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  1. Everyone is starting to wind down now, and thoughts are turning towards 2018. Maybe end of year reviews are taking place and people are considering their career development.

    If you are promoting people to a management position for the first time - make sure you don't leave them to 'sink or swim'...

  2. black friday

    I don't know about you, but my inbox has been saturated with Black Friday emails for weeks. I delete the vast majority of them without reading them, because they are promoting products that I'm just not going to buy. Either I have no need (e.g. for a man's grooming set) or the time isn't right (I bought a new dining suite last year - you could be selling them for £20 and I still wouldn't need one).

    Black Friday deals work for impulse buys, treats and (of course) if you were going to buy anyway.

    Training isn't purchased on a whim. It shouldn't be considered a treat, and price should be one of the last things that influences the buying decision. To be honest, our prices are low anyway, (and subscribers to my mailing list get 10% off everything all year anyway - you can join the list here) and lowering the price makes no difference to sales. What drives the purchase of training material is:

    1. Relevance to training needs identified at that time
    2. Quality
    3. Ease of use

    And that's why I'm not doing a Black Friday Sale. I prefer to offer great value all year round and allow you to purchase the right material and the right time after making a considered choice.

  3. And my explanation about why Power Hour hasn't joined the digital revoution yet! 

  4. This article is doing the rounds on LinkedIn. It's very sad if it's true! I can only hope that the organisations surveyed forgot about all the informal development that occurs on a daily basis - the one-the-job training, the in-the-moment coaching conversations, and the self-directed learning that people to find a solution to a problem. This is all learning - just not formal!

    This highlights the main reasons Power Hour was created though: For those organisations that don't have a lot to spend and can't release people for full days. Can any organisation REALLY not find £40 to buy a session and run it internally?

    The great thing with bite-size training like this is that its a bit more formal and structured than the just-in-time informal methods, but not as disruptive and costly as external workshops.

    Anyway, here's the article... What do YOU think?

    Workers not offered Training

  5. If you are certain age, you may well remember Cathy Dennis. She had short but credible pop career in the 1980s, and then she disappeared.

    But she only disappeared from public view. She still has a thriving career in the music industry as a song writer. She has written songs for a host of highly successful pop artists over the years including Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, The Spice Girls, Little Mix, Katy Perry, S Club 7, Will Young, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and makes her living that way.

    She was a good performer, but maybe it didn’t satisfy her as much as writing. Maybe the touring just wasn’t for her. So she’s decided to support other performers by giving them decent songs to showcase their talents. Maybe these other performers write songs – but perhaps they aren’t GREAT songs. By taking a song written by Cathy, they can still have an involvement in the writing process by adapting it and making it their own, and making sure it plays to their personal strengths.

    little mix

    And that’s what I do. I am a credible ‘performer’ (trainer) but I would rather support other trainers who have the potential to be great if they have the right material to work with. Our Power Hour materials act as the raw song – the person who will perform it can edit it and adapt it to make it their own – add those little flourishes that they know will work well with their audience.

    So why not cut down your writing time? Take something good that’s already been written and make it your own. If it’s good enough for Kylie Minogue, The Spice Girls and Little Mix, surely you can do the same?

    And at the moment, theres an opportunity to get ANY of our standard sessions completely free - simply enter the draw here

  6. So, you want to lose weight, get fitter?

    Do you have a whole day of mad exercise and salad, and then consider your work is done for the year? I doubt it. You know that one intense day may have benefits, but on its own, it will do nothing apart from leave you exhausted (and hungry!).

    exercise

    So why do people think this approach will work when they want to develop their staff? Is it REALLY going to be beneficial sending them on a one or two day course that overloads them with information and ideas? No matter how useful it is, they will come away exhausted and overwhelmed.

    Surely, in both cases, a ‘little and often’ approach will bring better results in the long term? A little exercise a few days a week combined with healthy eating is proven to be the best way to lose weight and get fitter. Similarly, short, regular ’just-in-time’ training interventions help people to absorb learning and develop their skills and knowledge over time.

    A monthly formal bite-size training session (like our Power Hour sessions), combined with self-directed learning, coaching conversations and feedback all add up to increase competence and confidence in a workforce. Crucially, they don’t overwhelm or exhaust the employee.

    Over the year, it probably takes no longer that an intensive 2-day course, but the results will be far better.

  7. I'm pretty good at managing my time, but like many things, I've only truly gotten the hang of it when I hit my 30s and had kids. My husband and I parent without a safety net (AKA extended family) so we are superb at planning and scheduling: Some days it can quite literally be one in one out, but our ability to organise things has always served us well. Of course, it's one thing planning, organising and scheduling, but the REAL trick to making it all work is to be reliable. We have to totally trust each other to do what we say we will, when we say we will.

    This is kind of background to the point I want to make.

    When I run Time Management workshops, the recurring problem is how to fit more in to an already overstuffed diary. People feel stressed and never seem to finish their to-do lists. I am not stressed and I always complete what I need to complete (barring illness or natural disaster). That's because I'm realistic.

    • I'm realistic about how long things take
    • I'm realistic about my abilities
    • I'm realistic when setting goals and agreeing outcomes with clients.

    I'm lucky I know. I work for myself so it's easier for me to take control of my workload than those who get work allocated from someone else and that undoubtedly helps.

    But my work is largely creative, and creativity doesn't tend to stick to schedules (Which can very difficult to explain to the highly qualified PRINCE2 project manager you are liasing with). Just yesterday my brain didn't properly switch on until 4pm, and then it was pretty much time to fetch the kids and go into 'mum' mode. I'd faffed around for 6 hours yet had little to show for it. 

