Olive Strachan North West Export Champion 2016
phone +44 (0) 161 209 3950

Jul31

Celebrating Success

Posted by olive

Olive Strachan with Packaging Automation

I recently received an exciting and unexpected email:

Hi Olive,

We are going to an awards dinner on 13th July because we are finalists in three categories, the whole management team are going and we would love you to join us, as you have been closely involved in our journey and our success.

This email was from Sam Ashton, Operations Director of Packaging Automation Ltd in Knutsford, who I have been working with on various projects since 2014. As a Learning and Development/HR Consultant I work for myself and we often work with organisations in various capacities. You know you have had a positive impact, but you don’t often have a chance to share in the success. It was lovely to be invited to the awards ceremony, sharing the recognition received by my clients.

The 2017 E3 Business Awards evening took place on Thursday 13th July at the Macron Stadium in Bolton. The winners were announced in front of an audience of over 500 business delegates. There were seventeen award categories. The winning companies and individuals came from organisations across the North West: from Cumbria to Cheshire, Merseyside to Manchester. It was an amazing evening with each business having the opportunity to speak on a video about why they deserve to be recognised.

We were not successful for two of the three categories, so as they announced the ‘Manufacturing Business of the Year 2017’ we sat there tense, with our hearts beating fast. Sam Ashton appeared on the screen sharing the company's many achievements with the rapt audience. This was a challenging category because the winner had to demonstrate:

  • Excellent sales performance and growth prospects
  • A strong pioneering spirit in new product development
  • Manufacturing innovation and the use of technology
  • Quality and continuous improvement
  • Investment in people
  • Evidence of staff training / mentoring

As soon as they announced Packaging Automation as the winner, our table erupted. I was invited to join the senior leadership team on the stage and we danced towards it cheering and clapping to the music. It was such a fantastic feeling. Everyone joined together their faces reflecting pride and elation. This was the culmination of all their hard work.

Packaging Automation at the 2017 E3 Business Awards

When we returned to our table with the award, both Neil and Sam Ashton spoke with pride about their staff, acknowledging that each member had impacted on the organisation’s success.

Neil paid tribute to his staff saying the following:

"I know the effort that’s gone into the last four years by everybody and these awards are not easy to win. Recognition from other industry and business leaders add to all the other positive feedback we receive and it’s great to know we’ve achieved another accolade.

"We have so much more to achieve and many more challenges ahead and with the belief we have anything is possible. We will continue our journey which can only mean more success.

"Well done everyone!"

So, what has been the impact of celebrating success?

  • Celebrating milestones does have a positive impact on employee well-being and engagement. Staff feel that they are contributing to the long-term success of the organisation.

  • It contributes to the stories and myths that will be told in the future about the organisation, e.g. 'Remember when we won that award?'

  • It motivates staff to focus on the next goal, the next award.

  • It helps build collaborative relationships - other organisations are now contacting them to ask for their advice and support.

  • It makes them an employer of choice. Success is contagious!

I feel an immense pride in working with this amazing organisation, who are leading the way in the manufacturing field.

Thank you again for allowing me to share in your successful journey.

With the start of Brexit, Theresa May and her team will have to hone their influencing and persuading skills, which after all, are the key tenets of any negotiation. In a change process or just in everyday work, leaders often come across situations where they need the support of people or groups around them.

One of the key skills of a Leader is the ability to influence others in order to get what they want. To do this effectively they need to be organised in the way they get you to think about the situation and plan their actions. Influencing is the process of gaining the support and commitment of others in achieving your goals.

Influence is about people not things – it comes to a person from another person and it develops through an awareness of what people think about that person and their ideas. What others think is partly to do with the impression a person makes, their manner and the way they speak.

Also, perceived power can give a type of influence, e.g. there is positional power – which is the power of authority or personal power – which is the power relationship building and interpersonal skills.

There are three stages to influencing:

A) Prepare the ground 

This is about building relationships and planning how to handle the situation. There are two sides to preparation, the first is about building relationships and gaining information. Effective relationships take time to develop. We need to invest in others so that they feel we can be trusted. It is also important to keep abreast of any issues which are coming up and could impact on a positive outcome.

