Are you recruiting the right people for your team?

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How many times have I heard managers say, “It didn’t work out. They weren’t the person I thought I was getting from the interview.”

How long does it take to recruit someone, train them up, then deal with all the problems if we employ the wrong person? Time is money and we cannot afford to continuously recruit the wrong people. It also causes low staff morale for the rest of your team. Therefore, the recruitment process is very important to employ the right people from the outset.

When recruiting, for each position, work out who you want and why they would be suited to the role. Make a list. Discuss it with your team. Make sure you are all on the same page. Make sure you have a goal, then you will be able to find the right person.

Also remember, you do not have to recruit using the same method. Each role will have different skills, so embed these skills into the recruitment process. Do not just have the usual face to face interview. When I was recruiting for an administrator, I had a 1 hour practical where the people being interviewed had to complete tasks they would be doing for the role. This was an amazing exercise as it illustrated their skills.

Have as many people involved in the process as possible. The more people who need to work with the person who have input, the better.  You don’t want to have a panel of people interviewing, so why don’t you have one person showing them to the room and asking some informal questions. It is amazing what can come out.

If you feel like you are stuck in a rut, recruiting the wrong people and wondering why, call me. I can work with you to make sure you employ the right people for your team.

How are people effected by depression in the workplace?

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Were you aware that 8-12% of the population experience depression in any one year?


How is your workforce effected? Are there people on your team who have had depression and you are not aware of it?


Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. Even though so many people are affected, there is a strong social stigma in the workplace, where people believe they need to cope and not address the issue.


Let me tell you a story of a friend of mine who has suffered depression and had to leave work. Her husband suddenly left her to bring up their 4 children. She is Canadian and he is British, and they chose to bring up their children in the UK, away from her family. Her elderly mother is very poorly, and she was feeling stressed about not being near her to help. She could not afford to go and see her in Canada with the 4 children.


Over a few years she struggled, trying to keep on top of things, putting on a brave face. She didn’t realise how much the situation was affecting her mental health. She struggled to get up in the morning to go to work.  She also struggled when she was at work, not performing and reaching targets. Her manager did not pick up on the signals. She continuously had time off and ended up leaving as she couldn’t cope with the pressure.


Do you have people like my friend in the workplace? Are you aware of the signals to recognise their concerns? What are their triggers?


Call me to talk about mental health and how it may affect your team.  I can work with you to make sure you employ the right people for your team and assist you in providing Mental Health First Aid in the workplace if required.







Use your Summer to Collaborate and build relationships…..

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Collaboration. What does this word mean? To collaborate is to work together to achieve your goals.

When I first worked in London, my manager treated our competitors as if they were the enemy. I was unable to speak to any competitors that I saw at events or conferences as my manager would tell me not to talk to them, despite how lovely some of those people were!

Years later, I ended up being headhunted by a competitor. I was petrified about starting work there as, to me, it felt like I was working for the ‘enemy’. When I go networking, I meet my competitors all the time but often, when I speak to them, I realise we are not in direct competition with each other at all. We can actually help each other. I’ve often asked competitors for advice and have also worked with competitors on projects together.

Something I have learnt in business is that you can’t do everything yourself, you need to get a team together to help you achieve your goals and your competitors can be the first point of call. You or they may end up getting a project that is too big, therefore help on that project would be very beneficial.

Myself, Anne-Marie Walby and Victoria Chidgey work together with companies to offer the whole package from leading the organisation to success, to employing and retaining the right teams, to middle management, to people skills, self-management and mental health. It’s been a worthwhile experience so far.

I also have an accountant collaborate with me – it would take me too long to do my VAT and tax so I need a specialist. I have a web designer, a social media expert, a photographer, videographer, an email marketer, the list goes on. If you think about how much you are worth per hour, then work out the cost of you doing it, and the cost of getting a specialist to do it, more often than not it will be cheaper to get a specialist to do it. Collaboration will save you time, so in the long run will save you money.

When you have time this Summer and are thinking you won’t be able to contact anyone, why don’t you put together a list of five people you could collaborate with. Contact them, the Summer is the best time to contact people and have great conversations on how to work together.  

Use your Summer wisely…..


I love it when I wake up early and the sun is already out. It makes me relax and feel like I need a holiday for the whole of July and August.