    Today I've been a lot more focussed. I've cracked on, and if tomorrow is the same I'll have totally caught up with where I expected to be at the end of Wednesday.

    So you are probably thinking that if I can do 3 day's work in 2, I'm under-utilised. Surely I could do more work? Aren't I taking the mickey and slacking off?

    My feeling is 'NO'.

    I've been in this game long enough to know that I have brain dead days, and computer-problem days, and days when clients don't get back to me and days when I need to tend to some domestic emergency. So I factor it in. No point in pretending that it isn't going to happen, it is, so I plan for it.

    That's why I always build in the 'buggeration factor' and never allocate more than 80% of my time. If I've got 4 days work planned in a week, my diary is full. Because something will cause a set back during the week. We don't live in an ideal world, we live in a real world, and real world planning takes imperfect things into account.

    So, my top 3 tips for stree-free time management are:

    1. Be realistic about how long you have and how long things actually take (not ought to take)
    2. Set realistic goals - ones that you are 99% sure you can achieve
    3. Build in the buggeration factor

    And if you want to run an interactive bite-size training session to help people plan their time better, we have everything you need!

  8. I’ve been struggling to write a bite-size training module on Resilience for over a year because resilience is natural to me. It’s like asking Adele how to sing, or David Beckham how to play football. They just do it.

    In trying to pin point why I’m so resilient, a number of factors come to mind:

    1. I have to be. I left home for university at 18, and (initially at least) being surrounded by strangers, I had to look after myself. There was no-one to come to my rescue if things went badly. This has continued. Though married to a massively supportive husband, it’s just us two. We don’t live close to family and we’ve moved around a bit meaning we don’t have long-standing close friends. It’s just us. We have to just deal with whatever life throws at us in the best way we can. There really is no point crying when things go wrong and waiting for someone to come to my rescue. No-one (other than my husband) will, and he can’t always do that. I must be able to get myself out of my own holes.

    2. I’m quite unemotional. Not to Mr Spock levels; I do experience happiness, sadness, frustration etc, but I’m not one of these people who experiences massive highs and lows (sometimes many times in a day – how do people cope with constant emotional rollercoaster?). I struggle to understand why people go into mourning all over again every anniversary of a loved one’s death. I mourn when the people I love die, but then it’s in the past. Likewise, I find it odd when people seem ecstatic over minor good news. Recently my car was broken into, and although I knew I should be angry or upset, but I wasn’t. I was annoyed though… my first thought was “Darn – now I can’t go to the cheese shop as planned” followed by “who do I need to tell about this to sort it out?”, which leads me to the third point…

    3. I’m practical. As is my husband. When I discovered Stephen Covey’s Circle of Concern I identified with it immediately: When faced with the unexpected, my reaction is always “what can I do about this?”. Eighteen months ago I had two large projects lined up for two different clients: One of the clients called me to apologise that it was going to have to be cancelled due to a budget review. The very next day the other client called cancelled due to major re-organisation and the fact that she was being made redundant. My reaction was to make a cup of tea, take a moment and then contact a consultancy I have a relationship with to ask if there was any associate work going. There was a little, and I was grateful for it. I can only do what I can do. These contracts were gone and I needed to find alternative work, so I did.

    4. I accept change quickly. This is related to the first 3 points. I was a bit concerned about my lack of emotion, but then realised very recently that I simply move through the ‘change curve’ very quickly – sometimes in a matter of minutes. So yes, I DO experience anger, depression etc. but they are fleeting: My (logical and practical) brain is able to quickly get to the ‘testing/bargaining’ phase and work with the new reality.

    I’m still not sure how to put this into a bite-size training module, but later in the year when I have less commissioned work, I will try.

  9. Firstly, I'm not going to use this blog as a way to express my own political views or feelings about the decision of the UK to leave Europe, so you can all relax.

    Instead, I'm going to focus on the reactions to that decision: Within households, workplaces, social media sites, more traditional media and thoughout government, the Reaction to Change (Grief) curve could not be clearly illustrated. Those who wanted to remin feel angry. Those who voted to leave feel shock. These are strong emotions and whilst these emotions are so raw, we can't act rationally. We need time to process what's happened, and to work out what that means for us (not what politicians or biased press will have us believe it will mean for us). When we've processed that, we can start to THINK about what the change means as opposed to FEELING it.

    Once we've thought about it, properly, we can start to think about behaviours, and what we can do now to make things better for ourselves, and make this decision work.

    This is one of the biggest and most fundamental changes I've ever experienced. Other big changes in my life - having children, setting up a business, moving across the country have all had a lot of preparation time and that makes things easier. Big changes without proper preparation are always going to be harder.

    Within organisations, there are rarely changes on this scale, and when there are, they are usually planned, controlled and managed with one message being clear, as opposed to multiple conflicting ones flying around. But people still feel shock, anger, depression and confusion, as well as maybe a little excitement, curiosity and hope. During this emotive phase, there will be conflict: It's normal and can be healthy as long as it's managed and doesn't become personal or damaging. With time and support, people adapt. Without either, the change will be destructive. Therefore, managers need to understand what happens to people as they experience change, and be able to provide the right sort of support at the right time.

    As this topic is so 'hot' right now, if you buy both Change training modules; Manage The Impact of Change and Handle Resistance to Change in the next 4 weeks, we will send you our Module on Managing Conflict free of charge. (Offer ends 22nd July 2016, Manage conflict sent via email once payment for Change Modules is made).