You are:

Going Beyond Blog of Learning Opportunities

This blog is a place to share the learning opportunities through Going Beyond, our Communities of Practice education programme.  You can request to join a Community of Practice here:

 Displaying posts 1 - 4 of 4

  • Understanding VUCA

    Author: Luke ChesterPosted: 19 May 2021

    Understanding VUCA - As we emerge from a global pandemic, we are left with a whole set of ‘unknowns’ that will permanently affect the social, political, economic, and technologically landscape. The ‘new normal’ will be the way we operate now, but what is it? Does anyone know? Has anyone got a plan for it?

    If you are feeling a tad overwhelmed by it all, take stock in the fact that it’s nothing new... it’s something we’ve been dealing with for at least the last 50-60yrs. It’s just that it’s speeding up – this ‘new normal’ is called VUCA.

    The US military first coined the term at the end of the cold war to describe the lack of clarity they were facing - Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. This is something we recognise only too well in the transport and travel sector.

    The series we are running on VUCA isn’t designed to eliminate VUCA because you can’t, and it’s here to stay. Still, the workshops and facilitated discussion groups will help increase your understanding and awareness of the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity that you are facing and help you think about strategies and approaches to help you cope and navigate them.

    Come and join us and become part of a proactive group, and together we will start to understand what we can do and create a vision for navigating our way through it.

    Luke Chester

    TSSA Organising Director

    Strategic Organising & Campaigns Team


    1. Comments (0)
    2. 119 Views
    1. Bookmark & Share :
    2. Delicious
    3. Digg
    4. Facebook
  • Updates on your Communities of Practice

    Author: Nadine RaePosted: 07 June 2020

    I am excited and motivated by the way you and other TSSA members are embracing our Going Beyond programme and Community of Practice (CoP) approach to education. The opportunities are endless for us to learn about key themes and topics in a deeper way, steering us to the right path to address key issues for TSSA members. Here are a few of the ways that Going Beyond will deliver for our members:

    1. People who join a CoP will be influencing the programme of learning, through the questions you have as a result of attending an event, or reading a blog post or taking part in a discussion. New information will be sourced or a new event will be developed to meet your learning need.
    2. Education resources will be developed as we go along, either from recording a guest speaker at an event, or sharing articles we find on a topic, etc.
    3. Learning can happen all the time and is not restricted to in-person meetings or events. Our interactions and online resources are there for you all the time, right when you need it.
    4. Going Beyond expands our learning opportunities from our traditional education approach of in-person events, to include online video conference events, blogs, social media interaction, more space to talk and develop our understanding through specific events that generate discussion, not just impart knowledge.
    5. Each CoP will follow a Spiral of Learning that will lead us to make conclusions and apply our learning in a practical way to the benefit of all TSSA members. Hence - community of practice.

    We are building momentum in this new approach. Here is an update for you on each CoP.

    Addressing Bullying & Harassment

    The first CoP to be launched, there are now several Blog posts and two online events that have been held and well attended. CoP Organiser, Andy Hollingsworth has also organised two upcoming CoP discussion events to bring CoP members together to talk through people's learning from the guest experts. You can find the event information here: People are clearly searching for answers on how to address bullying and harassment, which is exactly what the CoP aims to do in all our exploration of ideas, culminating in our Challenge Bullying conference to be held in November.

    Mental Health & Wellbeing

    This is by far our most popular community of practice for TSSA members. CoP Organiser Steve Loft has been a long time member of TSSA and has shared some of his expertise and knowledge in the field of mental health and wellbeing in this Going Beyond Blog. Do search for his blog posts using the 'Author' filter function on the right hand side of the Blog page.

    The learning from this CoP is going to be critical to enable TSSA to transform workplaces, making them more responsive and accepting of people's mental health and wellbeing needs. Upcoming events include a first discussion with the CoP Our Question on Mental Health where you will have a say in what events and topics the CoP will explore in the rest of 2020. We also are holding A Global Conversation on Mental Health with international guests sharing the challenges in their contexts and how they link with our own. This CoP will be part of launching TSSA's Mental Health & Wellbeing Equality Bargaining Standard this year.

    Flexible Working

    We are in the middle of a global experiment of remote working, which is one way to provide flexibility in work. So how are we going to make the most of that? Our first event for this CoP will be for Reps to discuss what good practice we want to keep as a union. This will be followed by an event to be scheduled in July, with people who are leading change for their company's in the area of flexible working. This CoP will be developing TSSA's new Equality Bargaining Standard for Flexible Working, through exploring new concepts and innovation and learning what makes a difference and identifying the key components our union needs to set as our our standard.