The second part of preparing is specific to the situation. Always set yourself clear goals, it is not wise to go into an influencing situation without a clear idea of the outcomes or goals you wish to achieve.

Ask and answer the following two questions every time:

1. What do I want to be doing and feeling afterwards?

2. What do I want others to be doing and feeling afterwards?

You also need to think about how a person is likely to react to any suggestions you may make.

B) Managing the situation

During this phase, it is important to establish rapport to build confidence and trust, this is done by:

- Giving attention to the other person

- Maintaining eye contact

- Greeting people warmly

- Using people’s names

- Being aware of your body language

- Encouraging others to speak and avoid constantly interrupting them

Engaging skills

These are the behaviours which help us gain people’s interest; create empathy and common feelings about critical issues. Building trust and understanding between people includes the skills of: 

- Disclosing

- Listening

- Discovering

- Envisaging and empathising

C) Channelling skills, looking forward and concluding

When satisfactory agreement can’t be reached, highlight key points, summarise difficulties, suggest a way forward, seek reactions and agree how to proceed. It is important to summarise the agreement, decisions and actions, and check reactions and show appreciation.

9 Key Questions You Should Ask Yourself When You Are Preparing to Influence:

1. What do you want to achieve?

2. What are the range of things the other person could offer?

3. What would you be prepared to accept? (In other words, what is your fall-back position)

4. How will you approach the conversation? What tactics will you use?

5. What are the facts and figures behind the situation?

6. What objections may they come up with?

7. How will you overcome these objections?

8. When is the best time to influence?

9. Where will you influence?

If our Brexit negotiators follow a few of the hints and tips above, it should go a long way in helping to achieve a satisfactory agreement.  We wish good luck to Theresa May and her team!

Tools to Help Organisations Deal with Brexit

Every organisation will be affected in different ways by Brexit depending on their sector and specific circumstances, and Human Resources/Learning & Development have a key role to play in ensuring that employees are kept informed and reassured during this time of change and transition.

 

1. Present an unambiguous message from the top of the organisation.

This could come from the CEO or the HR function. There must be clear intent to address employee worries and concerns. It is important that this message re-focuses staff on the business, because during times of uncertainty we tend to focus on our own individual problems, which can cause conflict. For some staff, Brexit can have potentially positive outcomes - for example, some may see it as improving the organisation's competitive position, meaning more work and better job security. UK citizens working in the EU and EU nationals working in the UK - people who may be directly affected by Brexit - will need reassurance and support.

 

2. Make sure you have a strong communication strategy.

At this time, communication is key to building trust. It must be a blended communication approach encompassing:

  • A message from the CEO (which should emphasise the fact that 'we are all in this together')
  • Discussion groups
  • Employee forums
  • 'Town Hall' meetings

 

3. Make use of social media.

Social media has a strong part to play in the two-way communication process. A video message from the CEO shown across all social media platforms ensures that all employees globally receive the same message. Many organisations employ staff whose first language is not English, and a video allows these people to assimilate the message at their own pace and in their own time. Most organisations have their own equivalent of Facebook for employees, which is great for creating communities and allows staff to post comments and pose questions that are important to them. This allows for open communication at all levels of the organisation. It is important that this is monitored by HR to maintain understanding of employee needs and concerns. Another advantage of using a video is that millennials prefer videos that allow staff to listen to the tone of voice and also to see the speaker's face.

 

4. Reaffirm the values that are at the core of your organisation.

Many of the organisations we work with have 'integrity' and 'respect for others' as their core business values. Now is the time to keep staff on track - changes are happening, but you are still the same organisation and your values remain the same. Make sure that employees keep the connection and bring them together using the organisation's values as the thread that holds everyone together.

 

5. Equip line managers with the skills required to manage change.

Brexit means that line managers will have to maximise talent to help build a sustainable business. Some of the key areas that they will need to address are:

  • Inclusion & Diversity - Brexit has, in some instances, widened the cracks in society, emphasising our differences in a negative way. Now is the time to invest in Equality & Diversity training; help staff to celebrate our differences, be aware of unconscious bias, and work together to create a work environment where everyone thrives and feels included.

