Succession planning

This was written by our 5 year old when she got in from school in 1998 – it still resides in the top drawer.

Not sure if this is the right basis for succession planning, but she didn’t do her chances any harm and is now responsible for the operational running of the business.

What do you consider when passing the future business on to the next generation?

It’s a challenging juggling act balancing the demands of a business with family loyalty and there’s definitely a sense of responsibility for the next generation not to stuff it up.

Long term strategic planning, whether in a family business or not, is the key to laying the groundwork and having plans in place to ensure a smooth transfer and the existing members of the board need to be able to relinquish responsibility and accept that new generations and new appointments will bring with them fresh ideas and potentially challenging changes.

We have courses on Business Planning and Succession planning together with Company Secretary responsibilities, Strategic planning and a Directors’ Development programme plus a Team coaching programme that enhances the overall performance of a Board of Directors to benefit the whole business.

If you are looking to develop your senior personnel or indeed are a family business that wants to be prepared for the future, do give us a call – 01892 832059 or email fran@athelbrae.co.uk for further details.

ABC of Training – C for Creative

Training providers are very often asked to provide workshops that are innovative, creative and different in their content.  This is not an unreasonable request providing it recognises there is a danger in being too “wacky” and ending up missing the learning point of the whole exercise.

Creativity in the training room allows delegates to think more laterally, generate ideas and become innovators in their own thinking.  Allowing them to step away from the “party line” and to come up with new and unexplored options for a variety of work-related areas, including customer service, sales and managing their teams, will encourage them to think outside the box and offer up solutions to make them and the business stand out from competitors.

Tried and tested training formulae can become restrictive in these discussions – we’ve probably all sat in a brain-storming session and been told that no idea is a bad idea, only to come up with something completely left field, and be told that it wouldn’t work/is ridiculous or not relevant to the discussions!

This inhibits our ability to be creative.  A good trainer will explore these ideas as they arise allowing delegates to become fully engaged and creative as the day progresses.

Many assume that creativity means “artistic” and the term can therefore be off-putting for some delegates who do not see themselves as arty types.  In trying to meet the brief, a training provider may offer up a course outline that has lots of whizzy words and phrases including

expressive; innovative; inventiveness; artistic; originality

and all of a sudden your delegates are on their guard, unsure of what will be asked of them during the programme and immediately start to be wary of attendance (remember the B for Bowels scenario!)

So it’s important to get your provider to understand what it is you are looking for in regards to creativity exploration in the training room, but they must also understand their audience and how to unwrap the creative juices in the delegates without turning them off before they even set foot in the room.

This John Cleese book has been recommended for looking at tapping into your creativity for both corporate and personal development.  More details available on Creativity by John Cleese: 9780385348270 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Many assume that creativity means “artistic” and the term can therefore be off-putting for some delegates who do not see themselves as arty types.  In trying to meet the brief, a training provider may offer up a course outline that has lots of whizzy words and phrases including

expressive; innovative; inventiveness; artistic; originality

and all of a sudden your delegates are on their guard, unsure of what will be asked of them during the programme and immediately start to be wary of attendance (remember the B for Bowels scenario!)

So it’s important to get your provider to understand what it is you are looking for in regards to creativity exploration in the training room, but they must also understand their audience and how to unwrap the creative juices in the delegates without turning them off before they even set foot in the room.

This John Cleese book has been recommended for looking at tapping into your creativity for both corporate and personal development.  More details available on Creativity by John Cleese: 9780385348270 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

ABC of Training – B for Bowels

B – Bowels

You are wondering what the link is between training and bowels aren’t you!

To be honest, this could have come under F for Fear but it sits as well higher up the alphabet as it is a common reaction amongst delegates who are sent on a training course.

The frequent reply when a trainer asks at the start of a course what someone is looking to get from the day, the response is “don’t know, I was sent by my Manager”.

This may be slightly disingenuous if they aren’t engaged in the process, but it is also true that on many occasions people are sent on a course or workshop but the reasoning behind it is not shared with them and this in itself causes consternation and that churning in the lower gut that responds to the unknown. 

Have they done something wrong?  Are they under-performing?  Are they not up to the same standard as their colleagues?

There is also a genuine dislike by some people of the training process – will they be made to look stupid?  Will they be asked questions that they can’t answer?  Will they have to work with people they don’t like on the dreaded role play scenario?

Managing expectations and questions is the domain of an excellent trainer – putting everyone in the room at ease, including those who may be “prisoners” in the process, as well as those who would like to fully engage but are nervous to do so.

Importantly though, if you are sending someone on a course, have a conversation with them as to the reasoning behind it, what you are looking for them to achieve from the training and how you’ll help them to implement the learning afterwards. 

It’ll help them immensely in controlling the nerves and settling the churning bowels!

