Thursday, January 28, 2010

Can't you see the light in my eyes? (Todd Rundgren)

The presentations have continued from our teams at Regency Halls (see last post for details). Before I get into some more photos of the action here I am with an awesome bunch of Qatari leaders, aka The Honey Bees (formerly known as The Killer Bees) - left to right - Mohammed, Mohammed Rida, Kalfan giving the thumbs up, me in Beatle tie and Adel.

And so on to the action, beginning with Kalfan who led the presentation for the Bees

The Falcons in full flight with one our translaters - Refka from Tunisia - in the foreground.

Some of The Wolves are seen putting the finishing touches to their model of a solar powered e-caravan (or 'smart-bus') before Khalid did his presentation on behalf of his fellow Wolves (another of our translators - Reem from Iraq - is on the right, along with Dene's left ear and Karin's back).

Ka kite ano/ma'as-salaama for now - Wozza

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's all about chemistry (Semisonic)

I've found that certain types of people create a unique kind of cohesive bond when joined with like minded others. This is a rare phenomena in life. In sport it's also rare. I've supported Arsenal since 1970/71 and the amazing double winning team. I could tell at that early age that this was a snergistic team of talented individuals under a superb coach. Arsene Wenger's mighty unbeaten side of a few years ago are clearly another.

I've only experienced this a few times in my own life so far. The four examples that immediately spring to mind: the English department at King John School 2004-2006; the group who made up the 1999-2000 UNITEC post grad diploma class; The Te Kanawa House staff at Macleans College and the Eden Football Club seniors' team - both 1986-1989.

These are the special ones. That's it. Only four, and believe me - given the huge number of sports and teaching/leadership teams I've been a part of - there are plenty to choose from.

What makes them special? The unique chemistry comes from a peculiar, indefinable quality that creates both an (often) understated common purpose, and a unique combination of personalities who bloom in this new environment.

In the four groups I've highlighted there was a variety of oddly shaped pegs included, but all without exception were united by being in the group. It's a lot like John Lennon said of Mick Jagger's snippy comments on The Beatles. Basically it was a - don't knock us - you're not part of the family sort of message delivered in Lennon's best caustic manner.

I like to think that the whanau who read my Wozza's Place blog are a similar bunch of like minded souls. They hinge on me - I've defined a sixth group.

I think this is partly why social networking sites have become such a huge deal in such a short time - we're redefining our own networks and creating communities in our image and we're loving it.

That's all a long preamble to me introducing a seventh group - the Ministry of Education Principals' group that the Cognition team presents to (this includes presenters, translators, the Qatari leaders).

It's a fascinating bunch of people. They/we are united, yet there are clear differences within the ranks. For one we (the four presenters) are distinct as a group and as individuals. I was going to write that we (the four) are native English speakers - but even that's not true with Karin's Afrikaans background. A second sub set of the we (presenters) is the interpreters (Refka, Hani, and now Reem). They come from all over - Tunisia, Syria and Iraq and are all as vastly different as the presenters are.

Then we have the Principals and Deputy principals - on the surface a disparate bunch but once accepted by the group you are 'in' and woe betide any 'outsider' who tries to alter the equilibrium. I must say I'm feeling very at home and accepted now in the group. It did take a while but after a few presentations a change seemed to take place and a different feeling of belonging entered the relationship.

One of the activities I've been involved in has had a lasting affect on the organisational culture of the whole group. I asked them to give their table groups a name. The nine teams re-branded themselves and have since developed deep affiliations with the name. A very interesting phenomena in itself. For the record they are (men's groups first): Happy Faces; Wolves; Tigers; Falcons; Stars; Killer Bees; (then women's) Candles; Development Team; and The Queens.

This week Karin and I have presented the group with a challenging activity where each of the teams has to present their ideas on an environmentally friendly project for a school. Here are some photos of the teams at work (by the way - I checked carefully with each person that they were happy for me to share these photos with Cognition and my blog). First up are Stars with their model of an eco-friendly playground.

Spokesman for the Stars in the presentation was Mr Ghanam

Spokesman for the Happy Faces was Mr Mohammed

Here are the Stars putting finishing touches to their work.

The Tigers group made an impromptu table sculpture.

This is The Happy Faces team with their model of an eco-friendly rooftop garden

The Wolves at work on their solar powered structure.

The Stars presenting their ideas to my co-presenter Karin Weise

The Falcons at work, predicting victory.

The Killer Bees table in discussion during a planning session.

