Just about a year ago I heard that a grant application I'd made on behalf of our sailing club had been successful, and that we would receive £50k through the Inspired Facilities scheme being run by SportEngland. Tonight the builders had the building back to us and I will be able to see the changes made. Looking forward to it tremendously, and even more looking forward to seeing the changes made having a real impact on club members now and in the future.
This week I've been auditing. 3 audits in 4 days is going it some but I've enjoyed the experience very much and am pleased that the audits have gone well.
In each case I have found significant deficiencies in processes, and the businesses which I've been working for now have the chance to make improvements. Audit isn't about punishment or retribution it is about learning. In each case the business had no idea of the shortfalls which existed or was unaware of the magnitude or cost of those shortfalls. The risk presented to the business wasn't evident or understood. We have jointly gone on a learning journey to gain understanding of the risk and the costs and as a result there are now 3 businesses who are actively making changes for the longer term good.
Next week I am running a 5 day Lead Auditor programme and the learning from this week will help me help others to learn too.
I drove back from Scotland in lovely early evening sunshine last night, so it was quite a shock to wake up this morning and find that you could hardly 10 yards in front of you! Sadly for at least 4 individuals the fog was to prove costly - a 4 vehicle shunt on the local 'A' road reduce traffic to a near standstill whilst we all tried to make our way around the abandoned and damaged vehicles, and the debris strewn across the road. I hope everyone involved is ok and that their day improves from now on.
That phrase brings back very amusing memories for me. A colleague once told me that someone he had worked with in a different office had shared the news that he liked to leap out of the wardrobe wearing nothing but ski-ing gloves and shout 'it's the weekend' to his wife as she walked into the bedroom. Funny enough but even funnier when said wife was in the same team as us.
Anyway enough of that, it is indeed nearly the weekend, the rain of this morning has gone, the sun is now shining and the forecast for the weekend is good. We are truly blessed. Have fun!
Pleased to see that the growing trend towards zero hours contracts in the rail contracting industry is under focus. It's not the way to keep and motivate key staff.
Having the right person available to answer the questions at audit is vital to success. Consider carefully what the auditor is going to want to see and make sure that the person you put in front of them has the ability and knowledge to answer the questions.
Many of us tolerate the processes which we have in place within our businesses without ever questioning whether they work effectively or efficiently because we become blinded to the chance for change. I worked with a client last year, reviewing their systems for the management of design. It became very clear, very quickly, that the systems they were using were laborious and there were no links between 5 separate databases which were being used to record enquiries received, quotations delivered, orders received, changes made to the design by the client and invoicing details. The system worked 'as long as everyone remembered to do everything they needed to' and once a key member of staff went off on sick leave at short notice the system broke down, and quickly. So why hadn't anyone realised that the process was cumbersome and unwieldy? Well because they just did what they'd always done and that's often the case. Sometimes there is a real benefit to be had from asking 'effective and efficient' and looking at things critically. Often that's the real power that comes from a properly delivered process audit.
We took our junior sailing squad to join up with another group of young sailors this weekend. Our kids were utterly amazing, completely unfazed by new sailing water and the sight of another 50 boats being coached at the same time. We went with very open minds and a spirit of adventure and encouragement - how sad it was for one of the parents to find a copy of an email 'between members of the other group' saying how we had to be beaten at all costs. The parent was new to sailing and I just wonder what on earth he made of it all. So if you are sending a controversial email today just make sure it doesn't get left lying around somewhere!
One of my clients wanted to say thank you to their staff for a job well done - and did so by treating everyone at the works to Fish and Chips for lunch yesterday. It was such a simple and easy thing to do but the reaction of the team was quite amazing, with 3 cheers ringing out of the factory as the food arrived. Nice touch, well thought through and relatively easily delivered. What have you done to say thank you to your staff?
We could really do with some new bath towels and I was just about to order some on line and then I remembered - our new York John Lewis store will open soon. I am saving my towel buying for that - but I suspect I may leave it for a few days after the opening as it is going to be such a busy place. Can't wait!
thoughts on current business issues