improvements

Training is the tip of the iceberg

Tip of the icebergI used to be a management trainer with a consultancy both in the United Arab Emirates and in the UK. Everything went really well and we conducted lots of training programmes for a wide range of companies in everything from customer service to quality programmes. Then one day our best client came along and said “We love your training, everyone comes out full of enthusiasm and ready for action – BUT, after a while they seem to go back to doing things the old way and end up on the same programme again next year. How can we change this?”

Step out of the ordinary

RockChoir imageI sing with the Rock Choir and we’ve been learning ‘Proud’ (Heather Small) this term. The lyrics made me think:

‘Step out of the ordinary; You can feel your soul ascending’

How often do you actually do this – step out of the ordinary?

Is a LinkedIn endorsement as valuable as a recommendation?

LinkedIn has recently introduced the endorsement feature making it very easy for your connections to endorse you for the skills you have in your profile, which raises the issue of having a great profile and making sure your skills are complete and prioritised but we’ll talk about that in another post.

Now I use LinkedIn to source leads for my businesses, but it is also one of my major sources of good suppliers for me. And I use it to find out more about he businesses I work with before a project starts.  So I’m a little sceptical about the benefit of these endorsements on your profile.

I am a huge fan of good recommendations. Not the ones that say “I met Philippa at a meeting and she was lovely” – which are great for the ego, but they don’t really help me when I want to find a new service provider, or to learn about the people I work with. 

Is motivation all you need?

In my last blog I wrote about keeping motivation up for long periods of time.  But is this going to guarantee success? No.

There was an article in the business insider online magazine that was quite blunt about it, if motivation or visualisation was all we needed why was everyone not millionaires and happy? Because if you don’t have something else then your chances of making it are slim.

I have been talking about this thing for years, it is skill.  You can have all the motivation in the world but if you do not have the skills you need you are probably not going to make it.  I say probably because there are a very few cases in which someone makes it by chance but can they replicate that success over and over again, no. Those who can replicate success are those who have both the drive and skill.  Drive is just another way of saying that their motivation is high.

Celebrate your successes

image supplied by http://stockmedia.cc

So in my last blog I talked about having a plan to ensure that you can actually achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself or your business. And human nature being the way it is we are always the first ones to beat ourselves up about failing to achieve these goals. But how often do we celebrate when we do achieve them? It is very easy to forget the successes we do achieve as we go about our business lives so this year I’d like you to try something. Every day write in your diary, or in your calendar, or in a separate note book ANYTHING you have done well, anything you have achieved however big or however small. And if you can write more than one thing then write all of them down. But make sue you write something down. They don’t all have to be business related. Anything you do that make you feel good, that you have been putting off, or done for the first time, then record it.

Do you want real results from your goals this year?

If you do then you probably need a plan

As business owners we are told we must have business goals and we have to achieve these goals, and that we have failed if we don’t achieve them.

But how realistic are our goals? For me the piece I most often find missing is the plan to achieve these goals.

It’s all very well setting yourself a goal, but is it actually achievable? And I’m not talking stretch goals here. I mean the goals where you say you can do something in 12 months, but based on your current performance it will actually take 16 months. Now you can cWordle: goal settinghange the goal to achieve this in 16 months, or you have to change what/ how you work. Again both valid options. But what isn’t valid is saying “I will achieve it in 12 months but I won’t change how I work/ what I do”. This means you have set yourself a goal that you can’t possibly achieve. And unfortunately we live in a culture where failure is criticised. This isn’t a failure of the goal. This is a failure of the planning process that should be part of the goal setting process.

Woman V’s Woman

I am not a feminist, nor am I a traditionalist. I believe that many of our foremothers fought so hard for equality that we do them a great injustice by then fighting to be anything other than equal to men.

Recently, I have realised that actually many of our battles are not with the opposite sex, but are in fact with each other. It saddens me that sisterhood doesn’t always exist and that many of the pressures we face are placed upon us by fellow females.

The 3 Secrets Of Successful People

Do you want to achieve all of your goals and dreams?

Do you want to live a successful life?

If your answers are ‘yes’ to both of these questions, then read on.

A lot of people fail to live the life that they desire because they do not have what it takes within them. As a result, they fail to produce the outcomes that they wish.

So, if you’re different and you’re prepared to do what it takes to be successful on your own terms, here are the three secrets that will get you there.

The first secret is knowing what you want

Does technology help or hinder your business?

We all assume that smart phones, tablet pcs, netbooks, even laptops will make us more efficient in our businesses. But is that really true? Have you ever added up the amount of time you spend checking messages, facebook page updates, LinkedIn status changes, tweets and of course grabbing for the phone every time it beeps.

I’m a huge fan of technology when it can help a business owner or employee. But I’m not so sure that our reliance on these devices doesn’t produce a negative effect on our businesses.

The five website copy crimes you should avoid committing

Your website is your hardest-working employee. No days off, no holiday and it sells for you even while you sleep. You should make sure the site is doing the best job it can and not turning people off with simple mistakes that could be costly.

