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Good leadership is the ability to motivate, inspire, engage and build respect with others. Participants will learn about effective leadership skills and practices, and how to effectively implement them.

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17 (Often Overlooked) Ways for Managers to Get the Edge

Article Overview:
Mark Moore gives his list of 17 ideas that will help managers develop their skills. Short, sharp and to the point - this is a really useful document that will get your manager's thinking and encourage discussion.

About

Article Overview:
Mark Moore gives his list of 17 ideas that will help managers develop their skills. Short, sharp and to the point - this is a really useful document that will get your manager's thinking and encourage discussion.

Opening Words:
1. Understand how the Mind Works.
Learn to use your brain purposefully to enhance focus, concentration, motivation, drive, memory, learning, and communication.

2. Learn how to Read More Intelligently and Faster.
Learn speed reading, strategic or 'range reading' techniques to enable you to handle incoming emails, reports, articles, and letters faster and more effectively. Invest the time to learn, and it will pay off considerably over your career.

3. Learn how to Focus Your Attention on what's Important.
Where you focus your attention will determine what you get done in your working day. Learn the psychology of effectiveness, not just 'time management' tools and techniques. Focus on your goals, and move boldly towards them.

Useful Reading For:
All managers.

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360 Degree Feedback

About this Article:
Carol Wilson identifies the tools and models frequently used during coaching projects. In this article she looks at 360 degree feedback.

About

About this Article:
Carol Wilson identifies the tools and models frequently used during coaching projects. In this article she looks at 360 degree feedback.

Opening Words:
360 degree feedback is a process used by many organisations today to provide managers with information about how they are viewed by the different categories of people they come into contact with in the course of their work, for example, the managers they report to, the staff who report to them, and their colleagues, customers and clients.

The feedback is usually delivered anonymously and participants are asked to fill in a series of tick-boxes (often on-line) and to provide individual comments about various aspects of the subject’s performance, typically around their skills, abilities, attitudes and behaviours.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who is thinking of using 360 degree feedback or upward appraisal mechanisms for their own or others' development.

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Are Leaders Born or Bred?

Article Overview:
This excellent article by Peter Freeth looks at the characteristics of leadership and argues persuasively that if we can identify the behaviours of effective leaders, we should have the ability to reproduce them ourselves.

About

Article Overview:
This excellent article by Peter Freeth looks at the characteristics of leadership and argues persuasively that if we can identify the behaviours of effective leaders, we should have the ability to reproduce them ourselves.

Opening Words:
For as long as leaders have led, we have wondered if their abilities are the result of mystical forces or if they represent a set of skills that can be learned. When we see a talented carpenter or engineer at work, we imagine that we can see what they do, so therefore what they do must be something that can be learned. Since we have to teach people technical skills, we often presume that it's learning those skills that makes someone an engineer. If you've ever met a really talented engineer, you'll know that they think in a fundamentally different way to someone who has only the technical knowledge required for the job.

For people such as leaders, artists or musicians, it's difficult to see what they do differently to anyone else. Therefore, we presume that they have some intangible quality that can't be categorised and so can't be learned. If this is the case, then where do the necessary skills come from? Leaders must just be born that way. Perhaps leadership is a genetic quality? Perhaps it's astrological? Perhaps it's a gift?

Useful Reading For:
All managers.

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Beyond Plain English

Article Overview:
In this thought provoking article, Martin Shovel questions the demand for plainer and plainer English and argues for the need for more evocative, poetic language in order to provoke a reaction in others.

About

Article Overview:
In this thought provoking article, Martin Shovel questions the demand for plainer and plainer English and argues for the need for more evocative, poetic language in order to provoke a reaction in others.

Opening Words:
How would your colleagues react if you turned up at the office one day in your pyjamas? Chances are, you’d struggle to get them to take you seriously. And if you tried to carry on as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening, they’d probably begin to question your sanity.

What you wear and when you choose to wear it matters greatly because in most social situations nudity is not an option. In the world of work, for example, the suit is an emblem of neutrality, but you’d get a very odd reaction if you wore one to bed.

When we express ourselves in language, our thoughts are like naked bodies and our words are like the clothes that dress and display them to the world. How you say what you say is as important as what you say – in fact, the two are inseparable. Which is why I have a bit of a problem with the idea of 'Plain English'.

Useful Reading For:
A fascinating read for anyone looking to add impact to their presentations or get their communication noticed.

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Burnt-Out or Fired-Up?

Article Overview:
This is a great new article from Mandy Green of the Matchett Group that looks at some of the unique challenges of the training role. Mandy offers some clear advice and tips for managing the more stressful aspects of the job. A must-read for all trainers!

About

Article Overview:
This is a great new article from Mandy Green of the Matchett Group that looks at some of the unique challenges of the training role. Mandy offers some clear advice and tips for managing the more stressful aspects of the job. A must-read for all trainers!

Opening Words:
A trainer’s life is not always a happy one, as one of our colleagues found when, after a very long journey, he arrived at a hotel in Siberia in the early hours of the morning to give a training course the next day. The taxi had driven away, the hotel staff denied all knowledge of his room reservation or the training course, then proceeded to rip him off by over-charging for the booking that he had to make with his own credit card.

Other worst-case scenarios include: arriving at the venue to find the course materials have not turned up; arriving at the venue, only to be told that the venue has been changed; there’s also ‘the show must go on’ syndrome, when, despite feeling at death’s door, you still run the course; and finally, and not least, when there are tears, tantrums and aggression - from delegates: (this can occur in soft skills courses, where some fairly tender areas can be probed) which you have to deal with professionally. Being hurtled around from airports to train stations, dealing with cancelled flights and trains, or spending long hours driving, are also par for the course in a trainer’s life.