  • Staff Engagement - Managers need some specific skills to engage staff during these challenging times. Donald Trump's rallying cry is 'Putting America First!' During Brexit, some staff will feel threatened, and we don't always think rationally when our emotional brain kicks in. We start to think more about ourselves and less about others, which can impact on collaborative relationships at work. If we do not work well together, this ultimately impacts on team cohesion and productivity. Managers will have to work a lot harder to get a positive response from their staff.

  • Skills Development - As a HR/L&D professional, I recommend that you create your Brexit toolkit using all the hints and tips discussed above. We have found that this sets the foundations for the future and also alleviates stress, helping the organisation to get ahead of the issue. 

Brexit - just change management by another name?

As a UK based SME with some international clients, the vote to leave the EU came as a shock. I knew that the vote would be close, but I was confident that ultimately Remain would win. Post Brexit I feel it is pointless to rake over the coals, beat our breasts and keep complaining. It has happened and we must move forward. The biggest request we are receiving at the moment from our clients is how we can help managers and leaders to cope with Brexit.

Having experienced a few major recessions in my working life and survived, here are a few of my hints and tips on how to ensure we emerge relatively unscathed. My mantra post Brexit is 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger', a quote from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. 

Brexit in effect is a massive change process and the skills required by managers and leaders are the ability to deal with change and uncertainty. They must build better working relationships with team members, ensuring that they listen and communicate, provide reassurance and sometimes counselling for those who need it.

In the middle of this sea of uncertainty - because no one can predict the outcome as yet - we hear on the news about the political upheaval and the internal conflicts within various political parties.  Managers/Leaders must provide a beacon that shines amongst the chaos of all this turbulence.  

Something that staff can cling to has to be our company values.  We must keep reinforcing what we stand for as an organisation and what we believe in. Because the impact on the pound, financial markets, the housing market and uncertainty regarding the status of EU workers means that things will change.  

One thing that remains the same is the innate value and purpose of the company we work for. We need to take action that reflects company values and look for some positives. This could be an opportunity to hone your negotiation and influencing skills and ultimately become more resilient. I know definitely after the last recession where I had to seek new international markets for my consultancy services and grow my business by exporting; I emerged stronger with additional expertise and increased confidence in my abilities.

 

My 4 key tips for managing through Brexit are:

 

  1. Consider the potential changes and the impact on the role of employees and leaders.

  2. Identify the skills and attributes necessary for managing the change. E.g. one of the pre-requisites for our next prime minister is that they must have strong negotiation skills so that they can negotiate the deals we require with the rest of the EU. Similarly as an organisation what skills are required to ensure that you are able to navigate the challenging times ahead? Ideally do you possess the talent within the organisation? If not do you need to recruit the right people?

  3. Recognise the psychological impact that is associated with change, the personal responses that staff may manifest and how this will be dealt with. Coaching, counselling and providing support are critical success factors.

  4. Reflect on the impact of change on the organisation, the team and the individual and the challenges this presents. It is important to involve staff, set up some focus groups ask staff for their input and ideas making sure that staff are engaged and employees feel that they have a voice is crucial.

 

Peter Cheese the CEO of the CIPD says that Brexit is a time when we must demonstrate strong leadership and direction,  even if at the moment we are still experiencing VUCA (which is the acronym used to reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions).

The main thing to emphasis to our employees is that the 17 million people who voted for Brexit wanted to create something. Within an organisation this could also be an opportunity to create something new but it means that each person is responsible for the outcome, so we are all accountable.

Premiere Hotels Group celebrating

Recently, it was my great pleasure to attend a gala dinner with some of the fabulous people I had helped to train and coach over the last few months for the Louvre Hotels Group, comprising Campanile and Premiere Class Hotels.

I had received an invitation giving me the opportunity to celebrate the success of the Sales Champions at the company's Sales Champion's Black Tie Gala Dinner. These were the very people I had helped to coach and train over the latter months as part of the OSR Employee Engagment in Action Programme. I was so proud to see them receive the recognition and rewards they deserved for their hard work and commitment to the organisation. The World Class Service chain clearly demonstrated their Do, Dare, Dream philosophy, which I felt we had achieved successfully together.