Take this checklist and go through each page of your site and fix any errors you spot. You don’t even have to do it all at once – because Google favours sites that are updated regularly you could take 20 minutes to do a page a week and reap the SEO benefits.

Stop, Collaborate and Listen!

One of the 4Networking Directors, Tim Johnson, caused a little bit of an outcry not that long ago when he announced to members that one man bands do not work. Now I can understand why his members were initially upset, after all most networking groups are built upon one man bands. Yet what Tim actually meant was that most one man bands will always, at best, struggle. However, if business owners are open minded and look at collaborating, then their potential for success and longevity massively increases.

Don’t be afraid to ask

A while ago I was in Malta and it happened to be the weekend of the Malta Powerboat Grand Prix.

All very loud and exciting.

My husband is a brilliant photographer and is always keen to take pics of anything and everything. It was certainly a wonderful opportunity for some incredible images, especially if he could get a Press Pass to get in the pits.

That got me thinking – how could I get him in there? Who might be able to get him a Pass? Boat Magazines! They could potentially get coverage and images that they wouldn’t have been able to get and for free! I had a plan.

Why do so many British Companies ignore R & D Tax Credits?

The Government wants to give money back to British Companies that undertake research and development. Unfortunately many Managing Directors and Finance Directors and even their Accountants concentrate on the word ‘research’ and not on the word ‘development’ and so believe that this means that they will not qualify. In many cases this will not be true and so they are missing out on this very useful source of funding. If you are developing a new product or service, or making improvements to existing products and services you may very likely be eligible. Even software companies have been successful.

The scheme is designed to encourage and reward innovation. It allows innovative companies to either recover Corporation Tax paid and or receive a rebate of the NIC/PAYE generated by the business. Most first time claimants are able to also submit a claim for the last two completed year ends.
The average claim in the first year is £40k

how sharp is your saw?

How sharp is your saw? When I use the analogy of sharpening the saw, I of course refer to Stephen Covey’s habit #7 from ‘ The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ I would like to look at this from a training perspective. If you take a step back, think about your effectiveness. Just how effective are you ?Do you still have the same levels of motivation you did this time last year or is work a chore?

How do you keep your saw sharpened?

Sometimes when you sit behind your desk repeating the same process’ and going through the same cycle every month do you ever question if you could work smarter or achieve more of your monthly objectives? Do you leave everything till the last minute and wonder why you are always constantly running round like the proverbial ‘headless chicken’? This isn’t going to be a session on time management, more why training and development is so important for keeping that all important saw sharpened. If you need training, do not be afraid to ask for it, it’s an investment in your career and from your employers perspective it will reap rewards, remind them of the following:   Why train?Well it’s simple, if you want highly effective people who consistently deliver above your expectations,then training is a necessary cost, a cost which is measurable and has a high return on your investment. If you don’t have a learning and development programme in place in your organisation then it is definitely food for thought, particularly if you are looking for the following:

  • Better management and leadership
  • Motivated teams
  • Increased skills
  • Increased revenue and yields
  • Better customer focus
Why wouldn’t you want that for the people who in effect keep your business profitable?
The days of ‘plonking’ a business directory on someone’s desk and telling them to ‘get on with it’ with the words ‘ In my day….’ are long gone. The need for people to connect with customers in the smartest way possible within this competitive environment are key. If you think I being over dramatic, I am not, these strange ‘working’ practises still exist in some places, in an industry that is supposed to be progressive!
So how do you measure the effectiveness of training?

Are you a busy fool?

Do you run around here there and everywhere, mobile phone in one hand, documents in the other? Do you hear yourself telling everyone you are ‘too busy’ to do something or that you ‘haven’t got enough hours in the day’? Are you working from morning til night, and even on weekends?

If this all sounds like you, I don’t think you are alone. I’m not sure if its down to the economy and people being desperate to survive, or if it is a competitive thing that has got out of control, but more and more I see people just like this, people who leave you feeling exhausted after just a few minutes in conversation with them.

If this is you, do you really feel, at the end of your 16 hour day, that you are achieving? My view is that people like this are busy fools, people who convince themselves they are really busy but in actual fact are just avoiding making time for the things they really should be doing.

I have known people who spend the week plodding along in the office, making regular cuppa’s, going for a stroll and then they moan that they have to work all weekend. It’s like a form of self flagellation. Instead of knuckling down and methodically working through their ‘to do’ list, they prefer to work all hours so that they can tell people how busy they are.

But surely it has the opposite effect? People wont think ‘wow you’re busy’ but are far more likely to think, ‘you haven’t got time for me’. In a business sense this can be very damaging as potential clients may perceive you are at capacity and then decide to go elsewhere.

At times we can all be busy fools, I know I have run around like a headless chicken convincing myself that I didn’t have time to stop and think about what I really needed to do next, it becomes a hamster wheel that is very difficult to get off. The most important thing is recognising this and addressing it before it damages your business and maybe even your personal life.

So how can you stop being a busy fool and become more productive? Here are a few ideas: