Archive for February, 2009

February 26th, 2009 No comments

Talk about unclear direction!

Ummm! Tough end to the day today. very unexpected feedback from the group workshop yesterday. They all felt the delivery was good and the style was great and the “join it all up” challenge went down a storm, but the over-riding feeling was that there was a lack of direction and content was too woolly. Poor scores on the “happy sheets” too – which kind of suggests they weren’t happy!

Ummm! Challenging, that, because the conversations with the group leader had helped define the content and subject matter – although with hindsight we both felt the ultimate take away was a bit vague!

Ummm! Interesting too that the instant feedback was great, I got nearly everyone’s business cards and agreement to keep in touch and as per yesterday’s post the list of outcomes and actions is lengthy.

So, reflections then;

Clearly people (those who believe themselves to be leaders) don’t like to be challenged – they’d rather be spoon fed information and allowed to think about how it affects them, then probably go away and do sweet F.A. about it (sorry burst of passion there)

The content and the direction could have been clearer, I agree, and this will be a big learning point for me to work on – however, I will not adopt an old fashioned style of present loads of Powerpoints and then occassionally get people to break out and think about – I can’t help having to use my imagination and create other ways for people to learn / take information.

I do need to drop the “trainer” bit and make less references to the “car trade” – will try hard on that as 25 years will be difficult to leave behind.

I believe that this particular group are still in the “forming” stage of their development, so therefore, my approach and subject matter was just a bit too risky for them at this stage!

With this last point, I wonder whether the group leader actually really understood the requirements of the group?

My over-riding conclusion for me (outside of the potential paranoic, life is crap, negative self-talk) is that my style, approach and messages will challenge and therefore, as a human “hand-grenade” not everyone in the audience is going to like what I have to say. So, in order to move this on and learn from it, I will work on the areas pointed out, I will ensure outcomes are more clearly defined – but I will also pitch and market myself as a challenging, thought provoking, “marmite” style speaker (Marmite being a product you either like or hate – there’s not much middle ground) – Works for me!!

As Corporal Jones used to say in the great British comedy “Dad’s Army” ‘they don’t like it up ’em!’

You can’t create change by other’s actions, so if you don’t want to take responsibility for change yourself – you probably won’t like what I have to say.

February 25th, 2009 No comments

Even business leaders need to take time out – work on the business, not in it!

I was invited to run a workshop today with a bunch of business leaders. I didn’t want to just talk to them, and besides it was a workshop not a keynote! So, thinking about the issues that the current downturn can bring up about leadership, I set about creating a workshop based around my “Death of a Car Salesman” theme – in other words, how to manage the changing face of your customers’ requirements. After all, change is not necessary – survival isn’t mandatory!!

Thought I’d share with you a selection of the “take aways” or actions that the leaders committed too or got from the workshop –

  • Have more empathy, don’t be so stuffy (re Facebook and email etiquette)
  • Consider needs of future employees (I call them the ipod generation)
  • Focus on people not task
  • Revisit the habits of new people
  • “Are my communications clear – do I need to remind people?”
  • Balance proactive with reactive
  • Balance people management and account management
  • “I may have assumed they understood, when perhaps they didn’t – I need to check now!”
  • Use the HR matrix
  • Give clearer instructions
  • Work on attitudes – invest time in them.
  • Have Development plans
  • Be more tollerant
  • Describe the “picture” a bit more – (this will make sense to those who’ve been on my workshop).

Wow – what a bunch of true leaders! Total respect.

What’s the bloody point? Dis-jointed management

February 23rd, 2009 No comments

Why do so many organisations have this “management bottleneck” where they seem incapable of joining it all up? Their processes are poor, their people are not engaged, their performance is weak and when you ask ‘what’s the purpose of the business?’ you get varied and mis-aligned replies?

At the top of the organisation is a founder, owner or CEO who believes in their own mind that everything is well. At the bottom of the organisation is a team of people who feel differently. They’re like loose cannons, rudderless ships and any other analogies you can think of for people who’ve lost their way. In short, no-one has defined the direction let alone the journey so people use their initiative and make it up – aaarrrgh!!! Frustration Ahead!!

When people are left to make it up they’ll feel unloved, unwanted, unmotivated, uninspired. Or they may just go along with a ‘we’ll do it in spite of them’ attitude – either way disaster is not far away! At the very least it’ll be in low morale and a bad reputation as an employer at worst it’ll be HR issues, long term sick absence, high attrition and plummeting performance – none of which is great in this current climate!

With so much doom and gloom about, many people will be affected directly or indirectly (people they know) by the recession, so many will begin to question thier purpose, meaning and role – especially if they feel insecure, unstable, threatened etc.

So, at this time, it’s more important than ever that people are lead positively, purposefully, inspirationally – if you’re a CEO, take a look at your business and ask some questions, if you’re a manager question your own skillsets and get the development you need. Re-evaluate your business approach and as you define yourself in the downturn, involve your people, give them a purpose and you may just protect your performance!

February 13th, 2009 No comments

There’s nothing more motivating as a facilitator, trainer or consultant than working with a great group of people who really want to change and bring about results in their business.

We lined up a really innovative event involving things they would never have guessed. Wanting to get them out of their office environment, with all the distractions and the “same old, same old” everyday feel of being at work, we took them to Cook’s Barn in Cambridge for an event whereby much work was done, but the evening was spent in the masterchef kitchen where everyone mucked in and cooked a fabulous meal for all!

The purpose of the event was to take the latest Competition Commission report on PPI (yawwwwnn!) and turn it into a short, high impact presentation to take out to their clients.

There was a need to do a little team-building as everyone is so busy, and with the current economic downturn they are fighting fires and dealing with problems for their own clients and subsequently could feel quite lonely and isolated.

So, taking them away from their office, facilitating a structure meeting, cooking their own dinner, eating together, an after dinner speaker (Ian McKendrick – Creating Killer Presentations) followed by a second day where everyone got stuck in to create a highly effective presentation, has resulted in an amazing set of outcomes.

Result – motivated, inspired, enthused individuals within a high impact team ready to proactively present to their clients and blow them away! Oh and one very happy facilitator too.


February 6th, 2009 No comments

Holding page for Biography

Categories: Biography Tags:

Sales and Management

February 6th, 2009 No comments

Holding page for Sales and Management

Categories: Sales Management Tags:


February 6th, 2009 No comments

Holding page for Speaker

Categories: Speaker Tags:


February 6th, 2009 No comments

Holding page for Training

Categories: Trainer Tags:

Vision, Purpose, Change

February 6th, 2009 No comments

Holding page for Vision, Purpose, Change

Categories: Vision, Purpose, Change Tags:

Financial Services

February 6th, 2009 No comments

Holding page for Financial Services

Categories: Financial Services Tags:
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