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Curated Learning


I am sure I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed by change. My problem is that as a management consultant I am supposed to know the answers! Last summer, I resigned my job to give myself time to find some answers. I would have liked to have found the short course entitled “How to cope with current change levels as a management consultant.” but it does not exist. I needed to find my own path. I started with two things I needed to address immediately: meditation and story-telling.

Meditation is a necessary lifeskill in these changing times. I tackled that through a combination of a weekend retreat in Germany, a neighbourhood drop-in class and the headspace app. It is still work in progress but my head is calmer!

Storytelling is essential to getting people to buy in to change. Resistance to change has been growing as people are increasingly asked to BOTH change things AND keep the day job going. Unless leaders can motivate and sell change; change stalls. I found an excellent weeklong course by Will Storr at the Faber Academy on the science of storytelling. I found this course by following up on him after finding a TEDx talk of his which resonated strongly with me. I complemented this with the book “Thank you for being late” by Friedman who brings both order and optimism to the change chaos. It was whilst at the Faber Academy that the notion of curated learning came up. I was the only management consultant present: the others were all aspiring writers. We talked about how it is too much to ask people to take a year out for a postgraduate creative writing course. Instead people are developing their writing through short writing retreats and courses, going to hear specific people talk, and working with a support group of aspiring writers.

A good start but not enough. I attended a day summit on Data Science where Anthony Seldon was the key note speaker and he nicely covered both mindfulness and data science. I went to an evening discussion on software development and found myself pleading for prioritisation rather than one view that a thousand digital flowers should be allowed to bloom. Conversation is a necessary component of any learning. I need some more data science understanding and will look online for this.

I then turned introspective and started to work through Business Model You – which is a workbook to help you uncover who you want to be going forward. I had used the Business Model Canvas technique as a consultant and thought applying it to myself would help embed the concepts.

I was beginning to feel the need to return to work at this point especially when I saw a job I thought suited me well. Alas the employer did not agree and the feedback was that my project management experience was too light weight. I immediately sought to correct this by attending an AgilePM foundation course. This was enlightening as I found that a lot of things challenging me as a management consultant had already been tackled by the software industry.

Where am I now? I have re-examined my consultancy toolbox – the benchmarking is staying, as is the business model canvas, but I am going to throw in some agile ideas. The meditation will allow me to bring a clearer mind to problems. I still need a Eureka moment with Data Science. I am writing this - so storytelling is work in progress! Agile, Thomas Friedman and meditation have all taught me that I need to accept change but at least they give me some thoughts on how to do that AND retain my sanity! Friedman argues that learning is lifelong and our education models are no longer fit for purpose. I agree. Having worked with universities, I question whether they will adapt quickly enough although I will happily work with them to become more agile. I am left with the question “Do we find our own learning path or is there some gap in the market for learning curators?”

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