All very well, and we do need the rest. We need to make sure we are not having too much rest as July and August is 2 months of the financial year where we also need to be invoicing so that we can pay our expenses.  

Use your Summer wisely. What are some of the jobs I have found valuable that I can do in the Summer? One is to keep in touch with those people I have not spoken to in the last 6 to 12 months. Make a list of the people who could help you in your business. Strategise what you could do to grow your business and contact the people who may be able to help. These may be people who could introduce you to potential clients. I always have a list of people on my wall and refer to it at the beginning of each month, contacting those people I have not spoken to in a while.

Another job could be to call old clients who you have not spoken to in the last 6 to 12 months. Make a list of all the clients who you have invoiced in the last 10 years. Make a list of those who you have not had business activity with and call them. The excuse to call could be a simple as, ‘Just wondering how you are.’ I’ve done this in the past and been amazed as to what has come out of the conversation.


Use your Summer, I have given you 2 very strong actions. Go on, make those lists. I would love to hear what you have got out of this activity. Email me your results at



Let’s Be Mental Health Aware all the time…

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A month ago we had Mental Health Awareness week in the UK. May was also Mental Health Awareness month in the US. Why are we only promoting the awareness of Mental Health for one week or one month of the year? We should be raising awareness every week and every month of the year as Mental Health is extremely common…….it is estimated that 1 in 4 of us will experience one mental health problem in any one year.

1 in 4, that’s a quarter of your workforce. Think about the number of people you have in your workplace and then work out what a quarter is. Were you aware that there are that many people that you work with who have mental health issues, either now or have in the past. A lot of people!!

Were you also aware that depression is the leading cause of disability in the world? What is depression? What is the cause of depression? What are the symptoms? How do we recognize depression? What is the impact of the person at work due to depression?

There is so much to consider in just one small area of mental health – depression. And there are so many more issues around mental health.

Are you equipped to help your staff if they have a mental health problem? We need to recognize the risk to the welfare of our people to sustain Mental Health.

Email me or call me on 07960 559 593 or to talk to me about how to take proactive steps to improve awareness, develop skills and create better working conditions for the people you work with who may have mental ill-health.



Networking is about building a community, not selling to the room……

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Networking is a very powerful way to build your business and I have met many people who have grown their business due to their networking efforts.


Networking has become a common method of marketing and a few years ago, I was told that this was the new way to market. Unfortunately, I was not shown how, and I have made a lot of mistakes over the years. The first networking group I went to was very large and in the 1-minute round all I heard was people selling to the room.  I wasn’t sure what to say, so I ‘copied’ other people. I soon realized this was not what networking was about and the people in the room were not listening to me, like I was not listening to those who were selling to the room.


Networking is about building relationships, building trust and people wanting to refer you. You don’t do this by selling to the room. Anyone who sells to the room reminds me now of a shiny suited salesman.


Getting referrals and building my business is not my main objective when networking. My main objectives now are to build relationships, have support from like minded people who I trust and to help each other. If I do these 3 things, the referrals just come to me.


If you have had a bad experience when networking, I would suggest you attend a positive networking group who want to help.  If you are a woman, the most positive group I have found is womenmeanbiz and there are many groups in the South West of England. If you would prefer a mixed group, then you may want to attend wemeanbiz which has also been set up by Philippa Constable.

Do you have awkward people to contend with?

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I want to tell you a story about a lady I managed when I first became middle manager. She was about 20 years older than me and wasn’t happy that she didn’t get the promotion and I did. There were a lot of changes I had to communicate to the team, and her negative approach to actioning these changes came out in team meetings and one-to-one when I was strategizing the way we would implement these changes. This was very difficult for me, a new middle manager, as she would question everything and complain about the ‘little things’.


Does this ring a bell? We all have awkward people we have to work this at some time. They may be awkward all the time, or they may be awkward for particular situations. I learnt to strategise how to communicate certain information, making sure I explained why certain decisions were made. I also learnt to question the senior managers when they were telling us the changes, so I was ready for any negativity from my team.


I also learnt to be objective when dealing with this certain lady. She got very emotional, meaning that I reflected this emotion. I told myself not to take it personally and remember that this is work and we need to get a job done.


