Talent Too : simple ways to identify & recruit Talent

I have previously written about how to find talent in organisations and this gives some additional insights gained from listening to a Radio 4 programme “Analysis” which explored the idea of identifying Talent. There are a variety of ideas and thoughts that I wanted to share with you.

It is an interesting on-going dilemma of how to nurture and recruit the Higher Achievers that make up 20% of your people and produce 80% of your results. While at the same time still ensuring the remaining 80% still feel engaged and that their unique talents are being developed.

When I worked for a large I.T. corporate I was a good conscientious support technician, but I wasn’t exceptional. When I had a one off opportunity to become a Masterclass Champion and start developing myself I then discovered my real talents were learning and development. Skill sessions, Talks, Executive coaching and coaching people to publicly speak are my real niche skills. These were extremely rare at the company and would have been highly valuable to their client base. Unfortunately for the company they never identified these talents while I was there. HR naively pigeon holed me as a support technician and not a talented L&D guy. A massive mistake in untapped resources.

So I am just curious, what opportunities are you creating in your teams and organisations to identify untapped valuable skills?

Missing talent is unfortunately very common not only in our organisations but also in our schools. Here are three examples of people whose later life success was not predicted while at school:

“When I was at school they had never heard of dyslexia, they just thought I was stupid. And I actually left school at fifteen because I was hopeless at school and started a magazine to give young people a chance to have a voice and campaign on issues they felt strongly about”.
Richard Branson – billionaire businessman

“I hated school. They assumed I was being lazy because I was so smart in other ways. There were things I could do, I could remember things. So they knew I wasn’t dumb, they just thought I was being lazy. Something was different about me.”
Whoopi Goldberg (American actress, comedian, author and television host. She is one of the few entertainers who has won an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, an Oscar, and a Tony Award).

“I remember my special needs group at school. You know, special needs… bottom group…and all that sort of stuff. But at the same time I always could cook already at that stage so I didn’t really care about that negativity that was going on in my life.”
Jamie Oliver TV chef & Entrepreneur

Despite what many people may think, grading and IQ tests at schools and in the workplace are not accurate indicators of future work success. So what else could we use?

The GRIT Scale

Angela Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania has developed the GRIT scale which she believes is more important than IQ when predicting talent. My understanding is that the more “GRIT” you have the more likely you will succeed in the context you are working in. In a nutshell she describes GRIT as the combination of having incredible passion for long term goals of meaningful personal significance, and the perseverance to go with it. Also caring about something and committing to it, and working very hard towards making that goal a reality.

I think the GRIT scale could be a useful additional tool when exploring our teams skill sets and also when recruiting.

Recruitment & Talent

From the Radio 4 programme they suggested that decades of research seems to have shown that the typical unstructured interview is a poor predicator of performance. So I think that when a recruitment firm wants 25-30% of the candidate’s first year salary and only a month clawback, then employers need to ensure they are accurately identifying talent during the recruitment process.

Some would agree that the best way to assess a candidate for a job role is a work sample test. E.g. if it is an accountant role get them to look over sample P&L and forecasts. If it is a programmer role then get them to program some code and add in some intentional bugs for them to fix. In addition to this look at their general cognitive ability and their capacity to grow in the role.

Below is an overview of Geraldine Hayley’s thoughts on interviewing, in particularly when she worked at Standard Chartered Bank.

The interview process is imperfect but could be improved by training and structure. She commented that your job as the interviewer is not to look into a crystal ball and use your intuition to see into the future and wonder what they will be like. Your job is to be like a forensic investigator and get the candidates to tell stories about experiences in the past and how they tackled them. To get hard evidence. To understand their values, beliefs, habits and strengths. It is a hard thing to do.

More than talent or expertise is how people behaved and in particular how their behaviour was aligned with the company values. They always checked cultural fit above technical ability through a variety of means including panel interviews.

Recruiting Artificially Intelligently

However this is time consuming and expensive. A possibly cheaper and faster alternative that people are looking at is artificial intelligence to filter and select. But the former people’s operations person at Google didn’t think that was the answer. The downside is that the way most machine learning works is that you take a data set that is fed into a machine. Input all the high performers into the system and then it will filter on those characteristics, such as education they had, areas they lived etc. However, one significant problem is that it lacks diversity. You will get more of the same, but real innovation comes from diverse ideas and experiences.

So what did Google do when growing from 5000 employees to 50,000?

The former people’s operations person at Google said that whether the candidate knew anything about the job they were taking on was the least of the attributes required in someone.

He explained the five characteristics that Google looked specifically for in their new hirers were:

  1. Humility
  2. Conscientious – a sense of responsibility to continue until a job is done well.
  3. Comfort with ambiguity.
  4. A sense of fun.
  5. Courage (to raise ones voice) – the importance of this is that when organisations get large then people stop raising their voices and there is the possibility of unethical and risky things happening. As Humans we have fundamentally evolved biologically as social hierarchy seeking animals and we tend to want to conform. In an organisation the really creative innovative ideas come from “I’ve got this crazy idea” and at the same time there needs to be people that have the courage to put their hand up when they see possible dangers and wave a red flag and say I don’t think that’s a good idea.


We started with missing talent that was already in an organisation; a very brief exploration of GRIT which seems to be a method to predict longer term success; and when it comes to recruitment the importance of work based tests, aligning values and understanding the key characteristics in a future employee.

As you may agree this article contains an assortment of ideas for a leader to be aware of and which I trust will help you in growing your teams.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/talent-too-simple-ways-to-identify-recruit-talent/

What are you focusing on?

I was quite late to discovering Radio 4’s Desert Island Disks. There are a considerable amount of episodes that cover a plethora of interesting individuals. Some memorable discussions include Malcolm Gladwell, Sir Ken Robinson, Murray Walker and Bill Frankland MBE (a British immunologist whose achievements include the popularisation of the pollen count and he continued to work after turning 100 years old in 2012 – utterly intriguing).

For the 75th Anniversary they decided to interview David Beckham.

David said he learnt hard work from his father who would regularly leave home very early for work and return home late. At around the age of six they would regularly go to a local park which had football posts without a net. What I found so simple but fascinating is that his Dad got him to aim at the post.

Yes I’m sure lots of football fans will sight occasions when footballers have hit the post in crucial games. However, let us put that to one side for a moment.
Most Parents would get their children to try and score a goal. When you think of the size of the goal area and compare it to the post, the post is a fraction of the area and requires a completely different level of skill. A different mind-set of precision and persistence.

Whatever your views on David I think one of the traits that enabled him to become a worldwide known sports person with 115 caps is his work ethic and staying longer on the training field to practice his shots.

So I am just curious, are we aiming for the easier Goal and wanting to feel good in the short term by taking the easier shot? Or are we being mentored to focus our skills to make precision shots that initially appear to be missing the point, but when it comes to the right time, the precision accuracy you have developed will produce world impacting results?

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/what-are-you-focusing-on/

Quality (Lunch) time

Quality Lunchtime Iimage by Matthew BroomheadTo keep things simple let us say that the average European person lives for 80 years and therefore that equates to about 4000 weeks. For some of us this my seem loads of time, while others may wonder “how am I going to achieve everything I wanted to in such a short period of time?”

