Talking shop

month sees the annual pilgrimage to Harrogate of training and HR professionals.
Patrick McCurry reports on what they might find there

How to cope with change is one of the key themes of this year’s CIPD
conference and exhibition in Harrogate – and that applies equally to trainers
as to other HR specialists.

The theme of change is kicked off with the opening keynote address on 23
October, entitled Thinking Like a Revolutionary. In this, Gary Hamel, visiting
professor at the London Business School, argues that organisations need to
constantly re-invent themselves to respond to changing circumstances.

Angela Baron, CIPD adviser on organisation and development, agrees:
"Companies are having to deal with ever-more rapid change, in areas such
as technology, customer expectations and their marketplace."

Baron, who chairs a seminar on Developing Your People Strategy on 23 October,
says this environment of change means it is even more crucial for trainers to
align their programmes with the company’s business strategy. "Many
companies are still just sending staff on courses but neglecting other forms of
training, such as coaching and mentoring," she adds.

Business strategy

One of the speakers at the Developing Your People seminar is Craig McCoy,
group HR director at BSkyB, who will be presenting a case study of the
company’s attempt to align people management strategy with business strategy.

One of the initiatives McCoy will be highlighting is BSkyB’s ‘Living the
Vision’ training scheme for its 4,500 call centre staff in Scotland.

He says: "We have done a lot of work on the branding of BSkyB in the
last couple of years and the Living the Vision programme is an attempt to marry
the behaviours and competencies of staff with the values of that external

Work on the branding of BSkyB led to the development of new core
competencies for staff, such as using initiative and being creative, says
McCoy. All call centre staff will be going through a three-day off-site
training course focusing on the company’s vision and values. The programme will
be based around a TV and film theme.

"It is about winning staff’s hearts and minds," says McCoy, adding
that it is extremely rare for a company to put call centre staff through such
an ambitious training course. "Usually, such a big programme would be
focused purely on technical training but this is very different," he says.

For Paul Turner, group HR business director at the University for Lloyds
TSB, the theme of change is reflected in the challenge facing trainers over how
to put together training programmes.

Turner, who chairs a seminar called Developing Tomorrow’s Managers on 24
October, says: "Companies know they are living in an increasingly
globalised and competitive world and that to recruit and retain they need
effective management development schemes in place."

He says trainers are now living in the ‘post-e world’. "E-learning was
being presented as the solution a few years ago, but now people realise things
aren’t that simple and the challenge is how to put together layered training,
with different components such as e-learning, coaching and mentoring, and
face-to-face training."

There is no single correct approach, says Turner: "Every organisation
needs to weigh up its own needs and culture when deciding on the components of
its training strategy."

But he does see a growing role for coaching and mentoring in management development:
"Where you can get managers to be coached by their seniors, that’s a very
effective way of developing staff."

The use of coaching is also highlighted by Michael Carroll, a visiting
industrial professor at Bristol University. Carroll, who will be presenting a
fringe seminar entitled It’s a guy thing – how men learn, has been involved in
training consultants at management consultancy RightCoutts.

"They are mostly men and running the scheme made me think a lot about
how men learn compared with women," says Carroll.

One of the striking things, says Carroll, is that men will ‘run a mile’ from
any suggestion of counselling, but if you present it in a coaching form, they
will be more receptive.

"Men associate coaching with sports and so are happier to take
part," he says. The problem, he adds, is that while men are very strong on
problem solving, they are often poor people managers.

"As you go up the hierarchies in most organisations you find a higher
proportion of men, but unfortunately many of these executives are poor at
managing relationships in the workplace." He adds that women, on the other
hand, are better at team working and handling relationships.

Carroll will be outlining his approach to moving men from the more
theoretical, problem-solving approach to learning to one based on engaging
emotions and managing workplace relationships effectively.

In another fringe seminar Seamus Rodgers, a principal at consultants Empower
Group, will describe the leadership development programme being run for the
Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI), using the action learning approach to

"They wanted an innovative approach to management development rather
than traditional training, so we proposed action learning," says Rodgers.

Staff are divided in to teams of 10, who meet once a month. Much of the
learning is done in virtual teams.

Among the challenges was how to run a major training programme for staff
that are dispersed geographically.

"All the inspectors work from home up and down the country, so there
has been a lot of e-learning involved, with the ALI putting materials on its
intranet for home-based inspectors and other staff to access."