Useful Reading For:
A must-read for all trainers.

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Choosing Who You Work With

About this Article:
In this article, Bill Lucas argues that smart people care about who they hang out with. He points to evidence that suggests that the main indicator of children's success in school is not their teacher or their class group but the peer group they chose to spend time in the lunch queues with.

About

About this Article:
In this article, Bill Lucas argues that smart people care about who they hang out with. He points to evidence that suggests that the main indicator of children's success in school is not their teacher or their class group but the peer group they chose to spend time in the lunch queues with.

Opening Words:
What are your colleagues like? Do you work among friends? Do you get on well with your boss? Do you number “enemies” among those you work with? How many times have you wondered whether you could wave a magic wand and make certain people vanish from your life?!

At first sight you might appear to have little choice about who you work with. You are given a manager and you have to work in certain teams over which you have little control. But stop and think for a moment. Is this really the case? While you have to work with a few people, are there not many opportunities for choosing your colleagues? Smart people care about who they hang out with, although possibly not along the lines of Wilde’s whims. (I read an interesting example of this truth recently. It described research into children’s achievements levels at school. It turns out that the main indicator of their likely success is not their teacher or their class group but the peer group they chose to spend time in the lunch queues with!)

Useful Reading For:
Everyone.

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Coaching and Mentoring in Learning Organisations

Article Overview:
In this lengthy article, Graham Guest looks at the need for learning organisations in the modern world, and what defines a learning organisation. He goes on to look at the importance of mentoring and learning in learning organisations and provides a clear and interesting distinction between the two.

About

Article Overview:
In this lengthy article, Graham Guest looks at the need for learning organisations in the modern world, and what defines a learning organisation. He goes on to look at the importance of mentoring and learning in learning organisations and provides a clear and interesting distinction between the two.

Opening Words:
The world is witnessing rapid changes in the way we work and learn. The effectiveness of traditional organisational structures is being questioned and new ‘buzz-words’ are entering our vocabulary. We talk about the global economy, the knowledge-society, and the networked company.

One approach to dealing with change is that of the learning organisation, where learning holds the key to both economic prosperity for the organisation and personal well-being for the individual. The traditional, and somewhat mechanistic, techniques of management and supervision are being supplemented with, and in many cases replaced by, a more holistic approach involving the processes of coaching and mentoring.

In this paper I describe the features and benefits of a learning organisation and explore how coaching and mentoring form an integral part of the model.

Useful Reading For:
Trainers and anyone interested in developing a learning organisation.

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Coaching for Excellent Performance

Article Overview:
In this article, Graham Guest looks at the importance of coaching as a holistic method of managing performance. He explains the role of the coach and the coaching relationship.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Graham Guest looks at the importance of coaching as a holistic method of managing performance. He explains the role of the coach and the coaching relationship.

Opening Words:
Many businesses proclaim that their people are their greatest asset. This is an attractive idea, particularly to the assets themselves. Some of the businesses making this statement actually believe it. Of those that believe it some will try to put the philosophy into practice.

This might seem like a cynical opening to an article, but it is true that if we observe businesses closely we see that manipulation and control are still the favoured tools of management. Kofman and Senge (1995) ask, 'Why do we confront learning opportunities with fear rather than wonder? [...] Why do we create controlling bureaucracies when we attempt to form visionary enterprises?' They suggest that the main dysfunctions in our institutions - fragmentation, competition, and reactiveness - are actually by-products of our success over thousands of years in conquering the physical world and in developing our scientific, industrial culture.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in providing or receiving coaching in the workplace.

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Coaching, Mentoring and the Sibling Organisation

Article Overview:
This article from Mike Bagshaw, considers the changing business culture. He argues that the paternalistic approach has gone, replaced by a sibling stage in organisational development - a sort of half-way house to full alignment between individual and organisation needs.

About

Article Overview:
This article from Mike Bagshaw, considers the changing business culture. He argues that the paternalistic approach has gone, replaced by a sibling stage in organisational development - a sort of half-way house to full alignment between individual and organisation needs.

Opening Words:
The sibling organisation is a stage in the development of organisations following the uncertainty created by downsizing and restructuring. People feel the need to invest in self-preservation, perhaps at the expense of collaborative effort, risk-taking and shared learning. Organisational defensive routines limit growth and creativity. Morale is depressed, job satisfaction is reduced and performance goes down. To counter this post-change depressive effect, a new contract of mutual investment and respect needs to be created between the employee and the organisation. A coaching style of management combined with independent mentoring support can provide the vehicle for a climate of two stranded development where both the needs of the individual and the needs of the organisation are aligned.

The concept of the sibling organisation is a new one. It's a stage of evolution in business ethos, and it seems to me it's the stage we're at now. We have moved past the old paternalistic ethos, where we were looked after in exchange for loyalty. That move has been forced on us by the changing market demands and shareholder power. The drive has been to cut costs. The highest cost is people, so it has been uneconomic for the bosses to go on looking after people. There has had to be downsizing. "Lean and Mean" has become the cry. All too soon that has meant "Sad and Mad".

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in coaching and mentoring.

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Congruence

Article Overview:
Fiona Reed says that if she were allowed to leave three messages as her legacy to the world, one of them would be that she would love it if we were all striving to be congruent. In this article, Fiona explains why she considers congruence (which is commonly associated with counselling and assertiveness training) to be so important.

