One year creating more together than anyone could do alone

Wow, so that was a year. What a year. It’s been the most exciting, challenging, educational, mile-busting and, above all, the most inspiring year of my life.

Some of the NoTosh Team at the NoTosh Mosh in Melbourne, with colleagues joining in on video phones.

And that includes heading to University and undertaking the challenge of the Scottish Qualification for Headship.

I should make it clear I am talking about joining NoTosh. NoTosh is an amazing group of people around the world who care passionately about getting to the very bottom of an organisation’s challenges, together with the people in that organisation. This rarely ends up being the same problem that clients thought they had. We then support them to make things better, much better. Making those changes faster and deeper than they thought possible.

If I am honest, I really didn’t fully understand what NoTosh did before I started. I thought I did. Ewan gives amazing keynotes and challenging talks, but that is the front-facing part of NoTosh. My experience of using consultants was bringing in people from outside to tell you what to do, or sometimes bringing people in to tell them what you wanted. And they did it.

This idea of bringing someone in to work through your biggest headaches and then work with the staff to make the changes required seemed strange to me. It seems strange to lots of people and can be difficult to explain, but when it’s used it makes a huge difference. I have seen schools spending time digging into finding what their biggest problems are, using NoTosh tools and challenging the staff. Then the school actually owns the problem… and I mean the deep problem, not the superficial issues that are usually caused by the real organisational challenge lurking under the surface. We help them solve the fundamental problem, and then the team see other problems reduce or disappear.

The amazing people working around the world for NoTosh bring an energy, passion and fun that I have not seen elsewhere, though we have our challenges: with three people in Australia, one in New York and four (sometimes more) of us around Edinburgh, it certainly makes an interesting challenge scheduling team meetings.

I have been to fifteen countries and worked with a large range of people in organisations. This has been face-to-face but also online. I have used my coaching skills and experience to coach teachers and school leaders in achieving what they want to do. Lots of this has been in Australia: lots of early starts on the video call but always so rewarding and I can keep my pyjama bottoms on too.

The range of NoTosh’s clients has been one of the big surprises. From the large multinationals to the smallest primary school, pupils as well as double-PhD engineers, all looking for how they can innovate and push themselves to get better. They own the changes that come about and we support them with challenge and a lot of fun.

My own challenge is to develop a much more significant impact back home, in the UK, and particularly in Scotland. We are an Edinburgh-based, global company yet at the moment we have one client in Scotland. That’s right. One. Look out for what we are producing for A&DS in learning spaces and school design. But we want to do more.

We can help classes, groups, schools, umbrella organisations, Local Authorities, regions, countries, governments, or multinationals to dig into challenges they didn’t even know were there, and the ones that bug them every day. We’ll teach you how to harness NoTosh Design Thinking, and help you design your own way to a new way working.

If you are attending the Scottish Learning Festival (SLF) then get in touch. Find out what we do and how we can help your school or organisation. Not at the SLF? Then let’s arrange a meeting and talk about how we, all the team no matter where in the world we are, can help you, your school or any other type of organisation.