Dealing with negative people can be very tricky. There is no ‘black and white’ solution of what to say and how to say it. Do you lead a team and find it difficult to work with some people? Give me a call and I will work with you to plan how I can help. It may be a keynote or a workshop.

What style of leader are you?


Have you ever filled in a personality questionnaire? Many people fill in these questionnaires as they want to be viewed, not as they are perceived by others realistically.


I had a boss who was very aggressive, very judgmental and very dominating. She had no idea how she came across. She was mortified when we ended up having a 360 appraisal and other people were honest about her.  She didn’t realise how she came across.


We have 4 very distinct behaviours. I’m going to highlight some very interesting facts of perceptions for each behaviour.


A Go-Getter/Director may view themselves as being confident, determined, decisive, ambitious and goal-oriented. Others on the other hand may view them as being arrogant, selfish, impatient, demanding and domineering. This was very much like the boss I mentioned earlier.


Socialisers/Promoters may view themselves as being positive, enthusiastic, fun-loving, optimistic and spontaneous. Whereas others in the workplace may perceive them as being distracted, loud, superficial, irresponsible and lacking focus.


Relaters/Nurturers may view themselves as being caring, helpful, sincere, kind and great listeners. Others who work with them may view them as being worrisome, slow to make decisions, timid, easy to control and easily lead.

A Thinker/Examiner may view themselves as being detailed, efficient, a perfectionist, effective or observant. Others on the other hand may view them as being strict, picky, emotionless, fussy and too critical.


Some of these perceptions are quite harsh and we obviously don’t mean to come across like this. We are who we are, and it is really powerful to be aware of how we come across, especially when we are leading others. This can help resolve conflict or frustrations you may have with your team when leading them.


Simon Sinek is an amazing speaker who has done a lot of Ted Talks. Watch the following You Tube on being a better leader to find out more


Fall in love with your life…. then you will fall in love with your work


“If you live for something every day, you’ll never end up dying of nothing.” I heard this quote on breakfast radio and thought, yes, that is so applicable to our life, as well as being pertinent for our work.


There have been times in my life when I have felt low, felt like, “What’s this all about?” When this happens to us, others can sense it. These people can be our colleagues, our clients, as well as our family and friends.


If we are down on life, it is going to come across in the workplace. Let me tell you a story about a boss I had who was very perceptive. I was having family problems and thought I was leaving these problems at home. I mustn’t have been because it effected my work. I remember working with a potential client and feeling like I wasn’t present. I was trying to be enthusiastic, and obviously wasn’t as I didn’t win the piece of work. I should have as I was the obvious choice.


My perceptive boss pulled me aside the same week as I lost the potential contract and said, “What’s going on? Are you OK?” I think she thought I had found a new job. I explained what was going on at home and it really helped the situation. I managed to leave home at home then and focus more on my work. Also, because I had spoken about it, the problem didn’t feel as bad and I felt like I had resolved some of the issues. I managed to also be happier at home.


The motto is, yes, we should leave home at home and not let it effect our work, but the reality is, it is so hard. Thus, if you are someone who loves life and gets the most out of every situation, you are likely to be someone who finds a role you love and be passionate about every part of that role.


If you want to know more about what makes people tick, why they behave the way they do so you can lead your teams to success, call me and I can coach you on motivations and the behaviour’s of people in your team to motivate them to accomplish their goals.


It’s your chance to start again…..


I want to tell you a story about a vision I had with my training delivery. I had been training in the same market and the same few courses for 7 years. I had become a bit complacent and was at a crossroads in my life and knew that it was time to develop and change my direction. This was a something I was keen to start and didn’t know what to do to achieve this.


It took me a number of years to take the plunge and change my direction. I had a vision that I would be developing teams in larger multinational companies on developing their communication skills, especially with their middle managers. I have got there, I am now fulfilling my dream.


Have you ever had a dream of achieving something and it hasn’t happened? This is the year to fulfil your ambitions….2019 is the year of achieving your hopes and dreams.


You may be wondering how to do this and whether or not it is possible. The first step is to write down what you want to achieve. Be clear on exactly what you visiualise the outcome to be. You could brainstorm these with a colleague or friend. Be creative, use a large piece or paper and write down all your thoughts. You may even want to use colour and mind maps.


