Motivational Speaker “not” wanted

Motivational Speaker image by Matthew Broomhead

I noticed a typical request on social media asking for a “motivational talk on team working” for a corporate day from an academically very intelligent and talented person. As expected various people were recommending their contacts including representatives of sports personalities.

It was all perfectly normal. I understand you can’t include all the details in a short request, but everyone seemed to be missing the main point. So I posted the following short response…

“Can I kindly suggest that whoever you speak to, then make sure the first question they ask you is “why do you want a motivational talk on team working? When your people were hired they were “motivated” and they’re paid to “work”, so what’s the real issue?” If you just want to entertain your team as a thank you, then get a stand-up comic like James Cook – it’ll be much more fun.”

For four out of five event organisers that is not the response they want to hear because it doesn’t make their life easier in the short term. If a number of years ago my line manager had asked me to get a “motivational speaker” in for the lunchtime masterclasses I wouldn’t have had the confidence to question “why?” So I understand.

My mission is to raise the level of business skills in Britain, so let me explore this more with you.

If an organisation wants to make improvements in team working then sitting for an hour listening to some famous sports athlete may not be the best return on investment (they typically start from £5,000 for 45 minutes if you can get someone that people will heard of).

I would suggest that sport is different to business primarily because you have an absolutely clearly defined end delivery date – for example the Olympics or Common Wealth games are every four years.

Even though we obviously have project deadlines, business is more fluid with end dates been modified by clients. If you are running 400m, then someone doesn’t come along and say I know we agreed 400m and that’s what you have prepared for, but we need you to do 500m. In the world of sport that would be absurd. In business that happens every day.

Virtually all athletic ventures are a solitary pursuit. Yes the ones lucky enough to be sponsored have nutritional, physio and coaching support, but the end goal is solitary. They are totally focused and have an utterly obsessed routine for years.  Even the few relay race “teams” seem to be dominated by a few famous individuals. I know there are some transferable skills of goal setting, visualising what success looks like and consistency, but as a talk I am not sure how relatable that is to “Maureen” in finance who has been asked to manage a team that don’t want to be at work and a line manager with poor interpersonal skills.

There is a place for every type of speaker. In certain contexts if you’re a wealthy cash rich corporate that wants to give a certain appearance of who it mixes with and the audience includes clients that are passionate about the sport that the speaker worked in, then that’s absolutely appropriate. But don’t get confused with creating “motivation” within your organisation that will impact the bottom line.

So what is an alternative that is more practical, more valuable to the business, and more relevant than a motivational speaker?

There are significant benefits to getting in external suppliers. I heard that a senior person at HP said “we use external small boutique consultants otherwise we’d breathe our own exhaust“.

Here is something different to encourage your team to understand each other better and become more productive.

Have the corporate day as normal, but instead of some “motivational speaker” ask the team to present instead.

Hang on a moment Matthew! If my team is not used to public speaking then how do I encourage them?

Use an skilled external facilitator to provide a few short skills sessions on presenting (max 90 minutes each) to give them the skills and self-confidence. Then facilitate and coach the team on deciding what to share at the event and how. This activity enables then to be better presenters (which is a rare and valuable transferable skill) and encourages them to work in small teams to put together their own presentation(s) for the corporate event. This creates more buy in from everyone.

By facilitating your existing team to provide “the motivational” talk slot then it helps establish numerous things including:

  • Who works well with each other?
  • Who doesn’t work so well with others?
  • Who takes a leadership role.
  • How resilient are they in different scenarios.
  • Other departments gain better understanding of what they do once they present.
  • You can see who the talented public speakers are and who you would be comfortable putting in front of a client and represent your organisation.
  • Who is really worth promoting?
  • They practically learn skills that as an organisation you can utilise in the future.

I did this for a professional services firm and it gave me a valuable insight into who I would recommend for future directors/equity partners. Identifying the people actually worth investing more resources into is extremely valuable. I.e. Instead of relying on the assumption that because “Deirdre” is a supervisor, she would handle more responsibility as a manager.

Directing appropriate resources to the most talented is vital for ensuing they stay in the company and help it to prosper.

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

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Let’s be clear – there is no glass ceiling!

Glass_ceiling_in_Mare_building image from BING edited by Matthew BroomheadI have something to share with you and you may not like it. You are misinformed if you think there is a glass ceiling…

I was chairing an expert business professional panel and some very talented and experienced women in their late 20’s and early 30’s explained to some more junior professionals that they’d never experienced a glass ceiling and didn’t think there was one these days.

Here is the reality for most talented hard working women in Professional and financial services.

There is no glass ceiling.

There’s actually a big concrete reinforced steel structure above them!

After the panel event I spoke to an award winning business lady who sat on the panel and was in her mid-30’s and I explained that I thought they were naïve. She agreed that there is often a ceiling on success, but they were too young to have experienced applying for senior management positions where they would start hitting it.

The problem is that people don’t take time to look up and actually see what is above them because they are doing these three things all the time:

  • They are so focused looking down at those below them and trying to manage them and convince them to do things.
  • They are so worried about the competition of their peers at the same level as them.
  • They are politically manoeuvring to get to the next step up the ladder, and didn’t realise that if they look further than the next step, their ladder is moulded into a concrete ceiling.

A big concrete reinforced steel structure? Aren’t you over-reacting a little Matthew?

I attended an AGM of one of the most successful PLC companies in the UK. It is valued at over $1bn with massive growth potential. The Prime Minister has endorsed them as an example of the best of British Business. They have dozens of market related accolades and one of the most diverse groups of people working with them at the grass roots level. However, when the senior management team were brought out onstage for a standing ovation (which was well deserved), only one out of the fifteen was female. Unsurprisingly that lady was the HR Director. They were all white middle-class 30-55 years. I love the company, but was so disappointed with the lack of diversity of the senior management team. If a British forward thinking company appears to lack real diversity at senior levels then what opportunities are there in other “average” firms?

If you are a woman and you want to get to senior positions, then it is going to be difficult. Very difficult.

If you are fortunate. Very fortunate. Your organisation might be actively aiming for a 20% quota of women on its board. Yes, in Britain in 2016 it does seem unambitious to have a rather low level and yet we are falling short of even achieving that in many organisations.

You will have to be more skilled, more influential, more driven, more patient, more focused, more creative, more experimental, and more organised than your male counterparts.

This might sound a bit biased or unfair, and I’m willing to have my mind changed, but as far as I can see, this is how the UK works and it is how the game is played. I don’t agree with it, but that’s unfortunately life.

