Olive Strachan North West Export Champion 2016
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Make 2017 the Best Year of Your Life

At the end of November 2016, I decided after a challenging year that it was time to invest in my own development. I managed to tick off an item on my 'bucket list' at the same time, as the event I was attending was GoPRO 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Centre in Nevada. I have always wanted to visit Las Vegas and was able to board a small plane that had been specially cusotmised for sightseeing - we flew over the Mojave desert, the Hoover dam, and the Grand Canyon, where we stopped for a picnic lunch. It was an experience that I will never forget.

Most memorable of all was the experience of walking across the Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped cantilever bridge with a glass walkway over the Grand Canyon. When you're out on the Skywalk, the rim of the Grand Canyon is 70 feet behind you and the opposite side is 3 miles in front of you. The bottom of the Canyon is 2 thousand feet beneath you - the moment I looked down is one I'll never forget!

After that amazing experience, I felt ready to tackle anything, and I arrived at the GoPRO event ready to absorb, learn and participate.

Olive Strachan at GoPRO 2016

The event featured an interesting array of speakers, including Eric Worre, John Addison, Mel Robbins, Sir Richard Branson, and Tony Robbins. I firmly believe that, in order to achieve success, you need to "model yourself on someone who is already doing what you want to achieve", so to be in the presence of these great speakers and successful entrepreneurs with 20,000 other people was extremely motivational. When I left the event after 3 days, I felt energised, positive, and focused, with a written plan for 2017.

So what did I learn at GoPRO 2016, and why have I already booked for next year's event? Let me share with you the 3 steps that form part of my strategy for success in 2017. The key themes running through the event's 3 days were developing mental toughness, managing your emotions, and having a strategy. Additionally, quite a few of the speakers focused on the question of whether you have an internal or external locus of control; this refers to the extent to which you believe that you have control over the events that influence your life. When you are dealing with a challenge in your life, do you feel that you have control over the outcome? Or do you believe that you are simply at the hands of outside forces?

If you believe that you have no control over what happens and that external variables are to blame, then you have what is known as an external locus of control.

River

 

Developing mental toughness

Mel Robbins, whose popular TED Talk named 'How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over' became world famous, advocates the '54321 - Go!' method. This is based around the power of 5-second decisions. Mel shared with us that she had experienced many years of depression, which impacted on her ability to function well. One day, she forced herself to act by using metacognition, in effect tricking her brain. Whenever she felt challenged or unable to do something, she used her 5 second rule, simply saying to herself, "5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go, action!" This method has helped her to overcome her fears and just keep going.

Richard Branson discussed the importance of taking risks. In his case, he has risked his life for the Virgin brand; his mental courage is underpinned by a strong belief in his company, a love of people, thriving on challenge, and seeing life as one big learning opportunity. A few other sayings that resonated with me were: "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down" (that is, life will serve us a few curve balls, but we can overcome these challenges); "Don't confuse disappointment with disaster" (we often overreact when things go wrong, but reflection and a calm appraisal of the situation can give some clarity); and Tony Robbins's observation that "Success leaves clues - unless you can handle failure, you can never have success".

 

Managing your emotions

John Addison discussed how important it is to manage our emotional response to crises. "What is up to us", he said, is the following:

  • Our emotions
  • Our judgement
  • Our creativity
  • Our attitudes
  • Our perspectives
  • Our desires
  • Our decisions
  • Our determination

"What is not up to us", he continued, is everything else! Successful entrepreneurs learn to manage the things listed above. Part of emotional management is being able to motivate yourself and having a powerful vision - one of the mantras of the GoPRO event was 'focus on the vision; wherever focus goes, energy flows!' People who are unable to motivate themselves must be happy with mediocrity.

Donna Johnson, a successul entrepreneur of 27 years, stressed how important it is to "Learn from the accelerated wisdom of people around you". You need to develop the strength to ignore the doubters, distractions and dream stealers.

 

Having a strategy

Whether you are using social media or other methods of marketing your business, it is important to:

  • Define your marketing strategy
  • Create your identity - describe who you are and craft your story
  • Write a page on why people should buy from you rather than from anyone else
  • Communicate your vision - walk the walk as well as talking the talk!
  • Invest in personal development (e.g. keep reading to increase your knowledge, attend networking events to make new contacts)
  • Create a plan of action and stick to it - be disciplined!