The exact agenda for the evening was shrouded in security, but it was lovely to see everyone arriving to a champagne reception dressed in their most glamorous outfits - it was reminiscent of the Oscars!

As the person who had been involved in working with the organisation to design and deliver the Sales Champions training, I felt humbled and priveliged to be invited to one of their highlights of the year. As a Learning and Development consultant, you do not often get the opportunity to celebrate success with your clients.

I arrived at Campanile in Bradford (www.campanile-bradford-co.uk) and immediately recognised many familiar faces; Mark Aldridge, Head of Operations Europe, was at the forefront of the welcoming team. As a senior leader, he has an excellent relationship with his staff, and this was evident throughout the evening. Along with Mark was another senior leader: Xavier Douchy, Vice President of Operations Europe, who had flown in especially for the occasion. Their demonstrations of support and showing an interest in their employees with their presence never cease to amaze. Mark knows each employee individually and the laughter and cheers as each person was greeted and acknowledged resonated throughout the hotel.

It was certainly a night to remember, and there was an air of suspense and expectation in the room as the winners were announced. Each person received a rapturous applause as they were called to receive their award. I can honestly say that it felt as if everyone was a winner at Campanile, but the outstanding winners of the evening were as follows:

  • Best Sales Conversion: Selina Knott, Campanile Swindon
  • Being Most Proactive: Tracey Mann, Campanile Basildon
  • Outside Comfort Zone: Kevin McCoy, Campanile Doncaster
  • Largest Increase in Revenue: Kate Cook, Campanile Dartford
  • Individual Site Ownership: William Furie, Campanile Glasgow
  • Engagement of Team: Rafal Gawart, Campanile Leicester
  • Improvement in Guest Service: Emma Taylor, Campanile Bradford
  • Exceeding Guest Expectation: Tomasz Fecinski-Gawl, Campanile Manchester

And finally...

  • Sales Champion of the Year: Alexandra Brown, Campanile Milton Keynes

The pride and delight on each person's face was clear to see as each winner was recognised not only amongst their peers but by their managers and the senior leaders within the organisation. This sight was clearly a pleasure to behold.

Olive Strachan at the Louvre Hotels dinner

Noreen Gregory and Juliet Hayes - the managers responsible for ensuring that the Sales Champion initiative was successful - had taken care of everything, from the delicious food and wine to the excellent service and the fabulous awards and prizes that were of the highest quality, ensuring that each person felt delighted to be part of the great occasion.

The Gala Dinner and Ball was the culmination of a project which began a year ago with a vision that Mark Aldridge had regarding staff engagement and ownership. Together with his team (comprising Noreen Gregory, Juliet Hayes and Emmanuelle Le Roux), it was truly a vision regarding how to better engage his staff.

Louvre Hotels Group values

From the outset, we agreed that the 4 traits that engaged employees were:

Enthusiasm, Empowerment, Inspiration and Confidence

The vision was for each employee within the organisation to feel committed to a common purpose and to playing their part in achieving business goals. A jigsaw piece would be incorporated into the project, linking to key actions that needed to take place for success. The jigsaw would be a large floor graphic with each piece representing a key action. The other side of the jigsaw would contain an explanation as to what each action would mean.

Each hotel would be given a large wall jigsaw, which was empty at first; then, as the hotel achieved the goal/objective, they would receive the relevant piece to insert into each space. The jigsaw would be displayed in a prominent position so that each member of staff had a visual reminder of their achievements. The ultimate goal was for each hotel to eventually gain all the pieces and have a full jigsaw on display.

Prior to launching the initiative, OSR was commissioned to design and deliver the Sales Champion's trainig and, at the end of the training, the pieces of the jigsaw were given to hotels that were already exceeding expectations.

Delivering a training programme can start the journey, but to guarantee transfer of learning to the workplace, it is essential that we have 'buy-in' from the managers so that the messages are reinforced. Bearing this mind, Noreen Gregory and Juliet Hayes were there during the delivery of the programme and immediately after to discuss action plans.