Tell me something I don’t know…

My intention is to wake up those that are prepared to seriously and intelligently think about this issue.

So what can you do?

Firstly, join an organisation where you are rewarded for the harder you work and where it is in your team’s interest for you to quickly get promoted. There are only a few of them, so this is easier said than done, but ask me if you don’t already know such an organisation.

Secondly, get seriously into P.R.O.U.D. I don’t mind if you develop these five skills from me or someone a lot less experienced, but develop them. To remind you the five fundamental skills are:

  • Presenting
  • Relationships & networking
  • Outcome setting
  • Understanding & influencing others
  • Direction of Leadership

Here are some suggestions to develop these skills:

  • Join a speakers club.
  • Get nominated onto a voluntary board of an organisation you believe does valuable work.
  • At work be proactive and setup learning groups of likeminded people and cross network i.e. book clubs.
  • Network with as many senior people as you can.
  • Get a mentor. Life is too short to make all the mistakes yourself so learn from others and make sure they are someone that will ask you the real questions that feel uncomfortable.
  • Get a decent business coach. Not someone naïve enough to spend thousands just on a weekend course and only has a certificate to show for it. Twelve months down the line you may have enjoyed your sessions of coffee and chat, but you won’t have changed unless you find someone skilled enough to “listen to what is not being said”.

Change is hard. Change has to be uncomfortable.

And before I hear someone arguing that change is easy, then the simple reply is this. If it were easy you’d be doing the new behaviour. You wouldn’t even be talking about considering the change; you’d automatically be doing the new behaviour.

Change shouldn’t be hard, because physically it’s just a few neurones in your brain disconnecting and reconnecting to a new behaviour.

But it is. That’s life!

However unfair the environment may initially appear, if we understand how it works, then we can adequately plan and ultimately succeed within it and still maintain our own values and ethics.

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

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Is your Brand just Mango & Lime?

Is your Brand just Mango and Lime Image by Matthew Broomhead

For a number of years as part of my “The Truth about how to influence your clients and colleagues” skills session, I have encouraged the participants to briefly explore the Ribena Mango & Lime question.

I know it may be small, but having looked at the image of the packaging on the carton (at the top of this post), then consider these four questions:

  • What percentage of the drink contents is mango?
  • What percentage is lime?
  • What percentage is water and sugar?
  • What percentage is orange?

After I ask the last one, I say something like “have I put the last question in as a curve ball? Is it there to confuse?”

However, as you can see from the packaging it shows drawings of sliced mangos, some limes and oranges.

It also cleverly prompts the consumer with a question. “Did you know? Fossils suggest that the mango fruit has existed on our planet for around 25 million years.”

I will ask you the same question I ask my groups which is… “Mango fruit may well have existed on this planet for around 25 million years, but my question to you is, does it actually exist in this Mango & Lime drink?”

So I invite you to answer yourself. If you were to put some figures to them, what percentage would you allocate?:

  • % Mango
  • % Lime
  • % water and sugar
  • % Orange juice

The actual answers my surprise you. Before I reveal them, let’s just note another observation on the packaging which is above the drink logo which states “since 1938”.

If something states it has been around for a while then what do people typically and automatically think?

Perhaps it is trustworthy; knowledgeable; should be respected (i.e. respect your elders); experienced; learnt from mistakes etc.

Most people make those assumptions when organisations or people use “experienced gained” or “established since”.

May be you could ethically consider using this to your advantage when marketing your organisation?

So what about the drink answer I hear some of you cry?

As you can see from the image below of the side of the carton:

Mango and Lime contents image

  • 0.5 % Mango
  • 0.5 % Lime
  • 95 % water and sugar
  • 4 % Orange juice

Yes, there is eight times as much orange as there is Mango in a “Mango & Lime” drink.

Yes, there is eight times as much orange as there is Lime in a “Mango & Lime” drink.

Therefore if you were to put the ingredients into one hundred cups, ONLY ONE CUP would contain Mango and Lime. FOUR cups would contain orange (from concentrate!) NINETY FIVE cups would contain sugar and water!

Firstly, what I don’t understand is how trading standards could allow a product that was clearly marketed in this way to be sold.

But secondly, and more importantly, what does this say about the brand Ribena and GlaxoSmithKline group that owned it.

Sadly most consumers don’t seem to read or understand ingredients on packaging. However, for those that do then does this create more trust with the company or less trust? Do you think the outside packaging accurately portray the contents?

I’ll leave you to make up your own mind.

Our brand is the most important thing we have.

  1. Does your brand create more trust with the people you serve or less trust?
  2. Does your brand actually and ethically demonstrate the wonderful ways you provide value?
  3. Have you got something of substance that you offer or are you trying to convince people that only 1% of what you state you are, is what they actually get?

Matthew Broomhead

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

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How is Pareto’s Principle useful?

How is 80_20 useful Image by Matthew Broomhead

Apparently the Business-management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. Vilfredo observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. He went onto develop the principle by observing that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.

In my experience it is not perfectly exact, but it does give a good indication. For example, I believe that approximately:

  • 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your productivity comes from 20% of the time you spend
  • 80% of your sales come from 20% of your products

Now there are obviously two types of people as well:

The 20% that produce 80% of the results


The 80% that produce only 20% of the results

So the question we have to ask ourselves is from today onwards which one have we decided to be?

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

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10 Lessons learnt from a SME Manufacturer

Factory Image from Bing by Matthew BroomheadI was invited to attend a VIP tour of a SME manufacturing company in my region. I had just attended a Leaders panel discussion that morning where two thirds were Bankers and there was a distinct lack of optimism for growth within the area. So it was a welcomed contrast to be shown around a manufacturing company with an established history and appeared to be doing well in a very competitive global market.

