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!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Here's the text version

Here are my "five easy ways" which I talk about on the video. So this is a summary, but there's more if you listen to it.

  1. Relax and get some exercise – de-stressing is good!
  2. Stop thinking about your problems – let the subconscious do its work
  3. Celebrate! Remember what you have enjoyed doing and done well. Affirm yourself
  4. Do the washing up. People say they have their “best ideas in the shower.” It is through doing repetitive activities that we help this happen.
  5. Enjoy spending time with friends and family. Use some of this time to talk through your ideals and problems. Listen to what other people have to say about your strengths.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Five easy ways to develop your business or career without really trying (and avoid the post Christmas blues!)

This is the final part of my interview on Radio Swindon 105.5 on 13th December It is 5 minutes long. If you prefer you can listen to the whole 29 minutes audio: streaming or download.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Developing staff at Bible Society in Swindon

Some of our coaching team recently spent a few hours one lunchtime at the Swindon HQ of Bible Society to offer coaching taster sessions to staff. The event was the culmination of discussions with the Human Resources Team at Bible Society to see how we could increase awareness of the value of coaching to bring benefits to individuals and to Bible Society.

We are pleased with how this first event at Bible Society went. Seven people had conversations with members of our team on a range of confidential issues. The Human Resources Team have told us that it was "successful" and the feedback from most people who received coaching was that their needs had been met with coaching that was excellent or very good. We continue to be available to provide further help and support.

We are keen to build relationships with local employers, to help staff to resolve personal or business issues effectively and confidentially, and thus help with employee development and engagement. If this is of interest to you, contact us.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Delegating to subcontractors can be a breeze

People who run their own business often find it a challenge to delegate work to improve the efficiency of their business. It takes trust and confidence to delegate work. It takes time to find the right people. It can be difficult to let go of control.

As a business owner one of the things I value about business networking groups is the opportunity to get to know people who may help my business grow (and not only people who I hope may buy my services). Regular groups I attend include weekly BNI in Melksham, and a monthly meeting in Bristol organised by Lloyds Bank. Both of these healthily combine good structures to help conversations to take place and informal friendliness.

This morning I enjoyed the Bristol breakfast all the more because I met two great business owners who provide services at no additional cost. Did I say "free?" This is a dream for people wanting to delegate!

Gemma Lyle of The Main Event Management Company will find venues ranging from conference rooms for formal meetings through to overnight accommodation for busy business travellers. She knows where to look to find good services at reduced cost. Because such an agency works on a commission basis, she can reduce the cost of my bookings without charging me anything. Good news!

Would you believe that you can post your letters for less than the cost of a stamp? This kind of facility is usually only available to large firms doing bulk mailing. However I really like the niche that Nevil Horne of Mailadoc has found. He will save you and your staff time by receiving documents electronically and then printing and posting them. These could be anything from invoices to sales litereature. Again, because of the discounts he receives, this service can cost you less than if you walked to the Post Office yourself.

Amazing, and all of these contacts for the price of an impressive Full English Breakfast!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Richard live on Swindon Radio 105.5

I’ve been invited on to Swindon Radio 105.5 this evening (Monday 13th December) to talk about how individuals and businesses can cope and move on in the current financial climate, and how coaching can help with that.

This is the 6:00 p.m. slot which is hosted by the Federation of Small Business. I’ll be on from 6:00 until about 7:00 - and there’s music as well.

To listen for fun or interest, it is easy to do so online: http://www.swindon1055.com/

Recordings of the interview here

Friday, 10 December 2010

The Principles of Success

I enjoyed the Institute of Business Consulting Christmas get-together in Bristol today. Apart from good food (breakfast and lunch) we enjoyed two great speakers.

Malcolm Lewis spoke about success in organisations, and shared many useful models.

Patrick W Jordan, who is a psychologist, spoke of his research in drawing the key principles of success out of many people's writing and research on the subject. His principles don't just apply to those areas where we think of ourselves as needing to be successful, but to happiness and fulfilment in work and life in general.

I liked the simplicity of his approach and was very impressed. His five principles (from his book The Principles of Success which you can buy from his web site) are:

  1. Take Responsibility
  2. Set Goals
  3. Be Positive
  4. Persevere Intelligently
  5. Connect with others

For an expanded summary of The Principles of Success, see later article.

Contact me to find out more, or to increase the happiness or success in your life!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Swindon Connections event a winner again...

Last night's event at the new Jury's Inn was a great success. I like the way that with the Swindon Coaching Team we can partner with Swindon Connections to hold regular events at different Swindon venues. This gives us a way of keeping in touch with our colleagues, clients, and friends as well as meeting and encouraging others who run their own businesses. I think that all those we met last night benefitted from conversations with us about coaching and also made new business contacts.

Maybe it's worth coming along just for the speakers. Last night Warren had arranged for Josie Payne to speak about Emotional Intelligence. I'm not used to people showing videos of Mike Tyson biting an ear off during a boxing match (it belonged to Evander Holyfield) but then this was one of the clearest talks I've heard on Emotional Intelligence. Josie spoke of the challenges of controlling our emotions when we are under stress in a way that we could relate to and apply straight away. Her own interest in the subject flowed from her experience of being on an aeroplane that was hijacked.

I recommend giving Swindon Connections events a go, and I'll publish future dates. Get in touch with me if you'd like support with your own business, career, or life issues - whether or not you have ever bitten off someone's ear. Use the Christmas holiday to start the new year with fresh enthusiasm and a clear sense of direction.

Free taster sessions are a great gift - why not ask me for one for yourself or a friend?

Monday, 22 November 2010

Taste Coaching at the next Swindon Connections event

Richard will be attending the next Swindon Connections event at Jury's Inn, Swindon, on Thursday 25th November with the Swindon Coaching Team.

As usual it's an opportunity to meet our coaches and to gain new perspectives and solutions on your current issues with some of us. We're continuing to give out vouchers for free coaching taster sessions.

In addition, there will be an opportunity to meet exhibitors at this Business Scene event, and the speaker that evening will be Josie Payne talking about Emotional Intelligence from an unusual angle.