It has been said that we do not have enough time to make all the mistakes ourselves, so learn from others.

I heard a very influential keynote speaker imply that people that have failed (in certain contexts) should put on seminars, so the rest of us can learn and avoid doing the same. The audience laughed, but he was making a genuinely important point.

So I am just wondering, who are you learning from? As you are thinking about that, maybe we should firstly consider what do we want to learn? What do we need to learn?

I have heard another experienced leadership writer and keynote speaker talk about monthly learning lunches. He has had them for decades. He would take a pen and journal along to lunch and make as many notes from listening to experienced sports coaches, business and nonprofit leaders.

If you were to take someone you admire out to lunch then what questions would you ask?

Here are five questions you could consider asking of successful business leaders:

  1. How did you overcome rejection?
  2. What is your why? (Why do you do what you do?)
  3. How did you “discover” your why?
  4. How did you build a culture within your organisation?
  5. How did you identify and develop your leaders?

So I am just curious, what would be easier? Spend your lunchtime in front of your PC catching up on your busy workload or be out the office spending time and learning from those that can help you make the most of your remaining 4000 weeks?

Matthew Broomhead

“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/quality-lunch-time/

7 Lessons to grow a Successful Business

7 Lessons to grow a successful business Iimage by Matthew BroomheadI recently had the pleasure of attending a few one day business seminars where a number of aspects of business were discussed. I don’t know if you will agree that it is so important to be constantly absorbing intelligent, ethical and proactive advice from experts in their field. By attending events it is not just the content we experience, but also the interactions from the other people attending.

Below are 7 lessons to grow a successful business:

  1. There is a difference between having a business idea and the reason for doing it. People have lots of ideas and most of them are not new. Usually just slight modifications on what is already out there. Only a few people understand their WHY for making the idea come to life.
  2. Identify your own skills. Know what you do well and not so well. Delegate the not so well and work with those people that complement you. You do not have to be good at everything. The sooner a leader understands this, the faster the organisation grows.
  3. I heard someone ask an audience, “Who are the five most important people in your life?” Interestingly only a few people sheepishly admitted to writing down themselves. The speaker hammered home the point that we are the most important part of our business. She emphasised that we should look after ourselves first, even if it may feel or seem a little selfish. Have “recharge time” put in the diary just for you, which is time away from business and family commitments.
  4. Email is the destroyer of start-ups” according to Mel Bound. She was a stay at home Mum who loved running and created a business valued at £0.75million after only six months. Why she said this was that Mel was receiving over 400 emails a day that she felt she should respond to, but after a while setup an email auto-responder message stating that emails are checked only once a day and the reason for that.
  5. We become who we surround ourselves with. We all require a good network of people to make sure we stay physically and mentally fit. I know an Entrepreneur who has received an OBE for his work and he told me he has four mentors. Most people may wonder why a talented person like that would even need one Mentor, never mind four! However, it doesn’t matter how large a business, the problems tend to be similar. Therefore Mentors can bring a variety of viewpoints.
  6. A successful serial entrepreneur said to me “Forget your competition, keep them in your peripheral vision, but avoid comparing yourself to them. Only focus on what you can control.”
  7. If you are an Entrepreneur and growing your business then you will inevitably have to pitch your business to gain financial investment for future growth. The problem with that is that most people hate pitching their business. To counter this, below are four quick steps summarised from an excellent session with Cliff Dennett from Innovation Birmingham:
  • A) Tell the story of the problem.
  • B) Explain why you will win.
  • C) Summarise the fix and the brief figures including net profit projections.
  • D) Show the broad potential for growth. (He suggested a significant achievement is 5% market share).

Whether you are Entrepreneur; currently employed, but would love to be your own boss; or maybe someone in Professional services that supports entrepreneurial business owners, I trust these seven simple lessons will be a helpful reminder of what contributes to success in business.

Matthew Broomhead

“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/7-lessons-to-grow-a-successful-business/

7 crucial elements of effective feedback

7-crucial-elements-of-effective-feedback-image-by-matthew-broomheadHave you ever had a time when someone has come up to you and said I want to give you some feedback? How did you feel about it? Was it an enhancing experience or something else?

When most people think about Feedback particularly in a work context, they tend to immediately think about so called “negative” feedback. But when feedback is delivered appropriately it is in the interests of developing the individual to be even better, so ideally there should not be “negative” or “positive” feedback. It is just feedback.

Part of the problem is that few of us have ever been guided on how to give feedback. As with most things in business it is a skill and therefore the more we practice the better we will become. So let’s explore some crucial elements of giving feedback.

How to give feedback

1) Agreement

Firstly, if an agreement has been made beforehand that in a certain context we will be giving feedback then it goes much smoother. The agreement will vary depending on the context and relationship with the person. It could be verbal, informal, or more formal and written down.

Below are three examples of how we could get verbal agreement to give feedback in a variety of scenarios:

• “During this coaching session is it ok if I provide feedback on observations I note while we are talking?”

• “As your manager, if I notice your interactions with your team then would it be ok if I provide feedback on what I see?”

• “At the end of your public speaking presentation two members of the group will provide feedback on your content, overall body language and interaction with the audience. Are you happy for that to be done?”

2) How does the person feel?

Secondly, before we do anything else, checking how the person feels and ensuring they are in the right state to be receptive to your feedback is important. However obvious this may seem, checking beforehand will make the conversation considerable more productive.

So let us take a quick moment to consider what are ideal mental states for us to be in when receiving feedback? Here are a few suggestions:

Open to learning; listening; curious; non-judgmental; having awareness and being fully awake; self-confident: ok with oneself.

3) How do you feel?

As important as the recipient being in the “right” state, it is crucial for the person giving feedback to be in “the right state” as opposed to “a right state”. If our attitude is that we will give them a piece of our mind and think that is feedback, then we are mistaken. A rant is definitely not feedback in any definition.

So as we are developing ourselves as leaders and people of positive influence, then what are some mental states that you find useful when giving feedback? Here are a few suggestions to consider:

Non-judgmental; having awareness and being fully awake; self-confident: ok with oneself; concerned for another’s well-being; an attitude that everyone has the resources inside them.

4) Constructive

The content of the feedback should be constructive and less about opinion. It is helpful to ask ourselves “Will my suggestions enhance my relationship with this individual and help them develop in the role that the feedback relates to?”

5) Sensory Specific

Stating what you specifically saw, heard and how you let that make you feel is essential. A lot of us find this difficult. Partly because we can be vague in our language and partly because that as we live in our heads we automatically assume other people know what we are thinking. In addition, we usually have some emotion invested in the experience, so to reduce that and talk about the specific event and not other previous experiences can be hard.

6) Personal control

In the context that the feedback is observed, does the individual have the personal control to make a change using their own behaviour and thinking? Unless the behaviour is within their control then there is little they can do constructively with the feedback. Sometimes the so called “feedback” will be more general and refer to other people involved, but someone else’s behaviour is not the recipient’s responsibility to change.