John Addison, who wrote the book Real Leadership, shared some of his hints and tips during the GoPRO event. He talked about 'attacking the day' - not meandering through, but having a purpose! Another pertinent saying of his was "I will do today what others don't, so I will have tomorrow what others won't". Some sacrifice is necessary to achieve our goals.

Olive Strachan

I came away from this event with my action plan for a successful 2017. I hope you find the information I have shared useful; if you have tried any of the above and found it useful, please feel free to contact me and share your success!

Follow Olive Strachan (@OliveStrachan) on Twitter for more insight and inspiration.

We are pleased to announce that our CEO Olive Strachan has been selected as an Export Champion 2016 to represent the UKTI NW (this initiative is unique to the North West). The first Export Champions were recruited for 2013, and have done a great job spreading the word about the benefits of international trade.

As a region, we in the North West need to sell more products and services overseas, and Olive is determined to encourage and support as many companies as possible to take up the export challenge. Here at OSR, we want to ensure that people know about the opportunities of exporting and the important UKTI North West does. The team alongside Olive are really looking forward to the challenges of 2016 and advocating the excellent work of the UKTI.

We at OSR will be offering courses to support the exporting initiative, including Cultural Sensitivity - A Guide to the Business Culture of the Gulf. This programme will assist UK companies wishing to trade in Gulf markets. It will provide each business with a good knowledge of cultural values and beliefs, as well as essential business etiquette. This course has been developed by experts who have worked and completed business negotiations and traded in the Gulf region. It will arm any professional with the key knowledge required to do business in the Gulf. The programme fits right in with the following OSR Values:

  • Inspiration - Inspiring others to reach their potential
  • Quality - Striving for excellence
  • Passion - Being committed to giving the best we can
  • Integrity - Being authentic at all times
  • Community - Giving something back
  • Collaboration - Providing specialist knowledge

2016 looks like it will be a busy year for OSR, and Olive's dedication and passion shine through at all times. As she steps up to tackle her new responsibilities, she is determined to make exporting great!

Olive Strachan profile

Olive Stracahan is the founder of Olive Strachan Resources, established in 1998 and based in Manchester, United Kingdom. Since setting up her own consultancy, Olive has delivered training that makes an impact all over the world. OSR creates bespoke solutions for any size of business, delivers cost-effective open programmes, and provides specialist advice for companies that do not have a dedicated in-house HR resource. 

Olive is an International Management Consultant, Expert Trainer, Motivational Speaker  and Executive Coach who started her career in the Recruitment industry working as a manager and coach for Reed Employment, Blue Arrow and Addeco.  Olive then pursued a career with Video Arts Training, establishing their first learning resource centre in Manchester. In essence, Olive has been developing Managers for over 25 years. 

Working in over 20 countries has given Olive the experience and understanding of International Business. This experience, combined with a Masters Degree in Human Resources Management, ensures that she is able to understand the issues that face organisations. Olive has travelled extensively and is an experienced facilitator; her main niche incorporates and develops managers, directors and working with individuals to reach their full potential. 

Olive Strachan has received all kinds of awards and accolades for her work as a training consultant. Many different organisations and institutions have acknowledged Olive’s achievements, and her twin talents for training and business coaching continue to earn recognition from all corners of the globe, including awards for:

  • Showcase Volunteer CIPD PACE Award 2014
  • One of the most influential Women in Business in the North West 2013/2014
  • The EMBF North West award for International Business
  • Recognised by the Worldwide Who's Who

Olive has worked with national organisations including Astra Zeneca, The British Council and Manchester City Council, Keele University, Packaging Automation, Irwell Valley Housing, Brand Additions, and international organisations within sectors such as pharmaceuticals, the financial sector, retail, banking, and education. She was also involved in developing the volunteers for the Commonwealth Games when it was held in Manchester. Olive has recently achieved an ILM Level 7 in Coaching and Learning, and she is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. An ex-Chair, of the CIPD Manchester Branch, Olive is presently an HR Leader for the Branch and a CIPD Council Representative.

