Welcome!

Like you, we have quite a few areas of interest, so we post everything under one or more of these main labels: Personal Development, Business Development (startup and marketing), Intelligence (emotional, spiritual, etc.), News, Fun, Newsletter (chat about things we've emailed). Enjoy, and keep in touch!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Redundancy Support

I've been asked to join the Redundancy Support Service provided by the Chartered Management Institute for their members.The CMI seek to develop leadership excellence among their 90,000 members and this extended service provides support for members facing redundancy.

A part of my work that I enjoy is supporting people whose jobs have been made redundant: particularly in situations where they are looking not just to find a similar job to their previous one, but want to review their career direction in the light of their strengths and interests.

I'm pleased that this appointment both recognises the quality of service I provide, and presents new opportunities to support people in developing their careers.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Coaching gets high profile

I'm enjoying watching the London 2012 Olympics on t.v., and a highlight yesterday was watching Gemma Gibbons win her silver medal in the Judo. In the finals in particular, there was much talk about how Gemma's American combatant had been "rescued" by her athletics coach. Coaches seem to be getting quite a high profile, and perhaps that is because a good coach can make a big difference to an athlete's performance.

This isn't just true for sport. Coaches can also make a big difference in helping people to thrive, find their vocation, excel in leadership, and develop their businesses. That's our passion at Finding True North.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Finding True North Code of Ethics

We've updated our Code of Ethics and made it values-based.

At Finding True North we see that ethics flow from our values and character – from who we are. This summary introduces you to the core of the way we run our business as well as the way we work with clients.

Read all about it here.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The challenge of responsibility

Over the last few weeks we've seen resignations at the top of Barclays Bank in the U.K. If you're leading people at work, you are responsible for things you can't control. How do you handle that?

It's been fascinating to listen to parts of the conversation between Bob Diamond (former Chief Executive of Barclays) and the Parliamentary Select Committee that he appeared at this week. Much questioning was around whether an instruction was an instruction to his subordinates or not. This sounds like a challenge to improve delegation skills.

Yet even with great delegation skills and perfectly written-up procedures people still make mistakes or do things which seem good at the time but are later seen as wrong. As one of the committee (Labour MP John Mann) commented as he attempted to beat Mr Diamond into submission, the boss is responsible one way or another. This is a "Catch-22" situation. Either the boss is in control of what happened, so he must be responsible for it, or he was not in control in which case he is still responsible because he has failed to set up the necessary management structures.

This can't all be solved by command and control structures, it is about the culture of the organisation and the boss is responsible for that too. We inherit the culture of our organisation, and we reinforce it or seek to change it with our individual character. So the character of the boss is important, and indeed there needs to be a match between the character of any recruit and the culture of the organisation.

I feel that it is important to intentionally set the culture of an organisation when it is founded: so often it is just an extension of the character of the founder. I feel that we should always seek to be faithful to founding culture of the organisation we are part of. However as an organisation grows we may need to improve it or embed it further. If we can't maybe we need to start over. Mr Mann reminded Mr Diamond that the Quakers had founded Barclays on the principles of honesty, integrity, and plain-dealing.

It is our character that determines the action we take in any situation. Whatever position we have in an organisation we can take responsibility for the culture around us because we affect it through our own character.

Is there a match between your character, the results you are seeking to achieve, and the culture or your organisation? What help would you like with this? (Comment below or contact me.) 


Related article by me on the importance of Trust as a part of organisational culture.

Busyness

I've often wondered why we greet one another with the words, "Are you keeping busy?" Is this a good thing, the best there is?!

Here's a timely article from the New York Times.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Changes to government grants for UK businesses

Many of our clients have benefitted from government grants to help them to grow their businesses and develop their leadership teams. The most popular one (the Leadership and Management Advisory Service) ended in April and the new batch of grants focus on businesses that want help to grow fast - whether they are established businesses or start-ups.

