Archives for posts with tag: Career
best practice

How do YOU operate? Minimum Standards or Best Practice?

At what stage should you compromise on quality, in whatever you do? I have long been an advocate of ‘Best Practice’ as opposed to ‘Minimum Standards’ and the majority of people I speak to, agree wholeheartedly with that opinion… yet why, on so many levels do we insist on merely going through the motions, to ‘tick-the-box’ without giving any real thought to the outcome?

Now before the accountants and financiers of this world shoot me down in flames, yes I know and understand there is only so much in the budget (though I would question where and how thought out that budget was initially) and that stakeholders want to see a return on their investment, but how many budgets are simply ‘made-up-numbers’?  It’s a forecast! It’s based on what you think will happen, what the market forces, say (think) will happen and it is based on previous past history and an attempt to see into the future. In effect, it’s a guess!

I well remember when I was in a Sales Team being given my budget and sales target for the following year.  On questioning how my Manager, at the time, had arrived at the figures (which were out of proportion with realism), he started to explain they were all calculated after in-depth analysis.  Upon further questioning, he admitted he had plucked a figure out of the sky and added 10%!! Madness!

The main issue I have with forecasting budgets and targets is that those that hold the purse strings remain inflexible throughout the year, reviewing performance against targets but never changing the budget or target, given the impact of external forces, such as the market, economic influences and in many industries, environmental impact.  I am not for one moment suggesting we shouldn’t be setting targets, goals and budgets, but always be prepared to review and adjust them mid-term.  Consider the LOSS IN BUSINESS that could occur if there was a prime investment opportunity, but you limited your budget because the ‘made up’ forecast said you can only spend £x,000 per month!

Now, budgets and targets aside, wouldn’t you agree that you should strive for the best quality and aim for the best of everything that you possibly can?  Again, I’m not suggesting that you are wasteful, and squander capital, but have a clear vision of the outcome that you want to achieve and then follow the best process to get there.  If you have a sound process then the outcome will take care of itself.

Training and Development on the Gears.

How much TRAINING actually does DEVELOP People? Minimum Standards = Minimum Development.

When it comes to training staff, clearly it would follow that you would strive to get the best trainers that you possibly can.  How do you deem them to be the best?  Well in essence, a trainer must have two major qualities.

  1. Knowledge/Experience of the subject taught
  2. The ability to impart that knowledge in such a way that it is clearly understandable 

It has not gone unnoticed in the past couple of years of the amount of ‘fast track’ courses that potential trainers can attend, sometimes less than one day in duration, gain a certificate that says they have attended and off they go passing this new-found knowledge on, with little or no previous experience, and with the delegates attending the course, totally unaware of the lack of experience the so-called trainer has!  By attending just a couple of half or one-day courses you can apparently be ‘qualified’ to train Manual Handling, Health & Safety and Personal Safety, as an example, without ever having previous experience in these areas! Astounding really, when you think about it.  Therefore the question must be asked, how important is ‘Experience’?

Success Ladder

Climb the ladder of EXPERIENCE.

Consider you are going into hospital for an operation.  Which surgeon would you prefer, the one that finished medical school last week and this is their first operation, or the surgeon that has been carrying out similar operations for the past 10 years.  Both, however, are ‘qualified’!

You’re about to have root canal treatment on your troublesome tooth!  Which dentist would you prefer, the one that has carried out thousands of similar treatments, or the dentist that passed their final exam last week?  Again, both are ‘qualified’!

This of course occurs in every walk of life and experience will be gained on a daily basis, but why compromise your business and livelihood by cutting costs severely and leaving your employees at potential risk of being ‘uneducated’?  Remember, ignorance is no defence!

A large organisation that I have worked with for many years had largely built their success on bringing in specific external trainers to train their staff, using the specialised skill set of the external trainer.  In a move to ‘cut costs’ the internal training team that previously have been used as trainers for ‘generic’ company areas have now been fast tracked to deliver First Aid, Manual Handling, Health & Safety, Personal Safety (surprisingly, they don’t train on breakaway and/or restraint, as their policy is to de-escalate issues before restraint is required… even though they sometimes work in an environment of customers with mental health illness.  They are of course leaving themselves wide-open to criminal charges, should an incident occur)!!  Sadly, and possibly due to having grown too quickly without the right infrastructure in place and poor leadership in some departments, they have resorted to ‘ticking-the-box’ as opposed to quality, sustainable, suitable and sufficient training programmes.