Once you have all your ideas strategise, think about the process and steps involved in achieving your dream. Be specific, realistic and also think about how long it will take. It is a good idea to not be too optimistic, because this could lead to failure. You want to motivate yourself.


It is also a good idea to have someone you trust who can encourage and help you along the way. Get them to help you think of the milestones you want to achieve as you go.


Go for it, now is the time…..2019 is the year to make changes and achieve the things you have been dreaming about.


If you have a team you need to motivate on achieving their goals in 2019, give me a call. I will work with you to plan how I can help. It may be a keynote or a workshop.

Have vision, set goals and change lives in 2019

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Let me tell you about a story about Nicholas Winton who had a vision in the second world war to help as many Jewish children escape to England. You would be surprised, if it wasn’t for him, I bet you have a friend who wouldn’t be born. He changed lives. Think about the goals you want to achieve next year. Have a vision, set those goals and be like Sir Nicholas Winton, you never know you may change some lives.


Here are 7 steps you can follow to set your goals for next year:

1)    Get in State – make sure you have the right state of mind. If you don’t focus, you will never make clear goals.

2)    Brain storm your ideas – if you do this with someone else, you are more productive.

3)    Prioritise – which ones are the most important?

4)    Choose the top 3 goals first – do these first!

5)    Set deadlines – if you don’t set a time to complete them, they will never be completed.

6)    Create an action plan – set milestones and tick them off.

7)    Create a vision board – visual goals are more motivating.


If you want to be successful in anything you do, especially in your work when managing, you need to use a thorough and strategic approach to your planning. Systematic, thorough planning and thinking about every aspect of your business will gain you success. Start to plan for next year now.


If you need help with setting your goals for next year, I am here to help. I can coach you on setting the goals, then make you accountable and keep you on track so you actually achieve them. Call me today. You never know, you will probably change lives in doing this. Sir Nicholas Winton changed lives. You can do the same in whatever you do.  

Opposites attract! By Helen Waddington

A guest blog from Helen Waddington HKW Risk Management

What happened when my husband and I went on a Behavioural Styles course and why the cliché of opposites attracting turned out to be true – in our case at least!

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A selfie of my husband and I which we took on the Isle of Wight this summer – it quite nicely demonstrates both our physical and personality differences!

I first met Clare of Nova Associates at a CQI branch event where she gave a fascinating presentation about the different types of Behavioural Styles and how you can use them to communicate more effectively. Clare runs workshop called Communicating More Effectively Using Behavioural Styles and I’ve attended this workshop twice now, I was so impressed and learnt so much about communication the first time, I took my husband along with me the second time!

The first exercise of the course is a questionnaire with 4 boxes, each with a list of words from which you have to quickly choose which words are ‘you’. The options I ticked included Enthusiastic, Energetic, Very verbal and Motivator from one list and Confident, Determined, Independent and Strong willed from another. The boxes including words like Calm, Relaxed, Gentle, Soft spoken and Even-tempered didn’t get many (any!) ticks at all. Interestingly my husband had ticked a completely different set of words including Reserved, Conscientious, Precise, Persistent and Factual from one list and Sensitive, Good Natured, Modest and Patient from the other. This meant that we set off into opposite corners of the room for the rest of the course, me to the ‘fast paced, people focused’ corner and my husband to the ‘slow paced, task focused’ corner.

The words Clare uses to summarise these behavioural styles are ‘Socialiser’ (me – obvious to anybody who knows me!) and ‘Thinker’ (my husband – equally obvious to anyone who knows him), the other options available are ‘Relator’ or ‘Director’. Interestingly when I first did this course in March 2017, I ticked 20 words in the Socialiser box and 12 words in the Director box, but when I did the course again in February 2018 (having been running my own business for 18mths) I ticked 15 words in the Socialiser box and 13 in the Director box which demonstrates that these behavioural styles are not ‘fixed’ and can change over time - we are all a mixture of the four styles and there is no ‘perfect’ style. Different personality traits will come to the forefront depending on the circumstances we are in and the pressures we are under.

