Mindset or Method?

Changing impossible into possibleThis month I’ve been thinking a lot about the tools and methods that we learn through multiple training events and the way in which they are applied (or not) when people get back to work. You, or your company, may have invested significant sums of money on developing your skills to be able to do “x” (insert whatever it was for you in place of “x”) and yet even if you’ve been one of those who went back to apply your new skills, you maybe still haven’t quite managed to get the results that you were hoping for.

Granted, you may not have picked up all the ins and outs of applying the particular tool and some of that will come with further study or practise. But even those who have seemingly mastered the intellectual skills of a particular method still don’t always seem to get the results that they were expecting. [Read more…]

2015: Fluke, Fantasy, Failure or Fabulous?

welcome to 2015 new yearWe’re already at the half way point of January! Can you believe it?

So, how are you doing against your goals for 2015? Or haven’t you got any yet? I’m not talking about New Year resolutions because many of you will have broken them already so I’m talking more about what you want to achieve this year.

Let’s start by reflecting back on last year. How was it? Did you achieve what you set out to do and if you did was it through a deliberate process of setting goals and objectives and reviewing them throughout the year to see how well you were doing against your desired outcomes? [Read more…]

Relax, Recharge, Revive!

BeachIf you love good news then the year is already half way through. If you don’t, then there’s still 6 months to go! And whatever way you view where we are, the half way point has turned and it’s a great opportunity to take stock of where you are and where you’re headed.

If you’re someone who sets 1 year plans then there’s still ample opportunity to make some adjustments to your strategy, your direction and even the goals themselves. And if you don’t, then it’s still a great moment to take some time to think about where you’re headed and what actions (if any) you want to take.

Now is a great time to take some time out (and to plan some if you don’t have any scheduled already). Yes, even just one day, [Read more…]

It’s time to clean up!

Clean Up5S is just that: five magic words all beginning with the letter “S” and derived from the original Japanese terms, which when put together as a systematic and disciplined approach will immediately start to bring benefits to what you do.

It is a way to create a clean, safe, organised and high-performance workplace with the involvement of everyone.

You can use 5S to kick-start your improvement efforts and whenever you need to inject greater energy into a process or department.

Here’s what they mean and how you can start to use them: [Read more…]

Being Human

In thTea and biscuite last 7 days I’ve been struck by how often the most simple of acts can have a massive impact on the life of somebody else. The trend started to appear last week:

A friend posted on Facebook her experience about a recent minor car crash (someone driving into her car). How would you normally react to such an incident? Angry, irrational, out for justice? Well this friend stayed calm and engaged with the other party in conversation only to discover that she had buried her mother the day before and was still struggling to cope with her loss. So a hug, some kind words and a cup of tea later they were able to carry on their days and let the insurers sort out the rest.

Next day, another friend was in a supermarket when her son saw a lady with a shopping bag that was printed with the front cover of his favourite book. The stranger was so taken with his lovely response that she gave him the bag and made his day!

Then, I’m told a story from a local school that is going beyond what you would normally expect to support a family that is currently going through difficulties.

Then a former colleague who took coffee in the middle of the night to the firemen who are helping to contain the flooding in his village.

Maybe all this behaviour is coming to the surface because of the prolonged extreme weather and flooding that we’ve been having in the UK, somehow bringing together the human spirit. Or maybe it’s just time for us all to stop thinking of ourselves first and to be taking time to observe what’s going on around us. Who is it that could do with some support and help? Where could I offer my skills for a worthy cause? What is wasted and lying around in my own house that could be of benefit to someone else? Who just needs a conversation and a cup of tea?

Let’s be more human this year and spend some more time “human being” rather than “human doing”.

Live and love your life!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2013Yesterday I travelled to Stockport on the train for my penultimate client meeting of the year. My experience at the station made my day (well part of it) with station staff all dressed for and delivering some welcome Christmas Cheer. Whether it was the dispatchers in their Santa hats and reindeer jumpers or the chap dressed as a turkey and handing out free festive chocolates these simple acts brought smiles to every face that I saw.

So as we come to the end of this year and start thinking towards the next, what simple things can you do at this time of year (and also at any other time) to bring a smile to someone else’s face? Will you do it by: [Read more…]

Innovator, Improver or Procrastinator?

New Paradigm Ahead

I was astounded at the end of last week to read that the first production electric car was built here in Britain almost 50 years ago. And that today’s modern electric cars bear significant similarities with the UK prototype that toured America in 1969. It was call the Enfield Thunderbolt and you can read more about it in a BBC News item here.

If you had been the inventor what would you have thought when there was no ready mass market for your invention? Would you keep refining your design until you were satisfied with it? Would you stop and start something else? Or would you stop altogether? I wonder what the original inventors did? Well certainly they kept pursuing their invention until 1976 and Sir John Samuel even went on to work on other electric vehicle projects. [Read more…]

Would you believe it: Bank Accounts!

Application formAs the launch of my “would you believe it!” blogs, here’s my first story of how some companies are still way behind the curve on delivering customer value.

Today I finally got round to opening a new savings account for one of my children. So with all the necessary documents in hand off we trotted to our local mutual building society branch (the UK’s largest) where a very attentive and customer friendly clerk told me that “unfortunately we’ve run out of application forms for that account… but we can send you one in the post and you should have it in a couple of days”. Then, when complete I could “come back to the branch and complete the process”. [Read more…]

What labels are you wearing?

Optimist Pessimist Realist OpportunistBy now, many of you will have already completed a number of psychometric tests during your studies and career. So what are you?

  • ENTJ, ISFP or any other Myers-Briggs personality type?
  • Implementer, Team worker, Shaper or any of the other Belbin Team Roles?
  • Pragmatist, Activist, Reflector or Theorist?
  • Democrat or autocrat?
  • Manager or Leader?

And even without psychometrics, you’ve probably defined yourself in certain ways: [Read more…]

It’s not just any other day!

IMG_0742 “Today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present”

Many of you won’t know that today is the 2 year anniversary of my being airlifted off of a Swiss glacier with a rather long, deep and bloody wound in my left calf.

My great friend Al and I had walked into the mountains the day before and spent the night in the Cabane de Moiry (which is far more luxurious than its name implies). We were up in the dark that Friday morning and had headed up through the rock path and after an hour or so reached the edge of the Glacier de Moiry – the start of what was supposed to be (and did become) an epic day, reaching lofty heights and getting back down (safely) again.

We’d roped up, crampons on, axes in hand and headed off across the snowy and possibly crevasse strewn landscape. The tip of the sun was reaching the peaks and the whole area began to take on a mysterious almost purple glow. [Read more…]