IMG_6958

Is there any REAL value in ‘Ticking-The-Box’?

The term ‘sheep dipping’ is used where all employees are put through a programme, regardless of whether it’s individually needed or not, purely so that when they undergo an inspection, they can show the boxes, duly ‘ticked’.  Remember, as with anything in life, you are only as strong as your weakest link.

??????????????

How do YOU operate? Minimum Standards or Best Practice?

Has it cut costs? Yes, undoubtedly, as they potentially have no external training costs and so the procurement department are overjoyed in the budget preservation!  Has it benefitted employees?  That remains to be seen, but of course, just one issue and an ongoing legal investigation could result in court appearances, fines and potentially custodial sentences.  Remember, when you appoint trainers, certainly to train on ‘legally-bound issues’, please ensure they are giving advice that is currently legally accurate and that they are trained to a ‘suitable & sufficient’ level to deliver that information.  The balance sheet may look great and as a Manager who appoints these trainers, be prepared to have pats on your back for saving the company money…. but also be prepared to face the law courts, should an incident occur that happened as a result of putting cost before quality.

Aversely, another organisation I work with has seen tremendous growth, certainly over the past ten years, and in a market that is currently declining, continues to show year on year growth.  Their staff retention, again, in an industry that traditionally has high staff turnover is well below the national average and it will not surprise you to learn that they have a robust, first class training department, using external trainers across all skill sets.  The training delivered is reviewed on a regular basis and continually tweaked and updated to provide the delegates with their specific training requirements.  Employees can clearly see a progression through the company, should they choose to seek promotion, and feel part of the whole team rather than a payroll number.  The training costs to deliver this training are staggering, so why do they do it? Well their return more than outweighs their expenditure.  You see, they consider training costs as an investment in their business rather than a necessity.  They also want the very best return on their investment and by providing the best quality training possible ensure that this part of the jigsaw is taken care of.  Virgin Atlantic are another organisation that invests heavily in their training, even when the market is strained and on a downturn… their philosophy is, when the market picks up again, they are ready and waiting to capitalise!  Perhaps it’s no wonder they are the benchmark in the aviation industry.

Man jump on the sunset day time.

What is a successful life? An accumulation of good days!

Which returns to my original question… At what stage should you compromise on quality?  Review your own organisation, perhaps the one you work for.  What quality has been compromised, purely on a cost basis and how does that reflect on the organisations investment in staff?  We are constantly told that employees are the life-blood of organisations, so by providing poor quality training, how good do the employees feel about themselves and their ‘worth’ to the company?!

Food for thought, indeed, and something to consider over the next few months.

Feel free to drop us a line and share YOUR experiences of Best Practice.

info@imduk.org

Light bulb with cogwheels

Not a usual post from IMD (UK), but perhaps an opportunity too good to miss?  If not for you, maybe you know someone that this vacancy would suit? If so, please forward or share.

An opportunity for a Field Sales Manager has arisen with an Essex based Drink Company.  They are looking for a highly driven and motivated Sales Manager to manage an area of North Essex/South Cambridgeshire. 

The Field Sales Manager will, amongst other duties, have responsibility for maintaining the current customer base, along with creating and developing new business, promoting products and merchandising.  A degree of technical ability would be an asset but not essential.  Desire to succeed, Commitment and Passion however, ARE a necessity! 

Competitive salary plus car and benefits to the right applicant.

If this is, perhaps, something that you are interested in, please forward your cv to cv@imduk.com

Golf Mind.001

Golf is a game played outside; but mostly played inside; inside your HEAD. 

I recently had the fortune to spend some time at a golf seminar with Geoff Loughrey from the Michael Bannon Golf Team.  Now, for those that don’t recognise that name, Michael was the PGA professional at Holywood Golf Club where he started working with 4 times major winner Rory McIlroy as a junior member, and continues to work with Rory to the present day. Geoff was Michael’s assistant at the golf club, where he trained to become a PGA Pro.  It was interesting to hear about Rory’s early years and especially a view inside the mind of McIlroy!

