Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Finding Talent: The Modules

The report tells us that the means by which training is to be delivered is a 'modular development programme' undertaken over a period of 12-18 months consisting of three modules which are (and I quote directly here):

Module One - Building Healthy Organisations.
In preparation for this module, learners will be asked to work through a suite of on-line tools that will measure the effectiveness of the team they lead. They will also be asked to participate in a 360 degree feedback exercise. The module will start by exploring the current context of the Church and the challenges and opportunities that face the organisation now and in the future. The spiritual focus of the programme will be underlined. Ecclesiology and perspectives from different traditions in the Church will be included. The ‘healthy organisation’ will be defined as the foundation for the success of the Church in the future. Learners will work on their team and individual 360 feedback reports and construct action plans around their development needs.

Time will be spent on approaches to change management and how to lead complex decentralised organisations through change. Conflict and coaching support for difficult conversations will be included. External perspectives will be supplied from organisations like the National Trust, BBC, NHS Health Trusts and the Armed Services. The module will conclude with examining the importance of measurement and controls, including an overview of financial and other measurement tools and techniques. Refresher and updated material will be offered to cover safeguarding and legal issues. Each cohort will be divided into action learning sets and these sets will agree development tasks focused on the healthy organisation for completion before the second module. The action learning sets will also form the basis for prayer and spiritual reflection between each module.

Module Two - Leading Growth.
This module will look at the challenges and opportunities presented by the intent to grow the Church. As course preparation, learners will be asked to review any planning material for their diocese and come prepared to discuss and share plans. The module will open with an exploration of growth, why evangelism is so important for the future of the Church and will examine the importance of planning for growth. The module will aim to offer peer reviews of existing diocesan plans and assistance to design and implement a plan where none exists. Work on team effectiveness from the first module will be revisited to examine in more detail the importance of building the right partnership between lay and ordained ministries. A field trip will be organised so the cohort can experience personally a part of the Church that is experiencing growth and this will lead to sessions sharing best practice and looking at successful initiatives, including ecumenical perspectives. The module will conclude with action learning sets agreeing development tasks focused on evangelism and growth, for completion before the third module. Once again the action learning set will be the basis for prayer and spiritual reflection.

Module Three - Re-inventing the Ministry.
The final module will focus on the capabilities required from senior leaders to improve talent management in the Church. As preparation, each learner will be asked to review the current status of MDRs in their diocese and review their senior staff meetings from the perspective of how it could be better used to identify talented individuals. This module will help participants to both conduct and receive a MDR and will work on best practice. The module will include further work on developing coaching and mentoring skills. The new approach to identifying talent within the Church will be highlighted, together with the key role of senior clergy within the process. The module will conclude with sharing best practice in ministerial development, using case studies both from lay and ordained ministries.

This is nothing more than the basic management courses that would elsewhere lead to a DMS* type qualification which with the addition of communications, marketing and financial papers would form at its highest level an MBA. What is sad (from where I recline) is that these skills should have inductively been added to the portfolio of anyone who has been around in the real world of management and are no great shakes at all. So what;s the fuss about with those who had texted and mailed to tell me it's 'elitist' - for what's on offer here is merely bread and butter skills (for £2m - have I mentioned this - not sure we're getting value for money or even looking at the right people to deliver the training to either!).

The 'healthy organisation' is something that should be featuring large in today's organisation and yet, if those I engage with are being honest, they don't appear to feature even barely in some places! Growth as a learned and transferable reality is also great fun for, wearing my missioner hat, I don't find that replication comes through ageing what is seen any more than it comes by buying into to 'the only effective ± ten years of the minister's age' theory!

Re-inventing the ministry is a little bit insulting. Insulting because it's not the ministry that need 're-inventing' it is the way that senior church people use the talent that already exists - and this is about more than 'releasing the laity' (also known as 'skint so can't afford to pay') and MDR (Major Drain on Resources?) as an exercise that keeps blue riband clergy frustrated and leaves the hopeless and hapless clergy hopeless too.

But here are the words, read them for yourself and see that there's nothing special here - that's going to be the people they pick perhaps?

*Diploma in Management Studies

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