change management

What’s your strategic narrative?










Are you sitting comfortably…then we’ll begin.

You’ll recognise this sentence as the opening to most of your favourite stories. These familiar words let you know you’re about to be told (or read) something wonderful where you can get immersed in the words, and paint pictures of what’s happening in your mind.

That’s what stories do. They help you visualise things and make them real. They capture your emotions and make you laugh and cry – often at the same time. There’s not much else you can think of that you can say that about.

We’re talking about stories because to have an effective strategic narrative for your organisation, you need to know what its story is. And be able to tell it in a way that’ll engage and relate to people.

A strategy is a plan of action at a certain point in time, whereas a strategic narrative is the journey the business is on, so think about the journey your organisation needs to go on to get where you need to. It needs to be authentic and believable, so stick to the truth and don’t shy away from telling it how it is even if that sometimes involves negatives.

To start, try asking yourself these three questions: Where is your organisation now? Where do you want it to get to? How do we get there? This is your journey.

The journey need to be something achievable, so avoid setting grandiose plans no-one in your organisation will think are realistic. The most effective journeys allow for – and even encourage – people to learn and adapt as they go along […]

By |August 10th, 2017|change management, leadership|Comments Off on What’s your strategic narrative?

Getting your organisation Investors in People ready 1









You might remember a while ago we talked about why you should think about getting your organisation accredited by Investors in People (IIP). If you’ve not read that blog yet, you can catch it here, and then come back and read this.

We also said we’d produce a series of blogs about what you need to do if you like what you read and think you’d like to be a part of it.

So, true to our word, here’s the first of those blogs.

IIP has produced its own standard with three performance headings – leading, supporting and improving – with another three key indicators under each of these headings meaning there’s nine areas in total to talk about. Our blogs will concentrate on one heading.

This week, it’s leading and inspiring people, the first key indicator under leading. Here’s what IIP says it means:

Leaders make the organisation’s objectives clear. They inspire and motivate people to deliver against these objectives and are trusted by people in the organisation.’

You’ve probably got your own ideas about what makes someone an inspiring leader. It could be a sportsman who leads by example, or someone who’s achieved something against the odds. But in organisations, what does it really mean?

Firstly it’s not just those right at the top that need to be inspirational. It applies to anyone who has any sort of leadership role so they can get the best out of their people.

To successfully lead and inspire others, managers need to be able to motivate people so they want to give them their […]

By |July 18th, 2017|change management, leadership, succession planning|Comments Off on Getting your organisation Investors in People ready 1

The impact of technology on people – good or bad?










Just like the Industrial Revolution of the Victorian era, the more-recent digital revolution has had a huge effect on people’s lives, both at home and work. And it’s fair to say that the effects have been positive and negative.

The Industrial Revolution led to mass-production for the first time with huge factories blighting the landscape and improved transport links across the country. Standards of living went up for some, while others experienced terrible poverty, as workers flocked to work at the factories and often ended up living in horrible cramped conditions. The work was dangerous and it took a long while for workers’ right to come into force.

Many workers also saw their jobs replaced by machines for the first time too, leading to more poverty and hardship.

Today’s parallels are obvious. People are still replaced by machines, although not to the same extent.  And it’s not the huge, steam-powered machines in factories and fields doing the replacing anymore, it’s tiny microchips and hard drives in business parks and city centre offices that are doing work previously done by humans now.

In most organisations, the effect of technology on people is to make their lives easier. Thanks to computers, smartphones and tablets we can communicate faster than ever. Want to talk to a colleague? Compose a quick email and they’ll get it in seconds anywhere in the world no matter what the time is. Nor more relying on a telegram or the electric telegraph of the Industrial Revolution. And don’t forget the snail mail or fax we all used not that long ago– they’re so last decade.

Now, almost […]

By |May 31st, 2017|change management, Uncategorized|Comments Off on The impact of technology on people – good or bad?

What can we learn from the beautiful game?











It’s that time of year again. The one when the ups and downs of the past nine months are mostly finished, the main players are looking for a month or so spent on the beach, and the planning starts ready for next year.

We’re talking about football of course. The season’s almost done and dusted, with just the last few cups to be won, European places still up for grabs and the last remaining promotions still to be decided.

And that’s the beauty of football. Sticking with your team no matter what. You celebrate the highs together and despair at the lows together. Each season brings another shot at glory. Maybe our name’s on the cup this year, or it’s our turn to be champions.

If you ask any supporter of any team if they’d change their football allegiance, they’d say no in a heartbeat. The one thing football fans don’t do is change their loyalty. Switching teams is just about the worst thing you can do in the eyes of other supporters.

