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Whilst I am almost certainly exaggerating the point for dramatic effect, I do think that the influence a facilitator (good or bad) can have on the success of an action learning set is very considerable. I note that Rocket Consultancy are running an Executive Action Learning event for a maximum of 16 CEOs and other senior strategic leaders on 6th March in Oxford. Mike Pedler is one of the group facilitating the event. I can’t think of a better or more knowledgeable facilitator than Mike; he’s been the leading light in the research and application of action learning and management development for over 20 years. Worth checking out if you are considering AL as a tool for your top team. Mike Pedler is author of Action Learning for Managers and editor of The ABC of Action Learning and Action Learning in Practice.


Bob Says “I chat with Eric regarding this amazing business resource book. Eric helped organize and heard an assortment of business specialists that have done him proud. Not only is this book easy to read the ‘Solutions’ that business owners and managers will need on a daily bases are easy to find. This book is destined to become a key resource for business people who take their jobs seriously.”  Listen to the interview here.

And the CMI agrees with him ‘Solutions’ has been shortlisted for a CMI Management Book of the Year Award (in the ‘New Managers’ section) the shortlisted and winning books are all considered ‘Management Gold’ by CMI. Winner to be announced in January 2013.


Philip Weiss’ presentation at a recent event in Brussels picks up a theme that has been around for a number of years but, one that I still think organizations have difficulty accommodating; even thought it is pretty much basic common sense. Innovation involves trial and error and innovation in the context of accelerating speeds of change involves plenty of opportunities for geting it wrong. Every organization needs to work out the dimensions of their own particular tightrope: play it too safe and you’re soon out of the game; overcomplicate the whole process or fail to learn from your failures and it’s also ‘game over’. Philip is author of the forthcoming book Hyperthinking: Creating a New Mindset for the Age of Networks.

Communicating complex information, possibly to various different audiences, can be a challenge for the best of us. In the first of four articles for the website Communique, John Clare offers some very helpful advice. Well worth checking out.

John is author of Gower Publishing’s Communicating Clearly About Science and Medicine.


The 11th – 14th October 2012 sees the 20th year of The World Open Space on Open Space (WOSonOS) coming to Stoke Newington Town Hall, in North East London.

Kerry Napuk, co-author of Gower’s The Large Group Facilitator’s Manual sits on the virtual planning team of WOSonOS which is chaired by Phelim McDermott, a founder of Improbable Theatre Company and convener of the Devoted and Disgruntled Open Space event which was started in 2005 and is travelling to scores of cities in the UK this year.

For more information and to book tickets visit

The Large Group Facilitator's Manual

Originated in the late 1960s by Tony Buzan, Mind Maps are now used by millions of people around the world – from the very young to the very old – whenever they wish to use their minds more effectively.

This page on Tony’s website gives 7 steps to using this powerful technique.

Tony has co-published several titles with Gower over time, the latest ‘Grass Roots Leaders’ is also available in ebook formats.

Win sets of  David Hulett’s – Integrated Cost-Schedule Risk Analysis and Practical Schedule Risk Analysis (worth £99 each) at the Planning & Scheduling Awards & Symposium to be held on the 12th of July 2012 at The Brewery, London.

The event consists of a black-tie Gala Awards Dinner and Symposium: an exhibition and conference offering opportunities to meet other industry professionals and hear presentations on the challenges, best practices and latest technology advancements within the planning and scheduling environment.

There are 6 award categories and submissions can come either from you or your company/organisation. The judging panel is made up from the following organisations:

ACostE (Association of Cost Engineers)

APM (Association for Project Management)

CITB (ConstructionSkills)

ECI (European Construction Institute)

ECITB (Engineering Construction Industry Training Board)

London Organising Committee of the Olympic & Paralympic Games

ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers)

MPA (Major Projects Association)

The Engineering Project Academy at the University of Leeds

If you are a facilitator, a change manager … even a program manager, then check this out! The idea of Open Space (a form of large group facilitation) has been going for over 20 years. Michael Lindfield, one of the champions of the approach, described it as “a simple and effective way of creating an environment where things are possible”. That may sound slightly pink and fluffy but, goodness me, doesn’t it also describe the kind of thing that most organizations need in the struggle to keep a head above the economic crisis and keep in touch with the breakneck speed of social, technological and business change? This year’s World Open Space event is in London, between 11th and 14th October. Gower’s contribution to the concept is Kerry Napuk and Eddy Palmer’s Large Group Facilitator’s Manual, which will be on show at the event.

The APM PMO Special Interest Group will be meeting for their Lean & Light PMO SIG Spring Conference  on April 26th in Coventry, UK.

The Conference introduction to the Lean PMO is from PMOSIG Chairman, Chris Walters with: Is my PMO doing too much – and how can we balance how lean we become before the risks become unmanageable?

Pop-Up PMOs from Sion Jones takes a look at what is needed when programmes and projects need a PMO ASAP.

Quick Wins from Peter Taylor – The Lazy Nimble PMO Manager – takes a look at what are quick wins in relation to PMOs.

The fourth session looks at agile and agile PMO from Peter Measey.

Finally they will focus on behavioural skills and look at Strategies for Creating Rapport Quickly from Dr Peter Parkes.

Throughout the day there will be opportunities to network and connect with other PMO professionals. The conference will also include the Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Peter Taylor is author of Leading Successful PMOs published by Gower.

Leading Successful PMOs

Ireland’s higher education sector is undergoing significant change through mergers, clustering and the development of a new type of university – a technological university.

The first major event in the change process is being organised by the Higher Education Project (set up by Anto Kerins author of An Adventure in Service-Learning). This event will be taking place in the Department of Education’s Clock Tower in Dublin, on the 12 April 2012.

More information about this event can be found here.

If you wish to attend please contact Martin O’Reilly

An Adventure in Service-Learning

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