These are ten observations I made that contributed to their success and you may want to see how they could apply to your organisation:

  1. Strong Brand – The company had a long established and interesting history which was used in their branding to create a compelling story. The visit comprised of story after story of how they had got to be where they were and their client experiences.
  2. Superior Customer Service – Most people know that for an organisation to succeed we have to have the attitude that everyone is in customer service. Helping staff to understand that everyone is in customer services is crucial. At the manufacturing company Cleaners understood that if they didn’t do their job to the best of their ability then if the product was a little dirty when it reached the consumer, then that would have an adverse effect on future sales.
  3. Lower distribution costs – They were intelligently using logistics to reduce the ever increasing transportation costs.
  4. Local workforce – They actively encouraged using a local workforce which had a number of benefits including reducing the environmental impact of commuting.
  5. School links – Part of the reason why they could utilise a local workforce were the school links they had created. Allowing children to visit the company and giving them interesting school tours created a waiting list of school leavers that wanted to join the company as soon as they had finished school, instead of going to University. This reduced the need for external recruitment firms and their associated costs.
  6. Access to pockets of differentiated knowledge – This consisted of exploiting “clusters” of R&D knowledge centred on leading universities and their research facilities.  By cleverly creating amicable relationships with University researchers saved substantial costs.
  7. Investing wisely and using the latest technology – Even though the factory appeared to be over one hundred years old there was some sophisticated modern manufacturing machinery.
  8. Very strong and active I.P. – Intellectual Property protection was crucial particularly as significant copying attempts had been made from rival Chinese manufacturing companies.
  9. Understanding product pricing – Inspired by Seth Godin I have written and talked about this previously. There are two races now in the modern economy. A race to the top or a race to the bottom. The problem is who really wants to win the race to the bottom?
    They marketed their standard products against the competition by claiming to be superiorly manufactured and therefore a better product that justified the extra cost. As well as products that sold at the lower end of the market they also manufactured a product that fundamentally did the same thing, but because it was encrusted with diamonds and packaged differently, they had sold them for 800 times more to a global corporate. So as well as been positioned as a higher end quality product they also sought out new markets for what they did.
  10. Financially reward staff for new ideas – I have mentioned this in a previous Article. Not everyone is motivated by money, but if your organisation lacks good ideas then rewarding people for new ideas whether they are used or not is an interesting concept.

Those are the ten lessons that I learnt from my visit. Remember that as an organisation, success is something we attract by becoming an attractive organisation. So you may want to mentally highlight a few of these points and explore how they could apply to your situation.

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

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How to encourage Good ideas

How to get Good ideas Image by Matthew Broomhead

Something major has happened in the UK since my last Article and the repercussions will be felt for the next decade, not just in the UK but across our European allies. The naivety of some people in this country has become disturbingly apparent and to see so called Leaders immediately recall promises that were made before the vote, is extremely disappointing, at best.

But let’s take a breath and what is done is done.

What I have been talking about for a while is that we all need to develop our skills and ensure that whatever changes happen in the UK economy, we are seen as the experts and clients still need the value we offer. What happened last Thursday just significantly accelerated that process.

As leaders we need to create reassurance and certainty in the marketplace for our clients. We also need to ensure the organisations we are currently investing our trust, time and effort in are able to maintain their value offering in the future, whatever happens. If we are unsure if they will, then now is the time to find something that will.

More than ever we need to be creating opportunities and coming up with good ideas.

How do I get good ideas?

Where do good ideas come from? How do we encourage new thinking? If you asked people in your organisation “when was the last time you had a good idea and where were you?”, then what answer would they give?

I’m suggesting that they probably won’t say “oh it was sitting at my desk with over 39 hours of paperwork that still needs to be done, listening to the phone ringing and getting interrupted by email”. It is more likely that people typically have new ideas when they were in the shower, out walking the dog, in a quiet place at home away from the family, or away from their desk when they had some quiet time to think. So how well is your organisation setup to actually let people think?

1) Not allowed to work on current project

Google and some other companies have famously created time where a percentage of an employee’s week is allocated so that they are not allowed to do work on any of their current projects. They can work on anything they want as long as it isn’t their normal day job activities. A number of Google products have been created from scratch with this process.

Another software company in Australia had a 24 hour period where developers were encouraged to create anything they wanted and then shared those ideas altogether with the rest of the company. The company owns the IP on anything that’s created, so it is very beneficial.

Just forget the logistics of doing that for a moment and really think what could happen if a director initiated this where none of the team could work one afternoon on any current projects, but had to come up with new ideas for improving the company and share those ideas with everyone. I’m just curious, would that exercise create more management thinking or more leadership thinking? And for your business to grow which one do you actually need?

2) Reward and recognise staff for good ideas

I visited a multimillion turnover manufacturing business and one of their initiatives was rewarding staff for coming up with new ideas. Any new idea that was suggested was rewarded financially with a set amount of money, whether the idea was used or not. This was for virtually any new idea that could be practically applied. For an idea that was implemented and made a profit for the company, then a percentage of that profit was shared with the person that had the idea. Whether it saves £500 or makes £150,000, new ideas are what are needed in this fluctuating economic climate. It’s surely better to have a choice of which ideas to implement, than no ideas or contributions from within the organisation.

3) Flexible working

There are some fantastic TEDtalks about the work environment. If your team were really open and honest with you, and you asked them “when have you got the most amount of work done?” and “when have you been the most productive?” The most common answer will NOT be “Sitting at my desk, being interrupted by the phone”.

We usually get the most done when we switch off the phone and don’t open email. It is usually when we are away from the desk and/or office. If this is true for your organisation, then what could you be doing to create more of this productive time? How do you ensure that the environment your team works in helps them to provide the best service to their clients?

Many people find they get more done by going in early to work before 8am, staying late at night after 6pm when the office is empty or working at the weekend. But this is limited in its effectiveness as people tend to do too many hours which then leads to them being less productive during that additional time.

Imagine that you were attending one of my talks that I was delivering in an organisation. While I am sharing valuable insights and ideas to become a better leader, every five minutes my phone goes off and I answer it. How would you feel? How conducive would the learning be?

Therefore how useful is it to allow phones to interrupt our teams?

I am not suggesting you disconnect all the office phones tomorrow morning. If you have SLA service level agreements, then someone will have to answer the phone and take messages. But what if someone could have 45 minutes of uninterrupted time? They have set times of the day when they return calls and check email, and that’s staggered between the team, so the phones are always covered. Just think about the potential productivity that would happen if they could go into a side office uninterrupted and just focus?

So what would be easier for you, a team that goes home saying “I have no idea where the day went today, I was busy but didn’t seem to get anything done”, or “I felt that I have achieved something today”?

The best Leaders will not join your organisations because they want to answer the phone, email and get interrupted from what they are doing. Leaders want to achieve; fix problems; build relationships; Inspire; create ideas and create duplication of their efforts. The environment you create will either encourage this or prevent it.

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

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Should we stay or should we go?

Should we stay or should we go Image by Matthew Broomhead

You may or may not agree with some or all of this article, but I hope that you will be voting on Thursday as it is an important issue that should not be decided just by those with narrow minded extreme views but have the impetus to vote. While the apathetic majority sit by and watch the country change.

The question is to either remain connected to Europe as part of the EU, or leave and start the process of severing the ties that have kept this country safer.

In my articles I write about leadership and learning so I am going to try and explore this a little. However, if you are after an objective viewpoint then I’m afraid you are not going to find it here.