So, make a it a date. Start time is 6:00 p.m., ends at 8:30 p.m., and refreshments including a light buffet will be provided - so the £10 ticket is good value. For best results, book in online. See you there!

Full details, location, and booking form here.

Monday, 15 November 2010

It's good to be a Wiltshire Business!

£20,000 in prize money for businesses in Wiltshire
that started trading after 25th September 2009.

Enter now! Support and publicity even if you don't win!

Full details here.

It's good to be a British Business!

If you'd like some encouragement, take a look at the latest (November 2010) issue of Management Today. It has a focus on British Business, and some things are going well!

The section that I like best contains positive comments about British business by leaders from other countries. Take a look at the article (Home thoughts from abroad)!

How to avoid those Government cuts

When the Government announce cut backs, as it has for Business Support, what avoiding action can you take, if you run a business or charity?

One way to beat cut backs is to make sure that we use all the grant funding that is there for us now - to develop staff and improve business results. Business Link and Train to Gain have been offering small and medium sized organisations up to £1000 for the development of their key staff in leadership and management. This scheme is due to finish at the end of the year, however in some counties the budget has already been used up because of the demand for grants (a trickle may become available if applications currently being processed fail). In other counties funds are still freely available. (Phone for more details.)

If have not already received this grant, I encourage you to apply to me now for the coaching of your business leaders: for example for you or for a newly promoted director.

A recent survey of firms using this grant, in the South East of England, showed the key benefits they enjoyed to be:
  • Increased confidence
  • Improved vision and strategy for the business
  • Manage others more effectively
  • Manage myself
  • Improved knowledge of a particular subject or skill
  • Communicate more effectively
  • Manage time more efficetively
  • Improved decision making
All of these bring benefits to the organisation too: increased productivity and quality of work, improved staff satisfaction/morale/retention, better quality of customer service, and so better bottom-line results.

Find out more here:
- about the benefits of using coaching for key staff
- details of the grant and how others are using it

There are eligibility criteria which I can talk through with you. The grant is mainly for firms of 5 to 250 staff. However at times funds are available for smaller firms; and eligibility for charities take into account volunteers too.

To find out more, phone me or email.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Weathering stormy teams

Once upon a time, perhaps when you were a lot younger(!), did you join a new team and expect it to be 'plain sailing' only to discover that meetings sometimes got unpleasantly aggressive or argumentative?

It's probably happened to all of us - I mean both the optimism and the contact with reality. Joining or forming a team (or group or committee) that has a job to do isn't easy.

The classic view of this is that newly formed teams go through a process of forming, storming, norming, performing. Here's my executive summary.

Team members look for clarity of purpose and direction, looking to the appointed leader for these things if there is one. Members seek to get to know one another.

A power struggle develops as people jockey for influence and seek to get to grips with how to achieve results. People push against boundaries; factions can form; relationships are strained; people can become disillusioned.

The team starts to come through the period of trial, relationships are strengthened, and the team starts to agree on ways of doing things. A lighter style of leadership is needed, but the leader still needs to encourage the development of good relationships.

With relationships formed, working processes in place, and a healthy clarity of purpose, the team grows to handle difficulties in a united way and to deliver results. Sigh with relief!

Why do I write about this now? Firstly, most people are in teams of some sort. When we are embroiled in the day to day challenges we can lose sight of the big picture - which is about the process of building the team as well as delivering results. It is about relationships as well as tasks. We can helpfully 'step back' to encourage ourselves that even if 'storming' is happening our team is probably developing as it should. We can remind ourselves that we can use our strengths to help it to grow and thrive.

Much talk about teams, such as this forming, storming, norming, performing, seems to imagine that the membership of teams stays constant. However new people join, and the process of helping them to join and get involved is often not handled well. The new recruit goes through their personal process of forming, storming, norming, and performing.

You've probably noticed that new joiners seem to want to change things. This individual 'storming' may be partly about the newcomer having the wisdom of the stranger, and seeing important things that the rest of the team have stopped noticing. However it is often more about the newcomer wanting to take their place, and to see that they are valued and recognised by being able to influence. All too often this healthy behaviour is seen by the team as a whole, or its leader, as excessive challenge and the newcomer becomes a 'newleaver.'

There are other lenses through which to look at a team's progress, too. The perception that a challenge is taking place, and that it is excessive, may also have to do with the personalities of the group (I think in the way in which Myers Briggs or Insights® Discovery describe personality) or to do with wildly different attitudes to conflict.

Simply, some people believe and behave as if disagreement should be buried because it causes damage, whereas other people believe that disagreement is best brought to the surface immediately. A 'middle way' is not the right answer to all problems in life: sometimes it is good to have a range of approaches. However with attidudes to conflict an awareness of one's preferences and the ability to choose together to adopt a 'middle way' is really helpful. This understanding is relevant to my mediation work as well as team development.


If you are in a stormy team, step back. Look for encouraging signs that the team is developing, and ask yourself how you can contribute constructively. If this is difficult, one of our coaches can help you and your team to step back to celebrate what is going well and see what can be improved.

Coaching is always great for stepping back from issues to see them objectively and recognise fresh perspectives and ways of doing things. How would that be helpful for you?

I'd be delighted to hear your stories and examples to do with teams. Add your comments!

If you'd like to read more indepth articles like this, subscribe here.

If there are things I've touched on here that you'd like to learn more about, get in touch.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Wiltshire New Business Competition 2010 - launch photos

How was the launch? It was great to see so many people there, including sponsors who have made this competition possible.

Being driven round Castle Combe circuit by an experienced driver with commentary on his every move, and sometimes on three wheels, was an unforgettable experience. Do I ever get queasy in the back of a car? 3 km circuit twice at max 115 mph - seemed over quite quickly!

Here's a reminder about the competition: businesses started in Wiltshire between 25the September 2009 and 31st August 2011 are eligible for the 2010 competition. Details and entry form from Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce 01225 355553.

Wiltshire New Business Competition

The competition for businesses set up in the last year or so in Wiltshire is being launched today at Castle Combe Racing Circuit. This competition, coordinated through local Chambers of Commerce and supported by Wiltshire Council and sponsoring firms and, has been running annually for some while now and is a growing success. Entrants gain publicity and business support as well as prizes.

