Friday, November 10, 2006

Dem Bones, Dem Bones

The other evening we held a dinner at the College. It was open all the participants from the intake that should now be working on the final part of their MBA, the dissertation. This was actually the third such meal since I joined the College, and has become a regular 'extra' and a great way for people to connect with their classmates, tutors and staff.

About 20 people attend. The College Principal, Chris Bones, is very keen on these kind of meetings with stakeholders, and joined us in our private dining room, acting also as after-dinner speaker. Now Chris is both an experienced HR practitioner and practiced (one might say well-oiled, but would suggest the influence of alcohol, which was certainly not the case) speaker, so audiences enjoy listening to him. At this event, Chris started - as he usually does - by stating what for him makes Henley special and what are the things which we hold as being important in learning about management. A keen historian, this is very much grounded in the philosophy of Henley's founders. Chris also mentioned a number of more off-beat things, such as the management philosophy as contained in one of the Harry Potter books.

Chris normally stops somewhere there, perhaps with a rallying cry to work hard and finish in time to graduate. On this occasion, he carried on and began to take questions and that is when it got really interesting because you could begin to see the depth of his thinking and the breadth of his experience. What caught my interest was what I perceived to be the interaction from the students that drew out his knowledge, much of it in the form of anecdotes. One wonders whether a model could be developed to see if there is a good way to extract knowledge and experience in a more efficient way...


Jane said...

Storytelling taps into those old feelings of comfort when sitting at mothers knee or round a camp fire sharing experiences. It's like chocolate for the brain, and that makes it a powerful thing.
You might find Steve Dennings web site interesting

Chris Dalton said...

Thanks, Jane.
I'd like to find out exactly how storytelling works on more than the superficial level of the storyline itself. I also think it's interesting that there seems to be a much clearer recall of certain stories than others.