    Representing Members

    Our first two events for this CoP were around the subject of a Safe Return to Work during Covid-19. More events will be scheduled from July.

    Onboarding of New Reps

    We have a great opportunity to provide new reps with the best learning experience we have ever been able to provide, through the community of practice approach. Our first online Reps Intro Sessions have been scheduled to give a grounding in the role of a rep. This will be bolstered with online learning on our Blog and interaction in our social media spaces. Some of our experienced reps will be sharing their knowledge and experience through our CoP, providing a group mentoring experience.

    Future of Rail

    This is another popular CoP with members and also potential members. We haven't announced any events yet but we have some exciting events on the boil including accessibility of our railway and what that means for the future of rail, driving innovation in technology, exploring public funding of infrastructure, and we will be sharing new rail environmental resources. This CoP is where we hope our members who are leading on innovation will share their experiences and vision for the future of rail, so do get in touch if you have something you would like to share.

    Neurodiversity at Work

    TSSA members are extremely proud of our work on neurodiversity. Establishing this CoP will amplify the learning of our Equality Reps, acknowledging their expertise, and drive commitments to our Neurodiversity at Work Equality Bargaining Standard. Next year will be the 10th anniversary of TSSA's research report that launched our Neurodiversity Programme and this CoP will be setting the direction of our work in this area for the next 10 years. Events will be announced starting in September.

    Leading People

    Our members who manage people or aspire to manage others are going to benefit significantly from our new community of practice approach. Almost every CoP will explore an element of leadership, so our Leading People CoP will benefit from the accumulated learning from our entire Going Beyond programme! Over the next two months a series of events will be announced on leadership, including specific events on leading in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, or 'VUCA', environment.

    Skills Reps

    Our union learning reps and those who are supporting Apprentices, or working on issues of performance reviews and career progression will be leading TSSA's skills agenda. Understanding how the transport and travel industries are changing will be critical to establishing a strategy to reskill, retrain or help a just transition for those whose jobs are at risk of change. We also welcome the influx of apprentices and new workers into the rail industry, and our reps have a clear role in ensuring their training and development meets a standard. This CoP will have events from September and will seek to develop our union's approach and strategy for skills development in our industries.

    LGBT+ Inclusive Workplaces

    Our Inclusive Rail campaign aims to make the railway inclusive of LGBT+ people by 2025. This is an ambitious aim and we will need to work with allies and supporters to achieve it. Our union's work in this area is industry leading and the CoP will be bringing together people leading on LGBT+ inclusion to ensure companies are aspiring to and achieving our TSSA 'Gold Standard'. Events have just been announced for this CoP.

    More to come

    Over the next three weeks you will hear more from CoP Organisers on the events they are leading and about the learning you can do now. You will also soon find some events from our Self Organised Groups to engage with people on the extremely important topics of equality that are affecting our members. More will be posted in our Going Beyond LinkedIn group, and this Going Beyond Blog, so please do join the group and comment on the posts.

    I look forward to hearing your ideas.

    With kindness,

    Nadine Rae

    TSSA Organising Director

    1. Comments (0)
    2. 1246 Views
    1. Bookmark & Share :
    2. Delicious
    3. Digg
    4. Facebook
  • Weekend learning

    Author: Nadine RaePosted: 29 May 2020

    10 Reasons to Join and Support Equality Poster As we head into the weekend I thought I would share with you an article on who invented the weekend... Unions of course! read about weekends and other great terms and conditions unions have won for us. And if you are not a member yet - JOIN! Read this article about weekends and other great union achievements in this TUC article from Heart Union week in February 2020:

    Have a good one!

