Thanks to Business Bunker for support

Big thanks to Amanda Flanders and Business Bunker Xtra radio this morning for a shout-out for daughter Francesca, who is raising funds for Diabetes UK doing the Challenge 22 swim.

If you want to get your event publicised, or information about your business or product, this is a great medium for reaching a wide audience.

Both the Business Bunker on Tuesday’s  with Paul Andrews and the Bunker Xtra show on Fridays with Amanda provide huge support for a whole range of businesses and sponsorship packages are available if this is an area your business may be looking to invest in.

Kate enjoyed being on the show at the end of January and seeing how it all works behind the scenes.  Can thoroughly recommend for any business in the region.





Personality tests as part of recruitment process

Hear about how personality profiling can work as part of the recruitment process.

The interview on Business Bunker Xtra in January with Operations Director, Kate, discussing how we organise the tests on line and Keith, as a qualified SHL practitioner, interprets the results to be considered with the overall interview findings.


Lessons from Lego



Over Christmas there was an interesting programme on the story of Lego which looked at the history of the company and how it has evolved over 80+ years.  In some instances there was a planned strategy and in others, decisions made almost cost them the business.

So what can be learned from their story?

1932 – Lego was ahead of the curve with other toys of the time and since in being able to provide inventive play using bricks that could be used in a multitude of ways =  Excel in your core business and have a good base product

1962 – The introduction of the rubberised “wheel” meant that suddenly the possibility of building something that moved opened up a whole new option for inventive play – and left its competitors who had static playbricks were left standing, literally! = Keep evolving

1969 –  the launch of Duplo – the lego brick for the younger generation who were able to engage with the product at an early age and by the time they graduated to the smaller bricks, were loyal customers = build on your customer base

1975 – English becomes the official Corporate language – a sensible move as this year saw the American procurement market established = do what’s right for your business particularly in long term planning

1977 – Lego Technic – for the loyal older customer who wanted a challenge for more complex builds = evolve, build on your customer base, do what’s right in the long term…..oh wait, haven’t we heard this before?

1982 – Celebrating 50 years of business with all staff =  recognising your valuable assets and making your teams feel valued and part of the business.

1996 – Legoland Windsor opens = moving into new markets and expansion

1998 – New brand statement – “Just Imagine” = don’t get stuck in a rut and grasp opportunities to adapt and flex your message

2000 – in talks with Steven Spielberg about a Lego Film – BUT also posts a DKK 1 Billion deficit – something needs to be done to halt the financial slide! = Not everyone gets it right all the time. Be brave and tackle the root cause of the problems

2004 – Jørgen Vig Knudstorp as new CEO of the company – the first CEO not to be a member of the family =   The ability to look take a long hard look at what’s not going right and put in place corrective measures.  How hard must that conversation have been with family members?

2005 – The new CEO implements a 5 year strategy plan – undoubtedly difficult decisions and meetings to be held to halt the slide and re-focus on what is great about the company and return to its roots of first class imaginative play for all ages = What is the core business?

2005/6 – The LEGOLAND parks are sold to Merlin Entertainments. The parent company of the LEGO Group – KIRKBI – buys a share of Merlin Entertainments. Today KIRKBI owns approx. one third of Merlin. The LEGO Group posts a profit again. The company is back on track = Difficult decisions aren’t the end of the world

2013 – The strong growth continues and the LEGO Group presents very satisfactory annual results. In less than10 years, the company has quadrupled its revenue = you need to allow time for changes to be implemented and take effect.  Knee-jerk solutions are not solutions!

2016 – planned changes in leadership succession planning is in place and starts to take effect =  succession planning for all roles is essential to provide a stable and smooth transition helps to ease the organisation and market worries about change.

If you would like to discuss any support for staff development as part of your strategy, Key account management for those valued customers, help with the finances, team building, or any other lessons from LEGO, please do contact us and Keith will be delighted to come out and have a chat about how Athelbrae can help.  01892 832059 or email or



Julia is busy today with Tenterden client and their new team on Customer Service Excellence.