Clare provided real life scenarios and examples throughout the course - one of the most memorable was when she described a sunny Friday, a last-minute decision to host a BBQ at the weekend and an instruction for my husband to go to the supermarket and do what? My immediate answer was ‘buy BBQ stuff’, my husband’s equally immediate response was a plaintive and faintly panic stricken ‘what stuff?!’ Apart from making everybody on the course laugh, it provided a brilliant example of how people communicate differently, I thought ‘buy BBQ stuff’ was a shopping list, my husband needed details on precisely what stuff, how many people were coming, were there any vegetarians, should he buy pringles as well as instead of tortilla chips etc

I’m now far more aware of the way I communicate with people (not just my husband and not just when writing shopping lists) both verbally and over email (I have to make a conscious effort to reduce the number of words and exclamation marks I use – the temptation to put an exclamation mark at the end of this sentence is very strong but I have managed to resist). As a consultant, I meet lots of different people and often only have a very short time to build a working relationship, I believe the things I have learnt on this course about ways of communicating including body language and style of dress, vocabulary and tone of voice have made that easier and far more effective.

Clare runs the Behavioural Styles workshop in house for companies, contact Nova Associates for more details.

The average meeting takes 90 minutes – is this wise?

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Let me tell you about a story about when I worked for a company whose ethos seemed to be to have meeting after meeting after meeting. I was a regional manager and all I seemed to do was run around all over the country having meeting after meeting after meeting. When did I do my work? Yes, you guessed it, after hours. I would then go home, open my laptop and work all the hours into the evening. Was this a good work life balance? No.


Does a meeting need to take 90 minutes on average? Why do we do this? Is it because we want the meeting to look efficient and important. A meeting should include the following:


1)    Set an agenda – this should be outlined in order of topics and be sent to attendees a few days before the meeting. Everything should not be in the AOB section. It should be on the agenda.

2)    Have a purpose for the meeting. Set objectives. What do you want to achieve?

3)    Make sure people are assigned to actions from the meeting. Make these decisions quickly. Do not ponder over them.

4)    Don’t go off-piste. Make sure everyone keeps on track. The chair for the meeting needs to take control.


How can I help you have more productive meetings?   A meeting shouldn’t be 90 minutes on average. If you plan for your meetings and make sure you have direction and focus you can be so much more productive. Don’t have meetings for the sake of a meeting and also don’t have meetings to organise meetings. Be focused, have a plan and make sure you have actions. Call or email me if you need to work with your teams to have more productive meetings. Meetings can be one of the biggest time wasters in business. Make them productive!


That Terrible Boss

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Let me tell you about a story about when I worked in London and had a terrible boss. I was promoted to middle manager and I was over the moon. I knew I was promoted because I was great at my job. What I didn’t realise was that I would need to learn completely different skills to be a manager. It was not the same as the role I was doing. I was never shown how and I wasn’t very good. I worked in a very hard sales environment where there was a lot of competition. We were expected to manage a team as well as make sales and run a desk. It sound easy but the skills were completely different.

In hindsight, what do I wish I knew then that I know now?

1)    I wish I knew what makes people tick. What makes people motivated to want to get up in the morning and go to work.

2)    I wish I knew how to coach people. How to coach them on tasks so they can complete the task efficiently.

3)    I wish I knew how to give good feedback. Feedback that was actionable and motivating, so they could grow and work more efficiently.

4)    I wish I knew how to adapt to people, not take things personally and adapt to their behaviour. Then I wouldn’t have been as emotional and I would have been more rational in my decisions.

5)    I wish I knew how to build relationships with my team, to motivate them and without stepping over the line and being too personal.


I am now a manager and I know I am good because I understand how to lead by example and manage people.

This is why I’m so passionate about helping middle managers. I know how difficult it can be to work with someone who is not motivating you to want to come to work. I also know how difficult it can be to work for someone who doesn’t help you take that step to being a middle manager, giving you the skills you needs to manage and lead a team. Call or email me today if you need help. I would love to come in and find out how I can help you and the other middle managers in your organization be happier and more efficient in the workplace.

Contact me to find out how I can help you manage your team more effectively. Behavioural Styles can be booked as an in-house course for your team.  

There’s still time – Sometimes the best sales happen in the Summer

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It’s Summer, yah! So often we wind down in the Summer, thinking all businesses close. Let me tell you about a story about when I made my best sale in the Summer.  It was halfway through August and I really didn’t want to be sitting at my desk making sales calls. I wanted to be in the sunshine, probably in a beer garden drinking a pint with friends. “OK”, I said to myself, “you may as well make some calls as it will pass the time.” I planned 5 clients to call and made the first one with hesitation. I couldn’t believe it, she picked up the phone and the first thing she said was, “I’m so glad you called, I need help and I thought no-one would be working until September.”


