MiL Institute is a values-driven organisation where a humanistic view of human beings, an action-oriented approach to change and development and multi-facetted perspectives on leadership and learning form a vital platform. Together with the specific circumstances of the situation, this platform provides the starting point for how activities and assignments are designed, organised and run by MiL.
Development requires that differences be respectfully confronted. Trust built on mutuality is far superior to one-sided control. Shared ownership of ideas and projects provides meaning that in turn releases enthusiasm and creativity, which in its turn creates quality and efficiency. All of this can be strengthened with various interventions and at MiL we have a lot of different methods and tools to achieve precisely this. The focus here, however, is on ideas, values and frame of references.
A humanistic view of human beings
We believe that people contributes productively to the success of their organisation – as long as they are taken seriously and offered opportunities to participate in setting targets, reviewing the progress and learning in the process.
Everyone is responsible for his or her choices. Each leader has a responsibility to develop their own theories and ideas – for example about good leadership – and must see to their own personal development. In addition to this each person is also answerable to other people and the world at large.
We regard the participants in an intervention as whole persons who share with all of themselves - as human beings and as professionals, as functional specialists and as managers, strategists and leaders.
Our view of leadership
We believe that leadership is first and foremost based on well thought through values and frames of reference – not an instrumental technique. Leadership is created in collaboration with others. Successful leadership is built on action and reflection. Through being sensitive to the requirements and opportunities of the situation, we do the right things in the right way and at the right time.
This is a matter of personal maturity and development – learning – to a far greater degree than merely adopting the latest management models. Tools like those have their uses, but the most important foundation for good leadership is the ability to understand where people are coming from, and what the operations and business need. Build your own personal ideas about leadership and management as well as develop your own models and tools. The successful leader is always learning.
Leadership and learning
Leadership and learning are two sides of the same process, a process that is to a great extent about respect for our own and others’ needs, requirements and knowledge. A process that is characterised by a lively sense of curiosity engaged in research and experimentation.
Leadership must be learnt, and learning needs to be lead – in the sense of stimulated and supported, occasionally even structured and challenged. To learn about leadership and to lead the learning process is amongst the most important things a manager can do. It is the most direct and sustainable route to achieving the results – both financial and otherwise – that are expected of a leader position. At the same time as people develop and meaning in the workplace increases.
Our philosophy of learning – Action Reflection Learning®
People learn from practical, real life situations more than in any other way. There is nothing more effective for personal learning than oneself getting to grips with and being responsible for sorting out a concrete dilemma. We learn infinitely more from putting our own words on what we do than from what we hear others talk about. The point with ARL, Action Reflection Learning, is to acquire an attitude towards and method for “thinking and cogitating” upon your own concrete experiences and attempt to draw conclusions that can be carried forward into new situations. ARL is to experience, reflect upon and generalise from, that is to say three phases of one common process:
Act, take initiative, dare to experiment, push the limits of your own abilities and train yourself doing things in new ways. (Action)
Reflect, try to understand what is really happening, change perspective, find ways to pause and dare to make a critical review of your established patterns. (Reflection)
Put into words, that is to say formulate your newly-acquired knowledge in general terms or models, connect them to research and theoretical knowledge as well as transfer your understanding to new situations and your daily work. Here it’s also a matter of the silent knowledge that experience brings being transformed into conscious rules of behaviour – or even theories – for the individual, the group or the organisation. (Learning)
Of course one should listen to others during this process, both those directly involved in the situation as well as external experts and researchers who may have something to contribute. Yet without under-appreciating your own ability to interpret the situation, and with the help of your own judgement, intuition and analytical powers reach the best course of action – and still have energy left to see through changes as well.
ARL is both a learning philosophy and a well-proved method that is internationally recognised and implemented; at MiL Institute we have 40 years’ experience of working with ARL in all sorts of different assignments and circumstances. It has become clear that it works as a starting point for considerably more than the designing of development programs. As a complement we also frequently work with Self Managed Learning, SML – an educational form with similar starting points.