbook

You might also like:

And, from our sister series, the Teachers’ Pocketbooks:

They have blog too, by the way, at:  teacherspocketbooks.wordpress.com

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Heron and Helping

JH2[1]

John Heron has been one of the most active and insightful leaders in the world of helping and counselling, yet relatively few coaches and mentors have heard of him.

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‘I don’t know how to Handle my Boss’s Hostility toward me’

This is a typical problem that you may hear from a colleague or client and, if you want to help, there are a number of ways that you could do so.

“What you should do is …”

“Let’s look at some of the things you could do …”

“What behaviours seem hostile to you?”

“How do you feel about this?”

“What’s going on when your boss seems hostile?”

“No-one should feel hostility from their boss …”

These are six examples of a response you could give and, working originally with the medical profession, John Heron identified six categories of intervention in 1974, which are equally helpful to teachers, managers, advisers, counsellors, and consultants.

They help us to understand the relationships between counselling and coaching, or between coaching and mentoring.

Six Category Intervention Analysis

John Heron’s model of six different ways we can intervene to help first divides interventions into Authoritative and Facilitative Interventions.  These each have three styles of intervention within them.

Authoritative Interventions

These interventions are clearly led by the helper, who takes on some of the responsibility for the client.  Here, the helper will guide, raise awareness, and even give instruction or hold the client to account.

  1. Prescriptive
    Giving advice and direction to the client
  2. Informative
    Focusing on giving information the client information and ideas that will help them generate solutions
  3. Confronting
    Focusing on the problem and challenging the client in a supportive way

Facilitative Interventions

These interventions are ‘client-centred’ in the sense that the client must take complete responsibility for themselves and the direction of their support.

  1. Cathartic
    Focused on helping the client to gain insights into their emotional response by expressing their emotions
  2. Catalytic
    Helping the client to learn and solve problems for themself, drawing upon the client’s own resources
  3. Supportive
    Focused on the emotional and confidence needs of the client, by encouraging them and affirming their worth
The ancient Sumerian god Ningishzida, the patr...
Image via Wikipedia
The depiction of the Sumerian serpent god Ningizzida, the patron of medicine, dating from before 2000 BCE, gives us our modern Caduceus symbol for the healing arts and sciences.The god itself is the two (copulating) snakes entwined around an axial rod. It is accompanied by two gryphons.

Misleading Labels

The labels ‘authoritative’ and ‘facilitative’ are, perhaps, misleading.  Each of the six categories of intervention could be led in an authoritative ‘I will take control’ manner, or a facilitative ‘you tell me where to explore next’ manner. Indeed, in his later work, in ‘The Complete Facilitator’s Handbook’, Heron identified three modes of facilitation, which he called:

  1. Hierarchical
    Facilitator directs the process
  2. Co-operative
    Facilitator and client or group share responsibility for the process, the facilitator offering ideas and listening to suggestions to achieve a consensus
  3. Autonomous
    Client or group dictates the process

So here’s the deal

Why do we spend so much time worrying over precise definitions of coaching, mentoring, counselling, advising, consulting and the myriad of supportive help we offer one-another.  John Heron showed us at least three times six = eighteen different ways to help each other and there are doubtless many more.

Coming in future blogs will be insights into resolving conflict, coaching, and, later this week, mentoring.

Management Pocketbooks on these topics

And, in the Teachers’ Pocketbooks series:

And look out for The Cognitive Behavioural Coaching Pocketbook later this year.

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Mending a Relationship Breakdown

Man Getting Pie in the FaceConflict at work, whether between colleagues or with customers or suppliers, can sometimes end in a breakdown of the relationship.  You have two options:

1.  You can walk away
It’s safe, it’s easy, it’s a waste

2.  You can try to fix it
It’s hard, it has the possibility of failure, it can turn disaster into triumph

Your Choice

Which course you take towards managing the end stage of conflict is up to you.  Few would blame you if you were to walk away, but if you choose to try again, consider this: if the relationship has truly broken down, then you have little to lose, so everything to gain.

If you choose to try again, the Management Pocketblog offers you  process that you can follow.  The stronger the prior relationship, the better it can work.

Three Phases to Mending a Breakdown

Phase 1: Reality

If you decide to try to mend the relationship, the first phase is to understand what has happened.  To do this, there are three steps:

  1. Listen to each other
    When you decide to mend the breakdown, take it upon yourself to listen to the other person.
  2. Clarify the facts
    How do each of you perceive the situation, and what would each of you most like to achieve?
  3. Declare a breakdown
    You must end this phase by recognising that a breakdown has occurred and that, whether there is fault or not, both parties have participated and, therefore, both of you must engage if you want to mend it.