Measurements were put in place to monitor success. Each hotel was allocated a Sales Champion, who was tasked with sharing and cascading the learning within their hotel and presenting back to their team the concept of The Sales Champaion. To support them, they had regular coaching with their managers, meetings, one-to-ones and teleconferences with each hotel sharing in the success!

It was clear to me that The Drivers for Employee Engagement were deployed and utilised with exemplary practice. These drivers are:

  • Relationship with direct manager
  • Belief in senior leadership
  • Pride in working for the organisation

It was a night I will always remember with very fond memories!

Trophy

The Effective Communicator
Effective communication is an essential component of organisational success at all levels.

Once again, employee communications have made global headlines. US-based AOL announced a change in their Communication strategy. Sara McAuley, CCP, WLCP. Member, WorldatWork 2014 Board of Directors quotes …

“With regard to manager involvement in employee communications, only 11% of respondents thought that managers effectively implemented and communicated total rewards to employees. In spite of these disappointing statistics, improvement of communications practices continues to be at the top of the list for rewards and HR professionals”

Did You Know…

Previous Effective Communicator workshops delivered by OSR enabled 94% of delegates to communicate effectively and to use their communication styles to influence others.

OSR can help you get your Managers back on track. Our Effective communicator course is delivered at:

OSR Office
Regus, Peter House, Manchester
20th May 2014

We help your managers to hone their communication skills to achieve optimum results from work situations.

The Effective Communicator Programme (delivered by OSR) will help managers to achieve optimum results from work situations that involve other people and create effective business relationships.

For further information contact Olive Strachan, 0161 209 3949 or email:
olive@olivestrachan.com

LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE!

I have been a certified TetraMap®  Facilitator for 10 years I have found it to be an engaging model that lends itself to transforming team performance but also works well when used in one to one coaching situations. TetraMap® was created in New Zealand and it offers structured training tools which improve communication and consolidates unity and effectiveness.  It Maps the complexity of nature into four basic Elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire. Then, using the power of metaphor we apply the map to human behaviour.  It supports us to choose a balanced, holistic perspective; whether it is to improve relationships, strengthen teamwork clarify a corporate vision, or provide a framework for organisational development.

Having worked internationally for some years one of the criticisms that delegates make is that some of the profiling tools do not lend themselves to diverse audiences. Another criticism is that often after completing a personality profiling exercise they soon forget what the outcomes were and how it reflects on how they work with others.  Once when I was delivering a session using TetraMap® in Portugal, one of the delegates approached me and said ‘Ahh so we are all different, and it is ok to be different because ultimately we complement each other and our differences make us part of the whole!’  He got it!

Most recently I have utilised the ‘TetraMap®’booklet called ‘Why are you like that’ whilst working with a coachee who could not understand why his Manager was always seeking to build their brand externally and was always looking for recognition from wider stakeholders. Once we had completed the tool together and discussed how the elements worked and the key traits of each one it allowed him some insight into his Manager’s behaviour thus reducing conflict in their relationship.

As a HR/Learning and Development Professional and Coach - I have often found it works well with audiences from both the Private and Public Sectors promoting harmony and understanding amongst diverse groups. It also works well with my ‘Reflective Coaching’ we use the tool to promote self-awareness prior to our coaching session outside. Where we utilise the beauty of nature to broaden and deepen the coaching experience allowing the coachee to understand that the only limitation to achieving their goal is their own self-belief.

TetraMap® is a registered trademark of TetraMap International in New Zealand and other countries

In her last blog post, OSR founder Olive Strachan discussed the work she did for some of the company's earliest clients. Today, she moves forward a few years to talk about recognition: the appreciation and accolades that make all the hard work worthwhile...

A couple of beauties from the OSR trophy cabinet!

As anyone who runs their own business will tell you, the whole affair can get pretty lonely at times. Fortunately, I love what I do – just being part of the Learning & Development/Human Resources industry gives me a great deal of pleasure, and all the hard work and long hours seem more than worthwhile when you begin to garner some recognition for your efforts!

