Strengths Based

Strengths Based Development

Development Theme

Fast growth, more locations, more diversity through international students and colleagues, transformation from an educational institute to an (open) knowledge institute, the introduction of research-based learning, lecturer-researchers increasingly taking on the role of coaches: all of these changes place considerable demands on the organisation. The Strengths-Based Development thematic team looked into the development of organisation and colleagues.

Thematic team leader Bartosz Paszkowski: “How can we make our organisation and colleagues flourish in this context? We started our work with a standard project plan, but it quickly became apparent that this working method did not suit us. We therefore deliberately chose to first take the time to think carefully. To reflect on what colleagues really consider important and where we could make a difference, as a thematic team. We then started to collect that information through interviews and brainstorming sessions.”

Highlights of our efforts:

Mapping the learning landscape

“What tools can colleagues use for their development, how do they utilise them and how do they experience the process? Can this be improved upon and made easier? We mapped the learning landscape and developed overview maps that support the quest for development. By zooming in on the range of training programmes, your personal ambition, role and development path, you can more effectively engage in a discussion about your development with our People Managers. Linking insight into the learning landscape with developments inside and outside Fontys creates valuable input for strategic policy.”

The power of informal

“During our exploration, we also found that in personal development, the informal flow is incredibly important and valuable. Colleagues (un)intentionally get together to exchange stories, look at each other’s approaches and learn from the other’s experiences. Therein lies a special and practical strength. We soon came to the conclusion that we should facilitate these informal networks much more, by making them visible and giving them a place. For example, a rose garden was set up at location R10 by several colleagues. A place to meet informally and reflect on work, one’s profession and personal development. That turned out to be a hit.”

Conditions for growth

“We realise that the achievements of our thematic team can be difficult to quantify. We are moving towards an open network organisation and we have noticed that the stories colleagues share with us and each other have changed. I consider that a great sign of development. Looking to the future, our advice is to continue to focus on good support, space for reflection, room to allow for making mistakes, informal contact and activities with no obligation to achieve results. By doing so, you contribute to an open atmosphere in which people dare to be vulnerable, all of which are crucial conditions for growth.”

Project Manager
Bartosz Paszkowski