How you vote is your democratic right – something that few of us really appreciate. So I implore you to exercise that simple right.

What does business need?

If you are a business leader in the UK then one thing you require is confidence and stability within the marketplace. When it isn’t there, then investment, borrowing and expansion becomes more difficult.

So ask yourself will staying in the EU maintain stability and confidence or will spending the next two to seven years (depending who you listen to) severing the ties of the EU and then spending however many years re-negotiating trade agreements with individual counties?

A History lesson

I gave up history at 14 years of age and did geography instead for GCSE. I couldn’t quite see the point of studying it. The primary reason was that no-one seemed to learn from it.

History has quite conclusively shown us that during economic Depressions (usually every 75 or so years) people with extreme right wing views pop up and pray on people’s fears. They are seen initially as insignificant but with persistence and the naturally occurring compound effect then all sorts of trouble can emerge over time.

Double standards

It’s interesting that the two key figures of the remain campaign that are using immigration as the main reason to leave the EU have family that are immigrants:

Boris Johnson according to Wikipedia was actually born in the U.S. The BBC website states his great grandfather was Turkish! The family changed their Turkish name from Kemal to Johnson during WW1 because Britain was at war with Turkey and they were concerned about the children in school being bullied.

Nigel Farage is married to Kirsten Mehr, a German national.

I don’t have a problem with these two facts, as virtually all of us are immigrants in some form, whether we came to the UK more recently since the end of WW2, or going back much further and coming from Romans, Vikings, and Normans etc. I enjoy the diversity of my home city of Birmingham and its 180+ nationalities.

What I get frustrated with is one rule for one and one rule for others.

Jim Rohn years ago in his wonderful wisdom said try and turn your frustrations into “fascination”.

When it comes to Mr Farage then I find it very difficult to be “fascinated” by him.

If you are wondering how he behaves as a leader in the EU then watch his tirade at the EU President back in 2010 on YouTube. Completely unprofessional and makes me embarrassed.

Why is there such an immigrant and refugee crisis?

Again this is where we seem to have forgotten about history and have “goldfish” like brains. People are fleeing from areas that Britain either sold military arms to dubious regimes at some stage over the last few decades or invaded. An online article from 23/07/14 in the Guardian states that according to British MPs, new Labour awarded five export licences to Syria for chemicals that could be used for weapons. They call it a “highly questionable” decision.

You or I had nothing to do with that, but as a country we need to start behaving like an adult and take some responsibility for past actions.


When we decide to follow a leader it is always important to understand their motives. Their mission and why they are doing what they are doing. So why is Boris really pushing the leave campaign? It is important to consider if he has done this to progress his plan to become candidate for Prime Minister as it would be very awkward for Cameron after the referendum if remain fail? Is he doing it for his own ends or is he taking the true leaders path of believing he is serving his followers?


However easy it is to do, the leader does not throw their arms up the air when they don’t get their way and say “I’m off!”

When we are younger it is understandable to behave like this because maybe we didn’t have the staying power or the skills to influence. But these are middle-aged adults who are well paid to ensure we get the most out of our EU membership.

The leadership position is to lead. To understand the others point of view. Debate the issues. Influence those around you to create followers. If you’re not happy with the direction of the organisation you change it from within, however long it takes.

How, on the one hand, can it be said that Britain is great, the fifth largest economy, speaking the most influential language – English, part of the G8 etc and then be packing our bags and becoming fearful and insular and complaining that others in the EU are telling us what we can and can’t do.

A sporting metaphor

Imagine a group of people that absolutely love rugby. So much so that they earnestly believe that the only reason Mother Nature created grass was so that people could play rugby on it. The only thing that they are more passionate about is their hatred of football. Football is for the weak.

Now imagine for some bizarre reason they are voted onto the board of Leicester City football club. So every board meeting a proportion of the members complain that they hate football and really the club should now be playing rugby.

I think you would agree that it would become untenable. A situation that was ridiculous.

And yet some of the British public have voted in representatives that oppose the EU, but get paid to represent their constituents at the EU. No wonder we don’t get the most out of the EU if the people that are supposed to represent us don’t agree with the organisation that is paying them. If it wasn’t so serious it would be some sort of silly joke.

If you don’t vote you really can’t complain.

66.1% of the electorate voted in 2015. Some people complain about not having control over our own laws etc because of the EU and yet one third of the population didn’t even vote for the people that actually determine the laws.

Enough of my rant…

As someone interested in Leadership then will your vote create confidence and inspire other countries to be better? Will it encourage people to communicate with each other and make Europe a more stable and safer place? Do you think we should be acting like leaders and demonstrating how to behave ethically and democratically and influence other countries to develop and grow too?

Or will your vote create division, uncertainty, more bureaucracy and encourage the extremist elements in our society?

It doesn’t matter if you agree with what I think. What do you think? However you vote on Thursday then instead of doing it from a place of fear, then be a Leader and vote from a place of confidence, ethics and inclusivity.

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

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Why we are scared of Creativity in Business

Scared of Business Creativity image by Matthew BroomheadThere are quite a few ideas that I share in this article so would it be ok if you stick with it and maybe re-read it the following day to see which parts resonant with you at this time of your career…

In the privileged part of the world where we live, our job in the connection economy is to change people for the better so their lives are genuinely improved. Whatever or however that is done.

Therefore is it possible to encourage someone to go and take action just by reading an article?

Is it really possible to get across that we have all the resources available to us if only we’d refocus on what could work, instead of what hasn’t worked in the past?

Am I Talented?

Everyone would agree that most of us are talented in some form. If asked whether we would like to unlock our talents and creativity then the majority would eagerly put their hands up and declare “yes please”.

So why are so many of us happy with just doing unfulfilling and unremarkable work? Daily doing just enough work so we are not sacked and being paid just enough so we don’t leave.

As Seth Godin said “no one is a commodity if they don’t want to be“.

Let’s be open about the real reason why we are not more creative, expressing our talents and making a significant change.

We are scared. We are fearful of what might happen.

When I mention the word creativity then some people typically think about the arts or dance etc. These obviously have creative elements to them, but so can any job.

It can be difficult to express creativity because it’s been drummed into us that we should only do what has been done before and be replaceable parts of a system. Doing something new has been seen as bad, because it will stop the industrial “production line” from working as it did. (My use of “Production line” applies as much to the service sector as traditional manufacturing).

Being scared is a normal reaction

In Dr Steve Peters book The Chimp Paradox he uses the brilliant metaphor of us all having three quite separate parts of our brain. (If you’re not aware of him then he’s the guy that Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy basically said was instrumental in their Olympic Gold success).