Now, it must be said, that if the right mindset was paramount for top sports people, then surely the same can be said of top business people? Clearly this is the case and I honestly believe that even business aside, the right mindset can help you achieve in every facet of life.

Just what special ingredient do you have to have to become number 1 in the world, in your chosen profession?

What is it that stands the achievers from the also-rans?

It was evident, from a very early age that McIlroy had a desire to become world number one, and that feeling has never left him.  Once he had achieved it, the goal is adapted, to stay there.  During 2015, with the continued brilliance of the American Jordan Spieth and the Australian, Jason Day, snapping at Rory’s heels and claiming pole position, the desire is still burning strong for McIlroy to reclaim, what he sees as, his title.  Visualisation is a wonderful tool and as a six-year old practising on the fairways of Holywood Golf Club, Rory would often visualise his name above that of his hero, Tiger Woods, on the leaderboard.  So sure was he that he would achieve his dream, that when he was around 10 – 11 years old, he actually wrote a letter to Woods, introducing himself and telling Tiger, ‘I’m coming to get you’!!

IMG_5978

The wonderful Clubhouse at St. George’s Hill Golf Club, Surrey. Taken on the approach to the 9th Green.

It was interesting to hear Geoff speak of the dedication of McIlroy with his practice routines and belief and that he surrounded himself with positives, in fact, those around him, his family and friends, coaches and fellow club members helped him grow up in a balanced way, always encouraging and emphasising all that was good with his game.  How we could do with far more people such as that in the world!  Geoff recalled a match he played against Rory the Youngster whilst he was assistant pro at the club.  On a par 4, Geoff had put his ball on the green with his second shot whilst Rory had found the green-side bunker.  Trying to psychologically upset McIlroy, as they both walked to the green, Geoff pointed out that he was on the green yet Rory had found the bunker.  McIlroy’s response epitomised his positiveness; ‘Geoff, I LOVE bunker shots!’ to which he quickly dispatched the ball from the sand and it came to rest near the hole for a tap-in par 4.

IMG_5619 (1)

Enjoying Brockett Hall Golf Club, Hertfordshire.  Ex-Arsenal & Scottish Internationals, Frank McLintock & George Graham, winners and successful people in their own right.. how much belief did they have at the peak of their careers?  A winning mindset is crucial in whatever you do.

So what can we learn from Rory’s mental approach in sport, business AND life?

Instead of dreading certain aspects, learn to enjoy them, in fact, even if that seems like a struggle, start to lie to your mind…. your mind is not fussed, in fact it’s quite used to it and will steadily start to interpret the new information you are sending it.  Ever woken up in the night, having dreamt (or perhaps more accurately, having a nightmare) where you are falling?  Now clearly you haven’t fallen, yet your mind thinks you have, your heart will be beating faster, your breathing shallow and perhaps even a cold-sweat; classic stress symptoms, because your ‘mind’ thought you were actually falling.  It is therefore perfectly acceptable to lie to your mind (but here’s a tip… tell it only good stuff)!

Success favours the brave! 

FullSizeRender

The Millennium Trophy. Won with an incredible amount of belief and taking on brave shots!

To succeed at any sport or in any business, decisions have to be made and not only do you have to make the ‘right’ decisions (or what you believe to be right decisions) you have to do so with bravery.  Have you noticed how brave children are at many things, yet as we become older (and supposedly wiser) we tend to be more cautious.  Ask a 10 year old child to go and climb a tree, they cannot wait to do so, and think about only reaching the top.  Ask an adult to do the same, and the thought patterns are generally ‘I can’t do that, I haven’t climbed a tree for years, what if I fall’? Kids never think of that, they just focus on climbing the tree!  One of my strengths in golf is putting, in fact I’m convinced I’m going to hole every putt.  Many others take on the mindset of ‘get it near the hole’ or ‘what if I miss’, yet if that is the thought going through your head as you strike the ball with the putter, that generally is what you do… get it near the hole!  I have a good friend who I play a lot of golf with who I’ve managed to convince that I am the best putter he’s ever played with!  I enjoy a game of golf with him, as every putt I have to make, he’ll generally say, ‘You never miss these’ or ‘I may as well give that one to you’ from 10 – 12 feet, which merely builds my confidence and belief that I will actually hole the putt.  Be brave, in whatever you do, it is one of the bulk ingredients of success.

