May 18th, 2005

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I love getting Post!

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Just been to the postbox outside, to find it stuffed with parcels for me – hurrah!! There is nothing better than walking back into the flat with your arms full of parcels :-)

My haul included: two bookrings (Father Frank & Toast), one belated birthday present from Jenn my SILTB (sister-in-law to be) which was 84 Charing Cross Road , and finally a pressies from my brother Chris. A beautiful photo of the Christo Gates exhibition in New York. Fluttering Orange. Gorgeous! Click here to see my brother's photo.

The photos shows the resulting critical condition of my To-be-read mountain next to my bed!
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Patchwork

I found this image on flickr.com ~ the image and quilt belong to a user called Mellicious. I find the image inspiring and beautiful! Patchwork is about creating connections between fragments in order to create a coherent, unified whole. In this photo, the log cabin design uses the contrast between light and dark to create the pattern. The value of patchwork, is that the fragments on their own may not have much value until they are connected to other pieces.

This patchwork metaphor seems to be to be fitting for several things in my life at the moment. The qualitative research I did was a series of interviews, of data, of masses of individual thoughts and emotions and these had to be worked into a single, usable theory. The writing up stage was a pulling together of ideas, theories, data, reflections into a single thesis, I guess that's why the process has been so difficult :-)

The internet itself is a connecting force, linking random individuals together. This is not a new idea. But I think it's interesting that the sites which are helping me at the moment (http://www.livejournal.com / http://www.bookcrossing.com / http://www.43things.com / http://www.flickr.com ) are all about connecting and collaborating. Blogs allow people to publish their thoughts and to comment on other people's blogs. Bookcrossing is a serendipidous sharing of books. 43things represents an individual's attempt to list their goals and yet other people can cheer them on and offer help. Flickr is a sharing of images, of searching for common visual themes. The internet is a patchwork of isolated individuals, who are linked through their shared interests in a virtual community. There is nothing virtual though about the quality of sharing which occurs within this random patchwork!
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How to Enable Change (Jill Allemang's Manifesto)

* Re-architecting
* Deep friendships attended to with the people you trust
* A clear sense of purpose
* Acceptance of the world as you find it
* Enough rest
* Facing directly the fears and challenges by planning in small steps
* Conscious, enthusiastic immersion in life's experiences - all of them - from the daily and boring through the peaks and canyons
* And once in a while a sabbatical to renew the foundation and architecture that makes your life your own.

Jill Allemang, Root Learning
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Making Change Work: Jill Allemang (Root Learning)

Jill Allemang is Managing Director (Europe) of Root Learning and ran a session entitled Making Change Work at the Professional Women's Group in Zurich (May 18th 2005).
http://www.rootlearning.com


The session offered a mixture of individual work, small group learning, visual resources, content from Jill, and questions and answers. Speaking as a trainer, Jill used PowerPoint brilliantly – to emphasize key points and to illustrate the emotional aspect of the topic. The slides supported, rather than drove, the presentation!

The central question of the session was: What comes first, Change or Learning? Do we change and then learn, or do we learn from the changes we make? Indeed, can we change and not learn? To some extent, this basic question is unanswerable, but it set the scene for the evening! A distinction was made between the learning of adults and children. Children tend to experiment and make mistakes in their learning journey, whereas adults take a more cautious path, believing perhaps that an abstract ‘truth’ (or body of knowledge) is out there to be obtained. Adult learning requires a third element: experience. Experience can influence the change and learning cycle, and adults learn best through solving problems and being proactive.

It is important to recognise that emotions are inherent within any change. We discussed the emotions we had felt at times of change in our lives, and the majority of these were positive. Jill, talking of her experiences as a Masters student at 39, reassured us that learning could be uncontrollable, uncomfortable and frustrating. Learning requires time, discipline and a healthy does of good humour. Furthermore, real learning is often unintended and it is impossible to rush the time needed to make changes! How then can we be more effective in our change and learning cycle? Jill suggested that visualisation techniques can accelerate learning and help to express our emotions which are bound together with this change process.
  • Make Space for Change

  • Actively engage through interaction

  • Ask open-ended questions

  • Consider formal and informal resources

  • Find your own voice
Finding your voice can be particularly hard for women. Finding our voice allows us to vent our emotions and using a journal can be an important tool in this process. A journal can be online, or a physical notebook in the briefcase, but can be any medium which allows us to record our thoughts; a napkin in a restaurant, a page torn out of your notebook. Jill read a journal extract from her year as a student, and I found this particularly helpful. A journal is therefore anything which allows us to record our emotions about learning and change.

The session ended with the opportunity for each participant to make her own "cheat sheet" of the session, listing those techniques which would allow her to effect change in her own life. Indeed, Jill's wish for the session was for each of us to leave the session with at least one idea or plan to enable our change. I found the session challenging and inspiring.
Helen Palmer, May 18th 2005.Reading List
William Bridges (2003)
Managing Transitions, Perseus Publishing.
Kotter, John.P & Cohn, Dan.S (2002) The Heart of Change, Harvard Business School Press
Kotter, John. P (1996) Leading Change, Harvard Business School Press
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May 18th - Successful day :-)

* Water: 6 (I’m so hydrated :-) )
* Coffee: 2
* Tea: 2
* Food: cereal / spaghetti & apple / bread w jam / pasta w fish sauce / 2 glasses red wine
* Step and Weights – done
* Written up notes on PWG and completed follow up actions
* Methodology – no! :-(