Phase 2: Commitment

Building commitment needs an openness to the situation, and a positive statement of intent from both parties.  Respect each other’s perceptions, and try to establish how the objective facts compare to these.  Then offer your commitment to whatever you are prepared to do, to mend the relationship.  When you have done that, ask what commitment the other person is prepared to make.

If your respective commitments complement each other, you have the basis for mending the relationship.

Phase 3: Progress

Now you are ready to make some progress.  Typically, there are three things to put in place:

  1. What’s missing?
    Work together to identify what information, processes, data, options, or solutions are missing, which you will need to mend the relationship fully.
  2. Plans
    Now make your plans for who will do what and when.  Re-iterate promises to honour your respective allocated roles.
  3. Review
    Follow-up with open and honest reviews of progress.  Be generous in recognising what positive steps the other person has taken towards your goal.

So here’s the deal

Mending a broken relationship is not always possible.  There must be a pre-existing strength to the relationship, and both parties must be eager to re-build.  But if these foundations are in place, then it can be done.  It may not be easy, but the results can be well worth the effort.

Management Pocketbooks you may enjoy

The Resolving Conflict Pocketbook has a range of valuable resources to help you understand and resolve conflict.  It also has interesting sections on bullying and harassment, and team conflict.

And if this is not enough for you, there is more than a pocketful of extra help from other Management Pocketbooks:.

For managers,

and, for trainers,

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Is This Relationship Going To Work?

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that we wouldn’t necessarily have chosen, working with people who aren’t our natural soul-mates. Whether the relationship is Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, or two colleagues sharing an office, conflict is probably going to arise at some point in the relationship.

Messrs Clegg and Cameron are both assertive and persuasive individuals who are used to winning the argument. But if they are going to work successfully together they will need to use a range of styles to manage potential conflict between themselves and their party members.

Five Approaches to Managing Conflict

Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann describe five approaches we can take to handling any particular conflict:

Compete – we aim to win.

Accommodate – our priority is to keep the other person happy.

Compromise – we do a deal. It’s not perfect but we can both live with it. At least in the short term.

Avoid – we take the view that it’s better not to open the can of worms, so we don’t address the issue.

Collaborate – we look for a solution that fully meets our needs, and also satisfies other person. A true ‘win/win’.

Which One To Use?

Looking at these five styles, you would think that the ‘right’ approach to conflict would always be to collaborate. However, there are a couple of problems with collaboration:

  1. It can take a long time – you have to sit down, explore the other person’s position, analyse the underlying needs and concerns then try to thrash out a resolution. It’s great when you have the time (and the energy) to do this. But sometimes there’s a deadline. Sometimes the markets are showing signs of impatience.
  2. It isn’t always possible. For example, when you and your colleague have fundamentally opposing views or values.

The trick is actually knowing which type of approach is most appropriate in any situation, and consciously adapting your natural preference for one of the five styles.

T-KStyles

So here’s the deal

One of the secrets of handling conflict successfully, whether it’s in a shared office or the House of Commons, is choosing the right strategy.

Management Pocketbooks you may enjoy

TacklingDiffConvsFor more on handling conflict, and coping with difficult conversations generally, take a look at Peter English’s new Pocketbook, The Tackling Difficult Conversations Pocketbook.

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Other Pocketbooks you might like include:

You may also be interested to know …

The Thomas-Kilmann model is also available as a self-scoring psychometric instrument. For global sales, check out the CPP website, or for UK sales, check out OPP’s website.

Author: Peter English

This article was written by Peter English, author of:

The Tackling Difficult Conversations Pocketbook and

The Succeeding at Interviews Pocketbook.

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What can Pocketbooks Teach our Politicians?

Thursday is polling day in the UK and on Friday, we’ll get a new Government. It may be a new version of the same one, a combination of the same and something different or some flavour of different perspectives.

Whatever happens, the world won’t change overnight – even for those of us in the UK.  I say this because one of my earliest memories is the terror my parents expressed at the implications of a change of Government when I was a small child.  Yet the next day, everything seemed just the same to me.

What’s new this time?

The big change in this election is the increase in focus on party leaders at the expense of a forensic analysis of their parties and of their parties’ policies.  Like it or loathe it, this change is probably with us to stay.

So we’ve been trawling through our collection of Pocketbooks, looking for wisdom and advice for the party leaders who will compete in the UK’s next General Election (which will be any time between summer 2010 and spring 2015).

