Getting your organisation Investors in People ready 2

                  This is the second in our series of blogs around Investors in People (IIP), and why you should get your organisation accredited by IIP. The first blog was a little while ago and talked about leading and inspiring people, which is the one of the three key indicators under the ‘leading’ heading in the organisation’s own standard. For this piece, we’re going to look at the second key indicator, living the organisation’s values. Here’s what IIP says this means: ‘People and leaders act in line with the organisation’s values at all times. They have the courage and support to challenge inconsistent behaviours.’ If you’re a regular reader of our blogs, you’ll know this is a subject we’re pretty fond of and have written about before. Even if IIP accreditation isn’t something you’re interested in, living your organisation’s values is still a behaviour you should adopt, and get everyone else to do the same. What we’re not going to do in this blog is tell you what values your organisation should have. That’s for you to decide. It’s your organisation and it’s up to you how you want people to behave. We’re more concerned with some ways you can make sure you (and your people) are always aware of your values, and act in line with them no matter what. Let’s assume you’ve got your values in place and everyone in your organisation knows what they are. This could be because they’re on display around your offices and when people log in to your intranet system, plus there’s loads of supporting information to explain exactly what they […]
By |September 16th, 2017|Employee engagement, news|Comments Off on Getting your organisation Investors in People ready 2

Sliding Doors – a true story

This week’s blog is different to what we usually post. It’s written by our MD, Janet Richmond, after something she and her partner experienced recently on holiday in Corfu. The events are true, but the names have been changed – you’ll understand why once you’ve read it.                     If you’ve seen the 90s film Sliding Doors, you’ll know that it alternates between two parallel universes, based on the two paths the central character could take depending on whether or not she catches a train, and causing different outcomes in her life. The reason I’m talking about this particular film is because I’ve been reflecting on the ‘What if’ concept of the film since returning from a holiday in Corfu. The holiday is one I’ll never forget, but not for the reasons you’d expect. I was with my partner on the island. We were staying at a beautiful location, the hotel was set in the cliff side, high above Ermones Beach, surrounded by lush forest. Idyllic. On day three of the holiday, as we waited for the funicular to take us up to the restaurant for breakfast, I realised it was on its way back down, so quick as a flash the decision was made to go down to the beach instead. We found our usual fantastic space and grabbed two sunbeds looking out to sea, with no one in front or behind us. Perfect. That sweet spot had kicked in by now where you’re totally relaxed and we settled down to catch the early morning sunshine. Everything was about to change. As I […]
By |September 6th, 2017|news|Comments Off on Sliding Doors – a true story

Keeping your organisation in tune with your employee voice

                  If there’s one thing employees really value in an organisation today, it’s having a voice. And that voice being heard and taken notice of. In fact, it’s often the only way they can be heard and get their point of view across in some organisations. This then leads to a workforce that feels more involved and valued because someone’s listening. Engagement then shoots up, as does creativity and productivity. Everyone’s a winner. But it’s no good having an employee voice that rings out loud and clear if you’re not in tune with what it’s saying. Encouraging people to speak out is great, but it’s equally important to listen to what’s being said and act on it. So how do you go about doing that? The first thing to do is make sure your employees are involved in decision making, particularly when there’s changes happening that affect them. Ask them to offer their honest opinion on things. This is getting the employee voice set up. Next, you need to assure them they’ll be listened to so they’ll open up. To tune into your employee voice, you really need to listen to what’s being said by everyone in the organisation. No-one’s point of view is more important than anyone else’s so take everyone’s opinion into account. Once you’ve done this, you can see what your employees’ needs are in the organisation, and start to communicate what they are. More importantly – you can also start to talk about what you’re going to do to address them. This shows you’re really in-tune with your workforce and have properly listened to their voice. It’s this […]
By |August 17th, 2017|leadership|Comments Off on Keeping your organisation in tune with your employee voice

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?

Four-days, flexibility and fresh fruit key to employee happiness

                              If you’ve ever wondered what the secret is to keeping your employees happy, some of the answers might surprise you. According to a recent survey of 2,000 UK workers conducted by, the perfect job would be one with a four-day week of no more than 24-working hours, a salary of £61,000, and free fresh fruit every day. Oh – and a boss they could go out for a pint with. There’s a lot more to it than this of course, but it’s clear from the survey that employees now value work-life balance more than anything else, with things like being near to the office, being able to work from home and being flexible around children’s school activities and holidays being right at the top of the list of desirable perks. Leaving on time every day was also really important for respondents. Other lifestyle perks employees value include free or reduced gym membership and local leisure facility access, fresh fruit and free tea and coffee available onsite, and being able to wear jeans to the office. As you’d expect, financial security still featured highly with good pension schemes, private healthcare packages and fair bonus schemes also seen as very important. Now here’s where it get interesting. Having a say in their career and an opinion that’s valued, along with being in charge of their own workload and regular reviews and performance appraisals were among some of the most important things employees now want. They’d also like an understanding boss who they could also socialise with. However, only 21% of workers surveyed said they were already in their […]
By |July 27th, 2017|Employee engagement|Comments Off on Four-days, flexibility and fresh fruit key to employee happiness