Finding True North are authorised to provide coaching under these schemes, so feel free to contact us for more information or follow the link to High Growth Coaching.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Brilliant marketing workshop

This morning I finished the second half of a one-to-one marketing workshop from Claire Thatcher of Loud & Clear Marketing of Bath.

The workshop was relaxed and well-presented and particularly helped me to:
  • differentiate target markets for different products
  • identify potential clients more clearly
  • review my pricing structure
  • work out how to re-engage with existing contacts
  • plan to build market share
Many people who run their own businesses are great at helping other people to be clear about their strategy, however at times we need help too! Ongoing business coaching helps with team building and profit growth. Claire's great Marketing Workshop is just what is needed to hone the focus of marketing and business plans and increase sales.

I recommend it!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Grangeside Business Support Centre, Hilperton

Yesterday I spent at day at Grangeside Business Support Centre near Trowbridge, Wiltshire. I needed a conference room for one-to-one coaching of teachers of local Emmaus School as part of a team building programme and I chose Grangeside because it was close by and the facilities were good.

The day went really well: the decor, atmosphere, and facilities were all great, my clients were greeted courteously, and the hospitality (including refreshments) was thoughtful and unobtrusive.

The centre is conveniently located in Wiltshire for major local centres such as Bath, Trowbridge, Melksham, and the M4 and I'd certainly recommend it.

As well as day conference facilities they also provide permanent office accommodation, hot-desking, and virtual office facilities.

More information here: http://www.grangeside.com/

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

How to build your business

NRG Networks offer free training days.

Everyone wants more business through Word of Mouth: generate results not just activity by
Turning Networking into Business and

Move your business forward, clarify your objectives, and achieve your short term goals by
Developing effective 90-day action plans

NRG run networking lunches to help people to grow their business: at selected venues over the next few months they have extended this to a whole day event to provide training on these topics. This will take place in the morning and afternoon, around the usual networking lunch. You just pay for the lunch.

There's lots more information if you click on the links above, and you can book online too.

See you there!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Government Leadership Grant deadline

The application deadline for the £1000 Leadership and Management Advisory Service grant for businesses and social enterprises that want to grow is fast approaching.

Although the scheme is due to end at the end of March, Skills South East (who oversee the scheme in SW and SE England) have announced an application deadline of this Friday 17th February. This is to give them time to process applications.

There are other schemes for ongoing small businesses however they are only available to businesses with turnover of more than £1 million and they have "more strings." What I like about this scheme is it's flexibility which means that business owners can use it for what they need - to develop themselves and their key staff and hence grow their business by 20% or more per year.

You do not need to have worked out exactly what you want to do with the funds in order to apply, so I suggest that you consider applying before the deadline and then chat with me or with staff from Skills South East to see how you can use this grant to develop the leadership skills of your top team and thus your business.

Find out more here: http://www.skillssoutheast.co.uk/leadership-and-management.html

Monday, 23 January 2012

Revised dates for my talk "Seeing Eye to Eye or Seeing Red"

Do you know how other people see you, and what effect this has on your relationships? Have you ever found that you just can’t see eye to eye with a colleague, or been at a meeting where one person seems always determined to contradict what you say?

I shall be giving this half-hour talk at some NRG networking lunches in 2012. If you are interested in coming along, dates are below. If you'd like to find out more about the talk, see the details here. I'm interested in giving the talk on other occasions - anything from half an hour to half a day - so feel free to get in touch.

Melissa Neil, Bristol Central group leader, commented that this "talk was the best one we have had."

Dates in 2012:
Tuesday 24th January, Cheltenham & Gloucester

Tuesday 7th February, Swindon
Thursday 9th February, Bath
Thursday 16th February, Bristol
Thursday 5th April, North Somerset

Timings are networking and lunch from 12 to 2:00; my talk from 2:00 to 2:30 p.m.

To find out more about the talk click here. To book in to these events, go to the NRG web site. If you have any queries or would like to set up another event, please contact me.

I look forward to seeing you at one of these events.