The three metaphorical parts are:

  • Human
  • Computer
  • Chimp

One of the main roles of the Chimp part is to look out for danger whether physical or exclusion from the troop which would lead to potential isolation. When it perceives danger, (which is often) whether it is real, like a cricket ball zooming towards your head or not real danger, such as having to publicly speak at your children’s school concert, then it will default to one of three emotional states:

  • Freeze – I’m sure you’ve seen wild life programmes where threatened creatures play dead and completely freeze. As creatures of Mother Nature we do the same. When fearful we rarely physically freeze, but psychologically we stop. We can’t make important decisions and we try to keep things the same by maintaining the status quo.
  • Fight – This is self-explanatory.
  • Flight – We run away from a challenge or confrontation.

Understanding why we behave like we do can be very helpful. How this can cause us difficulties is that the Chimp part is five times stronger than the Human part of the brain, which is more objective. So our initial reactions are usually determined by the Chimp.

Hence we are wired to be fearful and scared as it keeps us safe and ensures longevity of the species. This was incredibly beneficial when we lived in troops inside caves. But that is not useful today when the marketplace demand is constantly changing and we have to be more creative and try new things.

I heard someone say “you can never fully get rid of the fear, but maybe you can learn to dance with it”.

If we start to understand fear and how to manage it enough so we can develop our talents and creativity, then what is the next stage?

Going…going… gone

A man I respect told me this simple question to ask ourselves, but it is really hard to honestly answer…

“Would they miss you if you were gone?”

Whatever “missed” means and whomever “they” are, is completely dependent on your situation.

Would it be ok if you take a moment to consider that rather uncomfortable question?

In the work that you currently do and the change you are trying to make, then would the people you serve (clients/customers/service users) miss you if you suddenly stopped tomorrow?

If the answer is, “probably not they’d just find someone else“, then firstly well done for being honest. Secondly, what could you start doing today that would make you more valuable and therefore more missed if you were no longer there.

What is your uniqueness?

Uniqueness comes in different forms and part of it can be trust.

What is Trust?

According to Charles Feltman (author of The Thin Book of Trust) Trust in the workplace is defined as
Choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions. Whatever you choose to make vulnerable to the other’s actions, you do so because you believe their actions will support it or, at the very least, will not harm it. Some people tend to extend trust to others easily and with little or no evidence. They only withdraw their trust it if is betrayed. Others believe that people must earn their trust by demonstrating trustworthiness.

As we understand the fear of putting ourselves out there; creating something worth commenting on; building trust with those we serve; then as inevitable as day following night, there will be those that wish to criticise your work.

How do we deal with the external critic?

Brene brown (the author, researcher and story teller) has spoken about how Theodore Roosevelt’s quote below regarding the critic, changed her life and made her bolder.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

It is interesting how much time and effort we put into trying to please those that don’t really matter. The only real critics apart from ourselves should be those we love and care about their opinions of us and those that have stood in the arena where you are playing and therefore their opinion has some meaning.

What will it really take for you to evolve your talents?

I’ll leave the last words to Marianne Williamson (I have slightly edited it to make it shorter)…
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Enjoy your day because you decided today to do something to make things a little better for those you serve.

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

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How to know when it’s right

How to know when it's right Image by Matthew BroomheadLet’s start this article with this simple idea…

You can only teach those that want to be taught.
You can only inspire those that want to be inspired.
You can only lead those that want to be led.

Sometimes those that are placed in a position of authority and have the perception of being more knowledgeable, sadly are not.

While working at a large corporate firm I took on the responsibility of volunteer Reading Scheme Coordinator. Despite having no direct support from the company, I encouraged a number of fellow staff members to give up their lunch hour and attend a local school in a very deprived area of the City and listen to children read.

Anyone that has run a voluntary group knows it’s hard work, but worthwhile. I knew it was worthwhile for three reasons:

  1. It was good for staff – as it got them away from their desks and PC screens. Spending 40 minutes with a seven year old who is excited to see you gives a new perspective on things and makes you more productive in the afternoon.
  2. Good for the children and school – if a child has difficulty reading then learning anything in our industrial model school system is very difficult. I think it was fair to say that they had few positive male role models in their lives and the only people that they normally met in suits were probably lawyers or social workers.
    It was also beneficial for the school as it got extra “brownie points” for linking with businesses.
  3. Potentially great PR for the company via CSR (Community and Social Responsibility) – the large corporate I worked for wanted to be perceived as an “employer of choice” and that its employees got involved in their local communities.

Well that all sounds great Matthew” I hear some of you say. “Three compelling reasons to do it, so you must have had lots of support?”

Hmm. Yes and no.

The small group of dedicated volunteers were a great bunch of people. They were so wonderful that I married one of them!

However my line management at the time couldn’t understand why I would give up my lunch hour to help a group of young children to improve their reading skills. [And yet they were able to spend a notable amount of their time outside in the smoking shed each day]

Like most work environments it was stressful and they had their own pressures and maybe couldn’t see further than that week’s kpi’s.

On the odd rare occasion I might be five minutes late back from lunch due to the head mistress wanting to speak to me or having to wait for the school office regarding CRB forms for new volunteers.

Unfortunately, this didn’t go down well with my line management and it was suggested that I wouldn’t be able to do the reading scheme if I was late again. Despite it being in my own time; I always more than made up the time before and after the normal working hours; it had had special mention from the schools Ofsted inspector; and the scheme would probably have to close if I didn’t run it.

So as I am sure you are already aware that sometimes in our careers we see things that others in more senior positions should see, but don’t. They’re not leaders, but they happen to have a leadership position.

Two other stories relating to school and where sometimes people get it wrong…

Damien Hurst apparently got an “E” in art class at school and despite various problems he has had in his life, he is reputedly the Financially Wealthiest artist. Apparently Damien is worth over £200m.

Not music to my ears…

The educational specialist Sir Ken Robinson has talked about meeting Sir Paul McCartney and asking him the question “Did you enjoy music at school?”
Sir Paul replied “No. My teacher said I wasn’t any good.
Ken also enquired whether George Harrison enjoyed music at the same school in Liverpool.
No.” was the response.
So Sir Ken went on to state “Is it fair to say that a music teacher in the 1950’s in Liverpool had half the Beatles in their class and never realised their potential?

Depending on the rich list you Google, Sir Paul McCartney’s net worth at the age of 73 is estimated at over half a billion pounds. So it’s safe to say, the person in charge – his music teacher – got it a bit wrong.