Great to see lots of ideas coming out and focusing on how to ensure that they stand out from their competition.

And the reason for the toys – people all learn differently and some find the process of “fiddling” with things really helps to get the creative juices flowing.

Course notes and manuals are all available, but important to remember that there are those who find pictures get the message across,  so great that Julia can draw!

Attention, Impact & Understanding



How often do you find yourself watching a TV programme or listening to a radio broadcast and not really engaging with the content?  There are certain programmes that you DEFINITELY tune yourself into – for me, it’s anything historical, animal/environmental related or cookery.  Poldark, Blue Planet II, White Princess or Bake Off and the tablet and phone are left to one side and an enthusiastic hour or two of escapism and interest is driving the agenda.

However, there are other programmes and series that sometimes are just “background noise”.  TV soaps, First Dates,  Eastenders…all entertaining but not thought provoking.   It might be a habit to always have the Archers omnibus on a Sunday morning.  You’re listening but also having a conversation with the kids, cooking the dinner, ironing, thinking about that difficult issue at work.

Sometimes the same can be said for training.  Mandatory training events are often the ones that people disengage from because they know “they have to do it”.  But a recent conversation was had with a member of staff who had to attend Fraud training.  Yes, it was mandatory but the delivery was done in an engaging, entertaining and informative way and the delegates continued to buzz with what they’d learned for some long time afterwards, sharing the stories and what they had taken from the session.

If your staff don’t feel that the time they spend in the training room, or indeed on Webinars, online learning or distance learning isn’t either relevant to them,  they will quickly disengage and metaphorically (or in some cases actually) start looking at their tablets and phones and not engage with the discussions or the learning.

Your training provider needs to provide:-

ATTENTION – they need to get the attention of your staff from the outset.  Yes, they need to be entertaining, but the reality is,  relevant and challenging questions get people’s attention and help them to start thinking in a focused way.  There’s should be no opportunity to start thinking about “other stuff” when you’re in the training room.

IMPACT – simply put, how will this workshop/programme/training make a difference to my working day, career progression?   Everyone attending should be able to have an action plan of what they’ll implement, change or resolve as a result of the training.  If they’re struggling to identify 3 simple changes, they’ve not been engaged sufficiently to commit to the process.

UNDERSTANDING – In order to really understand the content and impact of training, full attention, commitment and willingness to learn or change needs to be part of the delegate toolbox.  They should be encouraged by the facilitator to demonstrate their understanding of what has been discussed and challenged to find methods of implementing the learning back in the workplace.

We tend to think of education as only being that which we learn in school, college or University.

But how many of us in the last week have paid attention to the impact of plastics in the oceans from watching Blue Planet II, really understanding the consequences of our throw away cultures?

We learn when we are engaged in the subject matter –  ask yourselves,  if you’re training provider is only providing an entertaining and fun day out of the office?  If  they are it’s a disservice to your business and your staff.

Resolution for 2018 – Be more Blue Planet II and less First Dates!


Testimonial – thanks so much

Delighted and thrilled to get this from a client today via email:-

“I recommend Athelbrae because you are a first class training provider, use exceptional venues, have specialists conducting the training, and have competitive pricing.”

Whilst we love what we do and we enjoy every day at work, it’s always great to know that clients feel they are getting value for money, expertise and attention to detail when working with us.

Thanks Nick, really appreciate you taking the time to write.

Thanks Leanne for another great course on assertiveness

Assertiveness is often an area that delegates struggle with – whether new or inexperienced managers, senior staff or just in general, it can be difficult to find that sweet spot between passive and aggressive.

We are delighted that the recent public course at Brandshatch Place with our trainer Leanne, was so positively received by staff from a wide range of industries and sectors.

Their ability to practise skills in the safety of the training room, receive constructive feedback from fellow attendees and the expertise of the trainer, is a powerful tool in their development and delighted to hear from their HR and Learning departments that the learning is being put to good use straight away.

Assertive open course