Finding True North are offering reduced price coaching to competition entrants.

For more information, contact Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce on 01225 355553.

As VP of Corsham Chamber of Commerce I'm looking forward to attending the launch event today which includes the experience of being driven round the race track at high speed!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Impressed by new MP

I was pleased to attend a networking breakfast in Chippenham this morning, organised by Monahans Accountants, where Duncan Hames had been invited to speak about his experience of his first few months of being an MP. He is the Lib Dem MP for our constituency and he is new to the job. As he said, building empathy well with his audience, becoming an MP is in many ways similar to starting a business (for example because a new staff team has to be built).

It was good to meet him again, to chat about the importance of continuing with those parts of government support for business that are going well and to hear his commitment to ongoing support for business, and to hear his talk. I was impressed that he spoke for some while without notes. He did so in an interesting and cogent way which put across well his understanding of key issues for our country, and the perspectives that need to drive current strategy for the economy.

I was interested in his comment along the lines that the government do not create jobs through employment in the public sector, because the money to pay for those jobs is always financed by the public sector. Therefore job creation has to be done by private sector businesses (his audience this morning) and government have to foster that.

There were entertaining stories too of his first few months in office.

I'm in the business of helping people to find work in which they will thrive, and to thrive in the work that they do. So I was pleased and moved to see our new MP getting to grips with his new role and relating so well to his audience of constituents. It's never easy starting a new job, particularly a high-profile public one (do MP's have coaches?!) so all the best to him.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Be Happy!

People seem to want to be cheerful all the time, and I suspect that tv presenters would be sacked if they did not have a cheery smile on their faces all the time - even when reading news items about disasters such as the recent floods in Pakistan. People can find it difficult to empathise with people going through difficult times, and we just hear, "Cheer up!"

It is good to feel happy, yet there are times when people need to grieve, times when we need to listen and empathise not just to try to cheer people up, whether this is in work as a coach or just conversation with friends. We need to be real and accept people's emotions and help them journey through them not deny them.

So, I find this article by Mary Kenny in the BBC magazine encouraging, as she writes more about how in British society we may have lost sight of the importance of timely grief and mourning!

Take a look.

Friday, 24 September 2010

SCT networking was very homely

If you've never been to the National Self-Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon you've missed a treat. It's an Aladdin's Cave of information and displays on how to renovate or build your own home. They even run courses.

In the middle of this vast warehouse is a Show Home, and our Swindon Coaching Team networking evening (c/o Swindon Connections) took place in this. So it was very comfortable, and lent itself well to enjoyable and relaxed conversation over good drinks and nibbles.

All this builds the SCT vision of increased availability of good coaching for organisations based in or near Swindon, in tune with Finding True North.

We were offering free coaching taster sessions. If you'd be interested in one, email me or phone me on 01249 712446.

Further work for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

I've enjoyed starting work as a result of a further invitation from the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to offer leadership training. On this occasion the training comprises a series of sessions for staff newly promoted to line management positions. I'm using a mixture of teaching input and coaching to provide apppropriate theory and practice and to help to embed the learning and equip them for their new roles.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Build Your Own Rainbow

Lately I've been meeting people whose jobs are coming to an end prematurely through redundancy or retirement. They are looking for new work, and are wanting to work through what their skills and interests are and what work they might do instead of just looking for "more of the same."

I'd like to recommend the one workbook that I've found to be most helpful. It guides the reader through analysis of their interests, skills, values, and the kind of work they enjoy; helps them to map these to possible job choices; and provides support for problems along the way. It is also great for young people starting work for the first time.

Some people are happy working through such a process on their own, other people prefer accompaniment on the journey. As a coach I can provide that.

Now in its 4th edition (2009), it is Build Your Own Rainbow - a workbook for career and life management - by Barrie Hopson and Mike Scally and published by Lifeskills international. There are other books out there too: this is my favourite. You are welcome to add your suggestions as comments to this blog!

You may want to support your local bookshop, however here's the Amazon link.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Ian Storey retires as President

We had an animated meeting of Corsham Chamber of Commerce this morning. The Corsham area continues to grow economically. Amongst other things the Ministry of Defence sites continue to expand, and and the Methuen Arms Hotel is due to reopen shortly.

Ian Storey announced his resignation as President, after more years service than I can remember, and we continue to encourage more people and businesses to enjoy membership of the Chamber and work towards developing our local economy.

Cranfield MBA takes the lead

I am excited to read that the MBA from Cranfield School of Management has been ranked #1 in the UK in a recent survey by The Economist of worldwide full-time MBA courses in 2010. This also places the school 4th in Europe and 15th in the world.

I did my MBA there from 1983 to 1984. It's good to see continued improvement!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Benefits of coaching

Someone recently drew to my attention results of a survey by the ICF.

According to their Client Survey 98.5% of coaching clients said their investment in a coach was well worth the money.

Other results for people included:
  • A higher level of self-awareness: 67.6%
  • Smarter goal-setting: 62.4%
  • A more balanced life: 60.5%
  • Lower stress levels: 57.1%
  • Self-discovery: 52.9%
  • More self-confidence: 52.4%
  • Improvement in quality of life: 43.3%
  • Enhanced communication skills: 39.5%
  • Project completion: 35.7%
  • Health or fitness improvement: 33.8%
  • Better relationships with boss or co-workers: 33.3%
  • Better family relationships: 33.3%
  • Increased energy: 31.9%
  • More fun: 31.9% I like that one especially
and that's not the end of the list.

(From International Coaching Federation's (ICF) Client Survey. © Copyright 1997-2000 - International Coach Federation. http://www.coachfederation.com/ Download full results here.)

Friday, 17 September 2010

Interesting work in Salisbury

I'm part of the Well Being Group in Salisbury Diocese (Church of England). I attended one of their regular meetings yesterday. We're concerned with making good provision of support for church ministers through coaching, mentoring, spirtual direction, sailing... (you name it!).

It's a challenging time for the Church of England at the moment. There's a big culture change that we're seeking to implement, partly driven by government legislation. This changes the way that dioceses have to relate to and support clergy - in a way that is closer to a conventional employment relationship. Procedures have to be tightened up, and as always with imposed change there is an opportunity to make the most of it to improve both results and the well being of staff.