7) Timely

The sooner the feedback can be given after the “event” the more effective it is. Leaving it to a later time exacerbates the interpretation of what we perceived happened. I heard that there are suggestions that for feedback to be most effective it should be given within six seconds of the behaviour for maximum learning. This doesn’t seem very practical as the person may not have even finished speaking their sentence. Giving feedback so quickly would probably break rapport. However, it is useful to know that the sooner feedback is given the better.

So there you have it, seven crucial elements of how to give effective feedback. It is not something that most people enjoy, but that is usually because they haven’t followed these seven steps. You may want to decide to print this out and make a mental note of the seven steps so you can use it with those of your team that you want to help become even better.

Matthew Broomhead

“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”.

Creator of Broomhead Business Channel.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/7-crucial-elements-of-effective-feedback/

Uncomfortably comfortable

uncomfortably-comfortable-image-by-matthew-broomheadI have written previously about us “becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable”. In a nut shell this is the idea of expanding our comfort zone and trying new things.

Even though the wording is similar the meaning of this idea is different.

You know how we sometimes hear a story or a key message a number of times and initially we may react by just thinking “yea… and?” as we haven’t understood the message at a deeper and meaningful way. Well, I’ve encountered that lack of initial understanding with this old story told many times in many different mediums.

The story is of a traveller who visits a remote farm. As they approach the farm they see there is an old man sitting in a rocking chair on a large porch. Lying near his feet is an old farm dog who gives out a whimper every now and then, especially if he moves slightly to try and get in a more comfortable position.

The traveller approaches the porch and starts to chat to the farmer. During their conversation the traveller can’t help hearing the dog give out his consistent whimpering. They are curious to why the farmer appears to be ignoring his dog so they ask

I can hear that your dog seems uncomfortable as he is whimpering quite a lot.

Yes. He does do that.

Is your dog ok?” enquired the traveller.

He whimpers because he’s lying on an old screw protruding through the wooden decking. It’s uncomfortable, but not uncomfortable enough to him to justify the effort to get up and move to the other side of the porch.

It is interesting how so many of us are uncomfortably comfortable with our lot in life. We may be uncomfortable with our perceived future, but not uncomfortable enough to make the difficult decisions required to secure ours and our family’s futures.

Therefore in addition to being grateful which is crucial to a fulfilled life and career, I think Jim Rohn was right when he talked about taking stock and having an awareness of where we are at the moment in our current careers.

We need to start digging our wells because however optimistic you are, the future economy is looking pretty dry.

So I am just curious, what metaphors and stories have you heard in the past that may need another listen to explore what the real message could be to you now you have discovered new insights and learnings from being a little older and a little more experienced in life?

Matthew Broomhead

“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/uncomfortably-comfortable/

“I will do it in 3 months when…”


You know how we all seem to have plans that in three months time when things are less busy, then we will get around to doing that “important project”? The project we know will make a significant difference to improving our career and relationships. The project that will enable us to have more time in the future and provide more needed resources.

The problem is that at the moment we all seem to have certain things that we think are more pressing. Whether it is work or family related, once those are dealt with we can then refocus our efforts on the really important project.

The reality is that in three months time something else will turn up that will take up our time and possibly be even more demanding on us both mentally and physically.

Unless we decide to start doing something today, however small and insignificant it may seem, we are unfortunately very likely to live an unfulfilled life of continually saying “I’ll start in 3 months when…<fill in the blank i.e. when the children go to school; when the children leave school; when the children go to University; when work is less busy etc. etc.>”.

Six Active Questions

A way to help overcome this universal challenge is accountability and measuring. If we do not measure something, how do we know there has been a change (for better or worse)?

I heard someone ask Marshall Goldsmith (influential in the world of Business Coaching) what his most useful advice would be and he answered by suggesting we ask ourselves the following six active questions every day:

  1. Did I do my best to set my own clear goals today?
  2. Did I do my best to make progress to achieve my goals today?
  3. Did I do my best to find meaning?
  4. Did I do my best to be happy?
  5. Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
  6. Did I do my best to be fully engaged?

Not only does he consider the questions every day, he also pays someone to phone him every day and ask him what his answers are.

Is that a little excessive? Perhaps not when you understand how us humans seem to work. Few people have the self-discipline to make themselves accountable to do a task every day, day in, day out. 50% of people trying his questions do not last beyond two weeks. Longer term I would suggest it seriously starts to dwindle without external support.

So could we honestly answer those six questions ourselves? Yes, I think we could.

Could we answer those questions ourselves every day for a week? Yes, most of us probably could if we knew it would benefit us enough.

Could we answer those questions ourselves every day for two weeks and more? Hmmm… our answer is probably going to be – “can I get back to you on that?

You don’t have to have a Professional Coach like myself to do accountability at a top performance level. What if you selected three of your own questions and buddy up with someone you trust and know they will help you be accountable? If you tried it for 30 days, then you would see what progress you start to make.

Two philosophical insights

I wanted to share with you something else that may be hard to swallow for some of us, but will be very useful to take on board especially over the next four years.

I heard Marshall Goldsmith reference Peter Drucker (who many saw as The Expert on Management thinking) and highlight two things he said. Firstly, Peter apparently said

“Our mission in life is to make a positive difference. Not to prove how smart we are and not to prove how right we are”.

The second saying is that

“Every decision in the world is made by the person with the power to make it. (So) make peace with that.”

That person may not be the cleverest, most appropriate, most ethical or most honest. However, those that can make peace with that fact will be healthier, happier and more productive as they will focus on what they can change in their world, and not concern themselves with the multitude of problems that they can’t influence.

So there you have it. Six active questions that high Achievers ask themselves consistently and two philosophical insights.


Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/i-will-do-it-in-3-months-when/

10 Brilliant Questions to help anyone get unstuck

10-questions-to-help-anyone-get-unstuck-image-by-matthew-broomheadI was reminded of these ten brilliant questions while attending a Frank Daniels coaching weekend course. They are described as Precision Questions and I believe they originate from the area of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming).

As you are a leader interested in influencing others and wanting the best for people, then I thought I would share them with you.

When people get stuck and find it difficult to progress, then they may verbalise their issue using the phrases below. Depending on what they say, will influence the question we use to open up new thinking. As we all know questions are powerful, so asking the most appropriate one is very useful. The sad thing is, unless you have done a decent coaching course or got yourself an experienced Mentor or Coach then you are unlikely to have come across these:

i) “I can never…” phrases

You may hear someone in your team or maybe even yourself start describing an issue by using one of these three phrases:

“I can’t…”

“It’s impossible for me to…”

“I can never…”

If you do hear these, then what if you were to respond by asking one of these three questions to unravel the issue more easily:

  • What would happen if you could?
  • What stops you?
  • Up until now…?

ii) “I have to…” phrases

These five phrases could be described as a “victim mentality” and would precede the actual issue:

“I shouldn’t…”

“I must…”

“I ought to…”

“I have to…”

“I’ve got to…”

If you heard one of these five phrases, then asking one of the following four questions would help the person start to uncover some new insights:

  • What would happen if you did / what would happen if you didn’t?
  • Who says?
  • What else could you do?
  • If you could choose, what would you do?

iii) “They make me…” phrases

And finally, you may have come across someone saying these and wondered the best way to respond:

“She makes me [e.g. Angry etc]”

“He [e.g. Annoys etc.] me”

Below are three simple, but powerful questions to assist the person:

  • How [specifically] does “this” cause “that“?
  • So how have you been making yourself feel like that?
  • How do you make yourself feel like that?