OSR won its first award in 2004. In recognition of the high-quality training delivery that my company was providing, the Learning and Skills Council chose me as the winner of their Women in Business award for that year; the ceremony was a grand affair, involving a trip to London and a rather luxurious stay at the InterContinental Hotel. My husband came with me for moral support, and after receiving the award (having been chosen from hundreds of potential winners) I came back to Manchester with renewed vigour and a feeling of euphoria!

Such is the boost that recognition can bring. Days, weeks, months and years of effort are validated in an instant when you realise that your work has made an impact. Recognition needn’t come in the form of a trophy, either (although it’s certainly nice when it does!) – a little positive feedback from clients is often enough to completely reinvigorate my sense of purpose. As you can probably tell, on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I score very high on recognition!

Our second award didn’t require a trip down to London – the ceremony was right here in the northwest of England. By this time, we had delivered training in over twenty countries around the world, from Germany to Thailand to Uzbekistan, and in recognition of this, the Northwest Regional Development Agency awarded OSR the prize for Achievement in International Business. This one was even more of a nail-biter, as the winner was decided on the night via an interactive audience polling system. The five nominees were introduced, and then it was up to the audience to choose the winner. The other nominees and I simply had to wait and see how many people voted for each candidate, and I must admit that I nearly leapt out of my chair when I realised I had won. It was a wonderful moment of my life, and one that I will always look back on with fondness.

It takes years of hard work and dedication, but if you are doing good work, then recognition will come. I love knowing that, whether by coaching, mentoring, or training, I have made a difference to someone’s life, and it is this feeling that has kept me enthusiastic about my work through the years. My job is still as rewarding as ever, and I still love hearing back from the people and businesses I have helped!

For more information about the recognition that Olive and OSR have garnered over the years, take a look at our Awards & Achievements page.

Image Credit: Official GDC

If you’re a freelancer or you own your own business, it’s impossible to underestimate the importance of business networking. It’s not just about making new friends (although that is one of the potential benefits); it’s about getting the word out, creating opportunities, and building lucrative business relationships.

 

If you aren’t already making a conscious effort to network with other professionals, here are three reasons to start doing so. If you’re already acquainted with the joys of networking, here are three reasons to network harder!

  1. You’ll make a lasting impression
    Advertising is an important part of any serious marketing campaign, but good quality networking is often far more useful. People are more likely to remember a business whose owner they met and spoke to in person than a business they’ve read of or heard about from other sources.

  2. You'll be making new contacts
    It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Even if the person with whom you’ve just exchanged business cards don’t call you up and hire you, you’ve still made a new contact, and so your time was not wasted. Even the most low-profile contacts come in handy every so often!

  3. You're linking with other businesses
    Unless you and your networking chum work in precisely the same field - i.e. you are each others competitors – there’s almost certainly a way in which your businesses can scratch each other's back. Whether it’s a Facebook post urging people to ‘Like’ your page, a link back to your website from their own, or a fully-fledged collaboration between the two enterprises, there are all kinds of ways for small businesses to help each other out!

Want to improve your networking skills? OSR’s Business Networking training course will help you to be more confident and more cunning when approaching a potential networking opportunity.

Barclays Flexible Working

After speaking at the Natwest Entrepreneur Breakfast earlier this week, Olive Strachan will be appearing at another high-profile business event next Friday. Olive will be a guest speaker at the Barclays North West Flexible Working Forum on the 20th of September, and this occasion promises to be just as enlightening and as enjoyable as the Natwest breakfast.

The main focus of this seminar will be the subject of flexible working. Speakers will discuss the commercial benefits of flexible working, and attendees will have the opportunity to share their own best practices. You will of course have the chance to network before and after the event, and since some of the top employers in the North West are expected to attend, this could be a great opportunity for you and your business.

The invitation to the Flexible Working Forum can be seen below, along with details of how to book your place. Lunch will be provided, and the speeches are sure to be very illuminating indeed; our own Olive Strachan will be offering her viewpoint, along with Sarah Greasley (client technical director of IBM) and two representatives from Capability Jane, an up-and-coming recruitment website. We hope to see you there!

Barclays Invitation

Click image for full-size version.

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