About

Article Overview:
Fiona Reed says that if she were allowed to leave three messages as her legacy to the world, one of them would be that she would love it if we were all striving to be congruent. In this article, Fiona explains why she considers congruence (which is commonly associated with counselling and assertiveness training) to be so important.

Opening Words:
If I were given three messages to leave as my legacy to the world, one of them would be that I would love it if we were all striving to be congruent.

Congruence is a term familiar in the world of counselling which, when offered along with empathy and a positive regard for the client, it is argued, will create the prime conditions for personal development.

So what is it? It's sometimes put that congruence is 'being the same on the outside as you are on the inside', that is a rare form of honesty.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone. Especially those looking at counselling skills or assertiveness.

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Creating a Climate for Vision in Organisations

Article Overview:
In this superb article, George Edwards looks at the importance of vision to an organisation and considers seven strands that could form part of a HR specialist's strategy for enhancing a climate of vision.

About

Article Overview:
In this superb article, George Edwards looks at the importance of vision to an organisation and considers seven strands that could form part of a HR specialist's strategy for enhancing a climate of vision.

Opening Words:
I believe it was President Bush's Dad who referred to vision as "That V word," a gloss over its importance that is no doubt still shared by many in public and corporate life today. It is anathema to the pragmatist, a diversion to the activist, and inconvenient to the theorist. Only the reflector perhaps, revels in vision. As Tom Peters once put it, "Developing a vision .... is a messy artistic process."

But it is widely accepted that vision is one of the key capabilities that enable the excellent companies to innovate and develop. A lack of it ultimately results in stagnation and crisis, as current products end their useful lives, creating peaks and troughs of development, which in turn cause major tactical changes under pressure. I say "tactical", for strategy is inexorably linked to vision; lose one, lose the other.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and HR specialists.

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Developing a Coaching Culture

Article Overview:
In this article Carol Wilson looks at what coaching is, how organisations can integrate it, and what the pitfalls might be.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Carol Wilson looks at what coaching is, how organisations can integrate it, and what the pitfalls might be.

Opening Words:
Many organisations across the world today are putting coaching programmes in place, either hiring external coaches or training their own managers. The word is out that a ‘coaching culture’ is the goal to pursue, although there is some confusion about what the term actually means and even more about how to achieve it. In this article we will look at what coaching is, how organisations can integrate it, and what the pitfalls might be.

I have identified that there are three principles underlying a coaching culture:

Useful Reading For:
Managers and anyone else wishing to increase the use of coaching skills within their organisations.

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Don't Make Me Go Back to the Gym

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb wonders why he's not motivated to return to the gym after Christmas this year, and considers the lessons here for organisations and managers. The article outlines key thoughts and ideas about motivating people at work and managing change.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb wonders why he's not motivated to return to the gym after Christmas this year, and considers the lessons here for organisations and managers. The article outlines key thoughts and ideas about motivating people at work and managing change.

Opening Words:
I had one of those moments this morning, which seem to come with increasing frequency once you reach your forties. The image in the bathroom mirror just seemed to be a little more out of shape than normal – the sagging more noticeable, the posture a little worse. On really bad days I see my father in the mirror. Nothing against my father, you understand, but when he was my age (and I wasn’t) I thought he looked old, whilst I of course know that I’m still very much in my youth.

Anyway, this unfortunate revelation got me thinking and wondering whether once again I should try and lose some of the post Christmas excess via lots of exercise at the gym.

I’ve tried the gym before – many, many times, without any discernible difference being achieved in the few weeks my commitment lasted before the excruciating boredom became unbearable and I was driven back to the sofa - and chocolate.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and team leaders who need to motivate others.

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Emotional Intelligence

Article Overview:
This excellent article from Mike Bagshaw explains what Emotional Intelligence is, and explains what to consider if planning Emotional Intelligence training.

About

Article Overview:
This excellent article from Mike Bagshaw explains what Emotional Intelligence is, and explains what to consider if planning Emotional Intelligence training.

Opening Words:
When people in the workplace do not act with emotional intelligence the costs can be great: Low morale, bitter conflict and stress all limit business effectiveness. There is also the financial cost of litigation when people complain of being bullied, intimidated, and exploited. Emotional intelligence also contributes in a positive business enhancing way, improving teamwork, customer service and the managing of diversity. Fortunately this critical personal resource can be improved through appropriate coaching and training.

Stability makes us feel secure. It gives a firm and safe base on which to build. Stability means we know what is going on, and what is likely to go on in the future, and stability is something we have not got. Instead, we have one dramatic change after another. It feels frightening and out of control, and it's a natural reaction to keep things the same as much as we can, even when we acknowledge that that is going backwards. What we need to do is build, but we can not have the firm base of stability. We need to draw on inner resources to help us move forward.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and trainers.

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Fighting for Space

Article Overview:
In this article, Justin Collinge looks at why it can be difficult to focus on that task you really need to complete.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Justin Collinge looks at why it can be difficult to focus on that task you really need to complete.

Opening Words:
Jim is aware he needs to get on with that piece of work. He’s been putting it off because he knows it’s going to be tough – but time has now run out. So, girding up his loins, he settles down and is ready to go…

First, he puts on some music because he knows it helps him concentrate.

He’s also worried about another piece of work but leaves that to one side because the deadline for this is nearer.

He’s quite hungry - but isn’t going to stop now. He’s decided he’ll reward himself with a snack once he’s worked for an hour...