I suggest only using these last two if the person with the issue phrasing them in this way is familiar with personal development and they are aware of the idea that people don’t “do” things to us, we “do” them to ourselves. Unless someone physically touches us then they can’t change the chemicals in our bodies that create “feelings”. It is also very difficult to place pictures in someone’s minds. They are our thoughts, even though they are usually unconscious. It doesn’t seem like we are choosing how to think and feel because it is so automatic. Perhaps we have been thinking that way for so long that we have forgotten that once upon a time when we were younger we did not have that way of thinking about things.

The caveat to all these 10 brilliant precision questions is that they need to be asked while there is a good level of rapport between the questioner and recipient. The more rapport there is the quicker and easier the issue unravels using these simple questions.

It is up to you whether you decide to use some of these questions in the development of your teams. If you do, then feel free to share your results with me.

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/10-brilliant-questions-to-help-anyone-get-unstuck/

We don’t need more confidence. We need to manage our fear.

we-dont-need-more-confidence-image-by-matthew-broomheadHave you ever had a time when you have heard someone say “I wish I had the confidence…“?

If we had more confidence then what would we do differently? Who is the person we would become?

Do we really need “more confidence” or something else?

I heard Seth Godin give this analogy. Most things we do for the first time are not easy. For example, when someone decides to run a marathon they do not ask “how can I run a marathon without getting tired?” We all accept that if we run a marathon we will get tired. So to be a successful runner you have to know where to “put the tired”.

In our careers our “tired” is something else. We have to work out where to “put the fear” of rejection and loss. If we don’t then we will have unfulfilling careers.

So how are confidence and fear related?

Confidence seems to be on a scale with fear. Imagine some scales and on one side is our confidence and on the other side is our fear which for most of us weighs heavier. We think that if we magically have “more confidence” it will metaphorically add to that side of the scale and therefore outweigh the fear.

Instead of adding to the confidence side then what if we were able to take the fear off the scales and put it somewhere else?

The thing is that the fear is initially always there. Whether we call it “fear” or some achieves say they are “stressed” as opposed to “scared” or “fearful”. It is ultimately the same chemical response and feelings. Acknowledging that in the first place can be helpful for us.

Our brains and bodies have been designed to create the fear and for tens of thousands of years it has been useful in keeping humankind alive and very much thriving.

So what are three ways of dealing with the perceived fear?

  1. Do what most people do
  2. Do more stuff
  3. Swap the fear with another emotion

Let us explore these three methods in a little more detail…

1. Do what most people do

What do most of us do when faced with fear? Yes that’s right, we ignore it and go and do something far less rewarding and far less important. We eat something; drink something; watch something; or basically do anything that will help us feel better in the moment. We become proficient at being professional “pausers” and waiting for everything to line up before taking action.

Having coached people that would be perceived by many as high Achievers I understand that all of us have had times when we know that we could have done more. We could have said more; created more and cared more, had it not been for fear.

2. Do more stuff

The more things we try, the more we fail. The more we fail AND learn from it then the more likely we are to succeed. The more success we achieve then the more confidence we seem to have in that particular area of our lives. For this method to work effectively most of us need to start off small with lots of little achievements and build on those.

3. Replace the fear with something else

We humans are feeling creatures (some more than others). My current understanding is that we cannot “get rid of an emotion”, but we can replace it with something else. As long as the emotion replacing the fear/stress is “stronger” or “more powerful”.

For a long time I have had the privilege of successfully working with many people and helping them to decide in advance how they want to feel for important events in their lives. Whether publicly speaking in front of a handful of their colleagues or over 2000 people; passing professional exams; successful job offers after challenging panel interviews and speaking at family funerals.

For most of us these situations would appear to be fearful or stressful. So what someone with my skill set can do is help you decide how you want to feel at the event and then using techniques developed in the 1970’s, consciously trigger those chosen emotions. Therefore “replacing” the perceived feeling of fear with a more empowering and useful emotion.

Whichever of these three methods we want to use is completely our choice. Which ones we actually use will be determined by the answer to the question I asked at the start…

Who is the person you want to become?

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/we-dont-need-more-confidence-we-need-to-manage-our-fear/


selfbelief-image-by-matthew-broomheadYou know how there are phrases that we either say to ourselves or have heard our team members say and most of the time we do not realise the importance of them? One such phrase is…

“If only I had more self-belief then…”

Following that phrase could be a plethora of different stories of things people want, need or would rather avoid.

What I would like to suggest is that we don’t require more self-belief as we all have that. We all have beliefs about our “self”. What we need is to change the actual beliefs about the perceptions of ourselves.

If we believe that we cannot change careers, then that will be true for us.

If we believe that we could not achieve a senior position in our organisation because of our age, sex, or ability to persuade a naive manager, then that will be true for us.

If we believe we don’t have time to setup an additional revenue stream to protect against future potential issues such as our dire pension income; job insecurity; or possible illness of ourselves or family members, then that will be true for us.

So what is a belief?

One definition could be that it is merely a feeling of certainty.

Can I change my beliefs?

Having studied the area of professional development and coached and mentored a number of people over the years then this is an interesting question to answer. Many of us have a belief that others can change, because they have seen it, but they personally could not. Or it would be very difficult if they did try with some professional help.

It is fascinating how a few people seem to have learnt (usually unintentionally) how to clarify why they want what they want, acknowledge the fear associated with the unknown and yet still take action.

As we all know the old saying that a statue has never been built in honour of a critic. Only those men and women that decided that they needed to change the world around them and decided to do something about it have been remembered.

Motivation is not enough as it has usually gone once we have gone to sleep and woken the next day.

Confidence grows by learning a relevant skill and then reinforcing that learning by repetition. Do this consistently and then we start to surprise ourselves of what is possible.

We will all have had experiences of the first time we did something. Whether it was speaking publicly in front of a group of people and sweating buckets; chairing a meeting for the first time; or getting our first sale.

So it is such a shame when so many of us forget these times and do not realise that our current achievements were at one time “impossible hurdles”. And now what appear to be “impossible hurdles” could be achievements in the not too distant future. If only we got just a little more “comfortable being uncomfortable”.

It has been said the best way to develop a new skill is to start learning it yourself then share by teaching someone else.

So what self-beliefs do you have about what you could achieve in the next six months, three years and seven years? What would make you and your organisation PROUD? Who would you have to become and what would you have to believe about yourself?

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/self-belief/

When are questions more powerful than statements?


Following on from my last Article I thought I would continue with some more fascinating ideas from a keynote talk by the author and speaker Daniel Pink.