One of the mottos of the group is a quote from Irenaeus: “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.”

New events with Swindon Coaching Team

Swindon Coaching Team continues to attend popular places and events to give people an opportunity to find out how they may benefit from coaching and experience a taster session. If you'd like to offer us a venue, perhaps so your employees may benefit from free coaching during their lunch hour, then get in touch.

Our upcoming events in September are:

Wednesday 22nd September at the Swindon Connections meeting in the National Self-Build Centre in Swindon from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. Cost is £10+VAT which includes light refreshments: for venue and to book go to event page. Those of you who attended the last one of these in July will know the added benefit of great networking and good visiting speakers.

On Wednesday 29th September we are doing a lunch time drop in event again at the popular Old Bank wine bar in Wood Street Swindon SN1 4AB between 12 noon and 2pm. Drop in anytime. No need to book, and no cost except the drinks you buy!

Hope to see you there: let me know if you're coming!

More info here about http://www.swindoncoachingteam.org.uk

Monday, 13 September 2010

Morris Owen take on Finding True North coaching with Train to Gain grant support

We are pleased to welcome Morris Owen accountants of Swindon as clients.

They have sought support from Train to Gain to provide coaching for a recently promoted partner, and we are providing our Leader Accelerator programme of leadership development coaching over a six month period to develop particular skills.

See our website for more about how our programmes may help you or your organisation, and find more information on our Leader Accelerator here.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Steph Hovey Portrait Artist

How about a painted portrait as a special gift, or to brighten up your offices?

Take a look at this new site: Steph Hovey Portrait Artist.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Train to Gain in Swindon

Many of my coaching business clients receive grants of hundreds of pounds from Train to Gain's Leadership and Management Advisory Service, because the coaching helps them to develop leadership skills.

I was pleased to be invited to a gathering of Train to Gain's advisers in Swindon this week, to meet up, share information, and help develop this service.

The advisers stay in touch with the firms they have helped, so it was encouraging to discover that they had received good feedback about the coaching Finding True North has given, and wanted to connect me with further clients.

(This grant is due to end early in 2011, so if it is of interest to you get in touch now. email me )

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Prince's Trust expands services for young people

For some while I've been aware that The Prince's Trust offer training and mentoring for young people (age 18-30) who want to start their own business. Today I met with some of the team at their well-staffed offices for their South West Region, in Bristol, as I have been considering offering to do some mentoring for them.

I'm glad it's taken me a while to get round to this, because last year they redeveloped their services to give better support to those who are seeking to set up a business, and to expand their services to help others to develop the skills needed for employment or further education.

So the line up now is impressive. The Enterprise Programme for those aged 18 to 30 provides an initial four day course on how to start a business and then supports the participants over up to twelve months as they seek to develop a business plan and consider whether to start a business. Some financial support may be given. Mentors are available for ongoing support for 6 months to 2 years whether the young people choose to start a business or not.

Alongside this there are other programmes to develop skills and confidence in young people aged 14 to 25. Some of these are based around adventure training, some are based in schools, and some teach vocational skills.

Very impressive. People interested in supporting The Prince's Trust can volunteer, give money, or even join their South West Leadership Group.

Monday, 23 August 2010

NEST UK pension reforms

Attending business breakfasts is useful.

I hear that from April 2012 the government is introducing a compulsory pension scheme for employees called NEST. Employees will be automatically enrolled unless they opt out. Employees will have to contribute 4% of salary, and employers 3%.

Full details here: nestpensions.org.uk.

I've felt for some while that the situation to do with employee pensions has been confused. So I think it's good news that the new government is going ahead with plans from the last administration, although I can see the agenda of the govenment wanting to reduce dependency on state pensions!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Supporting unemployed people

As the latest unemployment figures are released, I notice the headlines in today's Daily Mail.

Number of long-term unemployed young people soars by 42% in a year

Over 50 and on the scrapheap: As recession bites, a record rise in older workers condemned to long-term unemployment

And recently we had news that 70 graduates are seeking every gradute job, and that 10% of last year's university graduates in the UK are still out of work.

Statistics also tell us that the times when people are most likely to set up their own business are at the start of their career, or around age 50 when either they have reached a peak in their employed career or they feel more freedom as domestic commitments reduce. It is likely that more people will be considering starting their own business as a way of escaping from unemployment.

As coaching practitioners we need to be doing all we can to support people who are out of work to make good career choices and to consider setting up a business themselves in an informed way, so at Finding True North we welcome conversations with people who are looking for work or considering a career change, to help them to:
  • work out their skills, strengths, and career options
  • considering or plan setting up a business
  • improve relationship and communication skills
  • persevere with the process by providing ongoing coaching
In addition, we continue to provide coaching to directors and owners of businesses and charities to help them to develop themselves, their staff, and their organisation. Amongst other things this helps businesses to thrive and increase rather than decrease the number of staff they employ!

Contact us for more information.

You can also receive posts like this in your inbox, and sign up to our occasional newsletter which contains more detailed articles about running a business and career development.

Want to sell your business?

I was impressed by a the quarterly magazine I received from Monahans accountants.

There was an article in it about valuing businesses, but better still it referred to more information on their web site. Take a look at the valuation calculator on their home page, and the "grooming your business for sale" helpsheet.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Einstein is at it again!

I'm amazed by the array of different quotes I read from Albert Einstein. Anyone would think he spent his whole time creating them! Here's a good one.

The only sure way to avoid mistakes is to have no new ideas.

Maybe this is where the NLP dictum came from: there's no such thing as failure, only learning.

(I saw this in The Week, quoting The Canberra Times.)

Monday, 9 August 2010

Getting to know AIDA

Ever since I met Aida, people have been delighted when I've introduced her to them.

I think it's because everyone likes the idea of being more interesting, of gaining more interest or influence, when they create publicity material or write persuasive emails.

AIDA may sound like a memorable girl's name, however it's a formula for those who seek to be persuasive. It's been wisely used for many years, and you can use AIDA for written publicity, emails, or even sales conversations.

People don't always listen. You need to gain their attention. Use a heading or opening sentence that will make people stops in their tracks.

