So proud of my clients

Just wanted to say how proud I am of all my clients. They’re the invisible ones who have been working flat out since March to keep their companies going, keep the staff employed, keep the UK economy moving, paying their taxes and contributing to society. Never a mention on the news of course – if you just listen to that, you’d think all businesses have been closed, where people are either key workers or sat at home watching Netflix. No, they’ve been working away doing amazing things whilst carrying a massive burden of stress for themselves and all the stakeholders who are dependent upon them.

As Seth Godin said:

“Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead. This scarcity makes leadership valuable…It’s uncomfortable to stand up in front of strangers. It’s uncomfortable to propose an idea that might fail. It’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo. It’s uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle…If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader”

Good work guys.

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A time to learn about the people around you

Following my last article about how the exemplary leaders are standing out right now, I have realised how transparent everyone is at the moment.

It would appear from my own observations and the myriad calls I’m having with clients, that peoples’ strengths are currently being accentuated – qualities such as calmness, resilience, listening, proactivity, empathy, helpfulness, commitment and willingness to go the extra mile.

Sadly, the weaknesses are also standing out in stark contrast – negativity, resistance, challenging for the sake of making a point, inability to organise oneself, reactiveness, awkwardness. not encouraging people who are trying to do good things and not taking responsibility to share a burden.

In a business context, what a perfect opportunity to really learn about your colleagues and employees. It is at times like these when the leaders of the future are identified whilst, at the same time, the list of people you might want to exit also shows itself.

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A time that calls for exemplary leadership

It’s been a privilege to catch up with clients over the past week to see how leaders have risen to the challenge their businesses face. So calm, proactive, positive and optimistic. Not deluded though. Exactly what the wider population needs.

Most of the positive psychology authors, including Goleman, Covey, Seligman and others, highlight the importance of the “gap”. The gap is the space between stimulus and response. Primal behaviour defaults to “fight, flight or freeze” in this gap, but we have the ability to choose a considered and probably more effective response to an external event.

My clients have been focusing on short and medium term cashflow forecasts, writing to suppliers about payment terms (banks, landlords, HMRC, etc.), running daily “state of the nation” broadcasts to their colleagues and employees, quickly getting everyone working from home where possible and proactively contacting all customers to offer help and advice.

These behaviours encourage employees to lead as well. Some have offered to run Zoom webinars for other staff for learning purposes. Many have written to their building societies or landlords and asked for moratoria on payments – they recognise they need to do their bit and that Government and employers can’t be expected to carry the whole financial burden.

Many are reinventing ways of productising their offer in different ways – like, for example, the fitness coaches posting online video tutorials.

Now is a time that needs exemplary leadership. I am learning great new ideas from my clients every day and anyone who would like to learn more will know how to reach me.

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Return on the time invested in social media

My last blog post centred around some of the negatives of social media, as I see them. This time, I wanted to share a couple of positives.

First of all, I had a referral to a prospective client this week. Nothing unusual in that I hear you say. However, it came from someone who I think I’ve only ever “met” on LinkedIn. They have been following my activity for a couple of years and the perception that has created, along with an element of extra due diligence no doubt, has led to what I would call a strong recommendation to use my services to one of their valued clients. Not a step anyone would take without a high level of confidence in the person being referred and it’s interesting how well LinkedIn has performed in that regard.

Secondly, I have put quite a lot of effort into Twitter over the past few years. I always try to add value to my followers, rather than simply act as a bulletin board and it’s lovely when I get a nice reply to say that a comment had uplifted someone’s spirit or mood. This week provided quite a shock though. A tweet I made at the beginning of the weekend, which was a quote about how we learn, generated over 300 retweets and 650 likes in the 48 hours after the post. Of course, there were a handful of negative comments too, as you would expect. Setting aside the dopamine hit that I probably experienced, it was such a nice feeling to reflect on how much value that might have added to the everyday lives of so many people around the world, simply because it resonated enough to create a positive response. We all probably wonder if there is anyone out there listening when we engage with social media and so much seems to be noise, so it’s encouraging to get such a strong endorsement from the effort and thought that goes into sharing ideas with followers, even if it’s only occasional.

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Sycophant, narcissist or value-giver?

OK, so this is probably a fairly provocative thought-piece on the use of social media, so feel free to either strongly agree or disagree at your discretion.

I’ve been using social media for quite a while. As with most things, in the early days of anything new, we all tend thrash around with no real sense of purpose. However, it’s increasing becoming clear to me that many people and businesses seem to have fallen into the trap of either being creepily obsequious about everything their friends post or completely self-obsessed in their stream of content. Neither of which, in my humble opinion, is likely to get them very far, unless the objective is purely to seek social engagement or a dopamine hit.