    Nadine Rae

    TSSA Organising Director

    10 reasons illustrated

    1. Comments (0)
    2. 1149 Views
    1. Bookmark & Share :
    2. Delicious
    3. Digg
    4. Facebook
  • How to respectfully work together remotely

    Author: Steve LoftPosted: 26 May 2020

     Remote Respect logo I used to work in an IT department a few years ago and I remember a time when our office had to be evacuated for several days due to a major plumbing fault. This situation meant we had to suddenly work remote and I recollect some of the behaviours and feelings that occurred across our teams during that time. I’ve found the notes of the lessons learnt session we had afterwards to assess what we could have done better, including me in my role as a manager as well as being managed at that time. It was clear that working respectfully and empathetically with colleagues was so important and some of us showed that more than others. But why was that and how can it be applied to the Coronavirus outbreak we now find ourselves in? In terms of people’s behaviours during such a change we find that:

    Sudden Change Naturally Brings Anxiety

    Coronavirus has brought widespread uncertainty. This uncertainty has generated anxiety in people. This feeling is very real, and a sense of threat is leading to hyper-vigilance. We need to respect that this change of behaviour in people is natural - we resort to our instinct of “fight, flight or freeze” mode when perceived danger appears.

    Calmness and Kindness Works Best

    The managers who held our team together and who set the best example were those who showed values of calmness and kindness rather that panic and sensationalism. It is important for managers not to have snappy and angry moments, but instead be prepared to listen (without trying to solve) and mediate between different viewpoints across colleagues.

    Respect That Different People Have Different Attitudes

    We should respect that some people will love the opportunity to be away from work, others will be a bit scared. Most will be in the middle, so it’s important to understand the whole spectrum of behaviour, and that they won’t necessarily be the same as yours. They also depend upon personal circumstances and attitudes to the situation.

    So, what did our lessons learnt identify as best practice should the situation arise again. Here are the main points my records showed:

    1. Trust Your People

    It’s a time to review, revise and agree SMART objectives with colleagues and trust them to work to those. For example, look at the outcomes of their work, not the time they spend at their machine; remote hovering is just as bad as in-office micro-managing.

    2. Set Up Team Values and Guiding Principles for the Period

    Consider setting “team values” that are developed and agreed by all the team, for example, trust, clarity, connection, calmness, kindness, collaboration, creativity.

    3. Regular Communication

    Keep team meetings going as well as virtual check-ins, at regular intervals, set in advance, but at times that are agreed by all. In the current situation, these may not be at usual times but later morning times or earlier afternoon times when households are likely to be settled and allow for people’s caring responsibilities.

    4. Taking Stock

    An unprecedented situation like this means there may be a need to spring into action at points, but it is also important to pause where you can so you can be clear on priorities and the best approach. It’s important to take time when you can so you are be more mindful about what you are doing, what to communicate and anything to put in place.

    5. Respect Work/Life Balance

    Discourage out of hours meetings (if people choose to send the odd email after kids’ bedtime/health appointments as normal working then ok).

    6. Try to reduce feelings of loneliness

    Research suggests that working from home has benefits up to two days per week (for those used to being at work mainly full-time), and after that there's feelings of separation and feeling left out. The best colleagues contact people about non-work stuff. Getting in touch with everyone, even a text is important. Particularly important are those who may be recently separated, divorced, on long term leave or bereaved.

    7. Remind colleagues and encourage them to use other support available for them

    Some organisations have staff helpline/Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) numbers. Local sickness, support and other policies that will apply – and may well be needed. There are also a range of contact numbers and support groups for those are struggling and feeling overwhelmed or anxious; make a list available for colleagues to use. Don’t forget your own wellbeing too.

    8. Listen to tips from colleagues and other current remote workers

    Always ask how colleagues are managing working remotely and the useful things they’re trying out that work for them; this may not only help you but helps them feel more engaged. We’re seeing this everywhere with people reaching out, sharing what works for them, and trying out new ways of doing things. There are a host of tips being made generally available from other remote and isolated workers and these are worth looking at and following if they work for you and your team.

    9. Self-compassion, empathy and a feeling of hope is key

    Taking it easy, especially on yourself. This situation is new to lots of people, and there is plenty we don’t yet know. Don't hold on too tight, people's anxiety is real. It is impossible to set timeframes because we simply don't know them. Remember, this not just affecting your colleagues, but their whole family as part of a national uncertainty. It is difficult, but it will pass. Most importantly.…. be kind to all.

    Additional Resources

     - Looking After You Mental Health Whilst Working During the Coronavirus Outbreak (Mental Health Foundation)

     - Coronavirus and your wellbeing" \l "collapse6aa35

     - COVID-19 Support Pack (Mind Tools)

    To find out more about our Remote Respect campaign visit:



    1. Comments (2)
    2. 1094 Views
    1. Bookmark & Share :
    2. Delicious
    3. Digg
    4. Facebook