Follow this with a few lines that will interest them, because you need to draw them in to what you want to say so that they want will want to read on. This may be some key facts, or an important question.

You want someone to do something, so you need to build this desire in the text that follows. Whether you are writing sales literature, or want a friend to come on holiday with you, you need to show the benefits. "What's in it for me?"

Finally, "ask for the order." What do you want the person to do? Marketing experts, and web page designers, all agree that we should keep in simple: ask for just one action because people like to be told what to do, but don't like too many choices.

Have you read this far? You're more than interested, and you can see some area where you'd like to improve the effectiveness of what you say or write. Give it a go! How will you apply AIDA first?

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I'd like you to experience the benefits of AIDA, so I hope you enjoy putting these things into practice. Let me know how you get on, and comments on my articles are always welcome.

People tend to thing of AIDA as being of use for written publicity, but you can apply it to sales conversations too, starting with those initial few seconds you have to create a first impression and attract attention.

If you struggle to remember the acronym, you could think of Verdi's opera Aida, or that the word means "visitor" or "returning" in Arabic - whatever helps, really!

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Leonie Harrison

I won the speaker's prize at our breakfast meeting on Friday (BNI in Melksham). It was a CD of Leonie Harrison, an impressive female vocalist.

Click on "listen" to hear her: http://www.leonieharrison.co.uk/menu.shtml

Friday, 6 August 2010

Pleased with Train to Gain

Quite a few of my clients have benefitted from a grant of up to £1000 from Train to Gain (their Leadership and Management Advisory Service) to help develop their leadership skills. It's great!

So I was pleased this week when they asked me to visit a partner in an accountancy practice in Swindon with a view to providing coaching. However we scope the coaching, the grant will help them develop as a practice.

More on Train to Gain grants here. Don't hang about: the scheme has less than a year to run now.

Why wait to register for VAT?

Business Mistake 1?

When I started this business in 2007, I thought I'd hold off VAT registration until it became clear whether most of my clients were businesses, charities, or individuals - i.e. whether they could reclaim VAT. There is some sense in that. Now, most of my clients are businesses who are registered for VAT, although it's still important to have a pricing strategy that is appropriate for all my clients.

I've just looked at the amount of VAT I've paid ("input tax") since I started my business, and it's frightening. I can feel online VAT registration coming up.

If you want to learn from my mistakes, get in touch!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Presentation for BNI

As usual this morning I felt as if I was getting up too early, however as usual I was looking forward to our BNI breakfast meeting in Melksham. The group is a great source of mutual support, and a lot of business is passed between members as well. About every six months or so it's my turn to give a ten minute presentation about my work, as it was this morning. That went well, and I enjoyed giving it. Quite a bit of it seemed to be testimonials from my clients, which is impressive.

For more details of the business, which I included in the presentation, get in touch!

If you'd like to build your business through referral marketing, ask me about BNI.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Prince's Trust

I had an encouraging conversation with staff at the Bristol office of the Prince's Trust this morning. I'm impressed by the way they have developed their services to help young people (age 14-30) to get into work, education, or to start a business through new courses and ongoing mentoring. I'm looking at getting involved.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Start-up businesses abandoned?

Last night I attended a meeting at Bowood. Wiltshire Council had gathered together about one hundred local business leaders to gather opinions as to how the council might improve support for businesses in Wiltshire. Many of the people there had been invited because they are members of local Chambers of Commerce (I am Vice President for Corsham).

The trigger for the event was the government's announcement that it will scrap Regional Development Authorities, Business Link, and Train to Gain. Although their plans are far from clear, it looks as if support for business will have to be provided increasingly by local councils or groups of councils ("Local Enterprise Partnerships"). The meeting was well organised, with discussion in small groups about concerns and priorities, and speeches from Council officers Steve Stone (Chairman of Wiltshire Strategic Economic Partnership Ltd), Andrew Kerr (CEO), and Leader of the council Jane Scott OBE.

Recent news items have highlighted that seventy graduates are chasing each graduate job at the moment, and that 10% of last years' graduates are still unemployed. Those who fail in a search for employment will either end up with less-than-satisfying jobs for which they are over qualified, become long-term unemployed, or choose to set up their own business. Young people, whether graduates or not, can no longer rely on stable long-term employment with a large employer as they could a few decades ago, nor is a degree or college qualification a ticket to a job, so increasingly starting a business is an important option. This means that young people need to develop a range of skills for work-readiness to equip them for a career which may include starting a business.

Therefore government support for business start-ups needs to be extended not abandoned, and organised nationally where appropriate. It troubles me that support for business start-ups may be reduced just at a time when it is needed more. (Business Link training is motivating and informative and, as well as covering marketing and strategic and financial planning, briefs people on all the national legislation they need to obey. National legislation seems to me to need nationally organised training.)

Other topics discussed included the need to balance education at different levels, develop apprenticeships, publicise Wiltshire's business good news stories, encourage Wiltshire people who go to university elsewhere to return to Wiltshire to work, develop careers information in schools so that young people think career rather than college, improve transport, and more.

Such consultations have not happened before, so it is difficult to know what the outcome will be. You and I will watch with interest. If Business Link's services do not continue in some way, then those starting up businesses, or seeking to develop them, will have to rely more on the private sector for training and coaching, such as your own Finding True North.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Accountant seeks work!

A friend of mine has just sold a business that he set up 16 years ago, and is looking for accountancy work (which is his profession) full time / part time / interim. He has experience in manufacturing, services, and printing sectors. He's a great guy. If any of you know of anyone looking for a good accountant, I'll put you in touch.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Sir Bob Geldof, Entrepreneurship, and Live Aid

Yes, I enjoyed the Entrepreneur Summit last week, found it encouraging, and am now seeking to implement various marketing and strategy ideas.

I'd like to share some of the highlights, which I can do because Chris has posted some video clips. Enjoy!

Sir Bob Geldof on the run up Sex Pistols, politics, and attidute to failure
Sir Bob Geldof on the run up to Band Aid, the new world order, and entrepreneurship
Gerald Ratner on how he revived after calling some of his firm's products "crap."

