Using Schutz for group training

All you need to do to create a group is get some individual people and shove them together.

That’s it.

There is no additional ingredient required, no further information, just a bunch of individual people … and yet when that group forms, it is quite different from the sum of the individual parts.

The individuals within the group are different animals than when they’re on their own, they have different needs and will tend to try to satisfy those needs in different ways.

William Schutz came up with the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO) theory (way back in 1958) to look at this very question.

Seeing as most training is done in groups, I wanted to see how this applies to training and what specific concrete tools we can use to help with the group-identification needs of training delegates.

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The Boris Johnson guide to workplace motivation

I have to say these comments reveal a fairly unpleasant, careless elitism that somehow suggests we should give up on a whole swath of fellow citizens

That was UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who went on to say:

To talk about us as if we are a sort of breed of dogs, a species I think he calls it …

We are a species Nick, and a breed of dogs isn’t a species … I’m not clear on what the danger of using this sort of language is …

the danger is …

… go on …

…if you start taking such a deterministic view of people because they have got a number attached to them, in this case an IQ number, they are not going to rise to the top of the cornflake packet

He was talking about Boris Johnson’s speech at the Centre for Policy Studies last week (see here for the full text in the Telegraph).

Boris Johnson

I think most people would agree that a Huxley-esque world where everyone in our species knows their place, and no-one can fight for a better position in the Cornflake packet, is a bad thing … but what made me consider this appropriate fodder for this blog was Boris’s decision to trumpet the glories of envy and greed as good workplace motivators.

… some measure of inequality is essential for the spirit of envy and keeping up with the Joneses that is, like greed, a valuable spur to economic activity

As David Lammy (Labour’s most likely candidate for London Mayor) said:

It’s extraordinary for a mayor … to think it’s all right to glorify greed – a greed that has brought a banking collapse and caused misery and hardship to many …

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The (overdue) death of the (unreformed) alpha

Overly masculine leadership styles are under siege like never before these days. Yesterday’s hard driving, high achiever with a sense of urgency and a ruthless streak has just two options – change or take cover.

(Mitch McCrimmon in How to Tame the Alpha Male Leader)

OK, I may not be the best barometer on this one, but I reckon there are few things more annoying in the workplace than other people trying to dominate and control.

It drives me nuts.

I don’t like being told what to do at the best of times, but least of all by an egomaniac enthralled with the cult of their own personality.

I am talking about the workplace alpha: an individual who needs to dominate and control other people at work.

Angry Man

That’s my definition, not the official one.

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HS2: OK, but only if it’s not about the north-south divide

I want to write this post to make clear my views on HS2.

Recent ventures into Twitter using #HS2 have left me feeling misunderstood.

My views are nuanced, and trying to argue nuance on Twitter is like trying to insert responsible journalism into The Daily Mail: square pegs / round holes.

HS2: a funnel into London

HS2: a funnel into London

In principle I like the idea of having a network of dead fast trains that link up the UK’s main city regions and key infrastructure hubs.

But the debate has become political. It’s not a factual discussion about trains and regional development any more, it’s white-hot with emotion and laden with hyperbole. The more I read, the more I feel manipulated rather than informed.

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We invent words because we need them, get over it

It was a slow news day at The Guardian yesterday.

Illustrative example #1: They led with two (2!) stories on the Great British Bakeoff (here and here).

Illustrative example #2: They had a fake photo-story on the life of young Prince George (here).

I felt physical pain as I scanned that dreadful Prince George piece.

I can find better content clogging up my Facebook feed or by randomly trawling through Tumblr.

Heads up Guardian: I expect much higher quality than this nonsense.

Then there was this: An A-Z of modern office jargon.

Oh no, though I, surely they’re not going to do one of those dreadfully predictable pieces on how we’re all running stuff up flagpoles to drill down on the key issue before close of play?

Surely, even in these tough times, The Guardian still pays an Editor to stick this sort of no-brainer crap onto the back burner?

It seems not.

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