Using data to identify the impact of Southern Rail industrial action

I, like many others, have been affected by the ongoing industrial dispute over Driver Only Operation (DOO) on Southern Railways. On some days this amounts to delayed or cancelled trains with extended journey times and the inconvenience of standing all the way into London and on others, like today, strikes leave no viable way of getting to work in London at all. There have been many attempts to measure and demonstrate the impact of the industrial action such as the use of the #todayimissed hashtag on Twitter (see below), a recent passenger survey conducted by The Association of British Commuters and even a tongue-in-cheek video game. »

Standardisation in the Enterprise

In enterprises there is often a strong desire to standardise. The reasoning is simple: if we are all doing things the same way, using the same technology, then we can simplify our operations, benefit from economies of scale and make our people more fungible. So by extension, not standardising means duplicated effort, resources and expenditure. But are things really this clear cut? Perhaps we should begin by thinking about the meaning of the word standardisation and understanding the alternatives. »

Remote pair programming

During a previous job I spent a lot of time working with delivery teams on other continents, helping them develop software. I was lucky enough to visit them on several occassions for a week at a time, and whilst I was there made lots of progress working with the on-site developers. Unfortunatley I was not able to stay on-site for the duration of the project and so needed to find other ways of collaborating with the teams remotely from back in the UK. »

Socratic questions

In my last blog post, I looked at situational leadership and how different influencing styles and techniques can be effective in different contexts with people at different levels of maturity. ‘Push’ (directive) influencing techniques are more focused on “telling” whereas ‘Pull’ (non-directive) techniques tend to involve the use of questions and reflection to guide. One particular technique involving the use of questions to influence in this way is Socratic questioning. »

Leadership styles

Traditionally people used to think leadership was an inherent quality and that individuals have their own distinct leadership style. In practice, each style has its own strengths and weaknesses, situations where it excels and others where it is less effective. Therefore, whilst it is natural to have a preferred style that one feels most comfortable with, a good leader should be able to adapt their style depending upon the situation or context, the team or individual being influenced and the task at hand. »