As a leader you are interested in influencing the people you are responsible for, whether they are employed or voluntary. Encouraging them to buy into your vision for how you can see the organisation growing and performing. So would it be ok if I shared with you some views on creating more influence?

When are questions more powerful than statements?

In 1980 in the USA Ronald Reagan was challenging the incumbent Jimmy Carter. Reagan was somewhat unknown compared to Carter at the time. He needed to persuade and he needed a core message. They focused on economics and instead of stating that the electorate was worse off, he used a question to persuade. He used a question to change behaviour.

He simply asked “Ask yourself, are you better off than you were four years ago?

Economically most Americans perceived themselves to be worse off in 1980 than in 1976, so the “facts” that supported how people would answer the question were in Reagan’s favour.

However, fast forward a few decades and in 2012 the Republican candidate Mitt Romney used the same phrase on Obama. The problem for him was that even though people felt less prosperous in 2012, they felt much better off than in the shattering crash of 2008. So apparently after several days they withdrew that slogan.

Daniel Pink says that from the research if you want to persuade, then there are times to use questions and times to use statements.

Questions by their very nature elicit an active response. They are a little more engaging than statements as the listener has to come up with their own reasons and actions.

When people come up with their own reasons for doing something they believe those reasons more deeply and adhere to the behaviour more strongly.

So in many cases asking questions beats statements. Remember that when the facts are clearly on your side, persuade with questions. (To some of us this may seem a little counterintuitive as we may think that the answer is obvious so let’s “state fact”. We may want to “keep control” instead of “opening it up to consideration” by asking questions).

On the other hand, where the facts may be in dispute then they can have the opposite effect as with the example of the 2012 Republican election campaign. So in those situations make statements.

So when is your next opportunity to persuade and if the facts are on your side what questions could you ask to create more buy-in?

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/when-are-questions-more-powerful-than-statements/

When is FEAR Motivation useful?


In a keynote talk by the author and speaker Daniel Pink he shared a number of fascinating observations which I thought would be of value to you.

How do you get people to listen to Airline safety announcements?

At the JetBlue University where flight attendants are trained in a $90m simulator, they carried out an experiment to explore how people react to safety announcements on a plane.

A lot of people ignore the safety briefings and this can create major problems in the unlikely event of there being an emergency. So they tried three different experiments to see how people reacted.

They invited people to attend who believed they were attending standard flight attendant training.

They wanted to answer the question “What type of flight attendant instructions will not only get people to pay attention, but also take action appropriately in an emergency

In each case the flight attendants gave the instructions, the plane “took off” and then during the flight an emergency occurred and smoke poured into the cabin and people had to get out.

Experiment 1:

Typical instructions that you get on most airlines during the briefing were used.

When the simulated emergency occurred, people didn’t particularly behave that well and it was observed that some would have probably died because they did not take the appropriate action.

So how do you motivate people to take the appropriate action?

Experiment 2

People on the plane were incentivised to pay attention. They were told that there would be a quiz after the briefing and the possibility of being eligible for a $250 cash prize.

This time people paid attention and many correctly answered the questions.

However when it came to the actual “emergency” and smoke pouring into the cabin, they were only very slightly better than the first experiment at getting safely out.

They believed this was because people were paying more attention on remembering the right answer than working out what actions they would need to take in an emergency.

So as you probably know from either attending my skills sessions or studying elsewhere, that despite most organisations using “incentive motivation”, it is very limited in its effectiveness.

Experiment 3:

They changed this briefing to focus more on fear and included statistics, such as saying that people that don’t pay attention to the safety briefing are 40% more likely to not get safely out etc. They also changed the briefing brochure to have more shock visuals and tactics.

When it came to the actual emergency evacuation that group of people got out quicker than any other trial they had run in the simulator.

So how does that help us in our organisations?

Daniel and the research he explored suggests using FEAR the right way. This is an interesting viewpoint and as always it is up to you how you want to act on the information I share with you.

There are usually two extremes of thought when it comes to using “Fear Motivation”.

Some managers use it as the only way of getting people to do things. This is normally seen as bullying by many.

At the other end of the scale are those that want to be more “enlightened” and are completely against using any type of fear.

Problem is neither of those are that effective when trying to change people’s behaviour.

Fear can be useful in the right context, so we just need to be aware when it is more appropriate.

Fear emotions narrow our scope.

This is simply the way our brains have been hard wired over thousands of years of evolution to keep us alive.

In emergency situations fear works really well. For example, if we are trying to get out of a burning plane we don’t need a number of options popping into our heads. We need to narrow our focus, quickly know what to do and take action.

When we require a wide focus then always avoid fear as a motivator i.e. situations where we need creativity or conceptual work. You can’t scare a person into something that requires an expansive view.

Here are two rudimentary examples of using Fear Motivation:

Example one

“We have made three sales this month and if we don’t make another three by the end of the month we are going out of business.”

Fear Motivation may create more behavioural change if the tasks are straight forward to execute.

Example Two

“If we don’t come up with a new product idea we are going out of business.”

Using Fear motivation is unlikely to help in coming up with new ideas as it narrows the focus. Whereas you need as wide a perspective as possible to create new thinking.


I found it a thought provoking idea and therefore I wanted to share this with you to encourage more consideration and sophistication when using Fear Motivation in the future with both your teams and your own self talk.

One final thought though is that our job roles are becoming more complex and less narrow in execution and require more wider perspectives, so less likely to require Fear Motivation to initiate change..

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/when-is-fear-motivation-useful/

Three Proposals to encourage more ethically run Boards

more-ethical-boards-image-by-matthew-broomheadThe basis of these three ideas came from a discussion on Radio 4’s “The bottom line” with guests: Elizabeth Corley (vice-chair of Allianz Global Investors), David Pitt-Watson (former Chair of Hermes Focus Funds) and Neil Record (Chief Executive of Record Currency Management).

1) Section 172

10 years ago in 2006 the Companies Act was passed. Of particular interest to us is the responsibility of Directors on boards. It considered how companies reconcile making a profit and CSR (Community and Social Responsibility). If you search online for Section 172 it appears to state the following:

“Duty to promote the success of the company:
A director of a company must act in the way he considers, in good faith, would be most likely to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole, and in doing so have regard (amongst other matters) to:

(a) the likely consequences of any decision in the long term,
(b) the interests of the company’s employees,
(c) the need to foster the company’s business relationships with suppliers, customers and others,
(d) the impact of the company’s operations on the community and the environment,
(e) the desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct, and
(f) the need to act fairly as between members of the company.”

Therefore the first proposal to encourage more ethical and better boards is to ensure the Directors are held account for what is already a legal requirement. The Chair should make sure all board Directors are fully familiar with this legislation and that they could prove it if required.

If we were to consider the recent behaviour of the Boards of BHS and Sports Direct, then how much of this legislation was considered and implemented? I will leave you to consider that.

2) Proportion of Income in shares

For listed companies to have their board Directors given a proportion of their income in shares. Note I am not saying more income as this is a contentious issue particularly at the moment. The proportion percentage is dependent on the company, but I would suggest an amount that is noticeable to the individual. Giving shares is nothing new, but this idea is to extend it over a 20 year period. Every year during the 20 year period a proportion of the total shares are given at the market rate. Instead of a Director pushing for a short term exit and cashing in their shares immediately, this alternative proposal encourages the Director to think longer term and focus on progressive ongoing profit.