There’s only one Damien and one Sir Paul who were both trend setters and exceptions to the norm, so what about us in our day to day careers?

Marketing in a Magazine

In the City where I live, the financial business district had a magazine that promoted and informed the companies located in that BID area. I was reading the magazine the one day and spotted a double page spread written by the office head of a large law firm. So what was the main item he was talking about?
Was it the work they’re doing with the council? Perhaps some national or international clients they had recently acquired?
What did the head of the firm want his existing clients, competitors in the surrounding business district and potential future clients to know?

Apparently something they were very proud of. Something that was very good for three compelling reasons:

  1. It got his staff out the office for a few hours every month away from their desks and screens.
  2. The scheme was great for the community members they were working with.
  3. Obviously it was great PR through CSR as he wanted everyone to know.

So what was it?

The school reading scheme that I had battled to keep going with half a dozen committed and caring people several years before. The scheme had sadly finished in my previous company sometime after I had left. Fortunately, it had been taken over by someone clever enough and caring enough at that law firm.

You’ll have times when your line manager doesn’t see what you see.

You’ll have times when your board or committee won’t have the same vision that you do.

Keep going if you know it is right.

But, how do you know if it is right?

Firstly, if you feel it’s pushing at your existing comfort zone.
Secondly, can I suggest you honestly ask yourself all of these four questions:

  • Is it good for me?
  • Is it good for my organisation?
  • Is it good for the clients I serve?
  • Is it good for my wider community?

[This last question is too often missed. If tax avoiding corporates or most in the banking sector had asked this last question then maybe their brand perception would be very different].

Even though when you know what you are doing is best, it may take years before a senior leader you respect in your sector directly or indirectly endorses your work.

Having the self-resilience to keep going certainly isn’t easy, but perhaps you’ll sleep a little better at night knowing what you’re doing is right.

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

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R.I.P. “Managers” : c18 – c21

RIP Managers Image by Matthew BroomheadIn a BBC radio programme Peter day’s world of business : Companies without Managers, Peter Day investigated companies that no longer have a traditional management structure. Instead people are given autonomy over what they do. This Article is based on that investigation.

We don’t have a management team. I think that management is not only dysfunctional. Management can even be destructive“.
(Owner of a Community District Nurses organisation)

Do managers breed administrators?

Is a lot of what managers do useful for the service that a company delivers? It is interesting how there can be such discrepancies between the people delivering a service/product to the client and what “management” think should happen. (A lot of this happens when the organisations purpose is not clear).

As a person in a management role requires information about what they are supposed to be managing, then they are asking for data which leads to pressure on the administration. Administrators are then required because they have to create all kinds of lists and information for the management. However, if the workers deal with the decision making and take responsibility, then overnight there is a dramatic reduction in the need for large overheads and back office.

In all organisations certain management decisions need to be made. For example:

  • Delivery of output, whether it is a product or service.
  • Ordering/purchasing.
  • Deciding who gets hired.
  • Compensation plans, bonuses etc.
  • What happens if people aren’t delivering what was agreed.
  • Settling dismissal and redundancy issues.

The question is, “Are managers the best people to do these tasks?” The difference in some companies is that the workers do these tasks instead of a specific manager.

You say Tomato, I say Tomato

Morning star is a company based in California and processes tomatoes. Back in the 1970’s the story goes that on the way to work the owner saw people dropping off their children at school and it occurred to him that outside of their day job, people are raising a family, getting married, taking out mortgages and managing multiple complex things. So if they manage themselves at home why couldn’t they do it in the workplace?

The workers are responsible for their part of production. “Who else is better placed to decide if parts need to be ordered than the person operating the machine?” says one of the workers.

They have agreement letters between each other for the level of their production.

If two workers have a disagreement and it cannot be resolved then a third person (a colleague) is brought in to decide. If that doesn’t resolve it then it goes to a group.

Compensation is decided by a small committee who are formed through consensus and anyone can ask to sit on it. At an appropriate time feedback is sort from colleagues and put together with a letter requesting a pay rise or bonus.

A worker describes that it’s not for most people as one guy joined the office and left within two weeks as he did not like the idea that other people were at the same level as him and that he could not tell people what to do.

Has it been successful over the last few decades that it has been operating this culture? Apparently it processes more tomatoes than anyone else in the world and has a turnover of $700m. states that “Morning Star can pay 15%more in salaries and 35% more in benefits than the industry average because it’s not paying managers and productivity is so high”. So I guess, “yes” is the answer.


Another company that they explored is a community district nurse provider in Holland. Originally setup by Jos de Blok, a nurse who was frustrated with how the companies he worked for were providing service to patients and how nurses were been treated.

So starting completely from scratch with four nurses and himself covering nights and weekends, he started the company. It consists of small groups of 12 nurses that work together and make decisions based on consensus. The phone is passed around each day and therefore each member has the responsibility on whether they can take on additional patients. There is no manager. One group interviewed said that they agreed to come into work on their days off if they are busy.

They hire and fire within their teams based on consensus. They are also encouraged and coached to build relationships with the local GPs and hospitals themselves.

Is it successful?
Depends on your definition, but in under a decade it has grown organically from just the owner and a few fellow nurses, to over 9000 nurses offering community based (home) care services to more than 60.000 patients a year. They claim to be cheaper than their competitors even though they pay their nurses more, because they require such a small overheads. A back office team of only around 60 people.

When the CEO was asked what he does in a typical week then it seems he does exactly what a leader should be doing. Not managing things, but inspiring:

  • He visits 3-5 teams a week to see how things are going, supporting them and finding out how things can be done better.
  • Inspiring his people through blogging and spreading the ethos.

MattBlack Systems

The third example was based in Dorset and was a smaller British engineering firm. Each person is an individual project and they are responsible for everything including profitability of the project, ordering parts and audit. The owners say that it is paradoxical to say that they got rid of the management as everyone is now effectively a manager.

What was interesting is that no employees from the original firm (before it was taken over by the two new owners), work there anymore. So it definitely isn’t for most people.

An important observation is that people within these types of companies start to compete for recognition and being the person to be asked for advice. As they’re not competing for advancement up the corporate hierarchy, because there really isn’t one. A complete mind shift from “how can you help me get promotion”, to “how can I help you”. Fascinating.

Those people that want to self-manage, take responsibility and come up with ideas, work for these organisations and their competitors get everyone else.

I regularly write and talk about the need for us all to be more Entrepreneurial in this economy and move away from the old industrial model of expecting to be told what to do, however difficult it is for us. So it is interesting to explore companies that really have embraced the concept and are very successful.