One group of individuals who are allowed to change their allegiance, however, are football managers. Their chosen profession is one of the most perilous around, with very few of this select band lucky enough to stick around at one club for a considerable length of time. Even winning your country’s top league for the first time in a club’s history isn’t enough to save you from the chop these days.

If you stop and think about it, the best football managers – and we’ll leave you to […]

By |May 25th, 2017|change management|Comments Off on What can we learn from the beautiful game?

Bridging the generation gap









Picture credit: Copyright: <a href=’’>bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

One of the things that makes today’s workplaces interesting is the diversity of people in them. We talk a lot about diversity, and often refer to the importance of gender balance. In this blog we want to focus on the diversity of generations and how you can bridge the gap that can sometimes appear between them.

Most organisation will have three different generations of employees: baby boomers, generation Xers and millennials. Demographically, they span the best-part of a century and each group has different sets of values and experiences, both in and out of work. They can all bring valuable skills and when they work together, can produce stunning results. However, each group sometimes has a perception (usually wrong) about one or more of the others that might stop them working together to their full potential.

So let’s have a look in a bit more detail at each of these generations, and what they can bring to an organisation. And more importantly, how they can harmonise with each other as beautifully as on a Beach Boys’ song.

Baby boomers are so-called because they’re part of the ‘baby boom’ that followed World War 11 right up to the early 1960s. This group have lived through tremendously exciting times, both culturally and socially, and have adapted their working methods several times. They’re likely to be fairly affluent, own their homes and have kids that have flown the nest.

This group will have had households where the man was probably the main breadwinner and parenting was left to the wives. Baby boomers will be successful in work and have often sacrificed family […]

By |May 15th, 2017|change management, succession planning|Comments Off on Bridging the generation gap

Leadership is more than just a political buzzword

Leadership is more than just a political buzzword

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You’ve probably noticed there’s a lot of talk about (and focus on) leadership at the minute. Since the snap election was announced, party leaders of all colours and beliefs have been quick to declare themselves as a strong leader, who knows what it takes to run the country.

In politics, it’s not always how good a leader you are that counts. When voters put their little X in the box they usually vote based on the party they prefer and not necessarily because of who the leader of that party is. There are exceptions of course – as happened over the pond not so long ago – but you could argue that politics is unique because it doesn’t always matter who the leader of a party is for people to vote for them.

In the real world outside of Parliament, it rarely works like this. What you do and say as a leader does matter, and successful organisations really understand the importance of strong leadership. Having the right person at the helm who knows what it takes to deal with everything modern workplaces have thrown at them is vital.

There are several tacks you can take to establish yourself as strong leader. You could follow the approach of well-known and respected (in most cases) CEOs like Richard Branson and Bill Gates who give the appearance of being great blokes with a fantastic sense of humour who just happen to run hugely successful organisations. Having […]

By |April 25th, 2017|change management|Comments Off on Leadership is more than just a political buzzword

Accountability starts with letting go

Accountability in your organisation

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Without going all Frozen – although the song title sort-of mentioned throughout this blog is quite apt as it’s about being free from restrictions – to really achieve accountability in your organisation, the first thing you need to do is let it go.

By |April 20th, 2017|change management|Comments Off on Accountability starts with letting go

Is the right gender balance in a leadership team important?

gender balance

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You’ll know from reading our blogs that we’ve spoken about the lack of gender diversity in organisations before, particularly at the top. One piece we wrote focussed on this year’s Northern Powerhouse Annual Powerhouse and Conference had a complete absence of women on its list of advertised speakers. There were women on the bill, with some of them pretty big hitters around the north, but only came a measly 12.74% of all the speakers were female.

By |April 7th, 2017|change management|Comments Off on Is the right gender balance in a leadership team important?

Building resilience in an organisation

Building resilience in your organisation

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Before we talk about this, we need to get to the bottom of what resilience is. It’s a hot-topic at the minute in loads of organisations as more-and-more workplaces are making it a real area of focus.

By |April 6th, 2017|change management|Comments Off on Building resilience in an organisation

Good stress versus bad stress – where do you stand?

good stress and bad stress at work

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We’ve talked a lot about well-being at work in other blogs, and have identified stress as one of the major contributors when it comes to mental health issues and burn-out. But stress isn’t all bad is it? Some people think a bit of stress can actually be good for your health and wellbeing. Others – particularly leaders- are reluctant to acknowledge stress even exists in their organistion.

By |March 13th, 2017|change management|Comments Off on Good stress versus bad stress – where do you stand?