Advice Process Learning Group

Our way of learning and improving the Advice Process

Advice Process Learning Group

Using the Advice Process requires changes in behaviour and culture, and thus needs a little help to keep things moving along! We’ve found it useful to have a small group (2-4 people) focused on advocating and advancing usage of the AP. We call this the AP Learning Group. Each Business Unit that runs the AP is encouraged to have its own Learning Group, as well as a global group with representatives from across the regions.

Who’s in the group?

Groups are managed locally – so contact your BUL to find out who is on your local group. The global group group is currently composed of: Dave Hewett, Thomas Granier, Lyndsay Prewer and Chris Cobb.

We intend to add/rotate more people into the Learning Group in future. If you have any questions and/or wish to take part, please contact your BUL or one of the names above. The main criterion for joining the AP Learning Group is a passion to drive the Advice Process forward.

Why’s the Learning Group needed?

We want to actively learn from the process, and learn from our mistakes. This is the first and main role of this group – to collect practical knowledge about the Advice Process so we can get better at it. Based on what we learn, we will seek to improve how we use the Advice Process at EE (we understand that the Advice Process is initially confusing for many, and feels unnatural to most – especially those used to top-down decision making!).

We meet at regular intervals to debate what’s working and what isn't, based on all the decisions going through the Advice Process.

Rest assured, we’re not looking to catch out people who are “doing it wrong”; we just aim to identify emerging good practices that we can share with everyone.

We’ll also use our learning to rollout better training for the Advice Process in due course. We really want to provide more comprehensive training around the Advice Process, but we need to better understand the user journey before we can do it properly.

So far, we’ve made good progress on how to explain the journey up to making a decision. We now need to learn more around what’s happening after the initial decision. In time, governance, feedback and learning from our decisions will improve the collective knowledge of the organisation.

Coaching people through the Advice Process

We appreciate that completing the advice process can feel like a daunting experience. The second role of the Learning Group is to act as a sounding board – we want to help everyone understand how, when and why they should use it (this playbook is just one aspect of that).

The people in the AP Learning Group will happily volunteer their time to coach anyone through the advice process, if they feel they would benefit from some support.

Coaching does not extend to executing on the decision, but it means you’ll have someone to ask questions while you go through the process. Asking for coaching is entirely optional, and up to the individual submitting the process.

Some example reasons why you might want to ask for some coaching:

  • If you aren't sure who to ask for advice on the decision;

  • If you aren't sure whether something should be an advice process or not;

  • You want help on how best to use the Google Doc proposal template;

  • You want help thinking about how to measure the results of the decision.

It’s important to understand we are all learning about this together - we do not have all the answers - sometimes our coaching could be leading you down the wrong path, feel free to disregard it!

What the Learning Group is not

  • A crutch – we don’t want to hand-hold people, just help them get on with it

  • A secret trove of knowledge – we don’t want to hoard information. If you have a question, put it on the #ap-decisions Slack channel so we can answer it for everyone to see. If you’d rather speak privately first, please take the time to write up what you learn on Slack afterwards. We will try to disseminate info as much as possible, but if you help it’s going to be more effective.

  • A conflict resolution board. Even if we are happy to discuss issues, the purpose of this group is not to resolve conflict.

  • A judging panel. We’re not looking to catch out people who are “doing it wrong”, we’re seeking emerging good practices to improve the process.

Learning for the long term

We want to stress that the Advice Process is not a fad; we’re not doing this just because Thomas read "Reinventing Organisations" a year ago. While it’s no panacea and might even be replaced by something else eventually, at this point we believe the Advice Process is an important way to help all of us learn how to make decisions in an alternative way to the traditional top down model. We need to learn this not just as individuals but also as an entire organisation.

This learning is a key step as we evolve towards self-management, which is a key part of our long term strategy.