Paul McGinley, the guy that holed the winning putt, the tricky, 7 foot, left to right putt on the 18th Green which ensured a European victory in the 2002 Ryder Cup at The Belfry and then went on to be the 2014 Winning Ryder Cup Captain has been heavily into the psychology of golf and success for many years.  Geoff Loughrey told a story of when the two of them shared a putting green prior to a tournament, getting some practice in, getting used to the speed etc. of the greens.  McGinley practiced the whole time with a pair of headphones on!  Loughrey thought it a bit odd, but put it down to him listening to his favourite music, to calm him and relax him whilst he practiced.  After a while and during a break, he asked Paul what music he was listening to, to be told ‘Here, have a listen’.  All he heard was a voice saying ‘You’re the best putter in the world, You’re the best putter in the world, You’re the best putter in the world….’  proof indeed that the more you tell yourself something, good or bad, the more engrained that becomes.  I wonder what was going through McGinley’s mind as he made that winning putt to give the Europeans victory in the Ryder Cup?  I’d put money it was nothing like ‘Don’t miss this’!

IMG_5769

The fantastic Stroke Index 1 hole at Woking Golf Club, Surrey. A tough, but brilliant Par 4.

Whether you are playing sports or, as I’ve said, want to become more successful in business, or simply want a better life, live in the positive world.  Think and tell yourself things that you can do, rather than focussing on what might go wrong.

Psychology surrounds us, and everyone is a psychologist!  My own observations are that there are too many bad ones… people that analyse why they CAN’T do something or hark on about the fear of failure.  Many people won’t know they can’t do something because they’ve never actually tried, their fear stops them at even attempting it!  Crazy huh?

The gem that Geoff Loughrey left me with was the story of the first time that Rory McIlroy was to play in a tournament with Tiger Woods, his hero from as far back as he could remember.  Picture the scene, Woods at one end of the range, Rory at the other.  As good as you are at controlling nerves, just imagine how you would feel competing against your hero and the current World Number One, and had been for a considerable time.  It was clear to Michael Bannon, who still coaches Rory to this day, that McIlroy was nervous.  His body language, his demeanour, there were signs of nerves.  (Who wouldn’t be)!  Michael told Rory to keep practising and he would be back shortly, and then, casually wandered along, as discreet as he could be, to watch Woods practising.  Tiger was hitting balls seemingly for fun!  His coach would say, hit a low one; and he did. Hit a fade, left to right; and he did. Now a high draw, right to left; and he did.  In fact Woods was looking awesome!

Michal Bannon returned to where his prodigy, young McIlroy was practising and simply said ‘I think this could be our day.  Tiger’s hurt his back, I’m not even sure he’ll be able to play!  He’s topping balls, and slicing drives’.  McIlroy, clearly felt that maybe, yes, this was his day, and you can only play the person in front of you, whether that person is carrying an injury is really not your problem.  McIlroy’s body language changed with this news, he relaxed and started to hit some great balls.

After 9 holes, McIlroy was 1 hole up and asked Woods how his back was holding up!  You can imagine the response, and McIlroy caught the eye of Bannon in the crowd who simply gave a sheepish grin and a thumbs up!  Rory went on to win the match, having been given the belief before they even stepped on the tee, more evidence came when he was 1 up at the turn, and sometimes that is exactly what you need; Belief!

How many things could YOU achieve, this week, this month, this year, with a little more belief? What pressing engagements have you got to attend, maybe make a speech or deliver a presentation?

One of my favourite Muhammad Ali quotes is ‘I told myself I was the greatest, even before I knew I was’.  Pure belief, and when you think about it… it works!

Remember to ‘follow’ our blog, and watch out for new workshops, created and designed for exactly what you need, to be even more successful than you currently are.

ROLIS-descent-image

The ROLIS instrument took a snapshot of comet 67P/CG as Europe’s Philae lander descended toward the surface on Nov. 12, 2014.
Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/ROLIS/DLR

So has anyone else been captivated by the recent events concerning the Rosetta Space Mission? I mean, just consider that the launch date goes as far back as March 2004, when a certain Mr Peter Andre was number one in the charts with ‘Mysterious Girl’! What was the point of the mission? To rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and undertake a lengthy exploration of a comet at close quarters to watch how it is transformed by the warmth of the Sun along its elliptical orbit.

