Today I’m chatting with Bob Edwards. You know, you are pretty amazing. I know this based on one fact alone, and that is that you are listening because you are invested in your own development, your own growth. One of the biggest challenges to improvement that I observe in my work and general conversation with health and safety professionals is seemingly simple – taking action. We know what we might be able to do. We are often motivated. But action doesn’t follow. We are too busy, too distracted, too disjointed, or we simply don’t know why it is that we have great POTENTIAL which doesn’t turn into REALITY. I help people like you to take action to improve, to become more effective – I do this in a variety of ways like coaching, team facilitation and planning, and more. I am an action taker, and can help you to be too. If you want to improve your personal or team performance, I’d love to hear from you to see if we are a good fit and can make good stuff happen together – send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can start the conversation
Bob Edwards is best knows as the HOP Coach – HOP standing for Human and Organisational Performance. Whilst Bob’s spent a lot of time working in health and safety, I wouldn’t describe him as a health and safety professional. Like his title says, he spends his time helping individuals and organisations to perform – whatever that means in their own context. As a coach, he doesn’t have all the answers, but he has tried and tested methods to guide people towards improved performance. His best known method for this is probably learning teams, which we talk about during this chat.
Here’s Bob Edwards, the HOP Coach:
After we stopped recording, Bob and I kept chatting, and I just have to say what a generous person he is. Thanks to regular listener Kym who prodded me in Bob’s direction, and we’re all the better for it. So, I invite you, be like Kym! If you have a guest or topic idea you think will help our listener leaders grow, like you, let me know and I’ll see what I can do! I’d love to hear your suggestions, send an email to me email@example.com.
Learning teams became a major focus of this chat, so whilst there was a bucketload of value, I’m focussing my takeaways on learning teams, because that’s one the actions I want you to get started on. So here’s my three takeaways from Bob Edwards on learning teams:
Takeaway #1: Learning that leads to performance, that’s the focus! You can tell I’m excited by that, because it aligns very much with the philosophy we adopt here at Safety on Tap and is a core design element behind Safety on Tap Connected. So to do a learning team well, you need an open mind and open questions, aimed first at understanding. It is only when that is the beginning that truly amazing solutions will emerge from the team. When we stop assuming someone has a quick or easy solution or answer, the real learning can begin.
Takeaway #2: Part of that open mind, is leaving existing assumptions and default thinking at the door. This is where HOP and some of the emerging safety philosophies come together – they combine to help challenge defaults, like trying to plan and control everything, that complex things can be simplified or that preventing failure is the focus of health and safety. Bob mentioned normalising human error, accepting messiness, forgetting about blame, listening to the experts who do the work, allowing people the freedom to create – these are all things you need to be intentional, conscious, and explicit about. If you want to embark on learning teams, get the conversation started on these things first, to lay the groundwork, or as we discussed prepare the ground to be fertile and ready for learning.
Takeaway #3: The learning team process embeds action within it. Learn, act, see what happens, feed it back into the learning. You systems people out there might compare this to the Plan, Do Check, Act cycle, PDCA, which is a loose cousin. Please don’t bastardise this saying it’s the same, because what PDCA implicitly misses is the learning orientation. If you swapped Plan for Learn, I’d be ok with that. LDCA. Whatever your frame of reference, action is the driving force behind performance improvement here. Bob mentioned swift action, quick, simple, low cost. Trystorming. This echoes the rapid prototyping Dave Wild and I discussed on episode 66, and if you are a Steven Covey fan it has a ‘two creation’s’ kind of basis to it as well, one mental or theoretical creation, the next is in real life – taking action. This is where so many of us, and organisations fall down, Far too much planning and ideas, and not enough action. That’s why I have designed my work helping people like you, to be centred on taking action.
A great place to DIY your approach to learning teams, also known as action learning, is by checking out the great resources at Bob Dick’s Action Research Action Learning online (aral.com.au)
If you want to talk about learning teams for your organisation, and are based in Australia or NZ, get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org , otherwise if you are in North America give Bob a email@example.com . Don’t forget to download my handwritten reflection for this episode, an episode specific reflection template for you to use, and a full transcript of the episode, are all ready for you in the box below.
Thanks so much for listening, I really appreciate you being part of the learning journey. Until next time, what’s the one thing you’ll do to take positive, effective or rewarding action, to grow yourself, and drastically improve health and safety along the way. Seeya!