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  1. I belong to an informal networking group, the Junction 7 Network. I've tried a few out (and will continue to do so), but I like the friendliness of this one. It is full of people who run small businesses in my local area. Not a likely place for me to find new clients, but life is all about connections, and you never know where a conversation will lead.

    But, the purpose of this blog is not to talk about Power Hour. It's to talk about those small businesses who consistently don't come (despite numerous invitations) because "people know we are here". These days I don't think having a presence on the high street is enough. Where is your internet presence? How are you making yourself more attractive to those people who walk past your shop or office every day? Business is about relationships, and networking is a great way to make new ones and strengthen existing ones.

    A real example from Junction 7: We have a quality butcher in our village. I have always known he was there, but I rarely used him. However, since he has made the effort to come to the networking events, I have gotten to know HIM, and I want to support him. So guess what? I now visit the village butcher more frequently.

    So to get 'power from an hour' this month - why not go networking? Find a format that you like (some are very formal, some very informal. Some are industry-based, others very 'open'. Some meet weekly, some meet quarterly) You never know where it will lead.

  2. 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.