In the first year they would be given 5% of their total shares at that year’s market value. The following year they would receive the next 5% at the market value. So if the share price has increased then they will benefit from the additional growth.
For example,
20,000 shares in total given to a Director. Each year 1000 shares are cashed in.

Year One
Value of share = £5
Share Income : 1000 x £5 = £5000

Year two
Value of share = £6
Share Income : 1000 x £6 = £6000

And so forth, until the 20th year. This applies even if the Director leaves before the 20 years have elapsed.

3) Yearly reporting of non-financial matters

Every year include in the company report a section to clearly and simply demonstrate what the company has done during the last financial year on non-financial matters that are relevant. For this to happen it is suggested that a think tank would need to decide how to measure this area.
It is one thing to encourage boards of companies to state what they have done, but another thing to actually measure it and prove if required.

Measuring and reporting this every year would reduce the likelihood of a “boiler plate” message where typically lawyers and PR draft up the wording and they appear to all be very similar.

This additional information will also help investors decide who to invest with if they want to ethically invest. Whether they are large scale pension funds or smaller private investors.
There you have it – three proposals for making boards better. One piece of legislation that already exists, but doesn’t seem to have been exercised adequately, one idea to improve longevity and one to make companies accountable for non-financial conduct.

I’m just curious, what new proposals would you suggest or what are you already implementing on your Boards to encourage them to be more ethically run?

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/530-2/

Three elements of a fulfilling career


I was introduced to this idea by a colleague and he attributed it to Alan Weiss.

As you can see in the image above there are three lines that cross over in the middle. Like most of what I share it is relatively simple and on the face of it, rather obvious. However, as I say on my skill sessions, “there is an old saying – the only problem with common sense, is that it isn’t very common“.

The ideal position for a fulfilling career is to be in the middle where all three elements connect in equal measure.


Obviously I am a big advocate of relevant transferable skills which is why I am encouraging everyone to develop the P.R.O.U.D. skills.

This element includes both technical skills that are specific to what you deliver and the transferable skills of becoming a more attractive and valuable to the marketplace.


Having enthusiasm for what you provide and how you offer value to your marketplace is crucial to the likelihood of success in your venture. Having a passion is vital to keep going when many of the people you thought were your friends start to question why you are doing what you are doing.
Without a level of enthusiasm people won’t be interested in buying from you.
Without enthusiasm you won’t be able to keep going.


How much of a need is there in the marketplace for what you want to do? Whether it is a product or service, will the marketplace pay for what you want to provide? How do we know if they would pay?

Sometimes we may provide something for free to test the market. However, this is only a partial test. There is a big difference between someone liking what you do because they have been your free guinea pig and someone parting with their hard earned cash.

Organisations can spend a fortune on market research asking what people would do, but as we have seen in recent election poll predictions, there is a big difference between what people say they will do and their actual behaviour.

If someone pays money for your product/service then it is very likely that you can find others that will also buy.

If a salesperson has a letter of intent from someone, then that’s a good sign, but less commitment to buy.

If a market researcher asks someone whether they would buy, then that is a lot less commitment.

If you do a poll on social media to ask if your followers would buy, then that is even less commitment because you cannot even see “the whites of their eyes” to observe their congruity.

What happens if we don’t have all three elements to a fulfilling career?

Without all three elements we run into difficulties as the three examples below demonstrate:

Skill + Need = A job.
Something like 80% of people in employment do not like their jobs. They maybe skilled at it and the company they work for has found a marketplace, but without enthusiasm then life’s ticking by until the inevitable sands of time catch up with us.

Enthusiasm + Skill = I heard a story that a guy had spent a significant sum of money on a castle in a remote part of Scotland. He was very enthusiastic and had the skills to create “the retreat”. However, it wasn’t financially viable as he hadn’t checked whether people would be prepared to travel to go there. He hadn’t established a market need.

Enthusiasm + Need = A colleague told me that they had the “need” to have a new shower installed. They hired a tradesman to do it who was very enthusiastic. However, he was incompetent and didn’t have the required skill level to complete the job to a satisfactory standard. So it ended with one disgruntled customer with a botched bathroom.

In conclusion it’s a simple idea, but perhaps not so easy to ensure we have all three elements aligned. You may want to consider these three questions:

What can we do to develop our skill level?

How can we become more enthusiastic about the work we provide? (Perhaps go back to your WHY)

How can we more accurately test the marketplace to determine that there are buyers for our product or service?

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Author of over 50 LinkedIn Articles on Learning and Leadership

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/three-elements-of-a-fulfilling-career/

There are no straight lines in Nature

no-straight-lines-in-nature-image-by-matthew-broomheadI was walking in a local arboretum and while explaining something to my 15 month old daughter the blinking obvious occurred to me. Around the edge of the park was a row of trees that must have been there for at least a generation and I was saying that the straight tree line would have been “manmade”, because Mother Nature doesn’t do straight lines.  (I don’t know the unisex version of “manmade” – “person made” doesn’t quite sound right).

Mother Nature (what’s the unisex version of that – “Parent Nature”?) was around for millions of years before us humans popped up and added into the mix of this world.

Only humans seem to do straight lines by surrounding ourselves with orderly brick walls, linear steel girders and flat glass.

With that in mind it is interesting when we think about business and goal setting for our careers (merely as a wish around New Year’s as many of us do, or more thoroughly planning them, which is rare), that we tend to think of it progressing in a straight line from the present situation to a desired situation sometime in the future.

I know this is stating the obvious and maybe it’s just me, but why would we think life will be anything but straight?

Life can be winding and evasive. Therefore “disciplining our disappointments” (as the late Jim Rohn said), managing our frustrations and overcoming obstacles becomes paramount.

We regularly need to re-establish our original Goal Outcome and the reason we want and need it. Remind ourselves of how it will benefit us and how it will benefit others. In addition, also clarify who the person we have to become to achieve it and how P.R.O.U.D. we will be of ourselves.

How do I achieve my Goal Outcome?

Something that most of us are reluctant to do is make our Goal Outcomes public knowledge. I do not think we need to share it with everyone and their dog through social media. You will get too many nay sayers and unsuccessful people telling you in various ways that it is not possible.

However, if we were to tell people whom we respect their feedback of us; those in our “inner circle”, this could create enough internal motivation through the discomfort of not achieving and the accountability of acknowledging that to others.

Maybe not wanting to let down those we care about could give us the nudge to keep going when other people around us can’t see the future reality that we perceive.

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/there-are-no-straight-lines-in-nature/

Just a book?

Just a Book image by Matthew Broomhead

Who is John Galt?

In this Article I want to write about a lady born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905. The information comes from various sources. At age six, she taught herself to read. At the age of nine, she decided what her career was going to be.