Useful Reading For:
Inclusion in any course on time management, or anyone interested in making more effective use of their time at work.

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Firm Management or Bullying?

Article Overview:
This article from Sheila Williams looks at the differences between firm management and bullying and considers why behaviour might be interpreted differently in different organisations.

About

Article Overview:
This article from Sheila Williams looks at the differences between firm management and bullying and considers why behaviour might be interpreted differently in different organisations.

Opening Words:
What are the differences between firm management and bullying?

ACAS characterise bullying as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.

Bullying is assessed as behaviour that is unacceptable by reasonable, normal standards and is disadvantageous or unwelcome to the individual. However, what is reasonable and normal for one may be unacceptable to others and, as Hamlet observed, ‘therein lies the rub’. It is hard to get agreement on objective measures of what constitutes bullying behaviour. Nowhere is this more apparent than when managers are dealing with staff under-performance.

Linda is a manager who came from a ‘command and control’ culture into an organisation with a radically different approach. She is ambitious, dynamic and has, as she puts it, ‘a short fuse’. Her style of management led to a formal complaint of bullying by one of her team. Other team members gave witness to this during the internal investigation that followed. The investigation team concluded that she had used inappropriate and bullying behaviour; in particular losing her temper with the individual on a number of occasions and belittling them in public.

Useful Reading For:
Line managers and supervisors.

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Five Secrets for Self-Promotion with Integrity

Article Overview:
Helen Krag shows us how to ‘blow your own trumpet’ whilst maintaining your integrity.

About

Article Overview:
Helen Krag shows us how to ‘blow your own trumpet’ whilst maintaining your integrity.

Opening Words:
OK, you’ve got your head down and you’re doing a great job in your company; you’ve delivered against your objectives in the last year and you’re well-liked. So that pay rise or dream promotion should be landing in your lap anytime soon, right? Well, not necessarily! If this is your attitude and it’s not happening for you, then read on …

Fact: Successful people who reach top roles in business are not just good at their jobs – they are also generally masters of self-promotion. Typically, they have learned to do it with integrity, in such a way that it fits with them and their values and ideals. Traditionally, men have had a reputation for being better at it than women, with women often feeling uncomfortable about ‘blowing their own trumpet’. So, here are 5 secrets of successful business people that will help you promote yourself and your reputation – so that you stand out from the crowd, with your integrity fully intact.

Before you dive in, here are two golden rules:

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to progress in their chosen careers and be recognised by others.

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Frying Pan, Fire or Neither?

Article Overview:
Martin Haworth explains how getting someone else out of their 'frying pan' can get you into a 'fire' and explores a better way of helping your team members when they are struggling.

About

Article Overview:
Martin Haworth explains how getting someone else out of their 'frying pan' can get you into a 'fire' and explores a better way of helping your team members when they are struggling.

Opening Words:
How tempting is it to fix things? You know, you are passing by one of your teams’ cubicles and they are doing something you know all about. So you give a hand...

And then it's fixed, and you feel a rosy glow all about how you've 'helped'. But who is this about, you or them?

You see, it can be so frustrating, for someone already frustrated, when some smart-ass boss comes along to show their superiority. In fact, after it's fixed, all they get is a general feeling of inadequacy. And more frustration.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone, especially managers, team leaders and experienced staff.

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How Can I Boost Initiative In My Team?

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer looks at some suggestions for getting people to take responsibility for themselves and show initiative.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer looks at some suggestions for getting people to take responsibility for themselves and show initiative.

Opening Words:
Do you ever get asked for your advice, opinion or assistance? In fact, do you seem to spend most of your time responding to people’s queries and telling them what they should be doing? And do you feel that you are repeatedly asked the same questions by the same people?

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You have a job to do, a team to manage, results to achieve and deadlines to meet. You could do without these distractions because that’s what they feel like. Why can’t people just use their initiative and get on with the job?

Useful Reading For:
Managers and in particular first time managers.

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How to Become a Charismatic Speaker

Article Overview
This is another great article from Martin Shovel, the author looks at the common mistakes people make when speaking, and the value of using pictures and imagery to encourage the audience to 'feel' the message.

About

Article Overview
This is another great article from Martin Shovel, the author looks at the common mistakes people make when speaking, and the value of using pictures and imagery to encourage the audience to 'feel' the message.

Opening Words:
In extreme cases – I'm thinking of Gerald Ratner’s infamous "total crap" speech – it has been known for a Chief Executive to open his mouth and bring his company crashing to its knees. Fortunately, catastrophes on this scale are rare. Far more common, however, is the plethora of boring presentations and tedious speeches that drain an organisation of its lifeblood – good communication.

For instance, last week I was invited to a high profile product launch at a swanky London venue. As the Managing Director rose to his feet to say a few words before introducing a well-known guest speaker, I noticed that the people in the audience who worked for him visibly winced. He got off to a bad start by telling us all the things he wasn’t going to do in his speech...

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to learn how to make their presentations more engaging and impactful.

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How to Introduce Coaching to Your Team

Article Overview:
You have attended the coaching skills workshop. You feel inspired. How do you introduce your new skills into the workplace? Jennifer Hampson discusses the way forward.

About

Article Overview:
You have attended the coaching skills workshop. You feel inspired. How do you introduce your new skills into the workplace? Jennifer Hampson discusses the way forward.