Advice for the Leaders from Management Pocketbooks

The Leadership Pocketbook tells us that leaders need:

  1. Enthusiasm – show genuine interest
  2. Energy – be lively
  3. Engagement – make it interesting

The Presentations Pocketbook tells us there are three ways to deflect an unwanted question:

  1. Ask the audience for their views
  2. Pass it to a colleague who is an expert
  3. Ask the questioner their opinion before answering

The Influencing Pocketbook tells us that people will say yes when your ideas meet their view of life in one of three areas:

  1. Principle and values
  2. Beliefs and opinions
  3. Needs and wants

And finally, if our politicians end up having to do deals in a balanced Parliament, The Resolving Conflict Pocketbook tells us three steps towards principled negotiation:

  1. Don’t take a position – it will only lead to an argument, so hear people out and look for a joint solution
  2. Separate the people from the problem – personal style is not the substance of the matter and attacks on it are fruitless
  3. Focus on interests – ‘what do you want to achieve?’, rather than ‘what are your ideological roots?’

… and we have to apologise to one leader for the failure of the Pocketblog to provide all the help he needed.  When, on 13 April, we advised:

  1. Beware clip-on radio microphones
    Turn them off when someone comes to the front at the break, to ask you a private question
  2. Beware clip-on radio microphones
    Turn them off before you head out of the room, walking right in front of a speaker
  3. Beware clip-on radio microphones
    Please turn them off before you take a comfort break

… we should perhaps have added:

….4.   Beware clip-on radio microphones
.…..….Always

So here’s the deal

The real test of how effectively you can communicate your message is: ‘would a small child understand it?’  Politicians have been busy simplifying their message.  You may admire or deprecate this trend.  We’ll see the outcome soon!

And …  Why not share your own favourite advice from one of the Management Pocketbooks in the comments space below.  Feel free to contribute, whether you are a reader or an author.  Finally, any takers for a new PPC – prospective pocketbook candidate? The Politician’s Pocketbook.  Now there’s an idea!

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Be West of the Rest

Telephone conference calls are a great way for a geographically dispersed project team to stay in touch.  The biggest problem is timing.  If you are working in Britain, with colleagues in California, what time should you make the call?

A quick look at a map of time-zones reveals the problem.  At noon British Time, it is 4am in California.  Let’s say you are planning a 90 minute call.  Typically, nobody likes getting up in the early hours, so you have to either move the call back to late evening or early morning in California.  Let’s try them out:

Option A: Start at 9pm California; 5am Britain

Option B: Start at 9am California; 5pm Britain

My guess is that both parties will prefer Option B.  The British won’t have to get up unrealistically early and the American’s won’t have to stay at work late.  But this does mean that, while the Californian’s are bright as a button, the British are tired, at the end of the working day, staying on to 6:30.

The Challenges of Virtual Team

This is one tiny example of the challenges facing virtual teams – teams that do not work together physically.  They are an increasing feature of the modern workplace.  Even if your business is not a global or multi-national company, you are not immune.

Many small businesses work in complex global networks contributing products and services to international supply chains.  Even many schools are now linking up across continents to enrich pupils’ learning opportunities.

VirtualTeamsIn his Virtual Teams Pocketbook, Ian Fleming is spot on when he identifies technology as a key enabler, and also crushes the assumption that virtual teams are all about technology. What Ian does do is give practical advice about using a range of technology tools to your advantage.

It is all about Communication

Technology is an enabler for the most important part of team working: communication.  Whether your team is spread around offices across the world, or a series of local organisations, your top priority is to find the best ways to allow team members to stay in touch informally and to exchange formal information reliably.

Swift trust

In his Pocketbook, Ian Fleming describes a great process, called Swift Trust.  The idea was developed by three authors called Meyerson, Weick and Kramer in 1996.  Their thesis is that trust can be built quickly by :

  1. Presuming each team member has earned their place
  2. Trusting other people’s expertise and knowledge
  3. Creating shared goals and a shared recognition/reward scheme
  4. Defining a clear role for each person to play
  5. Focusing on tasks and actions
  6. Taking responsibility and acting responsively

Yes Please

How many groups have you worked in where one or more of these characteristics is missing.  Deep trust comes from the one thing Swift Trust is designed to do without, personal relationships.  However, surely each of the six characteristics above is essential for any team.

So here’s the deal

Whether your team is virtual or sitting around the same table, day after day, tailor your communications to build trust.  Focus on the checklist above, and then look for ways to build personal relationships too.

Other management Pocketbooks you may enjoy

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