The affiliation with Sandals Resorts International in the Caribbean has enabled GULL to establish a presence in the workplace and the longer-term objective is to cascade the GULL action learning system much more widely to communities throughout the region. This process has started in Jamaica where a number of service industry professionals have committed to serve as cascade leaders for the workplace and the wider community. Typically, they are mature experienced leaders who are keen to renew their own learning and use the GULL professional Master and Doctor pathways to secure personal and professional outcomes and pilot the strategic level challenge of cascade leadership in order that the GULL system can become embedded in community-based organizations. This case study profiles the work of a cascade leadership group in Jamaica and outlines their wider aspirations for the future.
Header photo by: Mvongrue
Cascading GULL in the workplace and in the community
Exclusive Holiday, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Fred J Smith is the founder and leader of one of Jamaica‟s largest travel, transport and excursion companies. Fred used his GULL journey (to Master of Management) to investigate ways of achieving significant fuel cost reductions across his entire fleet of vehicles and the impact of his work will benefit both the environment and the company‟s cost base. Together with senior manager Mary Chambers, Fred intends to cascade the GULL system to his workforce.
GULL encourages experienced action learners to cascade their experience to others and in this instance, Fred and Mary were guided by Dr Lee Bailey who is a member of GULL‟s Eldership panel.
(Left) Mary Chambers, Lee Bailey, Fred Smith and Richard Teare
Jamaica’s first GULL cascade leadership group
Reporting in „Hospitality Jamaica‟ 8 December, 2010:
(Right) “GULL President Dr Richard Teare is surrounded by graduands at the doctoral graduation ceremony held at the Wexford Hotel on 24 November. Seated from left are Joan Dove, Norma Taylor, Doreen Bernard and Pamella Powell, standing (from left) are: Joan Johnson, Cynthia Perry and Erica Kerr-DeSilva.
Narrating the learning journey, graduate Cynthia Perry said that the seven students were engaged in an action learning system where they were able to learn from each other‟ real-life issues, leaving each person more informed. “This self-directed learning culture hinges not only on reading and writing, but creating and implementing practical elements with outcomes that lead to self-actualization and empowerment.”
Self-directed action learning is powerful ...
“As a traditionalist – someone who is accustomed to taking and passing examinations – I was intrigued by the GULL process. I was especially encouraged by the diary format reflection cycle work. It gave me an opportunity to review my own life and career in a systematic way. I found it so helpful to review what I do and then to determine how I might improve. The process is both enlightening and empowering because it facilitates self-directed personal growth. It has been a remarkable journey and I have learnt a great deal from this cycle of reflection, review and improvement guided by a practical and easy to use diary format.” Joan Johnson, Retail Branch Manager
I created a career and leadership development plan
“I had some learning gaps that I wanted to address and GULL offers the best way of doing this, especially in relation to my work. It has been a most rewarding journey – my project focus was in leadership and career development and I undertook a broad-based review of developments in Jamaica and emerging patterns for the future, especially in relation to preparing young managers to assume greater responsibilities in leadership roles. The GULL diary format has I feel, strengthened my critical, reflective and creative skills and in so doing, this helped me to identify the changes in approach that I needed to make in order to be more effective at work. Furthermore, the outputs helped me to analyze the nature of the contribution I am making to my organization and the on-going learning points that will enable me to further improve and assist my staff to strengthen their skills and performance too.
My GULL doctoral journey enabled me to develop a framework that any organization could use to establish a career and leadership development plan and additionally, I have also been able to complete a book based on prior work from my Master‟s thesis. In order to do this, I focused on sharpening my own time management skills so that I could accomplish the task within the timeframe set by the publisher. GULL empowers you to make a difference in your world – whether it is in the workplace or the community. There are many people who cannot progress via a traditional approach to learning and GULL is an avenue that helps you to continue to grow. Even though I have completed, I am not stopping here – I will continue to learn and I will be an ambassador for GULL in Jamaica and beyond.” Joan Dove, Hotel Projects Renovation Manager.
I have already started to cascade GULL to my co-workers
“It took me a little while to really understand the process but I am really glad that I continued and completed. I have learnt so much from the journey – I have come to appreciate the skills and abilities of my fellow learners and I know that I have become a better person because of this and the changes that I have been able to make. As a distributor and a wellness coach, my main project was to train some of my representatives (known as „downlines‟) in wellness coaching. This was really great for me as I came to realize that I tended to be rather „professorial‟ in my approach and the project helped me to adjust my style to reflect the fact that most of my trainees had not had the opportunity to advance beyond primary or junior high school. They were so excited about this opportunity and that taught me that with enthusiasm, perseverance and commitment you really can do anything! The Lord blesses us with all sorts of gifts – we just have to open ourselves to them. I learnt to be less critical, more open to the view of others and to listen more attentively and patiently. I have also become less thin-skinned and I can accept criticism and take the positives from it. My GULL experience has been fantastic and I‟m going to continue the process with my downlines who will start at the Certificate level.” Erica Kerr-DeSilva, Counsellor and Independent Distributor.