Opening Words:
You’ve attended a coaching skills workshop. You feel inspired. You’ve been coached and found it thoroughly beneficial. Now you’re wondering how you can use coaching in real life with your team. You start pondering your options:
• I could just start asking more open questions.
• I could build coaching into regular meetings.
• I could look out for ‘Coachable Moments’.
• I could find other ways just to build it in without them really noticing.
• I could tell my team I’ve been on a course and I’m going to be coaching them from now on.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and anyone else wishing to increase their use of coaching skills.

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Human Capital Management Predicts Stock Prices

Article Overview:
This article suggests that the way we manage people has a clear knock on effect on an organisation’s ability to outperform its competition and provides evidence to support this argument.

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Article Overview:
This article suggests that the way we manage people has a clear knock on effect on an organisation’s ability to outperform its competition and provides evidence to support this argument.

Opening Words:
In 2001 and 2003, under the auspices of our sister company (Bassi Investments, a registered investment advisory firm), we launched two different investment portfolios based on our research finding that, as a group, firms that invest a significant amount in training and developing their employees subsequently outperform the market. In Table 1 (on the next page), we refer to these portfolios as Portfolios A and B.

Useful Reading For:
Training professionals, line manager and senior decision makers within in any organisation.

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I'll Just Get the File Out! - Conquer Procrastination For Ever

Article Overview:
This article from Mark Forster, could be one of the most important you read this year - particularly if you find yourself, like many of us, putting off work on important projects - like joining Trainers' Library! :-)

About

Article Overview:
This article from Mark Forster, could be one of the most important you read this year - particularly if you find yourself, like many of us, putting off work on important projects - like joining Trainers' Library! :-)

Opening Words:
I'd be willing to bet that you, along with every other person reading this article, has at least one important project that would make an enormous difference to your life - if only you could get round to doing it!

In fact if you are procrastinating over only one important project you are a quite exceptional person. Most of us could produce a whole list of things we are procrastinating about. Not only do we procrastinate about things we'd really much prefer not to have to do at all (such as getting our tax returns in on time), but we even manage to procrastinate about things we are fully committed to and enjoy doing. Most authors love writing or they wouldn't be authors, but "writer's block" is so common that the phrase has become proverbial.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who finds themselves 'putting things off'.

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Keep Focused

Article Overview:
In this article Damian Hughes shares some tips and advice on how to keep focused when faced with a changing environment.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Damian Hughes shares some tips and advice on how to keep focused when faced with a changing environment.

Opening Words:
If I asked you to describe how you feel about change, what would you say? Many people often come up with a mixture of negative and positive terms. On the one hand fear, anxiety, loss, danger and panic; on the other, exhilaration, risk-taking, excitement, improvements, energising. With a mix of emotions, keeping focused can be difficult during a period of change, and maintaining your best performance may become more of a challenge. The power of focus works on what I call ‘The Spice Girls Principle’.

The more you want and focus on something, the more of it you get. However, take a few moments to think about what actually happens to your focus when you are under the pressures of change.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone.

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Leadership

Article Overview:
In this article, Sir John Whitmore explains his belief that each and every one of us can be a leader, and indeed, has the qualities and the capabilities to be one if we can only figure out how to unleash them.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Sir John Whitmore explains his belief that each and every one of us can be a leader, and indeed, has the qualities and the capabilities to be one if we can only figure out how to unleash them.

Opening Words:

Overview
Each and every one of us can be a leader, and indeed, has the qualities and the capabilities to be one if we can only figure out how to unleash them.

Our own ‘inner authority’ is the key to unlocking that leadership potential.

Look for The Leader Within
The essence of John Whitmore’s philosophy is that each and every one of us can be a leader, and indeed, has the qualities and capabilities to be one if we can only figure out how to unleash them.

“If you say, ‘Prove it’, you look, when there’s a real crisis – such as the tsunami – perfectly ordinary people do absolutely outstanding things in that moment to selflessly help others”, he says.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone in a leadership role.

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Lean Thinking - What Is It?

Article Overview:
This provocative article from Italian-born Carlo Scodanibbio looks at the history of business since the industrial revolution and suggests that few of today's businesses are truly Lean; instead carrying the burden of principles that were developed for the 20th Century and which no longer apply. This one will really get you thinking and will provoke lots of discussion.

About

Article Overview:
This provocative article from Italian-born Carlo Scodanibbio looks at the history of business since the industrial revolution and suggests that few of today's businesses are truly Lean; instead carrying the burden of principles that were developed for the 20th Century and which no longer apply. This one will really get you thinking and will provoke lots of discussion.

Opening Words:
There is a problem in industry: We have gone into the 21st century with enterprises, organisations and business structures conceived and designed in the 18th and 19th centuries to perform well in the 20th.

The principles that gave origin to industry were conceived back in 1776, when the British economist Adam Smith published his famous book entitled "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations". Considering that in those times there was practically no industry, some very excellent principles, conceived by a real genius, were laid out. Smith visualised that the future wealth of the world would be founded and based on industry. Smith also went a step further, engineering practical principles for the future would-be industry, including his famous principle of "Division of Labour" (the whole job to be sub-divided into a number of elementary tasks, each assigned to a dedicated, single-skill worker).

Useful Reading For:
Managers, including senior managers to board level, and anyone who wants to examine strategic thinking and customer focus at a high level.

Notes:
The author has confirmed that trainers can download this article and use it in their courses to provoke discussion and thought, as long as the 'about the author' bit remains intact.

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Obama's Magic

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel considers Barrack Obama's success as an orator and the impact they had in the run up to his election.

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Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel considers Barrack Obama's success as an orator and the impact they had in the run up to his election.

