Interpersonal Relationships in Organisations is an open programme offeringreal-time learning about yourself and your interactions with others, says MarkBunker, communications executive at Burger KingInterpersonal Relationships in Organisations Designed and delivered by: Roffey Park, Forest Road, Horsham, West SussexRH12 4TD Phone: 01293 851644 E-mail [email protected] you want to help people understand and enhance their interpersonalrelationships with others, the best way to do it would be to get a group ofpeople together for five days and let them relate to each other and learn fromthe experience. That’s exactly what I found happened on Roffey Park’s open programmeInterpersonal Relationships in Organisations. The philosophy of the programme is that there are patterns to people’sbehaviour that will reconfigure wherever they are. This means we all recreatethe relationships around us in whatever group situation we experience. As a participant on IRO, you learn about yourself through your interactionswith others on the programme. In October 2000, I was a communications and press officer at insurerLiverpool Victoria, the UK’s largest friendly society. I had some issues interms of the way I conducted relationships with others at work. I was veryassertive, bordering on aggressive at times, and I sometimes vented myfrustrations verbally when I came across what I perceived as blockages in theorganisation. My manager at the time suggested I should attend IRO. He knew of theprogramme as he’d sent someone on it previously and had been very impressed bythe change in their behaviour afterwards. He said the programme would be goodfor me. I knew I had to do something to address my behaviour, so I took hisrecommendation. Preparation IRO is a five-day programme run with two tutors. Before starting theprogramme, one of the tutors called me to ask if I had any questions or ifthere was anything I was concerned about. The idea was to get you thinking about your aims for the week, to understandwhy you were attending and to highlight the special nature of the programme andthe type of experiential learning involved. I was sent pre-course material to work through, which involved collectingfeedback from my manager and peers about my interpersonal relationships. I wasalso asked to prepare and bring a work-based scenario which I could talk abouton the programme. Format IRO is not a typical course with few “training activities”. It hasa high degree of complexity and ambiguity, which in many ways mirrors the realworld of work. Much of the week features large group work, where you learn from therelationships you form with others. We started by clarifying objectives, agreeing ways of working and reflectingon the feedback received in the pre-course work. We were then asked to sharefirst impressions of each other. This was something I hadn’t experiencedbefore, and it was one of the features of the programme throughout the fivedays. There was always plenty of feedback available – if you wanted it. The large group work was an opportunity to find out not only how you wereperceived by others, but also how these impressions were formed and how theywere influenced by events. The interaction and contact with other participantsbecame a key source of real-time learning. Outside of the large group, the content was moulded around individualrequirements. We could self-select sessions or activities based on our learninggoals and the tutors would then offer workshops on those themes. I chose workshopson power, authority and office politics. Others were run on issues such as bodylanguage, group dynamics and influencing styles. In small group and one-to-one sessions, you could talk about your specificwork scenario and get feedback to help you develop a strategy for handling thatsituation. The “problem” scenario could even be recreated, to helpyou understand how you came across. You could also opt for a one-to-one with atutor to explore issues raised on the programme in more depth. Changes Getting other people’s perceptions of how I came across, and the ability toshare some of the personal issues I’ve experienced over the years with thegroup and the tutors, had a profound effect on me. The last day of the programme focuses on bringing your learning together andplanning its transfer to the workplace. When I got back to work, my manager and my colleagues immediately noticed apositive difference in my behaviour. In January, after attending the programme, I changed jobs, moving to alarge, global company. The programme was not so much instrumental in making mewant to change, but it put me in a position to be able to do so. It gave me theconfidence that I needed to move on. Since then, I’ve maintained contact with the Roffey Park tutors and withother participants from the programme. I keep a photo of the group on my deskand whenever I feel the pressures of work getting on top of me, it acts as acomfort. It reminds me of the choices I made about how I would build betterrelationships at work. VerdictIT has changed meI found IRO quite fascinating and it certainly had a hugeimpact on me. Roffey Park’s grounds and facilities all contribute to creatinga relaxed environment for learning. The group was conducive – some participantshad reached a certain threshold and needed to change their behaviour toprogress. Others, like me, had come to resolve a particular problem or issue.All of us were there because we wanted to learn about ourselves and ourrelationships with others. The tutors facilitated very well and they integratedwith the group to become part of the whole experience.One possible reason for IRO’s effectiveness and consequentlongevity is that it touches people personally at a very deep level. It letsyou be yourself. There’s no rigidity, so the programme can adapt to providewhatever people want from it. You could run it with 10 different people everyweek and it would be different each time.It’s true to say that IRO changed me as a person. It made mesit up and realise that I needed to go back to work and do things differently.Overall rating * * * * * (key * =Disappointing * * * * * = excellent) Mirroring the real worldOn 1 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.