Show facts

– The CIPD annual conference and exhibition is held at
Harrogate International Centre from Wednesday 23 October to Friday 25 October

– Opening times for the exhibition, which is free, are
10.30-18.15 on 23 October, 9.30-18.00 on 24 October and 9.30-15.00 on 25

– There are more than 300 exhibitors, plus free fringe events
at the exhibition. Those not attending the conference can pre-register for the
exhibition by calling the hotline or registering online

– Prices to attend the conference (excl accommodation and
meals) range from £395 + VAT for a one-day ticket to £955 +VAT for three days,
for a non-CIPD member

– The conference hotline is on 020 8263 3434, e-mail:,

Conference and show details were correct at time of going to

Show business among the training-focused exhibitors:

Cambridge Online Learning (A38)

Handles professional management qualifications delivered online
via its global campus. Candidates study in virtual sets with online support.

Centre for Management and Policy Studies (Cabinet Office) (C62)

Providers of central government and public sector training.
Highlighting a new e-learning support system as well as their leadership online
learning programme, Prime. Another product is Platinum, an online network for
senior civil servants and executives.

Consultancy Works (Q70)

Specialising in preparing people for organisational change.
Programmes include strategy change, developing teams (multi-disciplinary and
cross-cultural), coaching, personal development planning and leadership
development.  The company
will be highlighting its recent work in South Africa in cross-cultural team
working, using Myers-Briggs psychological tools.

Corous (based at the Open University) (C82)

Specialising in online learning. Courses include Learning to
E-learn Online and  Supporting Online
Learners. Corous also provides consultancy on all aspects of setting up and
designing e-learning systems.

Henley Management College (M54)

Runs executive development programmes for middle and senior
managers, as well as the Henley Learning Partnership,a network for companies to
take part in a range of learning opportunities.

The college is launching an online mentoring programme. Other
initiatives include the Henley Forum on Human Resources, a network for senior
HR directors.

Institute of Leadership and Management (A54)

The ILM unites the National Examining Board for Supervision and
Management with the Institute for Supervision and Management. It will be
showing its suite of qualifications from team leading at level 2 to senior
management at level 5.


An IT skills training specialist. Keystrokes will be
demonstrating its formula for IT skills gap analysis.

Lakeside Management Development (C131)

Provides tailor-made outdoor experiential training courses
which cover leadership development, teamworking, change management and
strategic management.

Learning Futures (Q44)

Will be launching a new e-learning package, Principles of
Knowledge Management – an HR Perspective, as well as The Learning Audit, which
is designed to provide insights into companies’ ability and willingness to
develop as learning organisations.

LeadChange (Q38)

Facilitating personal and leadership development through the
medium of natural horsemanship.

Marton House (Q12)

Will be highlighting its e-learning capability, particularly of
outplacement self-development modules on CV writing, job search and selection.

Momentum Radar (Q43)

Behavioural Science Systems is launching  a new version of its behaviour diagnostic
tool, Momentum Radar, called the Personal Effectiveness Monitor. It is aimed at
people who are charged with achieving goals through the efforts of others and
means that staff at all levels can learn how they can be more effective.

Peak (Q66)

Deals with core coaching skills and one-to-one personal
coaching systems, through its Achieving Peak Performance model.

Phone Coach (Q107)

Portable telephone training equipment for automatic recording
of role play and live call conversations.

Psychological Consulting (C30)

Offers online personality profiling, including measures used in
executive coaching.

Reg Athwal Worldwide (Q50)

RAW has formed a European partnership with US company Power
Hiring and has brought to the UK a series of workshops for managers called
Power Hiring – best practices in hiring top talent.

Roffey Park (A64)

Roffey Park will be demonstrating its new web-based learning
portal, called The Learning Junction, which provides free up-to-date content
and commentary on 12 specialist areas of personal and organisational
development, including leadership, strategy, management and human resources.

Spring IT Training (A20)

Offers IT and professional skills training, focusing on blended
learning with an e-learning portal, mobile training classrooms and a managed
training service.

Skillboosters (B129)

Offers bespoke servicesplus generic CD-Rom packages including
Under Pressure, a new stress management resource featuring Professor Cary
Cooper. Skillboosters will be highlighting the importance of having training
material that engages people and not just information that proves to be little
more than on-screen booklets.

Treepax (Q64)

Highlighting its "Engineering the Impossible"
programme, which looks at how idea generation and innovation occurs within
organisations and individuals and on techniques to make these happen.

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