Opening Words:
There is one supreme gift that marks out truly great speakers from the rest: it’s an unerring ability to make us care about what they’re saying, whatever the topic. Up to now, Barack Obama’s greatest achievement has been to make the people of America care about politics. Armed only with words, he has miraculously transformed the vast desert of political disaffection into a fertile plain where the litter of broken dreams has been replaced by seeds of hope.

Obama’s words have cast their spell in a series of stirring campaign speeches; speeches that have excited and inspired people around the globe. But what is it that makes these speeches so special? And is it possible to begin to understand how they work their magic?

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to improve their presentation skills or their ability to influence others through words.

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Organisational Maturity

Article Overview:
In this article, Paul Ackerley discusses the need to work more efficiently and effectively in the current global climate.

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Article Overview:
In this article, Paul Ackerley discusses the need to work more efficiently and effectively in the current global climate.

Opening Words:
At the time of writing (April 2011), a major topic of conversation here in the UK, particularly for those working in the public sector are the cuts being implemented as a result of last year’s Spending Review. There is understandably much concern and trepidation around due to the potential impact of the spending cuts.

As you will have seen from the news, many public sector organisations started to make cuts in spending and people resources even before the results of the Spending Review were known, in anticipation of the reduction in finances. Many private sector organisations had been going through a similar process for some months, or indeed, years already.

Useful Reading For:
Managers

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Performance Coaching and Training in the Workplace

Article Overview:
This article from carol Wilson looks at:

1) What is coaching?
2) What coaching does.
3) What coaching managers do.
4) Where did coaching come from?
5) What is a coaching culture?

About

Article Overview:
This article from carol Wilson looks at:

1) What is coaching?
2) What coaching does.
3) What coaching managers do.
4) Where did coaching come from?
5) What is a coaching culture?

Opening Words:
A sea of confusion surrounds the term ‘coaching’ in business today. The expression has not even made its way into dictionaries yet, where ‘coach’ is defined simply as ‘tutor’ and yet there is nothing new about the practice other than its name. Socrates was the earliest identified exponent, when he wrote:

“I cannot teach anybody anything – I can only make them think.”

This quote relates to the underlying principle of coaching, termed self-directed learning, sometimes described as self-managed learning.

Coaching helps people to communicate more clearly and in a way that is simply more comfortable. In this modern world of change – the seemingly constant buying, selling and merging of global corporations – and virtuality – teams working together while spread over different parts of the country or indeed the world – communication can be the oil in the wheels or the rust that stops them from turning.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone interested in developing their understanding of performance coaching or wishing to implement a coaching culture within their organisation.

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Playing with Feeling and Playing to Learn

Article Overview:
In this article Paul Ackerley discusses how to implement the ‘Affective Domain’ technique in role-plays.

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Article Overview:
In this article Paul Ackerley discusses how to implement the ‘Affective Domain’ technique in role-plays.

Opening Words:
In a previous article I talked about the value that can be gained from Affective Learning Methodologies, and the reluctance of some trainers to use such methodologies. One such methodology is the role-play, and in this post I will give a brief run through on how to do it well.

Some role-plays are very tightly scripted or structured – almost being the acting out of a scenario, or a simulation – and such activities are not intended to, nor are they likely to, achieve any affective based learning.

In order to create learning through the use of the Affective Domain, the role-play needs to be as unstructured as possible – and even then there is no guarantee it will achieve this. As the title suggests, it needs to involve ‘play’. We first learn to ‘play’ as children – and this generally takes place within very loose parameters, generates feelings and is one of the principle ways for children to develop their understanding of the world around them. Not unlike a good role-play!

Useful Reading For:
All trainers/learning and development professionals.

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Playing Your Values

Article Overview:
This is a fascinating article that actually comes from the world of sports psychology, but which we thought contained lessons that could be applied to the business world. The author looks at the attitude adopted by successful athletes and argues that a positive mental attitude can be successfully built on a foundation of values.

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Article Overview:
This is a fascinating article that actually comes from the world of sports psychology, but which we thought contained lessons that could be applied to the business world. The author looks at the attitude adopted by successful athletes and argues that a positive mental attitude can be successfully built on a foundation of values.

Opening Words:
You're two games all, seven all and serving, you wipe the sweat off your forehead, take a deep breath and grit your teeth – determined to win the next two points and with it your first ever major tournament.

You play the first point solidly, nothing too fancy, you bang the ball deep into the corners – your opponent breaks down and misses early on. You are now serving for the title and a dream come true. Your mind is sharp and totally focused, your body relaxed but energised, a smile appears on your face because you are actually enjoying it. You are competing to the best of your ability, you are playing the game you love; you are enjoying the tactical and physical battle of competition. You are experiencing a high and you are in the place where you can express yourself better than anywhere else on the planet. You are only concentrating on the next point, on executing your game plan, on wanting to compete and outfox, outlast, and out manoeuvre your opponent – these are the only things that you are aware of. You raise your racket to serve with a sense of determination and enthusiasm because another squash rally is about to be played and you're taking part in it…

Useful Reading For:
Everyone.

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Telling Tales

Article Overview:
In this interesting article, Martin Shovel compares the value of stories and arguments and explains why he believes both are important for persuasion.

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Article Overview:
In this interesting article, Martin Shovel compares the value of stories and arguments and explains why he believes both are important for persuasion.

Opening Words:
Can the use of a story in a serious presentation ever be justified as anything more than ornamental – a sprinkle of sugar to help the pill go down?