New Dr Who and BBC salaries show gender gap still alive

                  If there’s two things guaranteed to get people talking, it’s when the new Dr Who is revealed, and the BBC publishes its list of high-earning stars. This year, these two massive events have happened in the same week, and while you might not care all that much who the latest inhabitant of the Tardis is, or what TV presenters and newsreaders earn, they both show the gender gap in all forms is still very much alive and kicking in 2017. Whenever there’s a new Doctor, it always causes a huge debate about whether they’ll be as good as the last one. Some are seen as too young (Matt Smith) or too old (Peter Capaldi), or simply ‘not right for the role’, but the fact the latest incarnation is female has added further fuel to the fire, with gender prejudices playing a huge part this time. The announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the nation’s favourite time lord, was greeted with a mix of opinions on social media. Many saw her casting as a ‘win for the PC brigade’, and said they would now stop watching the programme. There was even an online petition started to recast the role and give it to a man. Of course, there were also many people who came out in support of the move, including Colin Baker, who played the sixth Doctor in the 1980s. There was also a clip of a young girl smiling with delight at the news that went viral on Twitter. Now, onto those BB salaries… For the first time, the BBC published the names of those who earn over £150,000 a […]
By |July 22nd, 2017|news|Comments Off on New Dr Who and BBC salaries show gender gap still alive

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

Anyone for tennis?

                  It’s that fortnight in the summer again when strawberry sales reach their peak and we all tune in to watch the world’s greatest tennis players battle it out to become the All England Champion on the grass courts in London. Whether you’re an ardent tennis fan, or an occasional enthusiast, the appeal of tennis is easy to see. During a typical match, you’re treated to great athleticism, sportsmanship, excitement, and the occasional shock. Whoever plays best on the day wins. But have you ever stopped to think what it takes to be a top player, like Roger Federer or Serena Williams? And what you need to stay at the top once you’ve got there? You’re probably thinking of things like skill, desire, mental as well as physical strength, and staying injury free. These are all really important, but there’s one you might have overlooked – leadership. Take teamwork – an essential part of leadership. No successful tennis professional has ever got where they have on their own. Although it’s the player who’s ultimately responsible for doing the business on the court, every single one of them has a carefully-selected team behind them. There’s a coach whose job it is to help the player improve and iron out weaknesses, a medical team responsible for keeping the player in tip-top physical condition, and a manager or agent who looks after the player’s schedule and finances to name a few. Each member of this team has their own important role and they’re trusted by the player to do it to the best of their ability. To be a champion, the player has […]
By |July 12th, 2017|leadership|Comments Off on Anyone for tennis?

Don’t let your own iceberg sink your Titanic

                    In business, many people think of their organisation as being unsinkable like the Titanic. It’s been built up over the years, is profitable and successful. What could go wrong? You’re all familiar with what happened when the supposedly unsinkable Titanic collided with an iceberg, and the tragedy that followed. In the decades that have followed, many theories have been put forward about what caused the vessel to actually sink. At first, many blamed the Captain for the speed at which he sailed across the iceberg-packed waters. Others thought it was the steel the ship was made out of that was at fault. Scientists found it was very brittle after they hit bits brought up from the bottom of the ocean and they shattered when hit with a hammer. This theory has now been debunked as bigger parts from the hull fared much better in the same experiment. It’s now widely accepted it was actually the iceberg that scuppered the Titanic. The ship’s huge bulk meant it wasn’t very nimble and couldn’t get out of the way of big objects, like icebergs. And the only way of spotting big objects was by lookouts – another potential flaw – especially as it was dark. So when the ship eventually stuck the fatal iceberg, big holes were pierced in its hull and it filled with water and sank pretty quickly. It also appears the design of the liner was it fault. It was constructed with huge interior compartments that meant it should’ve been able to stay afloat even when many of these compartments were […]
By |July 5th, 2017|leadership|Comments Off on Don’t let your own iceberg sink your Titanic

It’s OK to not know everything

                    Being a boss is a challenge. It always has been and always will be. When you’re at the helm of an organisation people look up to you. They expect you to set the direction of travel for the organisation and to guide it through the ups and downs. But here’s the thing: it’s okay not to know everything. You might think that’s a strange thing to say. The boss is in charge. They’re the top man (or woman) and it’s part of their job to be fully aware of everything to do with the organisation, right? Well, yes and no. You’ll face loads of situations where you might not know about something in an organisation. If you do, don’t worry about it – we’re all human and it goes without saying you’ll probably come a cropper at least once because you’re not as knowledgeable about one area as another. Facing that moment of uncertainty is daunting. You want to show you’re the right person to lead the organisation, but admitting you don’t know something could be seen as a sign of weakness. What do you do? First of all relax. Don’t stress about it. Many of the world’s most respected CEOs and leaders will have been in this situation lots of times and got through it. Think Marissa Mayer at Yahoo! She got things badly wrong with the direction of her organisation, but is still highly-respected as a great CEO. Plus she’s worth a cool $430m (according to her Wikipedia page). Leaders like Marissa recognise that it’s okay to not always know everything, but still show really strong leadership. […]
By |June 22nd, 2017|leadership|Comments Off on It’s OK to not know everything