The most successful users of social media, at least in a business context, seem to have a more strategic focus to their activity. They tend to major on providing value to their listeners/followers. That could be some form of thought leadership, sharing a useful tip, relating a war story that others may get a useful lesson from or just seeking to inspire with motivational words.

Is your activity simply a bulletin board of all your wonderfulness or is the focus to genuinely give value to your target market? I highly recommend the later approach.


Supercharge your learning with an online program

Our new “Time Management” online course is released today.

If you ask people ‘How are you?’ the typical response from most is ‘busy’. Time and priority management is a big issue for everyone. No matter who you are, your social position, your personal wealth or your qualifications, you get issued with only 24 hours every day or 168 hours per week. No one gets any more. Some people however use their hours more effectively than others, how come they are more successful at managing their time?

Other online courses include: leadership skills, coaching and developing people, lean management, profit improvement, personal growth, sales performance, strategic planning, business intuition, entrepreneurship, self-confidence and developing strategy in volatile times.

Working online, supported by a coach, means you can work in your own time at your own speed. Each course is available for 6 months and takes between 5 and 8 hours to complete.

Email me for more details at:

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Peer group for directors and owners

In sociology, a peer group is both a social group and a primary group of people who have similar interests, age, background, or social status. The members of this group are likely to influence the person’s beliefs and behaviours.  (Wikipedia)

Peer to peer learning has been described as “… a way of moving beyond independent to interdependent or mutual learning…” (Boud, 1988).

We’ve been facilitating our “Senior Management Network” for 14 years, in close partnership with A group of like-minded directors and business owners who benefit from facilitated peer group workshops, regular mentoring sessions and access to all the learning and coaching resources that Mindshop has honed over decades.

Members simply commit a month at a time for £200 pcm. There’s no joining fee and they leave whenever they like. That said, two members received their 10 year continuous membership awards in Q4 of 2018, so most join and stay for many years.

The quarterly workshops are quite structured, bringing new topical thinking from around the globe, allowing delegates to contemplate how this might impact their organisational plans and leadership style, whilst being challenged and/or assisted on specific burning issues.

I myself have been part of a peer group for 22 years and find it invaluable in creating new ways of thinking and learning from peers who have experienced similar issues.

We generally allow prospective members one free guest appearance to enable them (and us) to assess the fit. If you are looking for a new way of bringing innovative thinking into your routine, this might be ideal for you. Please contact me on or call 07803 185000.

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Is cold marketing dead?

I’ve been predicting for a while that most requests for opt-in to email lists will get very poor responses in the run up to GDPR. No surprise – it’s a great opportunity to declutter the inbox of all the spammy marketing messages and newsletters that we don’t read.

As databases of targets will therefore become redundant, my next prediction is that Linkedin will be turned to for such messaging. LinkedIn = opt-in right? Maybe. I’ve noticed the increase in requests to connect by people I don’t know, which seems like a precursor for the next blizzard of unwanted marketing from the outdated push-marketing brigade.

My preference has always been for keeping in touch with people I know, rather than forcing the high volume, cold end of marketing. GDPR will definitely shift the emphasis in this direction and not before time.

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Blended leadership academies flying off the shelves.

Today I start another new Blended Leadership Academy with initial 121’s to set individual goals for the program, so the delegates and sponsoring company can measure the return on investment.

Quite a small program this time with 4 rising stars within a business. Love the fact I have been given responsibility to inspire, teach, coach and make a real difference to their lives.

Everyone wins. I am finding so many clients have a tier of great people who they don’t quite know what to do with. They aren’t perfect and a customised intervention can lift their skills, motivation, performance and promotional prospects quite easily, at a sensible price.

Traditional training courses are usually not money well spent as the learning is lost in a few weeks. The blend of F2F with online, training and coaching is the modern, effective way to embed and practice the learning on real issues, backed by 24/7 experienced support.

What are you doing with your rising stars?

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Are you self-actualising yet?

It’s pretty exciting having just had my 58th birthday to feel that every day I’m doing the work I have been preparing for over decades.

By way of example:

  • a 4.30am start and in London today to run a soft-selling workshop for client customer services team as part of phase 2 of their Blended Leadership Academy.
  • A new project agreed yesterday with a global client on process improvement using the 7 wastes and project teams, coaching the operations director and change management for the team.

Some pretty cool work for what used to be a humble accountant.

John Maxwell said:

“Success: know your purpose in life; grow to your potential; sow to benefit others” – a bit philosophical perhaps for early on a Thursday, but I wanted to share this reflection for anyone who isn’t quite aligned with their purpose, especially in their work.

I believe it’s worth investing some time to understand one’s purpose and vision, then putting the right steps in place to start living it every day. It’s not just (or even) management speak from the life coaching domain, it’s totally practical and rather elegant.

In truth, I would give up most of what I learned at school to have been given some insight into this way of thinking at an early age.

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