Bob Dick, Action Research Expert – InnovaBuzz 236
Bob Dick, Action Research Expert
In this episode, I’m really excited to have as my guest, Bob Dick, who is an expert in Action Research methodology and Action Learning methodology. Bob is a scholar, an educator, a facilitator, a coach, and a change consultant.
Bob’s early training was as an experimental psychologist. He discovered the Action Research methodology almost by accident as he tells us on the conversation, and had developed it in his own style into a highly effective approach to both change management and learning. Bob’s focus is on consultancy and facilitation work that’s stimulating, worthwhile, and helps to make the world a better place. He very much prefers highly participative teams, with wide involvement of those people who have a stake in what’s happening.
In our discussion, Bob talked to me about:
- What Action Learning and Action Research is and how it relates to continuous improvement
- Why it’s important to focus on who are your clients, what are their expectations and what are the expected outcomes
- The process is important AND so too are the people to people relationships
Annette Koy and Cameron Fee on episode 204 introduced us to Bob.
Listen to the podcast to find out more.
Listen to the PodcastAction Research researches WITH people and NOT ON people. It is highly participative. @BobD35 on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet
Show Notes from this episode with Bob Dick, Action Research Expert
Key points and takeaways from this episode include:
- Action Research means being responsive to the situation as it is, being open to the unexpected, and responding to it in a constructive way. It’s a cycle that alternates between how you look at what’s happening and trying to figure out the path forward.
- Action Research researches WITH people and NOT ON people. It is highly participative.
- Action Research is a research methodology and change methodology in one process.
- A democratic process doesn’t just happen. There’s a whole lot of things that you have to do to invite people into a partnership with you and work on their expectations and your own so that your expectations and theirs are aligned with each other.
- Action Research invests a lot of effort into finding out who the clients are and who the direct stakeholders are, and what their expectations are, in a way that builds the relationship between them.
- A person to person relationship creates a more open and honest relationship where both parties are willing to take people on trust and see where things are going rather than getting anxious if they see a bit of something that is unexpected.
- Always aim for continuous improvement.
- Action Learning focuses on small project teams that are given a set of individual tasks or a collective team task.
- Action research is all about deciding what your goals are and figuring out what may be the track that will take you in that direction. It allows you to develop more specific goals through trial and error as you perceive it.
- You don’t really need a goal if you have a problem or situation that is enough to get you going. There are a number of things that, if done at the start can help things go a lot better.
- Encourage your team to work participatively with all of the other stakeholders in whatever they are working on.
- Encourage conscious problem-solving and decision making amongst your team.
- Stakeholder analysis is the practice of adequately consulting, informing, and involving the people who have the most direct stake in what you are about to do. Getting the stakeholders involved in the decisions to be made is an important piece of both Action Research and Action Learning.
- Dealing with somebody who is not performing on your team has to be done through negotiation. It is all about going on a joint journey with that person through negotiation and giving that person an equal voice on how he can go about improving his job.
- Performance management is not something that you do at the end of each year or every six months. It is something that you should do day by day.
The Buzz – Our Innovation Round
Here are Bob’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Listen to the interview to get the full scoop.
- #1 thing to be more innovative – Be who you are. Do not try to be somebody that you are not. Understand your strengths and weaknesses, and look for ways to make those an asset.
- Best thing for new ideas –Action Research attitude – continuous improvement.
- Favourite tool for innovation – Google Scholar, Convergent interviewing – a research technique of not only collecting information in an interview but also making sense of the information that is collected.
- Keep project / client on track – Making it their responsibility and not mine.
- Differentiate – Be delighted in doing things that are close to but not beyond the border of where your present skills and experiences might be.
To Be a Leader
Keep looking for opportunities to share your leadership with others.
You can reach out and thank Bob through his website.
Bob suggested I interview Cathryn Lloyd of Maverick Minds. So Cathryn, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of Bob Dick.
Cool things about Bob
- He has supervised, co-supervised and examined a substantial number of theses at honours, masters and doctoral levels since the mid-1970s.
- He has successfully completed doctoral studies comprising a DLitt by explication, with International Management Centres Australia.
- He was a series editor of Action Research Case Studies, a refereed monograph, and an associate editor for the ALAR journal, the official journal of the Action Research, Action Learning Association.