LIfe at the start of 2014

I am currently sat in Birmingham airport on my way to a conference in Germany.  I have just been pondering over the last few months and realised how much I have neglected my blog.  I do not like to make excuses so the only reason I haven’t been writing was to concentrate on two books I am in the process of finishing.

The first is a sequel to “Elite”, and the second is a labour of love, my first novel which is a children story about space, leadership, performance, fighting to save the world etc.  I have three books in the sequence mapped out and the first is currently going through a number of reviews.  I was given some great advice about writing recently from someone in my network whom I have never met.  He was willing to sit and read what I had written, then send me some wonderful feedback that was tough in places but encouraging and fair.  It reinforces the need to have wonderful networks of people that are willing to commit time and energy to support you and you them when they need it.  We all need feedback and what better than from people who care about your success.

The time up to Christmas was busy but productive in terms of working with top flight groups.  One of the teams I work alongside is gladiatorial in their commitment to their sport.  I have seldom seen a group who are willing to put the bodies on the line mentally and physically to such a degree.  They recently set themselves a vision in preparation for the Commonwealth games. It is tough but I have watched them change their training and skill levels as a result of it. More importantly they are now challenging one another in training.  They have set tough targets both on and off the field.  I have no doubt they will attain their goal of being on the podium.  The code of conduct they have created is also a testament to what they want to achieve. They key is now to perform when it matters the most.

I have also worked alongside a major telecommunications team who have delivered one of the best values programmes I have seen.  This started about 15 months ago when they received their care results.  Those results were lower than they should be and the team discussed lots of reason why they were low, but weren’t willing to grasp the nettle and look at themselves.  I spoke to them and simply asked “how good do you want to be in this area?”  The team are competitive and highly professional so once we had the correct answer they delivered a brilliant programme to engage all of their workforce.  More importantly for me when they were confronted with different priorities they did not hesitate to continue to put the programme first, even when it meant being distracted from hitting the bottom line.  I will be using what they have achieved as a base line for excellence in the future.

The leadership academy is gaining momentum and I have just run a second group through the first stage of the programme.  The training that is covered is unique and generally only special force groups undertake it.  They were from the English Institute of Sport.  To say they were a pleasure is an understatement.  They all worked hard, took themselves out of their comfort zone, worked for one another, trusted one another, were flexible in difficult times, and delivered when asked to do so.  They also knew when to lead and when to support one another.  I am always impressed when I see a team at 2.15 am still working with the same energy levels and work ethic as they had the morning before.  I spoke to the team they were going back to work with, because now I would be even tougher on them.  There should be no limits to what they can achieve.

The leadership academy will eventually have five phases to it.  Each area is unique in what it brings to leadership development. I will explain more in due course.

2014 has started at pace and I am involved in many areas of business.  I have recently been responsible for looking at a human rights impact assessment with one of the companies I work for.  I am so proud of Britam Defence as it works in a hostile environment yet we have been applauded for our work with the local communities and the level of empathy and professionalism of our work force. This is down to the exemplary work of the leaders at every level of the organisation.

I have also been training hard on all fronts and my boxing is back up to speed as is my flexibility training as I seem to be slightly stiffer than I was.  I am also tempted to put together a new training video hmmm, perhaps after I finish my books.  Have a wonderful month ahead………….

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