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Swindon Connections

Yes, the Swindon Connections networking event went well. It was a cheerful evening with useful input from speakers and a real sense that the business people there were keen to support one another.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

New Clients

I'd like to welcome as coaching clients of Finding True North two businesses in South West England, as their directors seek to find new ways forward and become more profitable.

Top Height Training Ltd are based in Bristol and provide compulsory and related training for workers in the construction industry who are working at height.

Colin Harrison Design Ltd, based in Melksham, provide graphic design for business - whether web-based or on paper.

Colin Harrison writes: 'Having worked together now for a couple of months... I find I'm viewing things from a totally different perspective and... focus and direction are returning. I have no hesitation in recommending "Finding True North" to anybody seeking that extra bit of help and guidance for business and also personal improvement.'

Both organisations are benefitting from grants from Train To Gain's Leadership and Management Advisory Service.

Contact us for more information about coaching or government funding.

Swindon Coaching Team free taster sessions

Just a reminder of the Swindon Coaching Team's next event - this Thursday 8th July evening. More info in earlier article.

Monday, 14 June 2010

1st July event postponed

We've had to postpone the 1st July event, however we're going ahead with the one on 8th July.

Monday, 7 June 2010

More coaching taster sessions in Swindon

As part of the Swindon Coaching Team I'm organising two more coaching drop-in events with free coaching "tasters" in Swindon on the evenings of Thursdays 1st July and 8th July. One of these is combined with a business networking event, so you get to grow your network too!

All the SCT events are an opportunity to meet some of our team, find out about coaching, and/or experience a free coaching taster session on issues that are current to you. It’s all very relaxed and could provide the insights or impetus that you are looking for in 2010 and beyond, to
  • move your business forward
  • enhance your career
  • improve your relationships
  • reduce the stress in your life
On 1st July we are returning to The Old Bank wine bar in Swindon. Drop in anytime between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to talk things through over a glass of wine or cup of coffee in this informal yet confidential setting. The address is Wood Street, Old Town, SN1 4AB.

On 8th July from 6:00 p.m. we'll be joining with national networking group Business-Scene at their regular Swindon Connections event. This is at The Madison Hotel, Swindon SN3 4TL (near M4 Junction 15). You need to book online to attend this one at http://www.business-scene.com/event_detail.php.

Pass this information on - you have friends and colleagues who will be interested -and I hope to see you at one or both events.

More information from the Swindon Coaching Team website.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Myers Briggs (MBTI) course

Have spent a few days on a Myers Briggs (MBTI) workshop. Great to meet new people, and to grow in understanding of my personality, strengths (and weaknesses) with this tool that has been impressing me since the mid 1980's.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Back from my retreat...

Feeling calm and resourceful after taking a few days break for a retreat.

Monday, 24 May 2010

What's working in business development?

This is a tough time for many small businesses. What is working for Finding True North?
  • Doing good work, which is satisfying and builds reputation
  • Taking time to deepen some of the relationships I make in networking, to build referrals
  • Making it easier for clients to benefit from coaching, by brokering government funding
  • Adding new 'routes to market,' including Social Media.
  • Keeping an eye on cash flow, but not to the detriment of relationships with suppliers
  • Using spare time to invest in training
  • Maintaining relationships with existing clients and following up on new contacts
  • Using a coach to help me to step back from the business, provide fresh perspectives, and recognise what is going well.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Swindon Coaching Team at National Trust HQ

I enjoyed our first coaching Swindon Coaching Team event at the National Trust HQ in Swindon, Tuesday lunchtime, and we're pleased with how it went. We liked their spacious, welcoming, and friendly site and we made use of the ground floor café - popular with shoppers and local business people as well as National Trust staff - as our venue.

The aim of the Swindon Coaching Team, of which Finding True North is a founder member, is to give more people in the Swindon area the opportunity to find out what coaching is about and experience its benefits. There was interest in what we were doing amongst visitors and staff, and we were able to have a significant number of helpful conversations, which is a good start.

We have been looking for a venue that is comfortable both for people who travel there to meet us, and those who take an interest because we are there. It looks like this fits the bill, so we look forward to using it again.

Join us next time! Sign up to my newsletter to find out first about future dates.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Great event yesterday

The joint event last night in Swindon with BNI and the Swindon Coaching Team went really well. There were about thirty people there (I lost count) who enjoyed Paul Clegg's engaging talk on building businesses using referrals and social networking, speed networking, and conversations with our coaches.

Great! Watch this space for future events.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Recession or depression in Britain?

A few years ago we were told that there would be "no more boom or bust" and that we could look forward to stable economic growth. We have experienced another recession, and official statistics tell us that our economy is pulling out of recession, although many individuals and businesses are not yet experiencing that. Others wonder whether there will be a "double dip" - that is that we shall see a further small decline before solid growth comes. While politicians may claim that there expertise will prevent a double dip, history shows that a double dip is usual.

Good business practice is to invest in the business at the "bottom" of the recession, following any staff redundancies and efficiency improvements. This may include new machinery, however what is most important at this time is investment in staff development and training. Yet it is a guessing game to know when is the best time. Especially when still other writers predict that our current recession is a prelude to a deeper depression.

How has your business responded to the recession so far? Are you able to "step back" to see the wood for the trees? Are you, at least sometimes, finding innovative and creative solutions? Are you confident in the decisions you are making? Are you investing in the support of key staff on whom your profitability depends? I suggest that now is a good time to find out how coaching will help your key staff to contribute even more effectively to your business.

Coaching from Finding True North.

Radio debut

Thanks to those who listened to the business slot on Swindon 105.5 last night. I enjoyed chatting to the presenter about the benefits of coaching, and the work I do in particular, and the hour passed really quickly. It is a strange feeling being in a small room and not knowing how many people "out there" are listening. It makes me admire successful presenters all the more!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Richard to be guest on Swindon Radio

Richard Hovey has been invited again as a guest on Swindon 105.5 Radio at 6pm on Monday 10th May when he'll be talking about coaching and about the Swindon Coaching Team. You can listen online at http://www.swindon1055.com/

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Another event from the Swindon Coaching Team

The team are getting together on Tuesday 18th May for our next free drop-in event which is being held at the National Trust Cafe and Restaurant next to the McArthur Glen Outlet Village in Swindon (Kemble Drive, SN2 2NA).