I have changed and I’m now a more effective professional
“Having completed a Master‟s, I decided that I wanted to continue. I was initially a little sceptical about the GULL process but now that I have completed, I have discovered that this is the way to go for people who want to learn more about themselves. I have been working in management for about 20 years and I have sometimes had a problem with communication so I decided that I wanted to write a paper on the value of effective communication in the workplace. I did much research and this helped me to adjust my own approach and it has enabled me to grow and become a better professional. The interaction with team members, community workers and church groups has really helped too and these discussions have helped me to see how we might cascade GULL more widely – I know that together, we can spread the process throughout Jamaica. I encourage all who are seeking to grow and to self-actualize to get on-board with GULL and to grow with us as we strive to advance this way of learning and working for all Jamaicans.”Cynthia Perry, Regional Manager, Jamaica Tourist Board.
I have acquired new skills and motivated others
“I started the GULL professional doctorate journey because I wanted to build on my Master‟s degree and additionally, explore ways in which I might prepare some of my prior work for publication. It has been a challenging and very rewarding journey during which I was able to further develop self-confidence and acquire new skills – my ability to type quickly and accurately has for example, greatly improved. I am now relatively expert at some things that I couldn‟t do very well and my administrator (who used to help me with certain tasks) is impressed! I feel both satisfied and proud of my achievements and through the project work I undertook, I have been able to change minds and lives, motivate others and establish a development pathway that has been very successful.” Pamella Powell, Special Projects Co-ordinator, Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture
I was able to coach, to learn and glimpse the future ...
“I was curious about the nature of the process because I saw great enthusiasm in the participants and I was impressed by the honesty and the clarity of the diary work they were doing. I saw that it was helping them to break out of their routine ways of working because they were asking themselves serious and searching questions and devising solutions. All the doctoral group participants genuinely want to share the benefits that they have derived from the GULL process and I am excited by the possibilities because the Jamaican people have the capacity and the willingness to engage with this. We have a progressive population who would love to engage with a process that recognizes and certifies the acquisition of practical skills. This approach is greatly needed and I see GULL being an educational leader of the future.” Crosswell Taylor, Retired Headteacher and learning coach
We intend to cascade GULL to the communities in Jamaica
“I had completed a Master‟s degree by action learning and wanted to continue my studies with others. I recruited the first GULL doctoral group in Jamaica and we piloted a self-directed approach that fosters awareness of the possibilities for cascading the process more widely in the community and the workplace. Arising from this, my GULL experience was so different – the journey taught me many things – especially from my co-learners as we peer reviewed for each other with the support of our learning coaches and wider web of support. All this is an appropriate challenge for adult learners who can readily determine what they need to learn and how they are going to journey from point A to point B and that is what this programme has done for us. The process has made me more aware of the opportunities for learning around us, I have a better understanding of my strengths and limitations and I feel more self-confident and able to help others.
I also pay more attention now to balancing my life – I used to be at work until late at night – now I divide me time more effectively between work, my family life and my church and community involvement. We plan to build on our learning and to cascade GULL throughout Jamaica – we have started to involve others and they are very enthusiastic about the opportunity that GULL facilitates.” Norma Taylor, Meet the People Coordinator, Jamaica Tourist Board
(Video 5) Dr Norma Taylor, Facilitator of the cascade leadership group and National President, Jamaica, Global University for Lifelong Learning
How can my organization get involved?
Thank you for reading this case study. Do please think about what you can offer and how you might inspire others in your organization to get involved. Together, we can bring hope and opportunity to the many people around the world who do not have access to lifelong learning. GULL works with organizations that share our vision for universal access to learning in the workplace and in the community. If you would like to affiliate with GULL's network movement, please review the 'Affiliation' section at the GULL website - www.gullonline.org. There are no membership fees or other barriers to participation - we'd like to work with you to harness all the skills and abilities that your organization can offer in order to help others to learn, grow and develop. Please note though that GULL does not have the resources to support individual learners and it is for this reason we can only correspond with organizations via their nominated representative(s).
GULL is a not-for-profit foundation registered in California, USA. GULL is recognized by the Government of Papua New Guinea & endorsed by other Governments, Leaders & Institutions.