Category Archives: Uncategorized

Time Management Classic

Progress Schoolers who struggle with time management and procrastiination might enjoy this squeezed version of Dave Allen’s Classic Getting Things Done



Progress School – Learning You Can Afford?

I spent a bit of time looking at levels of student debt recently.  It stands at a grand total of £35bn with an average of around £30k per student and the highest single debt at around £66k!

Learning, it would seem is an expensive business.

It got me thinking about how we might design ‘An Education We Can Afford’ and that pretty much describes Progress School.

Affording the Time 

Progress School requires you to find a couple of hours every month or so to touch base with a supportive peer group, usually over a 6 month period (although some have been attending Progress School on a pretty regular basis for well over a year).  The point is that you control your commitment to, and investment in, the process.  When you attend you will learn some simple but very powerful models that you can use to reflect on your everyday experiences and use it to plan opportunities to learn and change.  You will also have the chance to reflect and to talk things through with people who are ‘talking your language’. The way that you learn, what you choose to learn and how you learn it is up to you.  But this is very much about learning from lived experience, and actively seeking out the experiences that are most likely to teach you what you need to learn.

Affording the Money

It is an important principle of Progress School that no-one is denied access because of their inability to pay.  This means that Progress School is provided on a ‘Pay what You Can – But Free is Fine’ basis.  This ensures that Progress School has a very diverse and broad membership, spanning entrepreneurship, social enterprise, community and voluntary people, artists, actors, scientists, public servants and people who are looking for work, or just a better life.  Anyone looking to make progress is welcome!  It is particularly good for people who are looking to broaden their networks and develop their ability to lead change, either personally or professionally.

So, if you are looking for ‘an education that you can afford’ or to keep professional and personal development moving when training budgets are being hit hard, or just fancy connecting with a bunch of people who are all figuring out how they can make progress then please join us at Leeds or Bradford

Are You a Boiling Frog?

Understanding the ‘real self’, the person that others see and with whom they interact, can be tricky.

The human psyche protects itself from the automatic intake and conscious realisation of all information about ourself.  These defence mechanisms serve to protect us.  They also serve to delude us into an image of who we are, that feeds on itself becomes self-perpetuating, and sometimes harmful.

The “boiling frog syndrome” may be at work here.

If you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will attempt to jump out with an instinctive defence mechanism.  But if you place a frog in a pot of cool water and gradually increase the temperature, the frog will sit in the water until boiled to death.  Slow adjustments are accepted, in fact they may not even be noticed.

The boiling frog syndrome is the greatest challenge to an accurate self-image (i.e., seeing yourself as others see you). Several factors contribute to it.

First, people around you may not help you see changes in your personality or how you behave.  They may not give you feedback or information about how they see you and your emerging behaviours.  Also, they may be victims of the boiling frog syndrome themselves, as they adjust their perception of you on a daily basis.  For example, when you see a friend’s child after some years, you may comment on how fast they have grown.  However the parent is only aware of the child’s growth when they have to buy them new clothes.

Second, those who forgive the change, are frightened of it, or who do not care about it, may allow it to pass unnoticed and un-commented upon.

Some cultures encourage a preoccupation with “weaknesses.” Some individuals have philosophies, or value orientations, that push them to focus on areas for improvement.  Some people have such a low level of self-confidence or self-esteem that they assume they are unworthy and distrust positive feedback and focus on negative issues.  This can lead to an overly negative self image further fuelling the lack of confidence and low self-esteem in a spiral of decline.

To truly consider changing a part of yourself, you must have a sense of what you value and want to keep.  To consider what you want to preserve about yourself involves admitting aspects of yourself that you wish to change or adapt in some way.  Often, people explore growth or development by focusing on the “weaknesses”.

Organisational training programs and managers conducting annual reviews often make the same mistake.  There is an assumption that we can “leave well enough alone” and get to the areas that need work.  It is no wonder that many of these programs intended to help development result in people feeling battered, beleaguered and bruised, not helped, encouraged, motivated, or guided.

It is important to maintain a balance between focussing on what it is about ourselves that we value, and what is that we want to change if we are to successfully pursue a learning agenda.

This awareness of self, and an open mind to the possibility of positive change may help us to avoid becoming boiling frogs.

Frank Druffel On Progress

Pity This Monster, Manunkind

Manunkind - Thanks to Barnaby Alldrick

Manunkind - Thanks to Barnaby Alldrick

Thanks to Progress School friend John Beech for sharing this ee cummings poem on progress.

Pity This Monster, Manunkind