Posts Tagged ‘MBA Starter Workshops’

This past week has been driven by numbers. The first is “four”, which I have to get out of the way. This was the number of goals Chelsea scored last night in their exciting encounter at Stamford Bridge against Napoli, which was just enough to turn the tie around and put them through to the last “eight”. One of the best matches I’ve seen for a long time.

On Friday last week, however, the number on my mind was “three”, as this was the number of PD workshops I’ve now delivered to the Exec MBA group known as EM10. They started their programme in September 2010 and when I met them now they had just completed their “second” MBA exam the day before, a triumph that many of the group had evidently felt deserved toasting well into the night, so the atmosphere in the class was an accurate reflection (oh, how we love that word at Henley!) of the morning after. But they took part, and we soldiered on, and though they were mentally very tired (it’s a gruelling course, not one for light-weights), they provided me with a really interesting opportunity to practice my classroom negotiation skills.

“Fifty-three” was the number of new programme members in my PD workshop on Saturday, “seventeen” of whom were from the new intake in Malta. What an invigorating session it was! I had a great time, and they rose to the occasion by engaging with each other, being open-minded and curious and (thankfully) falling straight into several little traps that I had set for them. But by the end of the day we had established a mood and an energy around the newly formed learning teams that should carry them well into their first year.

The next number was “forty-six”, which is the number of new starters in our groups from Denmark and Finland, also in attendance at Greenlands this week, and victims of the same ruthless Henley PD treatment at my hands on Tuesday and Wednesday. There’s something fascinating about how the various MBA groups manage to be both unique and homogenous – each has its own character and chemistry (no two Starter workshops are the same) and, when you walk in to the room, each is also instantly recognisable as a Henley MBA and not something else.

Nordic MBA groups also have something very interesting about them. Participants from Denmark are used to a direct approach and like to know why they are being asked to do what they’re being asked to do. Finns are very comfortable with long periods of silence. You have to work with all of them on their terms, whilst still keeping your own goals in mind. And if one of your goals is to challenge their assumptions, then this can result to a strange sort of “Mexican stand-off” – resistance to the “why are we doing this?” question and the ” ” silences that deafen you in the room.

“Eight”, this is how many of the Henley-Based group (see “Fifty-six” above) had stayed a full week at Henley to get all their workshop input in one go. We call them the International Stream, and many of them live and work at a long-haul distance from the UK, so can’t fly in and out so easily. Eight is a great number to change the tone and pace of a workshop, and work with the energy level in a more relaxed manner. After 7 days of input-input-input, of course, they were somewhat punch-drunk, so I had to select where we went, and at what pace, very carefully.

Finally, “One hundred and forty” could be the number of new starters I’ll be faced with at the end of next week in South Africa. I love the Jo’burg starter workshops… but 140?!? That will need some thinking about ahead of time. They can count on me! 🙂

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