This will be a lunchtime event from 12.30 to 2.00 pm so if you work nearby, are out on a shopping spree or would like to add some interest to your lunchtime, then come and take the opportunity to combine coffee or a snack with an informal chat with us. We'll have our team ready to help you explore new ways to effect change and deal with the things in life that aren't working out quite as you would like.

As before, this is an opportunity to meet our coaches, find out what coaching is about, or experience the benefits yourself with a taster session.

See my previous post about the Swindon Coaching Team for more info.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Coaching and Social Media at Swindon Holiday Inn

Swindon Coaching Team, of which I am a part, is teaming up with BNI in Swindon to offer both free coaching taster sessions and a workshop on using social media (such as Twitter and Facebook) to help you to develop your business. There's even speed networking available too for those who'd like to try it!

All this is happening at the Holiday Inn Express at M4 Junction 16, Thursday 13th May 2010, 6:00 p.m. for 6:30 start until 8:00. £6. Bring your friends. Contact me to reserve a place.

More about the event here (click on the image to enlarge it)

More about BNI here. I'm part of the Ushers Chapter that meets in Melksham.

Is a stand-up debate the way to choose a politician?

I've been making use of Carl Jung's understanding of people, and Myers Briggs, for many years, but am deepening my understanding while I attend an accreditation course.

Stand-up debate is a great way to find out the best about extraverts; but people with an introvert preference keep their best strengths hidden. Maybe the person who is best for a job is not the one who is great at talking, but the one who does the best quiet thinking or research. How much of modern politics is really about exchanges in the debating chambers of the Palace of Westminster?

Lots of life is about gathering information (perception) and then making decisions (judgement). One of these we like to do in public, the other we prefer to do by ourselves. We also have preferred ways of doing each. For extraverts, their strongest function is what you see in the outside world, which is makes selecting the best candidate for a job or a seat in parliament straightforward. With introvert candidates the best is hidden and needs to be discovered in a better way. (How about measuring people by results?)

Food for thought...!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Do you need goals?

Which of these are you more likely to say?

"If you don't know where you are going, you are not likely to arrive there."

"If I don't know where I'm going, I may end up somewhere more interesting."

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Leadership or Management?

A recent British newspaper article intrigued me. It said that different kinds of work prospered under different governments: under Margaret Thatcher entrepreneurs thrived; under “New Labour” managers have thrived. It suggested that there are now too many of them, saying by way of example that the number of beds per manager in the National Health Service has declined so the service is less efficient.

The problem, the article concluded, is how to deal with that. Managers can tend to solve any problem by recruiting more managers. If workers suggest that this is inefficient then they are more likely to lose their job than to reduce the number of managers. The article paints one side of the picture. The increase in managers may be a good thing, for example if it allows doctors and nurses to spend all their time on the clinical work that they are trained for, and thus results in a better service. (I make no judgment!)

In any case, what is more important than how many managers there are, is how leadership is exercised. Many people assume that the management and leadership are the same thing. However it is not so.

A manager builds and marshals resources – often including people – in order to deliver particular results. The responsibility of leaders is to hold up and develop mission, vision, and strategy and to motivate and align people towards that achievement. The leader sees people as assets and seeks to encourage people to use their gifts and strengths for the common cause. This means that managers can be great leaders, and that a leader does not necessarily do management work.

Leadership is about direction and about influence, so I agree with those who say that we are all called to be leaders even if we do not hold a leadership post in an organisation.

To lead well we need to have the right attitudes, particularly to people, and to build an environment where everyone is able to contribute to, and buy into, vision and goals, and given freedom to use their particular skills and initiative to reach those goals. With these attitudes, coaching is a good way to support staff to achieve their objectives and to contribute to organisational goals.

We also need to be aware of the different approaches that underly this, for example Douglas McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y.

For more information about this, go to our web site Leader of Manager?

Thursday, 25 March 2010

££ Use it or lose it - grants for business leaders ££

Deadline approaching!

Business Link (South West) has grants set aside to give to the leaders of small businesses by 31st March 2010. They have unspent money they need to give away!

The Leadership and Management Advisory Service within Train to Gain gives grants to small businesses to help directors and senior managers to develop their leadership skills. These funds are also available to “micro businesses” (two to five people). Sole traders are also often eligible if they regularly work with particular associates or contractors, which increases the effective size of their business.

These excellent grants provide support to help businesses improve results or escape from the recession, and may be spent on relevant courses or executive coaching - for example to develop strategies for the business or particular skills such as sales or delegation. The basic grant is £500. A further £500 is available if you match that with your own funds.

This deadline applies to Business Link in the South West (Wiltshire, Gloucester, Bath, Bristol, etc. down to Cornwall). Funds may or may not be unspent in other parts of the country. The programme will continue into the following financial year, but funds for micro businesses are usually very limited. Some funds are also available to leaders of charities. All grants are subject to eligibility.

If you are interested to find out how you may benefit from coaching, contact me. Phone 01249 712446 or email richard@findingtruenorth.co.uk

For general or training course enquiries contact Business Link (Train to Gain) for the South West on 08456 009966 or 08000 155545 or go to http://www.traintogain.gov.uk/In_your_Region/South_West

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

UK Employment Law update: need to revise contracts?

This morning I enjoyed a good breakfast and listened to the team from Wansbroughs Solicitors (Devizes and Melksham) giving a concise and helpful update on changes to employment law.

What seemed most significant to me were:
  • Changes to the law concerning how employers should handle discipline and grievances. These are no longer governed by statutory procedures, but by changed codes of practice issues by ACAS. This means that employers need to review their discipline and grievance procedures.
  • Being phased in from 6th April 2010 for businesses with more than 250 employees, and then to all businesses from April 2011, is an employee's right to take off (unpaid) time to train. This needs to being benefit to the business and the employee's work for that business, and could be anything from a short course to several years for a degree. There are circumstances under which an employer can refuse.

Other areas covered were redundancy, equality legislation, paternity leave, and parental leave.

For more info contact Tim Prees at Wansbroughs, and sign up for their excellent occasional newsletter which gives updates on employment law.

Friday, 19 March 2010

More influential than you think!

