Archives for posts with tag: personal development
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.


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.

The Positive Revolution! 

Positive People.001

With recent events in the world headlines and of course the general ‘bad news’ that the media seem to thrust down our throats 24/7, it’s very easy to fall into a negative mindset.  But today, look around you and see how many ‘positive’ people you can spot?

Positive people are those folk that you feel good to be around, they have the ability to help you ‘be yourself’ in a natural relaxed state.  They can turn up absolutely anywhere, and may be the person that supports you when you are feeling down and joins in the fun when you’re on the up!  You may go to them for advice and appreciate their words of wisdom or as someone who looks at you and notices your strengths, when, often, you are completely blind to them.  Consider how many people you know that are open-minded, kind and caring, maybe even compassionate and generous in many ways.  Maybe they just have the ability to believe in you and inspire you?

I recall a story, from many moons ago, that a fish will only grow as big as its environment will allow it to.  If you keep it it a small tank, it will only grow a few centimetres before becoming stunted, whereas keep it in a pond and it can grow up to a metre in length.  How many times do we ‘stunt’ people by not allowing them to grow in the right environment?  Spending time with positive people, due to many factors, including their belief in you and their support will enable you to grow to your maximum potential, where the boundaries are endless. Just consider how good that will feel, giving you new ideas and new possibilities.  Choose very wisely who you mix with; you become like the company you keep!

Good people bring out the good in people

Who do you know that could tick the majority of the list below?

  • Someone who makes you feel good about yourself?
  • Someone you can totally be yourself with?
  • Someone who listens to what you have to say?
  • Someone you can talk to if you’re worried?
  • Someone who makes you laugh?
  • Someone who inspires you?
  • Someone who introduces you to new ideas or new people?

Now, you may just have one person in mind or several that tick a few of the situations.  The people you have on your list could be absolutely anyone, even people that you have never yet met, but these are the people to start to model yourself on, to ‘hang onto’.

Just start, over the next few days to look around you and notice the people that are there for you.  It will be no surprise that the more you mix and socialise with them, the more you will start to pick up their traits and characteristics.  Again, choose wisely!

In the very near future, small workshops, based on positivity and mindful awareness, are to be run.  Please come along and join us!  To register your interest, simply contact us via the email address and you’ll be one of the first to hear the news.

These workshops could possibly change your life, do you want to miss out? 

Contact us, under no obligation, right now

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 to register your interest.

Roger Bannister.001

On the 6th May 1954 Roger Bannister accomplished the ‘impossible’ by running a mile in UNDER 4 minutes.

I say the ‘impossible’ because up until then, advice from medical experts was that if a human being ran at that speed then their lungs would burst, their heart explode and effectively it would result in death!  Now, if you knew no better… you’d listen to the ‘experts’, right?

Well, what if those so-called experts were wrong, (as Bannister, a Medical Student at the time) believed and ultimately proved?

Beliefs are hugely powerful tools that we can use to achieve the ‘impossible’ if only you allow them to.

For more information about how YOU can enhance YOUR own belief system, and achieve greatness, CONTACT us NOW!

New Workshops are currently being developed to assist you in reaching your full potential. Drop us an email at to register your interest.

South Africa 2008 756

It’s a new dawn,

It’s a new day,

It’s a new life

For me….

And I’m feeling good!

(Feeling Good.  Words by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley)

 Many New Year Resolutions will be made for 2014, but just how many will be acted upon, long term?  How many will actually be written down, as a form of commitment? (Often, seeing goals written down can further motivate us and of course, the writing part is the ‘activity’ side of thinking).

What are your ‘goals’ for 2014? 

By goals, I mean, what are your real goals? It may mean, on a personal level, giving up smoking or alcohol, maybe losing some weight?  This is not what will drive you on however, the real goal will be, if you have given up smoking, alcohol or have lost weight, how you will feel in yourself, how will you view yourself?

On training workshops and courses throughout this last year I often ask people ‘What will make you happy’?  Well, it’s no surprise, that for many of them, they say ‘winning the lottery’ or ‘being rich’!  That is not a ‘goal’ though, what would that money or new-found wealth actually do for them, that surely is the ultimate goal? When they then start to think about that aspect, the goals become a lot clearer.  So ensure any goals you make have a clear outcome.

Remember, if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know you have got there?

New Life Old Life.001

At the turn of the year, we often reflect over the previous twelve months and sometimes with regret?  Next time you sit down and think back, think of the highlights only… and watch what happens to your state of mind!

Highlights of 2013 for me?  Well too many to name, but here’s a shortlist… what one is top of my 2013 list? Maybe I’ll let you know next time!

  • Meeting ‘strangers’ on training courses throughout the year, many of whom have now become ‘great friends’! Thank you.
  • Spending a week with 40 Year 6 Leavers on the Isle of Wight, huge fun watching them grow as people. Thank you.
  • Registering 5 ‘consecutive’ Birdies on the golf course, a feat that someone researched and said the odds were over 46,000/1 🙂 I guess those lessons do pay off?
  • On the golfing theme, scoring a hole-in-one.  Is it all luck? 😉
  • Seeing my daughter’s face on her 17th birthday when she opened her present… the ‘car key’ with the car waiting outside and then passing her Theory Test at the first attempt.
  • Watching my son’s football team gain promotion with him being top-goalscorer on 41 goals!
  • Tearing around London with McMullen’s Bar Person of the Year nominee’s. Good times, Thank you.
  • Meeting a great friend I lost touch with years ago.  Thank you.
  • Working with some fantabulous people which makes my job seem nothing like a job is meant to be (or what we are told)! Thank you each and every one of you.

Be happy in 2014, Be healthy in 2014 and if you have that, you will have abundant wealth.

Now if you are serious about goal-setting or simply having a great year and would like a helping hand, then stay tuned to the IMD UK Facebook page or our blog where we will announce forthcoming workshops that can directly improve your life next year.

Please share this with people you think will benefit, they can then make their own choice as to whether 2014 will be a great year.

Have you reached your full potential?

Do you love what you do as a career? Many people do and if so, just keep going! If you frequently wish you were doing something else, as Steve Jobs once said, keep looking, don’t settle, you’ll know when you find it.

For further information about changing your career path or indeed, change in general, simply contact us today.

Why would you not want a better life?

Happy New Years Eve and welcome to Day 7 of our Twelve Days of Christmas. Time for some to reflect and just to consider what unique gifts you really have? Be sure to ‘like’ our Facebook page at or follow our ‘Blog’ at alternatively, just Tweet us @IMDUKlimited