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Tuesday Insight: A Tale of Two Haircuts


One of the consequences of lockdown was that many of us became, by necessity, hairdressers and barbers.

In our house, that wasn’t too bad. My husband and I share a similar hairstyle, which can best be described as the ‘broken sunroof’. (It slid back and never returned.) This lack of the basic material essential for a meaningful hairstyle choice means we’re pretty adept at cutting (clipping) our own hair and only really need the other person to give it a final check.

Our approach to checking however, is very different. 

When it comes to checking my husband’s hair, my approach is to give it a cursory glance, to make sure there are no obviously weird tufts, and say, “Yep, looks good.”

His approach involves him methodically running the clippers over my entire head again and highlighting (celebrating) any tiny discrepancy in hair length he discovers, even if invisible to the human eye.

Now, you might think that this makes him the better person, and he probably is. After all, he’s putting all that effort into ensuring I look the best I can, whilst I’m happy just to know he isn’t going out in his mask looking ridiculous.  

But here’s the thing: After a few weeks of this, I simply stopped trying. My attempts at giving myself a haircut became as cursory as my checks of his.

This reminded me of my very first management role, when I took over a department which was between managers and had been looked after by one of the supervisors. She was extremely conscientious and was working very long hours, checking and double-checking every piece of correspondence the team produced before it left the building. 

Her justification for this was that the team just weren’t taking enough care and were making far too many mistakes. You can imagine her response when I suggested that we could avoid a lot of duplication of effort by simply not checking everything. She couldn’t have been more horrified if I’d told her that sliced bread wasn’t necessarily ever the best thing; her whole world was rocked.

But I persevered. We introduced an accreditation system, so that once a member of the team’s work reached the required standard of accuracy, we’d stop checking all of their work and simply do spot checks. There was no other reward for the team, other than our trust and that accreditation badge, and yet, as a direct result, accuracy went from about 63% to more than 95%.  

Effective managers know that the best way to get great results is to empower their staff with responsibility whilst providing the support they need. It’s about giving people the opportunity to shine, which, ironically, is exactly what my head does.

As you’d expect, there’s load of materials in Trainers’ Library to help you develop your managers’ skills, including those managing for the first time. There’s material for face to face delivery, remote delivery, videos and e-learning modules

And, of course, we’re on hand to help you find the perfect activities to meet your learners’ objectives from the vast library available, so please do get in touch if you need any assistance. 

Until next time…


October 19 2020Rod Webb



Rod Webb





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