We know that life has dramatically changed for everyone in the last few weeks and understandably, if you’re now on furlough, you may be wondering whether this is the right time for you to complete your STAR® Manager programme.
We’re here to remind you that STAR® Manager has been designed so you can complete it anytime, anywhere, and on any device, meaning you don’t need to be at work to progress through the programme.
With just a little imagination, you can work through each STAR® Manager module and still have a fantastic learning experience that helps you grow as a manager and deliver results.
Here are 5 ways to complete STAR® Manager while on furlough
Vary your learning pattern to suit your situation
If you discover that you have more time on your hands than usual while on furlough, you may decide to complete your STAR® Manager programme in big chunks. That’s great – we love super-engaged learners and if it’s working for you, please keep going.
But if you don’t feel like you’ve got a lot of ‘extra’ time for learning because of other responsibilities you might be interested to know that just 20-30 minutes a week is enough to make good progress through the programme.
In fact, consistently doing short bursts of learning is a very good way to learn, so you mustn’t feel like you’re falling behind if you’re not spending ages on your programme every day.
Embed your learning through sharing
Even without colleagues nearby, you can still share what you have learned with the people around you.
Sharing your learning with friends, family members or other people in your social network is a good way to demonstrate how well you have absorbed new information and helps you to embed what you have learned. In the process of sharing you may hear alternative viewpoints and new perspectives that help to further deepen your learning and enrich your reflection activity. You may even inspire new thinking in the people around you.
Make full use of your video conferencing facilities
STAR® Manager uses a fascinating blend of learning methodology so at various points in the programme you will be asked to do something practical to embed your learning and generate results.
If you have access to video conferencing facilities, use them to keep in touch with people who could help you. Video is a great way to stay connected and it allows you to see people’s body language and their reactions to what you are saying or doing. If you don’t have video conferencing you can get just as good results on the telephone and via email but make sure you explicitly exercise the new skills you have learned in the same way as you would do in a face-to-face situation.
Prepare for your interactions in advance so that you have a clear picture of what you want to achieve and then take the time to reflect on what happened afterwards. You can use whatever technology is available to help you follow up, adjusting what you do as you go.
Practise on family and friends
Even on furlough, there are still ways to practise what you are learning on your STAR® Manager programme.
Your family and friends make excellent guinea pigs! You can practise in person, adhering to social distancing rules where needed, or completely remotely – there really is no barrier.
The big trick to really making this work for you is to make it about something real and which could make a difference or add value to you, your family member or friend.
When you’re in a conversation, try implementing a small change and observe how differently the conversation flows. You might be amazed by the results. If you can’t find spontaneous moments in which to practise what you have learned, arrange one. You can be open about what you are doing and even seek feedback from the other person to get a fuller picture of the outcomes.
Set practical missions that incorporate your everyday life
Instead of carrying out workplace missions, you can incorporate STAR® Manager into your everyday life by doing your missions at home. There are plenty of opportunities all around you if you look creatively at your situation. Whatever the situation, just one powerful question could be all it takes to make a lasting difference.
Here are just a few examples:
- Collaborating with your partner on a home DIY project
- Helping a friend to find a new job
- Motivating your children to do their homeschooling
- Helping parents or grandparents to keep in touch with you virtually
- Encouraging your housemates to contribute more to the chores
- Helping your friend to think differently about a situation that is getting in their way
- Volunteering creatively to support your community
- Supporting people around you to overcome boredom
- Facilitating better relationships between warring siblings
- Looking for new opportunities to save or make money at home
- Generating supportive networks through social media
- Helping an acquaintance to re-imagine their business
- Communicating with a partner about the best ways to get the most out of your time in lockdown
However, if you really want to set a mission that is very ‘work specific’ and cannot be completed at home, don’t let that be a barrier to your progress. Use your learning logs to create an action plan giving a detailed account of the mission you will undertake as soon as the opportunity arises and then revisit your learning when you are back at work.
Remember, STAR® Manager was on your personal development agenda prior to being furloughed for a good reason and there really is no advantage in putting your progress in jeopardy by pausing your programme.
You won’t lose out on any of the quality of learning by completing STAR® Manager on furlough. In fact, learning on furlough gives you the time to really reflect on your behaviour as a manager and focus on what needs to happen in order for you to generate far better results.
This is a huge (potentially once in a lifetime) opportunity to reflect, learn and grow without the constant day-to-day distractions and demands of your day job. It’s something positive for you to focus on while on furlough and a great way to generate a multitude of benefits for yourself and the people around you. If you complete your STAR® Manager programme while on furlough, you will return to work better equipped, better engaged and more ready than ever for the challenges ahead.
Feeling inspired? Log on to your STAR® Manager programme now.