A Yule Blog

Playing to our strengths…then playing pretty strongly!

As the year draws to a festive close and a very merry Christmastime tiptoes up upon us, some may find themselves in a reflective, contemplative place: ‘How’, they may ask themselves, ‘has the past year gone?’ What’s gone well and what…might’ve been done a little differently? What shall we change for next year and what shall we build upon, to match and surpass our myriad achievements-to-date?’

Latching onto these somewhat navel-gazing and certainly overwritten sentiments, rife, at least, within the King’s Online Blog, this December the KO leadership team forcibly lashed a team away-day onto our annual end-of-year extravaganza; pairing an enlightening and engaging ‘Gallup Strengths-Finder’ morning with an entertaining and…shall we say…‘lively’ Christmas lunch. This all took place at the excellent Wallacespace buildings, right at the heart of London’s fashionable Covent Garden.

As a team, it turns out that we’re a particularly strategic bunch, outscoring lawyers, consultants and other university teams in this regard by a country mile. ‘Execution’ and ‘relationship building’ skills are also relatively well spread out throughout the different groups within King’s Online. ‘Influencing’, however, was an area we shied away from a little – explaining, perhaps, why this blog is yet to go massively ‘viral’.

Firstly, individuals within the wider team were randomly paired up, and ‘top five’ strengths were compared and contrasted. Then our functional/leadership teams were brought together, to highlight particular areas of strength within each group – as well as those areas where capabilities might be lacking (which must, of course, also be highlighted, even at Christmas).

Lastly, the rule was run over the team as a whole, before we were released downstairs for a wonderful lunch and much-needed drinks of a sparkling nature. Gifts of markedly varying quality were exchanged to various amounts of excitement, and much merry was generally made.

Janek Secret Santa

Sometimes, ’tis better to give than to receive…

Tom Secret Santaespecially at a King’s Online secret Santa!

Assorted arenas of libation were then frequented and…and now one’s memory gets a wee bit hazier, details slipping from one’s mind like gravy through the prongs of a well-laden fork. Fortunately, the lessons learned from our Strengths-Finder training will be notably more permanent, and will perhaps shape King’s Online’s strategies and approaches throughout what should be a fantastic and exciting 2018.

And now, what is there to do but wish you all a very merry Christmas and an equally happy new year! We’ll see you all in 2018, no doubt with more tip-top behind-the-scenes ed-tech insight and gossip, more overlong and over adverb-ed sentences, and (hopefully) more very good news from King’s Online towers! Feliz Navidad!

The King’s Online Blog

Tom Christmas

 

King’s Online & ‘agile working’

Both for expanding units such as King’s Online, and for the humble spider crab of recent Blue Planet II fame, sometimes physical ‘growth’ can prove a little bit tricky…

BBC crabsHot-desking spider crabs: almost as numerous as tech start-ups

 While swiftly developing start-ups seldom need to resort to massing together on the ocean floor, shedding their tight, spiked shells while avoiding giant stingrays, growth in size without corresponding growth in space can present comparable, if less briny, difficulties. Market-leading online courses, for example, cannot be created without real-world infrastructure – yet what does one do when one’s team is expanding ‘too quickly’?

To seek out innovative solutions to this happy problem, the whole King’s Online team congregated recently at Bush House, to attend an invaluable ‘agile working workshop’. Here, experienced change managers – fresh from working on successful projects right across King’s College London – organised group discussions and shared insights from numerous different sectors, all of which had faced similar space-related challenges.

‘Flexible or agile working’ as a concept has moved from industry to industry and sector to sector over the past years, and it was great to learn of the various methodologies and protocols adopted by a medley of organisations. Even government offices and public sector bodies – not always the most flexible-minded of groups – are looking to lead the way here! Be it through remote working, hot-desking, or technology-based solutions, teams, companies and organisations all over the world are becoming more flexible in their working patterns.

To that end, as a collective we have pulled together a whole host of our own ‘King’s Online’ protocols, to help us navigate the upcoming challenges of 2018 and ensure that next year is even more successful than the last. A quartet of ‘champions’ have been appointed to help implement these new ideas, and new and fabulous equipment will be shipping its way across to the team to help make these agile working dreams a reality! With mutual trust and our usual professionalism very much central to these new endeavors, we at King’s Online are quite certain that what once were seen as difficult challenges will turn out to be excellent opportunities!

George & Moia hard at workSome flexible working at its most agile in the King’s Online office