Now, when you take into account, the journey to the comet alone would take over 10 years, that the mission was ‘put into hibernation’ to conserve energy and would be ‘woken’ at an arranged date when it moved closer to the sun and was warmed by the suns rays, that the comet was 317 MILLION Miles from earth and that the comet is travelling at 34,000 mph… to land a ‘washing machine’ sized probe (Philae Probe) is truly AMAZING! Already data has been sent back, including pictures which will give mankind even more information about our solar system. A comparison has been made that it was like a fly landing on a fired bullet!

Some will say… what is the point (when you consider that the mission has cost over $1 billion, but then, you can always argue… what is the point of anything, people will always have opinions and opinions are what makes the world go round! Whether you agree with the mission or not, you cannot fail to be impressed with the vision.  I mean… who would have ever dreamt up the fact of landing a probe on a speeding comet? (Well, we can all dream), yet who would have this dream/vision but actually have the commitment to see the mission through?

Too often, I, and no doubt you, hear that ‘This is impossible’ or ‘That is impossible’… and once the words have been said (even if this is in our minds, talking to ourselves) it gives us the right to give up.

If you are that determined, then this mission alone should give you all the motivation that you need to discover, whatever life may throw at you, that there is normally a way.  It may not happen instantly, it may take years of planning and there will doubtless be risks and potential problems involved.  Even after all the meticulous planning in the world, it is very possible that the outcome was not what was originally visioned, (as in the case of the Philae Probe, where it appears that the landing on the comet has left the probe in a crater’s shadow thus not allowing the sun to recharge the solar panels.  It is currently in ‘hibernation’ and will await recharging, when and if, the probe can absorb some sun energy).

Next time you have a dream, and people tell you it’s impossible… give them the Rosetta Space Mission Story!…. Just like the Philae Probe…To be continued!

John Lennon Happy

Ever thought what direction your life would take if you weren’t doing what you are doing right now?

As the late Steve Jobs of Apple said, a good few years ago… ‘You can only join the dots of your life, looking back’… but just imagine, if you had made that decision, or changed your career path all those years ago? Where would you be now?

The fact is, you are where you are, right now, but that doesn’t always mean that your path is pre-determined from this moment on. I was recently reminded of that quotation ‘The best time to plant an apple tree was twenty years ago… the next best time is now’!  How very true that is.

If you feel you are at a crossroads in your life, career, hobby, etc. and are maybe unsure what is in store for you, then you may want to consider attending one of our workshops coming up soon.  If this is something that may interest you, please register your interest NOW (under no obligation) by simply emailing us for further information. change@imduk.com

As I write this, I am reminded of John Lennon, assassinated in New York in December 1980 at the age of 42.  Today, the 9th October would have been his 74th Birthday!  Little did he know what was in store that day when he signed an autograph for Mark Chapman, although maybe Chapman new how his life would pan out with a murder charge on his head.  I wonder how, nearly 34 years on, how the music scene would have possibly changed with Lennon’s influence over those years?

Richard Branson Opportunity.001

How many business opportunities are turned down on a regular basis (and life opportunities), purely because we lack the confidence to carry it out or doubt ourselves that we have sufficient knowledge or skill to undertake the task? Take the opportunity and use it as a motivator, to learn a new skill or increase your knowledge. Can you imagine how impactful that could be?

Next time an opportunity presents itself, grab it with both hands… and then go about increasing your knowledge or skill. Consider what resources you may need?

If this is something that you’d like to investigate further, then be sure to watch out for our forthcoming workshop, where the focus will be on making you a far more confident person than, perhaps, you are at the present time.

Contact us on 01277 821651 or simply email us on info@imduk.com to register your interest.

Image

An opportunity for a Dispense Engineer has arisen with an Essex based Drink Company.  They are looking for a highly driven and motivated individual, ideally based in North Essex, to assist in the installation and maintenance of soft drink equipment throughout East Anglia.  Previous experience in a similar industry or within the electrical/plumbing industry would be a major asset.

In addition, the chosen individual will undertake regular service calls on established licensed and leisure customers, together with delivery of product, as and when required.  A full UK Driving license will be a requirement.  

Competitive salary plus company car and benefits to the right applicant and full training will be given.

If this is, perhaps, something that you are interested in, please forward your cv to cv@imduk.com