ABC of Training – A for Adaptations

A – Adaptations

Many years ago, Keith worked as an Associate for a global consultancy.  The trainers didn’t produce their own materials but were required to deliver the course using the pre-prepared course notes written by the consultancy. In the middle of the first day for a well known Travel company, the trainers realised the content included the name of a national media organisation, who had recently also had the same training. 

The Consultancy sold their services as being “totally unique and everything written from scratch” so whilst the Travel company had been told by the Training provider that the course was designed specifically for them and had been charged for the privilege, the fact was the consultancy had just swapped the names in the content – except for the pages they’d missed!

It is true that the majority of training courses use a basic framework of content for individual subjects – management theories, communication skills, PowerPoint layout is universal.

But your business has its own complexities and whilst the generic content will be included, it is important that your training provider isn’t lazy and just rebrands the name of the course for your day!

You should expect to have detailed discussions about the issues and problems your people are facing and the provider should then adapt the content to include these identified specific topics.  

The trainer doesn’t have to be an expert in your field – indeed sometimes it is more helpful that they aren’t – they then ask questions of the delegates to understand in more detail the issues they face in your industry, but by you having an in-depth conversation with the trainer beforehand means you can highlight any difficulties or particular areas you need covered during the day.

A great trainer and provider will flex the content to your needs, and research in detail what materials and models will help the delegates to fully engage and enjoy the day.

ABC of Training

Later today we start our new weekly series on the ABC of Training.

We’ll be looking each week at a different topic around the training room and learning.

Our #wednesdaywordsofwisdom kicks off this week with A for Adaptations.

We’ll look at the importance of getting your provider to be flexible in their approach to content & how they work with you. Keep an eye out later today.

Face to Face is back!

Fantastic to be back in the training room and actually able to see the whites of the delegates’ eyes 🙂

All done in a Covid safe environment so everyone feels secure.

We cannot thank clients and Associates/Coaches enough for their flexibility and adaptability over the last year and a range of blended courses (some online and some in house) will no doubt become the norm.

A busy week ahead again next week which is brilliant with a mix of Zoom, MS Teams and on site training – so hope everyone has the weekend to recharge the batteries and get those arms ready for hugging!

Demonstrating leadership

The Parks Department of Canada sent this email to their staff at the start of the pandemic in 2020 – we would all like to think that we said the same to our people ….maybe some did, but there will be a large proportion who didn’t.

However as we start to see a relaxation of some restrictions, we can revisit this and ensure that we put our people first.

  • you are not working from home, you are at your home during a crisis trying to work
  • your personal physical, mental and emotional health is far more important than anything else right now
  • you should not try to compensate for lost productivity by working longer hours 
  • you will be kind to yourself and not judge how you are coping based on how others are coping 
  • you will be kind to others and not judge how they are coping based on how you are coping
  • your team’s success will not be measured in the same way it was when things were normal

Reminiscing about Athelbrae

We were contacted via our website this week by Trevor Booth who is writing an article on the shipyard in Cheshire where the Athelbrae was the largest vessel ever built there. He wanted to know if he could use the bronze ship’s nameplate in the article that many of you will have seen on our course notes.

We had promised to look out some further information for him from the handwritten notes of the sea trials, conducted in 1956 by Kate’s father, John Nicholson, before he took the “Brae” over the Atlantic to her new home in the West Indies.

We are very grateful to Trevor for sharing some pictures of the Athelbrae under construction which you can now view via our FAQ page of the website. FAQ’s (athelbrae.co.uk)

It has also been an opportunity to reminisce going through all the documents we have on file including the passbooks from his career at sea (apparently he was considered conscientious and sober!) together detailed information on his time in a lifeboat, aged 19, in 1942 after being torpedoed in the North Atlantic whilst serving as an apprentice on the Athel Knight.

The last time Capt John Nicholson wore his uniform in July 1988

World Book Day 2021

This year for World Book Day we asked our Trainers to send us their “good read” recommendations, whether this be business focused, wellbeing, coaching, sales or inspirational.

Louise:

Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges

“A thought provoking and helpful book when navigating any change in life that helps guide the reader through coping with the inevitable changes in life – whether welcomed or not.”

Jacqui:

Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Map by Alan and Barbara Pease

“My reasons are that they used brain scans to show how men and women’s brains are wired differently and how they react to the same situation. Explains a lot and is fascinating, and I use this in training that it’s good to have differences. And it’s very funny when read with your partner…”

Jean:

The GO- GIVER by Bob Burg and John David Mann

“Not a fan of massive books with small type so this is a quick and easy read, told in the style of a story about a guy called Joe chasing business success. In many ways, it’s like a parable about what true success really is and how to achieve it. I read this in one day on holiday and loved it!”