More photos will be added after the remaining teams make their presentations.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dilemmas and decisions اتخاذ القرارات

طلب مني بعض المدراء في دولة قطر أن أقوم بمساعدتهم في إيجاد الحلول لبعض المشاكل والعوائق التربوية والتعليمية التي تواجههم في مجال العمل. تبين لي أن أفضل طريقة للوصول إلى هذه الحلول هي عن طريق اتباع نموذج فرووم لاتخاذ القرارات
قد يبدو هذا النموذج صعباً ولكن فور أن يبدأ الشخص باستخدام النموذج يصبح استخدامه سهلاً - انظر اسفل الصفحة
من خلال الإجابة على كل سؤال أو بند تتمكن من الانتقال إلى مرحلة إلى أخرى حتى تصل إلى النتيجة المناسبة في اتخاذ القرار
1.الجودة/ نوعية الحلول المراد إيجادها؟
2.المعلومات/ هل لدي معلومات كافية تمكنني من اتخاذ القرارات الصحيحة ؟ – درجة اطّلاع القائد وفهمه للمشكلة القائمة نظرياً وعملياً
3.حيثيات المشكلة/هل المشكلة محددة بشكل جيد وهل لديها حلول؟
4.القبول /هل تقبُّل القرار من أعضاء الفريق مهم وحاسم لضمان حسن التطبيق ؟
5.أولويات القبول /إذا كان من الضروري اتخاذ القرار بطريـقـة فـرديـة - بـنفـسـك- هل أنت متأكد من تقبل أعضاء الفريق له
6.مشاركة الأهداف/ هل يعمل أعضاء الفريق وفقاً للأهداف التي أسعى إلى تحقيقها
7.النزاع/ هل ستكون هناك خلافات بين أعضاء الفريق في عملية اتخاذ القرار

مفتاح الرسم البياني
1A الأسلوب الدكتاتوري/ الاستبدادي- تتخذ القرار بنفسك وحسب معلوماتك الخاصة
2A الأسلوب الدكتاتوري/ الاستبدادي- تتخذ القرار بنفسك بعد جمع المعلومات اللازمة من أعضاء الفريق. ولا تسمح لأعضاء الفريق بتحديد البدائل أو القرارات النهائية
1C الأسلوب الاستشاري: تقوم بشرح الموقف لأفراد المجموعة وإطلاعهم على حيثياته ولكن لا تطلب منهم أن يجتمعوا لاتخاذ القرار بل تصدر قرارك بنفسك
2C الأسلوب الاستشاري: تقوم بشرح الموقف وتتيح المجال للنقاش الجماعي وتجمع الأفكار والاقتراحات وتحدد بنفسك أيها أفضل ويعود القرار الأخير إليك
2G الأسلوب الجماعي : جميع أعضاء المجموعة يشاركون في اتخاذ القرار. يتمثل دورك في شرح الموقف وتتيح المجال لأعضاء المجموعة لتحديد البدائل والاتفاق على القرار. في هذه الحالة أنت الموجه والمرشد وتسعى إلى إتاحة الفرصة لأعضاء الفريق لإصدار القرار النهائي بشكل جماعي.
قم بتطبيق نموذج فرووم على الموقف التالي/
أنت مدير لمدرسة ( ورن بيردي كولج). مع قرب نهاية الفصل الدراسي الأول وجدت أن نظام المناوبة بحاجة إلى تعديل وأن الجدول المتبع غير فعال. ردود أفعال الموظفين تجاه الجدول القديم كانت متضاربة فبعضهم يقول أن جدول المناوبة يتعارض مع برنامج التربية البدنية الخاص بهم وآخرون يتعذر عليهم التواجد خلال المناوبة المبكرة بسبب التزامات عائلية. اثنان من الموظفين طرحوا نقطة أن مهمة المناوبة لا تعتبر ضمن متطلبات المهنة وأنت لا تريد أن يؤثر هذا الكلام على باقي الموظفين. هذا بالاضافة إلى التغييرات المتكررة التي تحصل على الجدول وعدم تذكر الشخص لجدول المناوبة الخاص به. لا توجد هناك سياسة معتمدة لنظام المناوبة ولكن وفقاً للإجراءات المتبعة قديماً فإنه يتم تعيين معلمان للمناوبة خلال فترة الفرصة ومعلمان إضافيين للمناوبة عند مدخل المدرسة خلال بدء الدوام المدرسي وانتهائه
هناك مصادر أخرى متوفرة على الإنترنت يمكن الاستعانة بها في اتخاذ القرار
And now - in English:
Some of the Principals I work with in Qatar asked for some help with problem solving and finding some practical solutions for their educational conundrums. I immediately thought of Vroom's decision flow chart. At first glance it looks a tad complicated but if you work through a problem (which I'll add below) you'll see how easy the process is.

For each of the questions/criteria, your answer will take you through the decision tree to an appropriate outcome.

1 QUALITY (Is there a need to try to find the best solution when possible? i.e. this is a case where it would not be acceptable having lots of equal alternatives)
2. INFORMATION (Do I know enough to make a good decision?)
3. STRUCTURE (Is the problem clearly defined, organized and has recognized

4. ACCEPTANCE (Do the members of the team have to accept this decision for it to work?)
5. ACCEPTANCE PRIORITY (If I make this decision am I sure the team will accept it?)
6. GOAL SHARING (Are the team members aligned with the same goals that I am trying to achieve?)
7. CONFLICT (Is disagreement likely among team members in reaching a decision?)