We’re brought up to believe that stories and arguments are two fundamentally different ways of thinking and making sense of the world. On the one hand, small children are soothed to sleep with bedtime stories, not arguments. On the other, a board of directors is persuaded to adopt a new strategic objective by a series of rigorous arguments, not stories.

Of course, stories and arguments are different forms of discourse, but experiencing them in action recently at a conference for senior health service managers convinced me that both have a critical role to play in high-level thinking and communication.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to develop their influence and persuasion skills, and particularly those interested in making their presentations more impactful.

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The Challenge of Leadership - Jobsworth and his Successors

Article Overview:
In this article, George applies his unique style to the apparent conflict between the move towards empowerment and the continued existence of high profile blaming when things go wrong.

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Article Overview:
In this article, George applies his unique style to the apparent conflict between the move towards empowerment and the continued existence of high profile blaming when things go wrong.

Opening Words:
In the British employment environment at present there often seems to be a strange tension between two apparently opposite beliefs. On one hand there is a move among many of the country's more 'progressive' organisations to group- and team-working, with a great emphasis on interpersonal skills, group dynamics, and, in many, that largely devalued term 'empowerment'. On the other hand there are the - too frequent - high profile disasters and corporate embarrassments that feature in the news pages rather than the business pages. Whenever these sad stories appear, blame falls like monsoon rain on the leaders of the organisations. Often the competence of these 'leaders' is called into question quite forcefully and publicly.

So is there a fundamental misunderstanding of the working of the organisation? Some say that strong leadership, directed effort and respect for the authority of experience is the way to avoid corporate chaos. Certainly we seem at times to have a catastrophic lack of leadership in some very important and prominent organisations. But there are others who loudly proclaim that the best, indeed only hope for the future lies in more teams, and more interactive teams, better collective decision making, greater workforce 'democracy' and in meaningful 'empowerment'. This cunning suggestion of such stark alternatives implies that the question is legitimate. But it is really a failure to address the important issue, which is that problems are seldom due to a lack of leaders - or at least would be leaders - they are due to a lack of leadership.

Useful Reading For:
Managers, or anyone interested in leadership.

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The Differences Between Coaching and its Related Fields

Article Overview:
This is a superb article from Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching and essential reading for anyone interested in coaching and performance coaching.

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Article Overview:
This is a superb article from Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching and essential reading for anyone interested in coaching and performance coaching.

Opening Words:
Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching, and Gladeana McMahon, Fellow of the Association for Coaching, explore the differences between coaching and the related disciplines of counselling, psychotherapy, mentoring and consulting. Coaching draws its influences from and stands on the shoulders of a wide range of disciplines, including counselling, management consultancy, personal development, and psychology. However, there are a number of core differences which distinguish coaching from its related fields. This article is based on a chapter of the book ‘The Handbook of Best Coaching’, produced by the Association for Coaching and available at a reduced price of £20 on www.associationforcoaching.com.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in coaching who wishes to explore the origins and influences of coaching.

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The Effectiveness of Coaching in Work Life Balance

Article Overview:
This article looks at how coaching can help people achieve a healthy work life balance. Apparently, a survey by CIPD found that professionals in the UK would sacrifice up to 40% of their annual salary in order to achieve a better work life balance.

About

Article Overview:
This article looks at how coaching can help people achieve a healthy work life balance. Apparently, a survey by CIPD found that professionals in the UK would sacrifice up to 40% of their annual salary in order to achieve a better work life balance.

Opening Words:
A survey by the CIPD claimed that professionals in the UK would sacrifice up to 40% of their annual salary – an average £13,253 a year - if it meant achieving better work-life balance.

Why has work-life balance become such a hot topic in recent years? The sheer number of choices available today can leave the average professional sinking under a mountain of obligations, leisure activities and family commitments.

Entertainment for our grandparents was limited to a sing-song round the piano and, for their children, a game of hop scotch in the car-free street outside. They didn’t have to spend their weekends searching for the elusive best deal on new cars, fridges or the bewildering array of media technology available today; and two weeks in Yarmouth provided an annual treat, without hours of net-surfing for that last-minute, dream holiday.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in coaching or looking at how coaching can affect our lives.

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Tools of the Trade

Article Overview:
This article was first published in Training Journal in September 2007. In it, Carol Wilson considers the need for coaches to add new tools to their toolbox and gives an overview of models like Situational Leadership and Myers Briggs.

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Article Overview:
This article was first published in Training Journal in September 2007. In it, Carol Wilson considers the need for coaches to add new tools to their toolbox and gives an overview of models like Situational Leadership and Myers Briggs.

Opening Words:
Coaching is fundamentally a simple process: A way of being and communicating that is aided by a small number of guidelines and rules. It is perfectly possible, and indeed quite common, to deliver a session which can literally change the course of someone’s life or business using no more than the foundation coaching skills of listening, questioning and clarifying, supported by structured coaching models like GROW and EXACT for goal setting.

After mastering the basics, coaches usually start to discover other tools, which may be nearer or further away from pure coaching but which can be useful when applied in conjunction with it.

How this often happens is that new coaches come up against various challenges in their first few months of sessions, so they research, read or talk to other coaches and hear of methods and techniques which have helped others in the same position. Extra training seems called for but it is not cheap, and few of us have an abundance of time these days to do courses, never mind practise to become proficient, in which case the new learning will soon be all forgotten. So how do we decide which of the many tools available we should choose to follow up?

Useful Reading For:
Coaches and anyone wishing to develop their coaching skills further.