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

A fitting tribute - and one of my highlights for the end of the year - was at CIPD's volunteer role models event in London, where we celebrated the CIPD Volunteer PACE Awards, attributable to the CIPD values of being Purposeful, Agile, Collaborative and Expert (PACE). The awards recognise volunteers from the CIPD's regional branches and groups who go above and beyond their responsibilities to provide a valued service to members and local communities. It was also an inaugural event, recognising volunteers from organisations outside of the CIPD for the first time and serving as an opportunity to include the various networks.

Olive Strachan and Peter Cheese

Pictured: Olive Strachan with Peter Cheese, CEO of CIPD

The judging panel was chaired by Anna Kyprianou, Vice-President Membership and Professional Development for the CIPD.

Divided into three award sections, the accolades were:

  • Firstly, presenting certificates of volunteering to celebrate and acknowledge the numerous volunteers who have proven to be a fundamental part of the local regional offer, and a bedrock of volunteer activities.

  • Secondly, and furthermore, the CIPD recognised local leaders, who have led and developed their local committees throughout 2014.

  • Finally, the 'Showcase' awards recognised individuals who delivered something exceptional, and went above usual expectations in their volunteer activities. Also for the first time, external volunteers were recognised, as they too have a huge impact in areas of primary importance to the CIPD.

I was both delighted and honoured to be awarded a Showcase Volunteer Award, presented by the CEO of the CIPD Peter Cheese, alongside representatives of the Professional Speaking Association and the HRNet (part of the Cranfield Trust).

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us"
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The above quote epitomises what coaching is all about: realising the potential in someone.

I have coached people for many years, and I am a great believer in personal development and training. I have recently embarked upon the ILM Level 7 Diploma in Executive Coaching and Mentoring as part of my quest for continuous development.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) lists some characteristics of coaching in organisations that are generally agreed upon by most coaching professionals.

Coaching consists of a one-to-one, non-directive form of a development discussion and provides feedback to an individual on both weaknesses and strengths. Addressing a wide range of issues, they are usually specific and relatively short-term. Focusing on work-related issues rather than personal, coaching is both time-bound and a skilled activity.

Historically, most of the coaching at OSR has taken place inside offices. If you are in a confined space, having a one-to-one with an individual, it can be a very intense experience. The new reflective coaching approach concentrates on a contemporary programme that specialises in coaching but also utilises the environment to further enhance the coaching experience. The approach will also include Tetramap, the G.R.O.W. Model of Coaching, and a 360 degree feedback model.

At OSR, we will be offering coachees the opportunity to leave the constraints of the office and embrace and experience the beauty of nature, whilst discovering their full potential and finding exactly 'what lies within us'.

For further information on Olive Strachan Coaching Services, visit www.olivestrachan.co.uk.

Olive Strachan the founder of OSR Global Training Providers has been named one of the top 100 most influential women in business by the Business Insider North West. 

Throughout the recession Olive has continued to expand her business Global OSR internationally and has successfully held the position of Branch Chair of Manchester CIPD - a very commendable accolade indeed. 

As a Global Entrepreneur, Growth Coach and HR Professional Olive sits comfortably amongst the other 99 women selected, all from different industries representing both the public and the private sector. Many high-profile and prestigious companies are represneted in the lineup, including the White Company, BBC, Trafford Council and The Cooperative Group.

This prestigious accolade is testament to OSR's global success, something which we are very proud of. The list was collated by a selective committee of prominent business people from throughout the region and every woman who was elected was chosen for her influence on the North West business and her contribution to the world of commerce. 

Olive is also a member of the Professional Speakers Association and her name can also be seen in the 'World Who's Who List of Influential Women'. 

Olive's success has been reported on Industry Today and Briefing Wire. This marks yet another fantastic achievement for Olive and OSR Global Training Providers. 

OSR logo with shadow

It is always good to know when you have done a good job. A simple thank you or well done usually suffices, but when you receive a written testimonial from a client, saying how they really appreciate your efforts, you feel wonderful and on top of the world.

I really enjoy what I do. I enjoy seeing people develop, and knowing that my training can improve their performance in the workplace. I enjoy instilling confidence and bringing people out of their shells, and to receive a written endorsement thanking me for my work and detailing how it has benefitted an individual is priceless.