In this world that sometimes seems so competitive, does your character make a difference? The "nice guys" (or gals) sometimes wonder whether being kind to people has any effect on wider society.

Prof James Fowler and his team from the University of California have discovered from observing participants in a game that they had devised that someone on the receiving end of an act of kindness went on to show similar goodwill to three other players, on average. So "This creates a domino effect in which one peson's generosity spreads."

On the downside, selfish behavour was seen to spread in the same way! However this does show that behaviour is influential, and character (which is about repeated patterns of behaviour) is important. From a coaching point of view this shows the importance in a group or organisation of the behaviour of leaders, and how it is important to make issues of character, or personality, central in executive coaching. Of course, what we call "character" in an individual becomes "culture" in a group, and this study shows something of the way culture can be formed and influenced.

This reminds me of a quote by Mother Teresa of Calcutta: "We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love."

Follow links for more detail: popularist Daily Telegraph; technical: Red Orbit.

(First noticed by me in The Week 20th March 2010.)

Experience Coaching in Swindon - for free

Those of you in Swindon, or with friends in reach of Swindon, may be interested in an upcoming event. A team of business and life coaches, including Finding True North, are setting up a regular coaching "drop in" in Swindon. Do spread the news.

The first one will be held on Tuesday March 23rd 2010 at the Old Bank Wine Bar, Wood Street, Old Town, Swindon, UK, SN1 4AB. Drop in anytime between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.

If you'd like to find out more, go to the Swindon Coaching Team website at http://www.swindoncoachingteam.org.uk/. If you'd would like to hear about future dates either email me and let me know, or sign up on that website for future info.

In the current economic climate, the team are keen to increase the availability of coaching to those who may benefit from it - people facing challenges or changes at work or at home.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Newly promoted?

This has been a good week, with mutually rewarding coaching of existing clients, and meeting potential clients.

It shocks me when I meet people who have been promoted by their firm, been in a new post for over a year - perhaps it is the first time they have had responsibility for a budget of for line managing staff - and they have not received any significant training or other support (such as coaching) to help them into their new role. Newly promoted managers or directors also need good role models, so they can see "what a good job looks like" and in firms where such support is lacking good role models may be lacking too.

This is mitigated a little if they are now talking to us about starting some coaching!

Is "throwing people in at the deep end" the best way to build good businesses?

At the very least, people can be guided to a few good web sites, or e-newletters. Try Finding True North, this link will take you to the sign up page, http://www.findingtruenorth.info.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Would you like to be infallible?

Secretly, even if you did not admit it, would you like to get every decision right every time? Can anyone be infallible?

Alan Turing was one of the people who made enormous contributions to code breaking during World War 2. He was fascinated by machines and what they might do. He worked out that it is not possible to solve every problem by logic alone. In seeking to determine whether machines could replace human beings he developed the 'Turing Test' which is still referred to today. This is the test: if a machine can really think then a person interrogating the machine and a human being from behind a screen should not be able to tell the difference.

In reading an article* about him recently I was struck by another of his conclusions, or paradoxes: that if a machine is expected to be infallible, it cannot also be intelligent - because part of what makes us human is that we get to solutions by making mistakes. If as human beings we are to learn well from our mistakes, it seems to me that we need to also to develop skills to do so - skills of review or reflection.

I think I'd rather be intelligent than infallible. I enjoy learning, and value the ability to learn!

Furthermore learning is at the core of the coaching work that I do, and I seek to help people to learn during the conversations that we have and also to live life in such a way that on an ongoing basis they review the results of what they do to maximise their learning (and, to an extent, their awareness).

Besides, I think my children probably destroyed any attempt of mine at infallibility a long time ago!

*Third Way magazine, March 2010.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Quakers, Cadbury, and Business

I sometimes wonder whether I am really a Quaker at heart. I like the way that they value, use, and are comfortable with silence. I like the way that they like to think things through rigorously and seek to live in a principled way. I like the way that they seek to make decisions by consensus and give those who disagree, but do not want to get in the way of a majority decision, the ability to "stand aside."

So I read with interest a recent article, written in the light of the likely takeover of Cadbury in the UK, called "The Quaker Brand."* Cadbury was one of a number of businesses set up by British Quakers in the 19th Century. The Quakers were keen to provide good working conditions for their staff, and a visit to their Bournville site in Birmingham is fascinating - and not just for the opportunity to eat lots of chocolate!

What interested me particularly in the article was that the reason that the Quakers became such good businessmen was because, being outside the Anglican Church, they were banned from universities (until the middle of the 19th centrury). This effectively excluded them from careers in law, science, or medicine - and of course their pacifism excluded service in the armed forces.

There was also good networking within their religious community. These developments resonate with the Jew's dominance of financial activity in Europe in earlier centuries due to their exclusion. It is interesting to see the way in which the closing of doors to certain activity can shape whole communities in a way that brings benefit, although it can be (very) painful at the time.


*The Week 30th January 2010

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Making good decisions

Every moment we have to make choices. You're in a meeting and your mobile phone rings - do you answer it? Our time management has "failed again" and we get to the end of the day with work not complete - what to do?

Here's some key areas, following on from my Time Management Tips.
  • Know what you want - think about outcomes
  • Be thorough in marshalling facts AND imaginative in thinking of options forward
  • Know yourself - how and when are you best at making decisions
  • Avoid major decisions when you're not in a good state - we don't make decisions well when we are grieving or very stressed, and drugs and alcohol may not help either!

More in our newsletter...

Monday, 1 February 2010

New collaboration with Unlimited Potential

Finding True North are collaborating with Unlimited Potential's team of coaches, as a way of providing increased coaching to a wider range of clients. Unlimited Potential have offices in the UK in London, Tunbridge Wells, and Kettering.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Time Management Help

Using time well always seems to be a challenge. Here are some new hot tips on our web site.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Go with the flow?

Sometimes I find myself encouraging people to "go with the flow" - that is to notice and respond to the way that life seems to be leading them.

So I was challenged by the quote below which I saw prettily painted on the side of a canal boat on the Kennet and Avon Canal recently.
"Only dead fish go with the flow."

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all our readers. We wish you a prosperous 2010.