Every now and again a job or contract comes along where you need a referee. It is really important to focus in what the company are looking for in that reference and select the best people from your list of potentials. I am just looking at a contract where there will be a huge element of training involved so on my list is the Director of a businees who I deliver and develop training for. An ex employer is required so that is an easy one and then I want someone who can talk about me as a person. A very different list from the last set but right for this job.
I've just been sat out in the garden with a cup of coffee. I have a stack of work to do, there's washing to be hung out and another load to be put in but for just 10 minutes I've let the sun work it's magic on me and I feel SO much better for it.
I would never say that I suffer from SAD but endless days of grey skies and cold weather leave me feeling fed up. The warmth of the sun, the sight of blossom on the trees and the glorious yellow of nodding daffodils has just set me up for the day. Refreshed, reinvigorated - now where's that washing?
Last night I was privileged to be part of a wonderful fund-raiser for the NSPCC. The wonderful Maggie opened her house up, and over 70 people attended (not all at once!). The wine flowed and there was such a lovely atmosphere. Did it feel like a fundraiser? Not in the sense of 'hand over your money' but everyone knew that they were supporting a very worthwhile cause and I am sure that the proceeds will show just how generous people were, with time, in spirit and financially. A great evening which I was very proud to be part of.
I am utterly fascinated by The Hotel Inspector programmes currently showing on Home. The individuals who invite the amazing Alex Polizzi in to their hotels presumably do so knowing that they are going down the tubes and that she will come up with challenging and workable solutions to end their woes. So why, oh why, do we have to see them fronting up to the camera with comments like 'well I'm not going to do that' and 'i think she's wrong'? The woman is a guru. She has brilliant ideas. Her skills and presence aren't imposed, they are requested. Stop playing to the camera guys and listen to the words of the immortal Alex - you know it makes sense (even if that doesn't make good TV in your eyes!) Rant over, bring on the next episode!
One of the topics which I always touch on when running ISO9001 courses is the concept of meeting customer needs and anticipating their expectations. Statisticians used to reckon that we told 3 people about good service and 9 about bad service and it's interesting how those figures have changed now we have the power at our finger tips to share information via social media. A poor meal in a restaurant can be tweeted, blogged or trip advisored within seconds and within minutes can be going viral. I recently thought long and hard about putting a poor review on Trip Advisor but felt that a fairly straightforward no spin comment on dirty tablecloths, poor food and dreadful service actually did warrant comment. I wonder how many people have now seen that review, mentioned it to friends or made a decision to stay away on the basis of what I have said. I bet it is more than 9! But on the other side the very good write up I gave another location nearby will equally have been seen by far more than 3 people I guess. So the moral here? Meet your customers needs, aspire to meet their expectations and pray that you don't get hit with a poor review in the social media! It's a different world out there now.
When I work with clients one of the key activities which seems to crop up time and time again is a need to map and understand how business processes are operating. We frequently spend time looking at 4 key aspects associated with each process - the inputs and outputs, the resources and the controls. In many cases the discussion starts off along the lines of 'oh we know how that process works' but by the time we've actually tried to map it we've ended up with a variety of views from staff and it often becomes clear that individually we may all have a view but as a business it is a mess. It's around the issue of controls and resources that we frequently spend the most time - just what resources does the process utilise, who and what are they? Does everyone understand the inter-relationships and dependencies? Controls also provoke debate - which procedures or instructions actually cover the process and do they bear any resemblance to what we have by now agreed is the best way? By painstakingly working through processes in this way the opportunities to improve effectiveness and efficiency really start to show through. Why not sit down with a blank sheet of paper today and map out a process which you operate? When you have mapped it show it to someone else who is involved - and see if they a
I spent some time last week working with a client who is trying to break into a new business sector (well knew for him!). He was struggling to sell his many years of management experience gained in the Forces and it was great to spend time with him putting together a skill set which reflected the myriad of things which he'd achieved in the Army, and to work it into his CV so that it really reflected his skills and abilities.
Our British reserve often prevents us from really recognising our strengths and certainly stops us from shouting them from the rooftops but if we don't shout them out is anyone else going to? So from having nothing about management skills we moved to 'leading and directing teams of staff in challenging operational situations' - successfully leading a troop in a war zone has to have it's place in there somewhere!
If you want help making your CV shout out your skills, or just help finding out what those skills are, gi
Suddenly it's Friday and nearly the end of the afternoon, the sun is shinging and we've got some great family stuff planned for the weekend. Last night's grumpiness is replaced with a wave of optimism!
The title of this blog reminds me of a very funny story from my BR days. A fellow trainer recounted a story from one of his former colleagues - it seemed that this individual particularly liked to hide in the wardrobe 'to surprise his wife' - jumping out of it on a Friday nwearing nothing but ski-ing gloves and shouting out 'It's the weekend'! The funniest bit of all was that he'd clearly never thought that in telling this story one of the folk who heard it would end up working ...... with his wife. Happy days!!
I am using the small meeting room at the Eco Centre in York to run a 1 to 1 coaching session. What a great facility! Lovely room, really helpful staff and the new cafe offers a great range of refreshments and lunches too. Well worth considering if you want a space for a
I've been a member of a very positive and focussed networking group for about 18 months now, and for various reasons the umbrella organisation which managed it is no longer going to do so. Faced with the demise of our group it was wonderful to see us all pull together and recognise the benefits which we gain from our meetings, and also agree that regardless of how we did it we wanted to continue to meet.
Our discussions revealed just how much ownership we felt for the group, how much respect we had for our fellow members and how much we all got out of our monthly get togethers. From personal development to sharing key business tips and ideas through to having a really good laugh in the company of like minded people, we all felt that our time together was incredibly positive and energising.
Next month we meet to put together our new meeting structure. Already we have volunteers to do marketing, to set up the financial systems, to develop a website . . . . as a team we have pulled together to move forward rather than curl up in a corner and feel sorry for ourselves. People power is an amazing concept! Watc
thoughts on current business issues