BLINK by Malcom Gladwell

“From the very first story about ‘the statue that didn’t look right’, this book ‘had’ me. I literally couldn’t put it down! For someone who is a self-confessed perfectionist and hideously risk-averse, this was a really inspiring and challenging read about what would happen if we started to truly trust our gut instincts. Awesome … and I’m still working on it!”

Kate:

Emma and I by Sheila Hocken 

“An autobiography that details her growing up as a blind child, her relationship with her chocolate Labrador guide dog, Emma, and then regaining her sight as a young woman through surgery. Hocken and Emma go through many different obstacles together, both sad and happy.  An inspirational read about resilience, acceptance, loyalty and overcoming adversity.” 

Zahoor:

Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy

“I found this book inspiring on so many levels. One thing we often see/hear is how people end up where they are. We often don’t know that we make things happen, even if we think we don’t. Our subconscious is extremely powerful because it is the driver of our behaviour (our habits) which mean we get certain results. Unfortunately, many of our habits have been formed (through certain experiences) when we were young, like during our teenage years. And too many adults keep those habits even when they aren’t serving us. However, we do have the power of choice and can change those habits in adult life if we choose to. This book highlights, in a nice way, how we can take control of that process.  I believe this is one of those books that will stand the test of time and will be talked about as a classic, if it already isn’t.”

Ellie:

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

“Really good for understanding how much happiness benefits especially in the work place.”

Character Strengths Matter: How to live a full life by Polly and Britton

“Brilliant for a positive approach to developing employees rather than looking for weaknesses which is demoralising.”

Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett

“Normalising emotions, especially childhood development.”

Anything written by Brene Brown

Letting Go by David Hawkins

“wow. Just wow!”

Steve:

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss.

“Read the first 6 or so pages at the beginning of a leadership workshop and it captures people’s imagination, creates a ‘fun’ culture for the workshop and a good foundation to refer to regularly.”

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

“Should be on everybody’s list”

101 Hints and Tips for Amazing Presentations by Steve Torjussen

“a best seller on Amazon by yours truly!”

Helen

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

“Not sure what you’d classify it as other than lovely!”

Close to the Wind by Pete Goss

“Relates to resilience”

Elaine

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

“Good to dip into and useful strategies such as 5 levels of listening, circle of influence and concern and think win win.  Always make great discussion starters and useful for action planning.”

Mandy

Youtube – Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are by Amy Cuddy

Sarah A

Sapiens: History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari

“Deep”

Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl

“Maybe one for kids but great stuff”

Fran

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

That’s Not My Duck by Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells

Sign & Singalong – Incey Wincey Spider (BSL) by Annie Kubler

Sing & Singalong – Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (BSL) by Annie Kubler

“While the majority of my reading is currently with my 2 year old, these books represent wellbeing ensuring we have daily one on one time together before he goes to bed”

Keith

In the Morning I’ll Be Gone – (plus others in the Detective Duffy series) by Adrian McKinty

“Crime novels set in Northern Ireland during “the troubles”.  All are a good read and give an insightful look into the conflict from an author who has experienced challenges and disappointment at one time causing him to quit writing.”

Leanne

Time to Think by Nancy Kline

“Her encouragement and guidance of how important it is to listen is key, especially now: ‘the quality of your attention determines the quality of the other people’s thinking.’  It’s powerful stuff”

Stuart

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

“A very provoking modern look at a counterintuitive approach to living a good life”

Sun Tza The Art of War for Executives by Donald G Krause

“Takes Sun Tzu’s thinking, planning and strategy’s and reframes them into modern business and life”

Hilary

The Book of Joy by the Dalai Llama and Desmond Tutu

The Happiness Track by Emma Seppala

Simon

How To Be F*cking Awesome by Dan Meredith

“Gives you a right kick up the backside”

Denise

Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson

“Short and thought provoking”

Jemma

Our Iceberg is Melting by John Kotter

“This is great at dealing with change”

Relentless by Eddie Hearn

“Colourful language but is all about being resilient”

Legal commentary on the importance of up to date training

This article on the HR Director site highlights the legal requirement for employers to ensure that training is up to date and relevant.

Set around a harassment case, it makes clear the responsibility sits with the employer organisation to invest and provide suitable training for staff.

As so often is the case, sending employees on a “course” after the event in order to address an ongoing issue, is a bit like trying to retrieve that horse bolting down the road with the gate swinging behind it!

Many training events and courses around management and personal development build on-going knowledge, but some, like Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Employment Law, Health and Safety, GDPR, Board Governance, need to be revisited at regular intervals to ensure everyone knows the rules and regulations.

Using the defence that training has been given in the past is no defence at all, if the training content has become out of date or been updated.

Can an employer rely on the ‘reasonable steps’ defence to harassment where it provided training to the perpetrator of harassment and other employees? | theHRD (thehrdirector.com)