Part 1: Calm on the net
March 2020 is etched on the minds of many in the UK. For the Mission Performance team, it was pivotal in defining if and how we survived COVID.
'Calm on the net' was a phrase and state of mind we had learnt in the Royal Marines. Outwardly calm, projecting confidence and presence of mind were key traits all Royal Marines had to develop from day 1. We took these lessons into the first few months of the Pandemic.
Until March 2020, our delivery was predominantly face to face and Global, so we were hit with a double whammy. We lost a significant amount of work immediately. The Mission Performance team was spread between 5different locations, and we were in the grip.
Borrowing another mantra from the Royal Marines, we had to be the first to adapt, respond and overcome. This mindset was vital, and we had to challenge every aspect of our method.
We had to adapt and change quickly. Porting our face to face portfolio to a virtual methodology was not as simple as putting together some slides and stringing together a series of ZOOM calls to deliver it.
We quickly realised that the outcomes we achieved through face to face delivery would require double the amount of design and thought to deliver a fraction of the outcomes we would typically achieve through in-room delivery.
Our communications team, led by Matt Burgess set to work on transforming our communications portfolio. Gerry de Vries did the same for our Minimise Risk programs, and Justin Featherstone MC converted our leadership portfolio.
We retained and ported several core programs to a virtual format in those early months and even won some new business.
We boiled down our content to the 'essence of the essence' as Justin Featherstone MC coined it and structured the learning over a more extended period.
Part 2: Style and Units of Learning
We began to build all future programs on a foundation stone of three delivery units. The first of these units was a Teaching Unit. For these Units, we would deliver essential theory linked to a specific need and context. We would call these high leverage moments that mattered to individual and organisational performance.
We would then link each Teaching Unit to a Coaching Unit. The Coaching Units provided a safe space to discuss applications and refine understanding. Typically they would be delivered ten days to 2 weeks apart. These sessions included peer to peer coaching and were very much facilitated discussions.
The Sharing Units would close out each learning pathway with individuals sharing their best practices across the cohort/s. These units proved invaluable and demonstrated how far we had all come, learners and facilitators alike, in shifting to a new learning methodology.
This method would increasingly mean multiple linked modules focused upon a particular set of summary outcomes of a Performance Pathway as they were to become known. We became adept at translation and uploading resources in multiple formats. Modern Mandarin toThai were just two of the languages we had to embrace to ensure a consistently high level of engagement for our learners.
The first program designed in this format came from ourCommunications Pillar. We worked efficiently, producing a high-quality version of our Presentation Class called Shine Online. This program enabled our clients to own their virtual environment through the professional setup and audience engagement.
Part 3: Self-Paced Learning
We learnt the difference between self-directed and self-paced learning through our partnership with our chosen learning platform provider Promoteint.
Selected over several providers for its simplicity, its underpinning learning philosophy and value for money, we began to transfer and set up bespoke learning pathways for our clients.
Self-Paced learning encourages learners to move through scheduled programs at their own pace but mandates that they converge on group calls to share their experiences and gain additional insight for their next learning phase. Typically scheduled over 3-6 months, this method has several advantages.
We are 18 months into the Pandemic. The endemic phase is close.We are beginning to deliver back in the room with Global travel and delivery dates scheduled for the Spring.
We will now take our self-paced methodology and combine it with the best of our in-room delivery. This combination will mean better experiences for our learners and improved performance.
Part 4: Sustainability begins at home
We had time to reflect and time to shape our offer during COVID. We applied for and completed our B Corporation accreditation in the Spring of 2021. A 12 month+ journey that rightly stretched our relationship with sustainability.
Our three-year journey began in the Spring; as with each accreditation, you are given an improvement report to improve your score before your next assessment. We are busy working on our findings supported by B Corp UK.
Part 5: Accredit your experience
Mention the C-word in some organisations, and you are shown the door. Coaching for Mission Performance has never been about collecting qualifications but instead accrediting real work experience and making it accessible to all.
During COVID, we became an EQA centre with EMCC Global. Our exclusively Virtual accreditation program designed and delivered by Mission's Tom Battye has just accredited the second cohort of Coach Practitioners over eight weeks with 30 hours of accredited learning and reflection.
To stay connected as an extended team, we ran the first program for our internal teams. 30 + fresh-faced Mission Performance practitioners gained their accreditation in the summer of 2020.
This was a highlight for all of us and demonstrated the power of connection.
Part 6: Stay connected
We began working (for free) with the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce during lockdown 1. We helped CEO Ross McNally and his team stay connected to new and existing members of the Chamber through a series of topical panel discussions.
Chaired by me and supported by Bob Allen, we must have reached thousands of people searching for answers and the inspiration that comes from meeting other human beings.
This series and strong partnership continue between our two organisations. It remains a highlight for me and demonstrates the power of connection and Action Learning to solve various issues.
We are excited about the future.
Personal losses for all of us should serve to inspire us to set and pursue the goals we have put off for too long.
Set some audacious goals and get after them.