Let’s not make assumptions that everyone is on holiday. Yes, a lot of businesses can take their foot off the pedal in the Summer, but what I have found is that this can also be the time when I can be very productive. I have found calling those clients I usually do not have time to speak to is very productive as they have time to talk and want to talk. Also the conversation  is quite easy as everyone wants to talk about their holidays. Ask them all about it – easy topic of conversation.


I also can tick off my list of things to do so I am ready for September. Set yourself some goals for this Summer. Who do I want to contact? What can I get done? Set yourself a list of things to do and you will be amazed as to what could be achieved.


People Leave Managers Not Companies

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Let me tell you about a story about when I worked for a company where I felt trapped. When I started with the company I felt like I belonged. My boss was very motivating. I wanted to achieve and I did really well. I got promoted within 6 months of being there to be a middle manager.


Things then changed. We were never recognized for the work we did. We were criticized and therefore did not feel valued. I didn’t enjoy going to work. I lacked confidence and energy. Now what I realise is that my manager didn’t know how to motivate the management team. Being a middle manager is really hard. Not only are we managing our team, but we are also managing upwards.   Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I wish I knew then what I know now. If I did, I would realise that my manager didn’t understand me or the others on the management team, and vice versa. She didn’t realise how to motivate us, what made us tick, how to adapt to our behaviour. We also didn’t realise how to influence her, how to work with her and how to adapt to her behaviour. We were all about emotions, we didn’t take the person as they were and adapt to their behaviour.


What I have learnt when managing upwards as well as managing a team is to treat people the way they want to be treated. Treat people with respect and adapt to them. You cannot do this if you don’t understand the way people tick and why they do what they do.


If you want to learn more and how to adapt to those people you work with, ask me to come in and work with you. I can organize on line assessments which are very practical in helping people work more effectively with each other. Behaviour breeds behaviour. Remember, people leave managers not companies. Do you want to retain your staff? If you do, understand them. Don’t be like my first company where we had 76% turnover of staff because the MD didn’t know how to motivate us and work with us. Take time to work with your middle managers and remember they have a hard time as they are managing upwards as well as their teams. My passion is to help middle managers motivate their teams and work effectively with others.

Contact me to find out how I can help you manage your team more effectively. Behavioural Styles can be booked as an in-house course or alternatively my next open workshop is in Bristol in October 2018 more details here.   

"I am the greatest." Confidence comes from self belief

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Let me tell you about a story about when I lacked a lot of confidence in business. I actually was reminded of this the other day. Someone asked me, what is going to make you feel more confident every day. I had a flashback of when I was working in a company and I was not happy. I used to walk to work and say to myself, “Smile, be positive be happy.”  That sounds quite sad doesn’t it. I was going through a really rough time. I didn’t like my boss. I wasn’t happy in the company I worked for and I found middle management really difficult. I felt stuck. I had no confidence in myself.


How did I make things change? How do we get confidence? To get confidence, we need to be happy. You can tell when someone is lacking confidence. Their body language will tell a hundred stories. Just by the way they hold themselves, their facial expressions and their posture, they are “telling you” they lack confidence. You can also hear it in their tone and in the words they use.


Remember the boxer Mohammed Ali. His quote he used to say, “I am the greatest”. Actually there is another line to that quote, “I said that even before I knew I was.” A lot of people I know say mantras. If you say out loud what you want to achieve, and say it with conviction, like Mohammed Ali used to say, things will happen. Believe in yourself. Have confidence in yourself and you can achieve whatever you want in life.


Are you the greatest in what you do? Do you believe you have the ability to achieve what you want? Do you believe you have the skills to achieve in life? Being confident is a combination of things:

1)    Well being

2)    Self esteem

3)    Belief in your own ability, skills and experience.


Combine these attributes to be successful. Be confident in yourself. You have one chance. Go for it!


If you need help in being confident and achieving success in your career, call or email me and I can help you have vision and set goals. Confidence is the next step after the plan, then when you action you will achieve.