In 1917 she was eyewitness to the Bolshevik revolution, which she denounced from the outset. In order to escape the fighting, her family went to Crimea, where she finished high school. The final Communist victory brought the confiscation of her father’s pharmacy and periods of near-starvation. When introduced to American history in her last year of high school, she took America as her model of what a nation could be.

When her family returned from Crimea, she entered the University of Petrograd to study philosophy and history. After graduating in 1924 she experienced the disintegration of free inquiry and the takeover of the university by communist “thugs”. Amidst the increasingly grey life, her one great pleasure was Western films and plays. Long an admirer of cinema, she entered the State Institute for Cinema Arts in 1924 to study screenwriting.

Leaving the Soviet Union

In late 1925, she obtained permission to leave Soviet Russia for a visit to relatives in the United States. Although she told Soviet authorities that her visit would be short, she was determined never to return to Russia. She arrived in New York City in February 1926. She spent the next six months with her relatives in Chicago, obtained an extension to her visa, and then left for Hollywood to pursue a career as a screenwriter.

On her second day in Hollywood, Cecil B. DeMille saw her standing at the gate of his studio and offered her a ride to the set of his movie “The King of Kings”. He gave her a job, first as an extra, then as a script reader. During the next week at the studio, she met an actor, Frank O’Connor, whom she married in 1929; they were married until his death fifty years later.

After struggling for several years at various nonwriting jobs, including one in the wardrobe department at the RKO Radio Pictures,, she sold her first screenplay “Red Pawn” to Universal Pictures in 1932. Around the same time she saw her first stage play “Night of January 16th” produced in Hollywood and then on Broadway.

She went on to write a bestselling book that became a Hollywood movie in 1948.

That in itself would be an amazing story, but for me that is where her work actually starts…

Who is this female Author?

If I told you her name it may give away the book.

In 1946 she started her major novel. It was finished and published in 1957. Over ten years to write a novel. Was it worthwhile? The average book sells about 250 copies a year and a few thousand in its lifetime. This novel has sold more than… 7 million copies.

So why is this one of my favourite books?

I am not a book reader. I find it difficult to read, but once I started this I couldn’t put it down. Initially I avoided it because it was 1166 pages. 1166 pages! That is the equivalent of three books in one go!

It starts with this question

….Who is John Galt?

And then goes on to explore these questions…
When he says that he will stop the motor of the world, is he a destroyer or a liberator?
Why does he have to fight his battles not against his enemies but against those who need him most?
Why does he fight his hardest battle against the woman he loves?
You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the inspiring men and women in the book.

You will discover why a productive genius becomes a worthless playboy . . .
Why a great steel industrialist is working for his own destruction . . .
Why a composer gives up his career on the night of his triumph . . .
Why a beautiful woman who runs a transcontinental railroad falls in love with the man she has sworn to kill.

It is a book written around 60 years ago, that seems to have more relevance today about society, work, the media, politics and people than ever before.

What if the producers in society that actually create value, financial wealth and employment through business (the people that make things happen with creation and innovation) suddenly decided to go on strike and disappear? What would happen to society where the majority feel they are owed something without effort in return?

To finish with I will give this warning – if you like your current attitudes to society and the world then avoid this book.

Some characters you will resonate with and others will frustrate you.

Can a work of fiction change people’s lives? I think we all know the answer to that as there is a plethora of evidence.

The author?… Ayn Rand

The book?… Atlas Shrugged

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/just-a-book/

A Message from the Movies

A message from the Movies image by Matthew BroomheadI’m not interested in Movie celebrities, but I do like a good movie. When the finished product hits the screen it can be an incredible spectacle or an emotional ride. As with everything in life the end product that the rest of the world sees, never fully expresses all the blood, sweat and tears required to make it happen.

What’s of particular interest from a business perspective is the investment amounts required and the risk associated with it. I remember years ago a very experienced person in the movie industry said that movies tend to work in threes. One will flop (Waterworld was one of the most notable ones); one will break even; and one will make a profit that enables them to cover the cost of the losses. The problem is no-one really know which ones will be a hit.

Matthew Vaughn is an English screenwriter, producer and director and according to Wikipedia he is best known for producing such films as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000) and directing the films Layer Cake (2004), Stardust (2007), Kick-Ass (2010), X-Men: First Class (2011), and Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015).

In a BBC radio interview with Mark Kermode, he talked about the times he was going to quit the movie industry.

He started off being a producer and became an independent because no one would finance the movies.

After screening Lock Stock he was told no one wanted it and that it would go straight to VHS.

The only reason he got distribution on Lock Stock was that to help with finances he’d done a record deal beforehand and when he contacted the record company he apologised and said he was really sorry as they could not sell the film. The record guy said that was ridiculous so he contacted PolyGram who at the time owned the record company and the film company and got them to do him a favour. Even though they had already watched the film and turned it down, they watched it again and said they would do the record guy a favour and buy it just for England.

So Vaughn thought “beggars can’t be choosers we’ll probably get released in two screens”.

He then rang up Trudie Styler who had put money in to fund the film and asked her to do him a favour and get Tom Cruise along to the buyers screening in America. She said are you mad, cruise just stars for the premiers. Matthew replied that there was not going to be a premier.

Apparently Tom cruise did turn up at a tiny screening room on the Sony lot. Matthew Vaughn said, “It was hysterical. You had all these mid-level executives sitting there, and Cruise walked in. He saw them all sit up and pay attention, all getting on their phones, and suddenly all these senior executives joined the screening because cruise was there. At the end, Tom got up in front of everyone and said ‘This is the best movie I’ve seen in years, you guys would be fools not to buy it.’”

Then they had a bidding war because of that and they made back all their money.

In one significant event his film career went from nearly ending to starting.

When he made Kick Ass with a budget of £35m that he independently funded, he encountered similar problems. No one wanted to distribute the film and it was due to go straight to DVD.

Both times this happened he vowed to retire from the movie business. However, fortunately they got KickAss screened at Comic Con and it screened straight after Avatar. Vaughn said the place went crazy and this created another bidding war the next day.

It can be frustrating when we have invested so much time and emotional effort into a project and even though we think it is a brilliant idea, the people that appear to be holding the purse strings just don’t get it.

People may say that sometimes we need a little luck. However, without influential contacts that can pull in favours and make things happen and a tenacity to see our visions come alive, then luck has a difficult time showing up.

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/a-message-from-the-movies/

How Senior Leaders can quickly identify Organisational Challenges

Quickly Identifying Organisational Challenges image by Matthew BroomheadThe initial idea for this was from Alan Weiss. For most leaders and the majority of challenges in organisations, whether private, public or not-for-profit, this simple concept will be surprisingly helpful.

As a busy leader in an organisation such as a CEO, Managing Director or Head of Projects, then the people you lead will daily encounter challenges.

Why someone or something is not working as expected can cause major headaches for those that have to resolve the issue and achieve the end result.

Within my consulting I have found my 3S’ problem solving very useful in identifying the exact cause. Challenges fall into one of three categories:


Is the computer or paper system that people use causing the problem? Is it unreliable, or slower than expected or perhaps laborious to complete straightforward tasks? Legacy systems can cause no end of complications. What is valuable is to swiftly identify where the problem is. Sometimes it is not a quick fix due to budget restraints. For example, legacy systems using old software can be expensive to reprogramme and the cost of “fixing the problem” could far outweigh the extra time needed for someone to input and use the system. Another critical question to ask is “do other people using the system have the same problem?” If not, then it will be one of the other 3S’.


