Had the first session of the Travel Weekly summer school today.
It went really well – I led a session that lasted one hour and in it I outlined the way the media is changing and how this is changing the way journalists work.
The session was between midday and 1pm and I did not provide lunch. Not the best time of day but it worked.
I started the session with a task: two post it notes per delegate and on it they had to write a) how the media is changing and b) the core skills of a journalists that haven't really changed over time.
This got energy levels up and the team thinking about the issues I was due to talk about.
I then lectured for the rest of the time – I had two Powerpoint presentations. One was on how the media is changing, the other on how journalists are changing the way they work.
Although I was lecturing we did stop along the way to discuss points and members of the team did ask questions and throw in their points of view.
I felt we achieved a lot in a short space of time and many of the team told me afterwards that they thought it was a good session. I am pleased we took the time to take a step back from what we do and look at how evertyhing is changing.
During the session I said that I wanted us to start talking about the issues raised when we got back to the office – I did not want to spend a long time discussing them in the session as we only had one hour. In any case the working environment is where change is happening and that is where we need to have this dialogue.
The plan worked: when I returned to the office, two colleagues were discussing how to promote their blogs. One even said she wanted to review the way she worked so her blog was central to her workflow. The penny is dropping!
A key point to come out of it for me was that our journalists want to know how to manage their time and how to deliver content, when and why.
This is a crucial takeaway for me as I will need to demonstrate how to do this and do it well. There is a desire to do things differently – now we the leaders need to make it happen.
My key message was that many of the journalist's core skills have not changed but the way we use them has and is all the time. Therefore we all need to monitor these changes, understand them, use them and have the right attitude – to explore new ways of working and constantly ask: 'What is the best way of doing this?'
I think today went some way to telling the team:
- We are changing the way we work and team members need to take responsibility for understanding this
- That senior managers understand so much change can be overwhelming
- That open dialogue and sharing information amongst the team is how we have to work from now on
- That we are creating a learning environment – one where it is ok to ask questions and try things out.
Hopefully this will go some way to removing some of the fears and anxieties that surround the changing way we work. We shall see.