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  1. I recently came across a very intersting study that showed that 57% of new managers had to learn their leadership and management skills through 'trial and error'. You can view the detailed study here. OK, the study was American, but based on almost 20 years of working in corporate Britain, I doubt the figures would be very different in the UK. But 57%, with no formal management training in their first year? That is truly shocking.

    In my humble opinion, first-line managers are the most crucial population in any organisation. They are the ones that make sure the work gets done. They are the ones delivering the day to day services that are required to keep the company going. They are under pressure from above and below, are often overworked and overlooked and now it seems, given the least amount of training and development: The senior team are all engaged in leadership programmes, and the employees are fully trained in technical aspects. Poor forgotten line managers.

    Line managers are often promoted for their success in operational/technical roles. It is meant to be seen as a reward. But management skills are completely differently different to technical skills, and it shouldn't be assumed that success in one will lead to success in the other.

    I understand that line managers are a large population and are often dispersed. I understand that it is costly to comprehensively train a large number of people in so many skills. I also understand that they come to the role with vastly different skills and experiences, so one size doesn't necessarily fit all. But PLEASE, for the sake of those people, your buisness and our economy, provide them with SOMETHING!

    A properly designed, flexible new manager's programme should be priority training for every organisation. But that takes time to put in place. Power Hour is not designed to be comprehensive (see our blog about canapes!), but the Power Hour New Managers' Programme CAN be useful as a 'stop gap': It can give managers an idea about what they are supposed to do and how to do it, taking away that fear and uncertainty, until that comprehensive training can kick in.

  2. What is the point of the canapé? Personally I can only see two purposes. The first is as something to ‘keep you going’ until your main course. The second is as a showcase for the chef, allowing him or her to increase your appetite for what's to come later.

    But do canapés have any place in it? Are there times when we need a little taster before we decide whether to buy the full service? Are there times when we just need something to keep is going until we can afford or have time for that “three course meal”? I say absolutely.

    As a customer business canapé will allow us to keep going that little bit longer until we can get the solution that we really crave. These are things like buying an external hard drive as a temporary move until we can afford a brand-new PC; or like getting a Facebook page setup until we have the time to develop our website. It's about subcontracting a piece of work rather than deciding to employ someone, or providing a couple of hours of training until the funding is available for that wonderful five-day programme.

    As business suppliers, providing canapés is an excellent way of showcasing what we can do and introducing new customers to our services with minimum risk and outlay to them. People are careful with their money, and suppliers who allow them to try before they buy will be looked on very favourably.

    So whatever your business, if you don't have a ‘canapé menu’, think about creating one. It can bring real benefits for you and your customers.

    Why not download our key points sheets as your ‘canapé’ before you decide which Power Hours to use? Of course the Power Hour concept can be a canapé itself...give your employees a ‘taster’ to see what they need more development in, or offer a Power Hour as a ‘stop gap’ to more in-depth training.

  3. Our friend Gary Gorman bought this article to our attention, by Dr John McGurk of the CIPD  which discusses the importance of L&D in tough times, highlights the difficulties that many business face: How to keep training (and so retain) staff, with ever-decreasing budgets?


    It is a tough job, but the move towards more flexible and personalised learning, mean that it is not 'mission impossible'. Training providers like Power Hour can provide very cost effective solutions, and delivering bite-sized sessions is not the only way...Our blog on BusinessZone shares some ideas about how you can carry on learning on the smallest of budgets.