The Westminster Business School MBA residential at Devoncourt House in Greenwich was an eventful two days.  Starting off with writing our thoughts down on post it notes about what organisational change means to us.  For me the words I used were, exciting, scary, inspirational and acquisiton of new skills and I find it fascinating that although I wrote these words at the beginning of the residential, I would use these same thoughts to describe my view of the residential as a whole too.

Again the provocative proposition my group of four created stayed roughly the same until the end of the residential, when we added one word that changed the meaning of a statement.  That’s all it took, one word, and it gave the statement a whole different dimension, which was not necessarily a better one, none the less we agreed to add this word.

I personally learned a lot from the sessions in connection with acting as consultants, especially as I had not worked as a consultant before now.  I was able to use the real life example of the current restructure of my department coupled with the merger with my previous organisation.  I was advised during one of the feedback sessions that i would need to be a manager in this situation rather than a change agent as I had no power over the decisions that were being made above me.  I think my student colleague who gave me this advice was spot on and made me look at the situation with different eyes.  This brings me to the lesson learnt on Appreciative enquiry, where we were taught to focus on whats working well and build on the positives.

I would say that I acheived my personal objective which was ‘how I keep my staff motivated during the change, positively, securely and safely’, and with enough expertise within the cohort and the presentations by both Richard and Ruth, I picked up some tips and tricks to do this.  Particularly understanding the Elisabeth Kublar Ross’ pain and change slide, that everyone moves through the cycle, but it all depends at which speed.  This was important for me to understand that some may take longer than others and now I have a tool to help me deal with the individual at their pace.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the residential and in hindsight think that the layout of the weekend was just right, as I was eager to get my personal objective answered on day one, but day one was used to gently bring us up to speed with the different approaches to change and how we could manage these, then day two was about using theory and different frameworks we could use to answer the real life examples.

There are tips and tricks I have picked up from the residential that I know I will use for life.

Written by Victoria Boateng, current student on the Westminster MBA.

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