Category Archives: Hull

Progress School – Make or Break?

Progress School has had a good year in both Leeds and Hull.  But I suspect that 2011 will be make or break!

Well over 60 people have taken part in Progress School, the vast majority have been more than once, with most being regular attenders.  Feedback is very positive – with people enjoying the relaxed yet powerful format for reflection, development and building relationships with fellow participants.  Many find the monthly 2 hour slot for reflection and planning to be a powerful addition to both their professional and personal life.

My hope is that this year we can really consolidate Progress School in Leeds and Hull and get a new School firmly established in Bradford.

I am always looking at ways to develop Progress School methodology to ensure that the product is as good as it can be, while remaining low or no-cost.  The real challenge however is building membership and achieving break-even or better.

Progress School is entirely funded by its members and hosts (Fudge Cafe in Hull, Dehlicattessen in Leeds and the Gumption Centre in Bradford) who all kindly make rooms available at no charge and often throw in some refreshments too.  A big thank you to them.

So, how do we get more people to take part in Progress School?  What about more organisations?

What are your thoughts?  Are there others that you can invite to take part?

What can we do to ensure that 2011 becomes the year that makes Progress School rather than breaks it?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts….

Should We Learn to be Proper Selfish?

In his book, The Hungry Spirit: Beyond Capitalism, A Quest for Purpose in the Modern World (1997), Charles Handy describes the problems he faced in determining his ideal self, in a passage that he calls ‘Proper Selfishness’:

“I spent the early part of my life trying hard to be someone else. At school I wanted to be a great athlete, at university an admired socialite, afterwards a businessman and, later, the head of a great institution. It did not take me long to discover that I was not destined to be successful in any of these guises, but that did not prevent me from trying, and being perpetually disappointed with myself. The problem was that in trying to be someone else I neglected to concentrate on the person I could be. That idea was too frightening to contemplate at the time. I was happier going along with the conventions of the time, measuring success in terms of money and position, climbing ladders which others placed in my way, collecting things and contacts rather than giving expression to my own beliefs and personality.”

In a section that he calls ‘Proper Selfishness’ Handy goes on to describe the importance of a strong sense of self and the challenges of remaining true to oneself as the world throws up all sorts of opportunities for us to be someone who we are not.

I highly recommend a read of Proper Selfishness (pdf)

Progress School – Is it for you?

Major changes are afoot.

It has been many years since I felt quite so clearly the sense of nervousness and fear about the present, but also perhaps a sense of optimism, anger and a desire for real change to create a better future.

Time to re-think what to do with your life.  Or perhaps how you do it.

To reset yourself in a very different world.

To make sure that the next chapter not only ticks the box in terms of income, but also feeds your soul, contributes something worthwhile.  Includes, at its heart, ‘good work‘.

Progress School provides a framework, a process and most importantly perhaps a group of ‘fellow travellers’ for people who are looking to make progress in their lives.  It maybe dealing with redundancy and a transition to self employment, leading a business, building a community group or having a better family life.

You can work on anything at Progress School.

Progress School has no agenda or outputs to hit.  It is not about getting you ‘back to work’ or ‘into volunteering’, ‘giving up smoking’ or ‘getting fit’.  It is about providing you with time and space to work on whatever it is that really matters to you.

It is not about CVs, job searches, testimonials and networking.  It is about conversations.

Conversations about hopes, dreams and aspirations.  Conversations about possibilities and potentials.  And conversations about what you can do to make progress.

We meet every month for a couple of hours and then those that want to carry on the conversations over a meal.  The sessions are semi structured and everyone uses a shared model to frame their pathway towards progress.

You can come to as many, or as few sessions as you wish.

Best of all, to take part in Progress School, you pay what you like.   And FREE really is fine.

At the moment Progress School is established in Hull and Leeds.  Just follow the links to book your place.

We would love for you to join us….

You can watch a short film about Progress School or listen to a short interview about Progress School I did for the BBC.

Working Towards….What Is to be Desired….

Following some positive feedback about my earlier what is to be desired post I have put together a simple radar chart to help you explore where you lie in relation to these ‘desirable’ life attributes.

Give yourself a ’10′ if you have it nailed.  A ’1′ if you have really never pondered it before. And then ask yourself what you can do to increase your scores by 1 in each of the scales that you want to work on.

Then do it.

What is to be Desired Chart

Just click the image to get a larger version.  One that you can actually read!

Planning Progress in Your Business

This one is for Progress School members who are looking to move their businesses along a bit.

I have known Jim McLaughlin for many, many years.  I have tremendous respect for him and his work.

Jim has developed some business planning software that seems both useful and very pragmatic.  Which makes it unusual for business planning software in my experience.

You can try it here: Planbuilder

Jim says it will help you define some of the practical steps/learning you want/need to do.

If you do not want to not be contacted by BL, you can opt out from this.

You can go back in and out whenever you want.

You can add specifics, dates, goals etc.

When you get the report, Jim suggests that you go to View/Print layout – the web layout is not nice!

So How Are You Doing at Progress School?

With no expense spared I have developed a simple tool for you to use to benchmark your progress using a simple spider diagram, or ‘radar chart’ for those who prefer a more clinical vocabulary.

For each of the steps of the Self Directed Learning Cycle the chart allows you to score yourself for your own achievement/development in relation to that item.

Broadly speaking a ’10′ would mean ‘I have this completely nailed.  I simply don’t see how I could do or know any more in relation to this item.’

A ’1′ on the other hand might mean ‘I have barely given this any thought and have yet to make a start at all’.

So score yourself on each of the axes, make a mark, join the dots and bring it with you to Progress School.

In each of the areas ask yourself ‘What can I do to move this up the scale by 1 point?’    Try experimenting with some of your ideas….

NB Just click the image to get a nice big version!

Individual Development Plans and Progress School

Individual Development Plans are Worthless.

This is the title of a post written by Dan McCarthy over at Great Leadership. And he should know, he has helped to write thousands of them!  To get them working well, Dan suggests:

  • Making a public declaration about what you are going to do to make progress
  • Getting an accountability partner – someone who will hold you to your promises for your own development
  • Schedule ‘development’ reminders into your calendar – put time aside for it, and
  • Track and measure your progress

This is one of the reasons why we set up Progress School.

It provides accountability partners, monthly reminders about the importance of development, allows for a public declaration of the progress you intend to make and helps you to track and measure how you are getting on.
But I think it goes further than that.  Much further…
Progress School also serves to let you look at development planning in a whole person context, allowing the integration of both personal and professional development into a single framework.
And it provides an environment where you can reflect on your development away from the pressures of those who have a vested interest in what you become, allowing you time and space to think freely.
With a pricing policy that says ‘pay what you like, free is fine’, why wouldn’t you join us?

Appease Your Hunger at Progress School

Real learning gets to the heart of what it means to be human.

Through learning we re-create ourselves.

Through learning we become able to do something we never were able to do.

Through learning we re-perceive the world and our relationship to it.

Through learning we extend our capacity to create, to be part of the generative process of life.

There is within each of us a deep hunger for this type of learning.

Peter Senge

So, Come To Progress School and Fill your Face!