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January 16, 2008

More years ago than I care to remember I moved from being a decision support consultant, to managing a business unit for the first time in my life a company called Datasolve. That became a part of Data Sciences which in turn was taken over by IBM as the kernel of what became IBM Global Services.

I had to build the staff of said Business Unit more of less from scratch with little or no practical experience of management and all the cockiness of a newly minted MBA. In order to do this I set up a six monthly process in which I took the whole team away for a long weekend. We stayed in holiday cottages and I cooked breakfast for the masses and we used a local pub for meals. Over the weekend we did something together, walking in the Yorkshire Dales, pony trekking on Dartmoor , canoeing in the Severn or the like. Anything that was fun and ended up with people wet and dirty in the narrative rich environment of the pub. The Monday and Tuesday was spent looking at what we had done, what we needed to do and how things were working out in general.

When I first started to put the process together I worked closely with Julia Green (now Julia Evans), then training manager. I learnt a huge amount in the process. Both practically and intellectually she introduced me to a body of knowledge which became key to the development of the ideas that became Cognitive Edge. She also introduced me to Lacan, and I still rely on her to interpret his thinking. Now a practicing psychoanalyst she is active in the campaign to prevent the UK Government mandating happiness programmes, the subject of my blog last November. I know her posts are going to be fascinating and I strongly recommend them. I also suggest using the comments field to ask for elaboration of some of the points she makes and language she uses. I have always found that process valuable.

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