S

Scenario-based Task Analysis

An analysis performed for management and leadership tasks where steps taken are difficult to define or observe.

Schema

In learning psychology, the way in which a human processes, stores and “recreates” information coming into the brain.

Secondments

A timed work placement which can takes place either internally or externally to another organisation. Secondments are used to broaden a person’s knowledge and help them gain more experience and skills.

Seven Habits – Stephen Covey©

In 1989 Stephen R. Covey published a book that described an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he called ‘true north’ principles of character. It has since been published in many countries and has sold more than 25 million copies.

The book initially introduces the concept of a paradigm shift and change in mindset and psychologically how two people can see the same thing differently. Each chapter of the book is dedicated to one of the Habits, the first three chapters encouraging the reader to move from dependence to independence. They are:

Habit 1 – Be proactive,
Habit 2 – Begin with the End in mind,
Habit 3 – Put First Things First.

The next three Habits relate to interdependence (working with others)
Habit 4 – Think Win-Win,
Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, then be Understood,
Habit 6 – Synergise.

The final Habit relates to self-rejuvenation
Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw.

Shadowing

A learning technique used whereby a more experienced or knowledgeable individual allows someone with less experience/knowledge to observe and/or participate in their daily tasks by following and observing them in action and as a result developing the individual skills and building confidence. Pairing up an individual with a peer or colleague whose skill or knowledge is greater in an area they require development, this allows real time on the job development.

Simulation

Any representation or imitation of what the reality is. Often used to simulate a strategy or situation such as problem solving, participants are given a scenario/s that enables them to take on role/s and tasks to deliver a series of objectives. There actions and performance is observed and analysed to give them feedback of their performance. It provides a safe environment to use practical real life skills and is especially valuable in situations where an error or mistake could be dangerous or costly to an organisation.

Six Sigma

This management strategy originated in 1986 when Motorola were driven toward reducing defects and they saw this could be achieved by minimising the variation in production processes, it was also used by General Electric in 1995 as part of their business strategy, one of the most famous users of Six Sigma is Toyota. Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying the causes of errors/defects and minimising the varying standards of manufacturing and business processes. It is in fact delivered through a series of quality management methods and by developing individuals into experts in the methods within the organisation, they are known as Black Belts, Green Belts etc. Each project that is taken through Six Sigma follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified financial targets (cost reduction/increased profit). One of the tried and tested effective project processes used in Six Sigma is DMAIC (see DMAIC).

Skill

The ability to perform an activity that contributes to the effective performance of a task.

Skills Matrix

A method of analysing team or departmental learning requirements by comparing business requirements alongside the names of team members to illustrate competence against the range of required technical and soft skills. As each member attains a suitable level of proficiency they can be ‘ticked off’ against each of the skills.

Soft Skills

As opposed to hard skills. They are business skills more related to competencies rather than skills, not of a technical nature, examples of this would interpersonal skills, decision making and coaching.

Stakeholders

Parties involved in an initiative or activity with a meaningful interest in its outcome.

Step change

An observable difference that has taken place in a non-continuous way (i.e. as a direct result of a learning/training).

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)

A tool used for assessing a situation relating to a person, team, department or organisation. By asking and recording what the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are of the point in question, you will gain a wider view on the areas that require strengthening, removing, changing and building on. It is an excellent team activity for those participating to make a valuable contribution, is also looks at a situation from different perspectives.