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  1. 20180227_124116

    A lovely bowl of cream of carrot and coriander soup. Just the thing for a cold winter’s day, and pleasing because I made it myself, using carrots I’d grown myself and pulled from the garden 2 days before.

    Though of course, I didn’t make it entirely myself. Yes, I grew the carrots, chopped the carrots, added the leeks and seasoning, set the soup maker going and stirred in the cream. But I didn’t grow the leek or the herbs – or transport them to the shop where I bought them. I didn’t raise or milk the cow that made the cream. I certainly didn’t invent or build the soup-maker that actually took all the effort out of making my homemade soup.

    However, all these things happened behind the scenes. In my mind, I made the soup. I’m proud of myself and it tasted good.

    In the same way that you (quite rightly) feel proud when you design your own training and development programme, even if you buy in a lot of the raw ingredients you need to create your masterpiece.

    You select the ingredients. You pull it all together. You season to taste. You can use our training materials as a starting point and add your own home-grown elements and alter the balance to create something that unique to you. Even though the modules are delicious on their own (and stand alone as a complete module), you can buy editable versions to allow you to act as the head chef and make your own signature dish – our materials are just the basic ingredients with which you can create something amazing. It isn't cheating!

    So why not browse our topics and make something special?

  2. Recently, I’ve had a number of reminders of fundamental things that we all need to practice to be successful, and last night at my Zumba class, there was another.

    I haven’t done a Zumba related blog for a while, and it’s actually more of a Leadership one. Management and Leadership development is important. No question. A good management induction helps new leaders to understand what’s required of them, and leadership development helps them to learn to execute these things well. That’s why I offer both a New Manager Development Bundle and a Leadership Package!

    But there something more crucial than any of these (important) skills. And it’s something ALL leaders and managers can do from day 1 in the role.

    And this is where the Zumba analogy comes in.

    business leader

    At my last class, my teacher did not have the same energy and enthusiasm as usual. She seemed distracted, and almost like she didn’t want to be there. As a result, MY energy wasn’t the same as usual. It was as if subconsciously, I didn’t want her to feel alone. It wouldn’t be right for a mere class member to be better than the teacher, so I didn’t put the effort in. I didn’t work off the same number of calories, and neither did I enjoy it as much.

    You see, she is our role model. She’s the one who shows us how it’s done. The one we all want to be like. She is our leader. (As it is, she wasn’t feeling well, so actually didn’t want to be there – she’d rather have been at home in her pyjamas with a Lemsip).

    But it made me realise that the single most important thing that any leader can do, and any level, in any organisation is to role model the behaviour they want to see from their team. If the team sees the manager being negative, cutting corners, blaming others and having no enthusiasm for their work, it is likely that they will follow suit.

    Leaders simply need to be the person they want all their team members to be.

    I’ve made a career of designing bespoke management development programmes on behalf of busy L&D managers, and of course, I believe that they add value. However, this one thing can be done by ALL managers and leaders, from day 1, with no cost and no resources.

  3. Customer Service, Employee Engagement and People Development can NEVER be delivered by Smartphone.... and here's why...

    I saw a show advertised that we all wanted to go and see and got so excited when I saw it was playing on my husband’s birthday. In a state of giddiness, I quickly ordered the tickets before he got home. Birthday sorted. Job done.

    So I thought.

    I was looking a few months later for a show to take my mother to, when I noticed that the date for the play was wrong. It wasn’t on my husband’s birthday. It was a month later. WHAT???? In my excitement, I’d obviously made a mistake. He couldn’t go on that night due to work commitments.

    I searched the website for help but could find none. I emailed the ticket company and got quite a rude email back basically saying “Tough. The tickets are non-refundable” So, without much hope, I phoned them. Even with a bad line, the lovely Yetta not only transferred our tickets to another date, but she signed me up for membership (a win for them) AND got me some freebies for the evening (a win for me).

    People are better than apps. An app can give information, but it can’t react and adapt. It can’t give customer service, provide care, engage or develop people. For that, you need a person. People rock!

    To further illustrate this, I’m seeing a number of tweets coming out of Learning Technologies exhibition and conference that focus on apps and systems to improve employee engagement.

    You will NEVER increase engagement via an app. You may be able to improve communication, but communication is just a part of engagement.

    Like training and development – providing information is just part of the service. Apps can provide information about product, process and procedures, and this means trainers shouldn’t have to cover this in a classroom. But the interactive skills that most people need ought to be covered differently: face to face.