Competition makes us faster, collaboration makes us better.

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Let me tell you about a story about when I was working in a business where my Managing Director was probably the most competitive person I knew. She was so anti the competition. We had to spy on them. We had to ask our clients about them. We were not allowed to talk to them.


We would go to exhibitions or networking events and we were told to ‘hover’ around their stands to listen to them. It was embarrassing. One day I met someone from the competition. I couldn’t tell anyone in my company. We talked about business, had a laugh and kept in touch. One thing I realized was that he wasn’t the enemy. There is healthy competition and we understood how to have this. In a joking manner we always wanted to beat each other and had a laugh about this. What this also made me do was be better. I stepped up to the competition and was better in the way I helped my clients.


Competition can also help us grow as people. When I decided to leave this company, who did I call? Yes, my competition. I went for a coffee and was given really sound advice as to what I could do next. Instead of treating the competition as enemy, the competition helped me in so many ways. Don’t treat competition as the enemy. Collaborate with them and they will help you improve your service to your clients, as well as give you advice when you need it.


What’s the old saying we all grew up with? “Keep your enemies close.” Remember this in business. If you keep the competition close, they will make you better.


If you want to build relationships with your competition, but you don’t know where to start, call me now and I can come in and advise you on how to build relationships in business. If you build strong relationships, you will naturally build your business.


Tiredness can kill, take a break!

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Let me tell you about a story about when I was working in London in recruitment.  I worked for a company where the culture was to work hard and play hard. When I say work hard, I mean work hard. We started in the morning at 7am and we were lucky to leave in the evening by 9pm. We were also frowned upon if we had a break. Does this sound productive? NO. Yes, it may have been productive for the short term, but in the long term we all burnt out. I spent my weekends sleeping to have the energy I needed for the long week.


What have I learnt from this. In the 14-hour day I worked, I was only productive, and I mean really productive for about 5 hours of that day. I have learned that there are certain times in the day when I am really productive. I am a morning person and I tell you now, the time of day I was the most productive then was from 7am to 11am. From then on I had a slump, and that was a long slump. I should have had a break. I should have recharged. I should also have organized my time so I had regular breaks, then I would have been productive until 4 or 5pm.


So often we like to look busy, but are we productive. What I’ve learnt is to work out the time of day when I really concentrate and do my most challenging work then. Then make sure I have a break. I have just had a sleep for 30 minutes. It’s now 2pm and I will work really productively until 5pm when I need to go and pick up the kids from school. If I didn’t stop and have my 30 minute sleep I probably would have procrastinated all afternoon.


Stop! Don’t burn out like I did. I worked for that company for 2 and a half years. I was exhausted when I left. We are human and we need to realise what we can manage and maintain to get the most out of out working day.


If you need help to manage your teams so they are productive and getting the most out of their day, call or email me and I can come in and find out your needs, then write a programme to suit your needs.




Diversity is nothing without inclusion

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Let me tell you about a story about my brother. My brother is one of the top barristers in Sydney. He is a very bright boy and when we were growing up I was always envious that he did so well in exams.


My brother joined me in London doing the Australian thing of travelling while you were working before you hit the ripe old age of 27 when you couldn’t get the working holiday visa. This was when I started my career in training and was very proud of the material I was training. One of my passions was making sure you hire the right people. Nick had never had to employ people before and it was all new to him. I remember a conversation we had when he had just taken on a new PA in the law firm he was working at. He said to me, “I employed her because we had a lovely chat and got on really well.” I had just finished training a course on competency based interviewing and was mortified. I tried to explain to him that yes, you had to get on with the person you were hiring, but they also had to be competent.


I would like to take this even further now. When hiring for your team, it is important to question thoroughly regarding the person’s competencies, and also to ask diverse questions to really find out what the person is really capable of. What can they bring to the team? Why are they different? How can we include them in our business? Yes, we are told time and time again to be diverse when we are employing. Don’t discriminate and be open minded. We also need to work out how to motivate our team and include them so they want to do their best. If we are inclusive, we will get the best from our team and we will get more profit.


Do you want to know more? Do you want to really practice inclusion where you work, and I mean put it into practice. If the answer is yes, contact me so we can talk about how I can challenge your teams to be more inclusive. Call or email me now.