What the codes mean:

(Al) Autocratic l - as the decision maker, I use the information available to make the decision myself.
(A2) Autocratic ll - I request information from members of the team. They may or may not know why I want such information. The team neither define the situation, alternatives or final choice.
(Cl) Consultative l - I explain the situation to the individual members of the team but they do not get together as a group. I make the final decision.
(C2) Consultative ll - There is group discussion where I explain the situation and gather ideas and suggestions. Again, I'm responsible for the final decision making.
(G2) Group ll - The group as a whole make the decision. I as the leader present the situation and the group defines alternatives and reaches a consensus decision. The leader acts more as a facilitator in this process and allows the group to agree on the final choice.

So here's a problem to work through to test out the Vroom method:

You are the Principal of Warren Purdy College. It is near the end of the first semester (term 1) and you are aware that the system of playground duty supervision is in need of review. The previous schedule does not appear to be working well. Staff reactions vary. Some staff grumble that the duty interferes with their sports' programs, others complain that family obligations make it difficult for them to do duty before school. One or two staff openly declare that duty should not be part of their professional responsibilities and you are concerned that many other teachers feel the same way. You are also concerned at the frequency with which staff find it necessary to ask a colleague to fill in for them and how many times staff forget to do their duty. The school duty policy is unwritten but traditionally a requirement has been that two teachers should be on duty during all school breaks and that two teachers should supervise the entrance and crossings for the half hour before and after school.

There is another on-line decision making tool that is interesting to use if you don't like the Vroom model -

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Where the flame turns blue.

I've been enjoying Malcolm Gladwell's work recently. You may remember I had his spaghetti sauce TED talk on the blog a while ago. Since then I've read both Blink and Outliers (Blink is the better of the two for me - the equal of The Tipping Point). His blog is a recent addition to those I follow. He's such a good writer and provides loads to reflect on in a very easy conversational style. If anything the blog shades the books via it's even more relaxed and playful style.

I also added Robert Pirsig's website to the places to visit list. I've written about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance extensively on my other blog and it was a real treat to find the website with a lengthy Observer interview on it. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gonna make a difference, gonna make it right (MJ)/سأحدث التغيير وسأحدثه بالطريقة الصحيحة

This post supports my leadership session on leading change.
تدعم هذه الصفحة ورشة العمل التي سأقدمها حول إدارة التغيير

Michael Jackson's song makes a lot of pertinent points about change.
تعتبر هذه الأغنية لمايكل جاكسون ذات صلة كبيرة بعملية إحداث التغيير
Change, real change, starts from within, with an acknowledgement of a need to change.
إن التغيير والتغيير الحقيقي يحدث من الداخل شريطة أن يؤمن الشخص بحاجته المُلحّة لهذا التغيير
This inward gaze involves an existential element (Who am I, to be blind? Pretending not to see). From this comes a realisation that we live selfish lives (I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love).
عندما ننظر نظرة معمقة في داخلنا نجد أنفسنا في بعض الأحيان نتصرف وكأننا لا نرى ولا ندرك حقيقة وأهمية التغيير وهذا يعني أنك تتصرف بأنانية مع نفسك ومع الآخرين لأنك حرمت نفسك والآخرين من منافع التغيير

There is a connectivity at work in change - otherwise there is stasis (A summer's disregard, a broken bottle top and one man's soul - they follow each other on the wind ya' know 'cause they got nowhere to go). This will make the world a better place.
وإذا ربطنا عامل التغيير بعملنا نجد أننا إذا لم نحدث التغيير فإن العمل سيكون راكداً. فإذا تجاهلت أهمية التغيير فإنك بذلك تكون - وكأنك تتجاهل الصيف وجماله وتتجاهل كل ما حولك وتتجاهل الغذاء الروحي وهذا يؤدي إلى شعورنا بالضياع
This epiphany leads to a clear vision for the future (And no message could have been any clearer if you wanna make the world a better place).
أما بالنسبة للمستقبل فإنه -لا توجد رؤية أوضح من تلك الرؤية التي تسعى إلى جعل العالم عالماً أفضل

In summary, Michael Jackson tells us to, "Take A Look At Yourself And Then Make A Change!"
في الختام تؤكد الكلمات التي يغنيها مايكل جاكسون على التالي: انظر لنفسك ومكنوناتها وقم بإحداث التغيير

These talks by David Logan and Seth Godin on TED Talks (conveniently translated into Arabic) have some interesting things to say about the change process and link to these ideas from the Michael Jackson song.

تجدون في المواقع التالية بعض المعلومات المثيرة للاهتمام حول عمليات التغيير وحول الكلمات التي يؤكد عليها مايكل جاكسون في أغنيته. هذه الصفحات مترجمة إلى اللغة العربية