I recently completed a training sessions for the Sales Champions for Campanile Hotels and the Louvre Hotel Group. I must say that all the delegates were fantastic, and each person had their own unique contribution to bring to the table. The training session proved to be very successful and everyone really enjoy the day - especially myself!

You can imagine my surprise when I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers at my office a couple of days after the session, along with a lovely thank you note. In addition, I also received the testimonial below to post onto the OSR website and to share on the OSR social media channels.

As I have mentioned, it is always good to get up in the morning and enjoy going to work, knowing that you are helping and supporting some individual or team to better themselves and improve their skills.

Over the 16 years OSR have been in business, we have trained 500 managers and delivered training in 20 countries. I have met some fabulous people and seen some fantastic sights, but when I receive a testimonial for doing what I love to do, it really is the best feeling and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

"Brilliant training as always! Having known and worked with Olive for 8 years now, each training session is success guaranteed. She is an exceptional character with a personality that brightens the room. Olive always makes the training very interesting and energetic, and she engages exceptionally well with all candidates. Olive is one of those very rare people, able to make her audience open up and get involved in the training. Next session is already scheduled with another team..."

Mark Aldridge, Louvre Hotels Group UK, Head of Operations - Northern Europe

OSR logo with shadow

Olive Strachan, CEO and Founder of OSR Ltd, recently visited the Caribbean in relation to the UKTI Trade Mission.  The blog is in 2 parts; the first leg of her mission took Olive to the beautiful country of Barbados….

“Having being born on the beautiful Caribbean Island of Dominica, I have always had the desire to one day work in the Caribbean. With this in mind, we have invested in land with the intention of offering the same training services as we do in the UK, but with a sister company in West Indies. When I received an invitation from the UK Trade & Investment to attend the ‘Caribbean Education & Trade Mission’ to Barbados and Trinidad in March of this year, I jumped at the chance - and for some reason my husband said he would come with me!

"The first stop was Barbados. We stayed at the Accra Beach Resort and Spa, which I would highly recommend!  

"On the first day, we were taken to the British High Commission where we received a fantastic welcome and a complete overview of the Political and Economic aspects of Barbados by Victoria Dean, British High Commissioner to Barbados. 

"Presentations followed. arranged by Hadford Howell (Head of Trade and Investment from the Caribbean Development Bank) and the  University of the West Indies to name a few. It was an action-packed day and we left knowing what opportunities were available to us in Education and Training.  

"The following day, Hadford and his team had organised individual meetings with potential partners/buyers. It was a thoroughly interesting, informative and enjoyable trip. As an added bonus, we met some lovely people - a big shout-out to Sue Springer and her team from the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association for making us feel so welcome!

"The following day, we were flying out to Trinidad and Tobago on the next leg of the visit – exciting times ahead.  My journey will continue with my August blog..."

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The above quote, to me, epitomises what coaching is all about: releasing the potential in someone.

At Olive Strachan Resources, I have coached and mentored people for many years, and I am a great believer in personal development and training. As part of my quest for continuous development, I recently embarked on the ILM Level 7 Diploma in Executive Coaching and Mentoring. This is an intensive and experiential programme which required extensive practice and reading outside the formal tutorial workshops. In addition, all the participants shared experiences and had opportunities for networking and peer support.

Historically, most of my coaching has taken place inside offices, which sometimes - if you are in a confined space, having a one-to-one with an individual - can be a very intense experience. The ILM concentrated on a contemporary programme that specialised in coaching but also utilised the environment to further enhance the coaching experience. This involved working with a coachee whilst walking around Lake Buttermere in Keswick. It was truly an amazing experience - the beauty and stillness of the surrounding environment and the sense of being at one with the elements allowed each person to reflect deeply, making use of the mind, body, and spirit.

Buttermere, in the Lake District

Photograph by Shaun Ferguson

As the winter months progress, I am looking forward to when the weather is less inclement, offering my coachees at Olive Strachan Resources the opportunity to leave the constraints of the office to embrace and experience the beauty of nature whilst discovering their full potential and finding exactly 'what lies within us'.

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