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Vital Leadership in the Twenty-First Century

Article Overview:
To succeed in today’s world, Mike and Caroline Baghsaw argue that an organisation has to become a complex adaptive system, operating through core principles that nurture flexibility and innovation.

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Article Overview:
To succeed in today’s world, Mike and Caroline Baghsaw argue that an organisation has to become a complex adaptive system, operating through core principles that nurture flexibility and innovation.

Opening Words:
At the dawn of the twentieth century, most organisations relied on large numbers of people working together in the same building. The young started at the bottom, and the most able would, with experience, become the leaders. It worked well in the context of stable technology. The bosses could predict future needs well enough to make quite detailed plans, including the duties of employees. These could be structured into career ladders, plus a pension, to reward good workers. "Good" meant co-operative. They didn't want bright ideas from low down the ladder. The boss looked after good workers, and the workers obeyed the bosses.

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, all this has metamorphosed. Constant innovation makes experience, not irrelevant, but in need of constant adjustment. The good workers are no longer the quiet, co-operative ones, but those who look ahead, spot what's coming, and adapt. This applies to organisations as well as individuals. The static ones will be left behind. To succeed, an organisation has to become a complex adaptive system, operating through core principles that nurture flexibility and innovation.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and trainers.

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What Coaching Is and How It Works

Article Overview
In this article Carol Wilson explains the essential coaching skills and the five levels of listening. This is a really good introduction to performance coaching from a well-respected author.

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Article Overview
In this article Carol Wilson explains the essential coaching skills and the five levels of listening. This is a really good introduction to performance coaching from a well-respected author.

Opening Words:
Although the use of the term ‘performance coaching’ is a relatively new development over the last 20 years, there is nothing new about the skills themselves and they can be identified as far back as in the writings of Socrates, who said, “I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think”.

Performance coaching (which expression includes life, career, fitness, business, executive, finance and any other category of coaching in the modern sense of the word) is about communicating in a way that enhances understanding, clarity, awareness, responsibility, self-belief and productive relationships.

The essential coaching skills are:
• Active listening.
• Questions that enhance self-directed learning.
• Clarifying.
• Goal setting.
• Shifting perspective.
• Holding the coachee accountable.
• Effective feedback.
• Creating trust and empathy....

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to learn about using performance coaching in a work environment for the first time.

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What We Want Most From A Leader

Article Overview:
In this article, Richard Nugent asks what is it that we want most from our leaders.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Richard Nugent asks what is it that we want most from our leaders.

Opening Words:
Let’s get straight to the point. There is one thing that people want from their leaders more than anything else. In fact if this one thing is absent, even if the leader demonstrates strong leadership characteristics, he or she will struggle to maintain their ‘followership’.

So last chance for you to guess – what is the single most important thing that followers want from their leaders more than anything else?

Well most text books and research calls it ‘honesty’. I have found through my work, that more specifically it is congruence.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to develop their leadership skills or increase their understanding of what makes a good leader.

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Wish-full Thinking

Article Overview:
In this challenging article, Sheila Williams reminds us of the importance of clear goals and wonders if sometimes we put aside our real dreams for more 'sensible' goals that perhaps don't inspire or enthuse us in the way that pursuing our dreams might.

About

Article Overview:
In this challenging article, Sheila Williams reminds us of the importance of clear goals and wonders if sometimes we put aside our real dreams for more 'sensible' goals that perhaps don't inspire or enthuse us in the way that pursuing our dreams might.

Opening Words:
A new year is with us and I wonder whether you have spent any time reviewing your goals or setting new ones? Or, to put it another way, did you make any New Year Resolutions? For what are resolutions other than goals – something we want to be, do or have? This time of year reminds me of two clients who changed their lives by making and achieving courageous and challenging goals.

Janice was a qualified accountant in the public sector. After attending a personal development workshop, she asked me for help with setting her next career goals. At our first session she came armed with four or five options, each well documented and SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound). As we discussed each potential goal, I noticed a distinct lack of enthusiasm.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone.

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Word Power

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel looks at the power of Words and how they can influence, using examples from a recent speech by Barack Obama to illustrate his point.

About
Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel looks at the power of Words and how they can influence, using examples from a recent speech by Barack Obama to illustrate his point.

Opening Words:
"Words are sparks of light that create an illuminated space inside our heads we call ‘consciousness’. They make it possible for us to move beyond simply experiencing things, to consciously thinking about them and then being able to share our thoughts about them with others, if we want to.

But words also wield their power in the darkness too. In the shadows, beyond the light of conscious awareness, they are able to influence us without our knowing what they are getting up to."

Useful Reading For:
Anyone interested in delivering a message persuasively and/or developing their presentation skills further.

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Words That Catch Fire

Article Overview:
In another fascinating article, Martin Shovel considers the importance of imagery in language, using Martin Luther King's famous 'I have a dream' speech' to illustrate his point.

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Article Overview:
In another fascinating article, Martin Shovel considers the importance of imagery in language, using Martin Luther King's famous 'I have a dream' speech' to illustrate his point.

Opening Words:
The words of a skilled speaker or writer create light in the minds of others. We instantly ‘see’ what they mean, we are enlightened. Their words grab our attention by stimulating our imaginations and touching our hearts. How is it that some people can do this while others leave us stumbling about in the dark wondering what they’re talking about?

The other day I listened to Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I have a dream’ speech and immediately fell under its spell. His language is full of imagery. His words spring into life as a series of tableaux that tell a compelling story about the African-Americans’ struggle for social equality. It’s clear that King recognises the persuasive power of imagery.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone.

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