Once we have identified that it is not a system problem then the next step is to check whether the person responsible for completing the task has the relevant skills. There are all sorts of reasons why someone may not have the appropriate skills. Perhaps they were brought in by an incompetent recruiter or they have had been forced into a promotion where they have been promoted “to the level of their incompetence”. Whatever the reason, quickly understanding that the reason something isn’t been done is down to the persons lack of skills helps identify what resources need to be implemented. As I have written elsewhere in another post there are two types of skills commonly known as hard and soft skills. There are various possibilities to solving this through on the job training, “classroom training”, coaching, mentoring from someone more experienced, e-learning methods, reading, or skill sessions.


The third reason for the problem I have named “Self-efficacy” (so that we have 3S’). Psychologist Albert Bandura has defined self-efficacy as one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task. One’s sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how one approaches goals, tasks, and challenges.

Therefore if the systems within the organisation work fine and the person has the skills to complete the task and there is still a problem, then the third area necessitates exploration. A person creating the problem may not want to complete the task for a variety of reasons, e.g. lack of motivation; values conflict or even wanting to create disruption.

Even though normally this should be the cheapest area to resolve, unfortunately it can be the most difficult.

Implementing 3S’ problem solving throughout your team

To create duplication within your organisation then one simple way is to get the three words printed onto a business sized cards and carry them around with you.

Now before you correctly think “hang on a minute Matthew! I run a successful organisation and I am very good at what I do. Are you suggesting I can’t remember three simple words?”

Of course you can, but as a leader you understand that for your organisation to take on something new, you can’t tell them about it. YOU have to SHOW them by using it yourself. It helps people take the problem out of their heads as it is an external device that people can hold and perhaps jot down ideas on.

Three is a clever little number and has been used throughout human civilisation for influencing the masses. It also helps categorise the challenge quickly and simply.

It won’t work every time, but can definitely help people to reframe the “overwhelming” challenge they have. Instead of “it’s impossible/it can’t be done/we’ve never done that before/things aren’t done like that around here”, it more easily progresses towards creating new possibilities.

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/how-senior-leaders-can-quickly-identify-organisational-challenges/

Quick, but Quality Quotes

Quick but Quality Quotes image by Matthew Broomhead

Earl Shoaff was a millionaire that mentored the great Jim Rohn in his early career. I believe these are some of his sayings which I have divided into three areas; Wealth, Wisdom and Well-being.

Can I suggest you read each one a few times until you get a new thought or a different feeling? The simplicity could be deceptive to many of us. It is a bit like a fine dining dessert, where the plate is fairly sparse of food, but when you take each bite it is dense with flavours. Even though there’s only a sentence or two, they encapsulate so much wisdom. I could fill a skill session on each sentence, but have decided not to comment in this post as they say more than enough.

• Wealth

“Profits are better than wages.”

“It doesn’t cost too much, the truth is, you can’t afford it!”

“This is not all the company pays…it’s all they pay YOU!”

• Wisdom

“Don’t trust your memory, keep a journal.”

“Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.”
“Nothing comes to us, everything comes through us from us. Everything in this world that happens to us comes from in here, not out here.”

“Let’s not be moons, the reflector of the light. Let’s be suns. Let’s be the creator of the light – the creator of ideas. We all have the capacity.”

“The true mark of greatness is not found in what a person does with their own life. It is found in helping others discover that, they too, can become great.”

• Well-being

A lot of us neglect this area of health for various reasons and I couldn’t comment on Earl without mentioning the obvious that even though he mastered in many areas of his life, he died at a relatively young age. So we might want to consider consciously progressing in ALL three areas of Wealth, Wisdom and a Well-being.

Enjoy your day.

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/quick-but-quality-quotes/

Great Designers don’t get Great Clients

Great Designers dont get Great clients image by Matthew Broomhead.psd

It has been said that great Designers get great Clients, but it is actually the other way around. Great Clients get great Designers.

This can be applied to Professional and Financial services. Various great people that you know wouldn’t be known within their field if they hadn’t worked with great clients that enabled them to demonstrate their talent and skills.

(The initial idea for this article was inspired from a talk by Seth Godin).

So the question to ask ourselves is how much time are we spending acquiring new great clients? Or are we spending that time trying to keep our existing clients happy?

And while we are thinking about that, then “What is a great client?

Is it a company that pays us more? But is that at the expense of selling out to who we are and working with people with completely different ethical values than ourselves?

Depending on your business and what it delivers then the method of acquiring great clients may vary. Despite the massive increase in social media marketing, high end services are still actually purchased through face to face contact.

So my next question to consider is “what are we doing to get in front of great clients?

Here are three tactics to help you:

1. Speaking Strategy

I have personally found a speaking strategy to be the most effective method. I understand the majority of people either get very nervous when speaking publicly or they are not really that interesting or provocative enough.

My typical definition for success after a “talk” is that the person who asked me to speak is happy and that at least two “buyers” come and approach me at the end and are open to receiving a relevant follow-up article or a 20 minute coffee and chat.

I have had a queue of people asking for follow-up material after my sessions, which is nice for my ego and that my message resonated with the attendees. The important part for growing a profitable business is knowing whether they have budgetary responsibility. If they have, they can buy my value offering.

Too often we spend a lot of our precious time building relationships with people that haven’t got a budget. They may be lovely people, but unless we’re speaking with those that can actually “buy”, then our businesses will financially struggle.

It is obviously important to meet introducers. Once we establish that they are not a buyer, but a potential introducer, then we need to get “the introduction to the buyer” as soon as possible.

Despite a speaking strategy having the highest level of leverage, few companies decide to do it properly. Usually because it is the hardest method and most companies don’t know how to do it well.

2. Referrals

The cheapest method is referrals and asking existing satisfied clients to pass on your details to their contacts that would find your services valuable.

Three of my highest earning recent projects came about through referrals from people that had attended one of my skill sessions and then kindly spoke about me to a buyer they knew.

3. Business Networking

The third method that is very effective and relatively inexpensive is business Networking. There are a plethora of things to do to improve this area. I have written and taught on this subject extensively so I do not want to duplicate it here. Therefore if you want some tips on increasing your ROI for your next Networking event then the best way is to download my 36 page P.R.O.U.D. PDF and read the “Relationship” section first.

So there you go, three tactics on how to get in front of great clients. The easiest suggestion from me would be to pick one and work on that. However, if you are a regular reader of my blog or LinkedIn posts then you will be someone who does want to make their organisation P.R.O.U.D. and wants to be the best they can. So to do that, we really have to decide to develop ALL three methods.

Once you are consistently doing all three, then you will be ready for the next stage which is this…

As has been asked by wiser men than me…

The real question is not, “Are we going to succeed?“, but “Is the work we do going to matter?”

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/great-designers-dont-get-great-clients/

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