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

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Three Sides of successful organisations in three minutes

3 elements of successful org Image by Matthew Broomhead

(The following questions and thoughts are inspired by Seth Godin)

Three Sides of a Successful Organisation

The three sides of successful organisations form a triangle; Strategy, Skills, and Service (of others). A shape that is a fundamental building block with incredible strength when all sides have equal quality.


When exploring Strategy these are essential questions to ask ourselves:
Do we understand the strategy and why we do what we do?
Do we understand the layout of the world?
Do we understand technology, the economy and the revolution we are living in?


When deciding the Skills required then these are principal questions to ask ourselves:
Are we any good at executing the strategy?
Are we good at what we do?
Have we refined our skills?
Are our skills relevant to the environment?
When we share an idea with the intention of getting others to decide, then do we do it with authority?
When we write is it of value to our followers?

Service (to others)

If we have a clear Strategy and a relevant Skill Set high enough to implement it, then the third part of the triangle is Service (to others). “Service to others” is a different and higher level mind-set to just standard customer service and net promoter scores.
Do we care enough to fail?
Do we care enough about what we are doing and how it serves others, that we are prepared to expend emotional labour (which is different from physical labour) to actually make change happen?

Three Challenges

These are three distinct sides and they each have their own challenges…

Unclear on the Strategy

As I have written elsewhere, if we are unclear of the strategy and don’t know why we do what we do, then growth and enthusiasm is a real struggle.

When Service (of others) is missing:

Leaders of an organisation may incorrectly assume their people don’t understand the strategy, but they understand the strategy perfectly well, but they simply don’t care.

When skill levels are low:

Another person may understand the strategy, care massively about the service of others, but is a bumbling fool and can’t articulate a story that resonates with their potential clients.

Three Outputs

These are three desired outputs by aligning all the three sides:


As we all know, the marketplace is evolving constantly. So doing what we’ve always done creates problems even quicker than ever before. If we care enough to fail then we’ll be willing to explore and try new things more easily.


Understanding why we do what we do, caring enough about those we are serving and having the skills to execute is a rare and sign of excellence within our field.


If an organisation is superior in its field and able to spontaneously react, then that creates an inspiring idea that spreads and inevitably generates a desire to know more about our organisations.

Matthew Broomhead

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

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We crave Inspiration not more information

We crave Inspiration Image by Matthew BroomheadThere is so much information available to us these days that it’s becoming harder to decipher what is actually valuable and relevant. What will help us become more valuable to the marketplace? What information will enable us to have a fulfilling career? What will inspire us to do and be more?

A simple example of information overload that isn’t valuable is shown in the image above. I have two weather forecast apps on my phone. One is preinstalled, the other I downloaded. It’s interesting that despite hundreds of millions of pounds been spent over the years to enable me to view a weather forecast on a small handheld device that connects to larger computers by sending invisible signals through the air, the interpretation of the information is different.

So what’s the problem Matt?

Well, as you can see one app was suggesting dry in the morning and rain from noon, while the other app pretty much shows the opposite.

It’s only rain Matt! It won’t harm you.

That’s true. It won’t harm me. But it is an inconvenience to be soaked through.

If I know to be prepared (i.e. it’s very likely to rain) then I can take my umbrella.

On a more important point than rain damp trousers – as leaders of organisations, the question we may want to ask ourselves is what information am I using to plan my strategy?

Only by having more skills (umbrellas to weather the storms of life); by knowing what we want to achieve ourselves and rely less on what “our apps” are telling us what it’s like “out there”; can we take action and experience reality and know whether it is actually raining.

It is useful to take time and ask ourselves what information sources do we use and how accurate and useful are they?

Today do you want to be someone that adds to all the information already out there or offer some inspiration?
[You might be wondering what happened with the weather – did it rain in the morning? Yes it did, but I had my umbrella.]

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

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Why vote?

Matthew Broomhead Please vote Polling Station ImagePlease remember to vote today whatever your political persuasion. It may not seem it, but it is a privilege. Something that we take for granted. However, not that long ago many of us wouldn’t have been allowed. Others died so that we could spend a few minutes putting a cross on a piece of paper.

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3 Reasons Why Training Fails

3 Reasons Why Training Fails Image Article by Matthew BroomheadWhether firms are spending less on developing their staff overall or using different methods such as e-learning or “coaching on the job”, there is always debate on the effectiveness of Training.

In my experience senior managers that want to train their staff usually want to do it for the wrong reasons. Before we explore that, let us look at the three main reasons why training fails to deliver the expected results.

  1. The training is not relevant to recipients
  2. The training is relevant, and inadequately delivered
  3. The training is relevant, well delivered, and recipients are not receptive

The initial problem with requesting Training

In a situation where a manager states “we need a customer services course because we’re losing customers”, then most trainers/coaches whether internal or external, will happily reply with “Yes of course. We have a customer services module that will help”.

However, what is actually required at that point is a lot more self-confidence from the trainer. This is not easy since the “buyer” will be more senior and holds the budgetary controls to the potential work. What a professional L&D Business Partner should be asking is simply “why?”

Why are you losing customers? Poor service delivery; bad product; incorrect client expectations; long customer service waiting call times; poor communication with client once they have an issue etc… the list goes on. Therefore a “Customer service training module” will only apply to a few of those scenarios.

In my experience the senior manager wanting the problem to be resolved doesn’t usually know the real answer to why they are losing customers. They think they do, but once I start investigating on the ground, the issue is often different.

Whilst conducting an accurate TNA (Training Needs Analysis) we may well discover that Training is not appropriate at all. This can be scary if all the Trainer can provide is training, because they just made themselves redundant from solving that issue.

(A quick note on TNA’s – sometimes Learning & Development people spend too long on them, with SWOT analysis’ etc. When all that is required is results; determine what the desired output is and what is stopping that happen).

Three simple solutions to get ROI on Training

These three simple solutions to avoid Training not getting the desired results may seem obvious, but they are not straight forward unless you have an experienced facilitator and an organisation with a learning attitude:

  1. Spend time with the appropriate people to determine what the current situation actually is and what the desired situation will be once the facilitation has been completed.
  2. Once applicable training has been determined then ensure it is delivered by a suitable person.
  3. If the training is relevant and well delivered, but the recipients are not receptive then this is more of a challenge. This implies that what the organisation employs someone to do, is not been done. Therefore decisions regarding that persons continuation within the role needs to be addressed. Most managers handle this poorly and HR departments are not much better. The issue is often exacerbated by an employee’s incorrect belief that they are entitled to have a job. As opposed to the fact that they are employed to offer continued value to an organisation and if that value is low the individual should move on.

Matthew Broomhead

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

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Completely Cold about Cold Calling

Cold about cold calling Image by Matthew Broomhead

An unexpected email

I was sent an email from a recruitment company for Business Development roles in High Profile Firms. It was completely out the blue, I’d not really given direct permission to email me and it wasn’t something I was interested in. I would describe it as a “cold calling” email.

What I found interesting was the actual job description for the roles included the requirement “The roles involve cold calling”.

As High Profile Firms (as described in the job description) I am surprised they need their Business Development people to be cold calling, unless there is something seriously amiss with their brand, marketing and networking capabilities.

Interrupting people through cold calling is part of the old economy. Few of us like being interrupted so that someone can try and sell us something.

The alternative to cold calling and interrupting

Therefore how do we get new clients if cold calling is frowned upon and generally ineffective?

Whether we are a large firm (advertising for business development people) or a one person flexible entity, sales these days are primarily based on these two values:


Doing what you said you would do goes someway to developing these two values, but unfortunately isn’t enough.

(I do wonder if these values have different criteria depending on the individual i.e. what we need to do to build trust for one client maybe different for another client).

As these two elements are important, what if we were to ask ourselves two questions:

“What am I doing today to increase the trust my clients have with me?”
“What am I doing today to increase the commitment between my clients and I?”

As I mentioned at the start, if a high profile Firm requires its Business Development sales people to be “cold calling” then their trust and commitment levels with clients and staff must be low. Whereas when these elements are high, then the brand is clear, existing clients are happier and consequently makes marketing, networking and referrals easier.

I would love to hear what practical things you are doing to develop your relationships with your clients.

Enjoy your day!

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

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“WHY” : A Poem about Purpose

WHY A Poem about Purpose and Persistence ImageHaving a WHY is the most important part of any business or organisation. Without a reason and purpose to exist most organisations find it difficult to Market and attract the right people to work within their teams.

However, for many of us finding Your WHY is incredibly hard. We know What we do and How we do it, but Why seems more difficult.

As we all know being creative is an important skill in this economy, so I thought I would share with you a poem I wrote this morning. Feel free to share with your teams:

WHY gives us the reason to not let things pass us By.

WHY is the thing that gives us permission to give it a go and Try.

WHY gives us the dreams that we could actually Fly.

WHY lessens that feeling of a deep yearning for something lost and giving a Sigh.

WHY prevents at the end of your life saying “I could have been that Lady or Guy”.

WHY gives insight into the future and the unfathomable “Third Eye”.

WHY abandons the excuses and the need to Lie.

WHY lets us meet that stranger and say “Hi”.

WHY knew we could finish and have that Magical High.

WHY : Instead of unravelling relationships in our teams, it brings us closer together and the bonds Tie.

WHY pushes us one last time as we know the finish line is Nigh.

WHY keeps you going when everyone else’s faces are Wry.

WHY helps when people say “I’ll think about it”, and you think they should Buy.

WHY makes someone brave, when previously they were Shy.

WHY inspires us to reach beyond the Sky.

WHY keeps taking the next breath until one day all of us will say Goodbye.

I would love to hear your “WHY” rhymes. Just pop them in the comments below.

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

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Five ways to help your visitors feel welcome

How to Help your Networking Visitors feel welcome by Matthew BroomheadYou know how we get an invite to a business networking group for the first time, well many of us will feel a little trepidation.

If you are an experienced networker then sometimes we forget what it was like when we first entered a room with our brand new shiny business cards and were either told by our manager to “go out there and get some business” or we were setting up our own business and had to find our own clients.

If you organise or regularly attend a networking group I thought I would share with you five ideas to help your new visitors feel welcome. Visitors are crucial and we only get one chance for a first impression. Depending on your level of experience, some may appear more obvious than others.

1 Know the visitor is attending

Virtually all networking events will require you to tell the organiser you are attending and usually signup via Eventbrite or similar system.

Can I suggest that what makes an event a little more special is if you turn up and the welcome desk person has your answer to the question “how did you hear about this event?”

What if they said to you something like…

“Lovely to meet you. Am I right in thinking Neil has invited you today? Neil’s a great guy. I’ll tell him you’ve arrived.”

All of a sudden you’ve gone from being “another person on a list” to a known person that is part of the group.

2 Have a welcoming team.

I don’t mean someone that stands behind a desk and ticks a box next to your name on a sheet of paper and that’s all they do. Have a few people constantly rotating and taking visitors from the welcome desk to meet the rest of the attendees. Their role includes: getting the new visitor a drink: establish if they have been to similar meetings; do they know anyone there?; do they want to be introduced to someone in particular?; explaining the location of facilities in the venue.

3 Wear easy to read name badges (that are placed appropriately).

It’s not unusual to forget someone’s name and yet it is the most important two words you will learn about a person in that networking event. I’ve found the fabric stickers to be a bit better as they are not as abrasive as normal address label stickers or safety pins that make holes in clothes.

4 Talk to your Visitors!

On a few occasions I have seen regular attendees of a networking group stick to their own “clicks” and not interact with the new visitors. However experienced, we are all guilty of this at some point.

5 Have a special seat for your visitors.

Depending on the group and seating arrangements, then sit your visitors in a place close to the leaders of the group. Make them feel special because you may never see them again.
There are lots of other ideas for visitors during the event and following up afterwards, but that’s for another Article.

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How to create a successful Networking group

How to create a successful Businss Networking Group Matthew BroomheadI shared this with a member of my team this morning while pushing my baby daughter around on our morning “Pram push”. I thought I would share this with you as well. (It can also apply to any team, board or committee).

Creating a successful Business Networking group is simple, but not easy.

Below are my thoughts on the three stages required to W.I.N.

  1. Willingness to Trust
    Create an environment where other people feel safe and listened to.
    This creates respect, trust and commitment. These are the three core elements to any valuable business client relationship.
  2. Invite
    Once those elements start to grow, then people will be comfortable in wanting to invite their valuable contacts along to visit the group. This creates value for all three parties involved – the visitor, the inviter & the group.
  3. New growth
    The more value that is added, the better the group. This increases in growth of members, quality referrals & interest in the group from outside.

Simple? Yes.

Easy? No.

It takes TLC!  Time, Learning and Commitment. Three attributes that have to be searched for – you don’t find them lying around for someone to notice and pick up.

Here endeth Matt’s “Tuesday Talk”.

Enjoy your day!

Matthew Broomhead

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