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

If you've ever been to see a business coach or mentor, the session most likely took place in an office. There's nothing especially wrong with that, of course, but as any office worker will tell you, it can be quite a stifling, claustrophobic environment. That goes double in a one-on-one situation like mentoring; sitting in a room, face-to-face with your new business coach, can be quite and intense (and even unpleasant experience).

We at OSR love trying new approaches to our work, and we recently hit upon a new idea - namely, using the local environment to enhance the coaching experience. Receiving advice for your business is a far more edifying experience when you're walking around a lake or enjoying the sunshine, and now that the weather has (gradually) started to improve, this could be a great approach for OSR and its clients.

Read more about this approach on Industry Today.

An Opportunity to shape our programme for 2014/2015

In my position of Chair I am often asked by our members how we construct our programme of events for you. Well it is a yearlong activity culminating in the whole committee which consists of 20 strong volunteers from various backgrounds getting together to produce a programme that is innovative, creative and interesting.

We have also been tasked by CIPD Wimbledon to find local projects that could have an impact on improving better work and working lives.

This year we would like our members to get involved in helping us to shape our activities for 2014/15.

With this in mind we have compiled a questionnaire and it takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. This questionnaire is specifically for CIPD Manchester only, we are seeking to understand what your requirements are from us and how we can improve our offering to you.

Please click on the link https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ManchesterBranchMembersSurvey2014 

This workshop is provided by OSR, and it is aimed at leaders who want to inspire their teams to work together and who can deliver results and services better and more cost-effectively.

Course Date: 24th October

Book now to reserve your place.

"Olive provided very informative, exciting sessions on the Managing Skills training programme in Egypt. I benefitted from her expert knowledge and creative presenting. I would recommend Olive and the OSR Training Consultancy to any company or business who would like an injection of fresh ideas and fun in the complex art of management skills and training."

- Sue Cole, Director of Studies at British School, Melfi, Italy

Or are they?

In my capacity as Chair of the Manchester Branch of the CIPD, I have been asked by the Career Academy UK to present on the topic of a CIPD report called 'Employers are from Mars, Young People are from Venus'.

The report identifies that there is a direct mismatch between the expectations of employers for young people during the recruitment stage and the young people's perception of what employers expect from them. Are they worlds apart? In essence, the processes are deterring the young people's entry into employment, and this is a prime factor in the skills shortage that currently faces UK businesses.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, commented: "When it comes to recruitment, it can feel as though young people and employers are on completely different planets. Too many young people are struggling to finish their first job, whereas many employers are finding it difficult to get the skills they need. This mismatch needs to be addressed, not only to reduce youth unemployment and the long-term impact it can have on young people, but also to ensure that UK businesses are equipped with the right talent for the future."

Of course, we must also look at the employer's perspective; many employers suggest that their roles require 'experience', even for relatively junior roles, which then creates a mundane sequence for those young people who do not have access to employment opportunities.

The presentation will take place in Manchester at the Cooperative Building, Ballon Street, Manchester. Starting at 5.30pm and concluding with a Q&A session at 6.30, the event should prove to encourage a lively debate. The employers in attendance will include Barclays, Jaguar Land Rover, Deloitte, Aircelle, M&S Bank, and SMEs.

I very much look forward to working with Career Academy UK and supporting them on their journey to unite employers and young people to ensure that they are ready for the 'world of work'.

The full report can be accessed at www.cipd.co.uk/publicpolicy, and the agenda for the presentation is available to download at www.olivestrachan.com/content/pdfs/cauk-flyer.pdf.

Further information on the Career Academy UK can be found here: www.careeracademies.org.uk

"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'.

Worldwide Who's Who is a global enterprise that seeks to distinguish the most outstanding businesspeople from throughout the world, helping them to network with each other and enhance their own online profiles. The organisation operates on a 'by invite only' basis, and so it gives us immense pride to announce that Olive Strachan and OSR are now a part of the Worldwide Who's Who!

Worldwide Branding issued a press release earlier today, praising Olive's "dedication, leadership and excellence" and highlighting some of her greatest achievements to date. Particular attention was paid to Olive's unique training style; the article describes it as "very engaging, very active with clients and [getting] them involved".

Higher praise we couldn't have asked for - this made everyone here at OSR very happy, and this recognition from the Worldwide Who's Who is further proof of the excellence demonstrated on a daily basis by Olive and the team.

Read the full press release here, or return to the OSR homepage.

With the clocks going back on Sunday it seems that autumn has well and truly settled in, and it's already been a very busy period for me! As chair of the CIPD's Manchester branch, my schedule has been chock-a-block of late:

  • We at CIPD Manchester have started to build a collaborative relationship with corporate membership organisation Pro Manchester. Last month, I attended a reception at the Manchester Art Gallery where Nicola Quayle (the recently-inaugurated chair of Pro Manchester) was speaking about her plans for the organisation and answering the questions of almost a hundred delegates from a wide variety of industries. I have yet to meet Nicola face-to-face, but I think I speak for the whole branch when I say that we look forward to working with her over the coming months!

  • I myself was invited to speak at a number of events recently. I delivered a speech to more than 50 businesses at the Natwest Entrepeneur Breakfast in September, waxing lyrical on the subject of keeping one's employees engaged; later that month, I spoke at the Barclays North West Flexible Working Forum, as did Sarah Greasley (Client Technical Director of IBM) and Sara Hill (CEO of Capability Jane). Email info@olivestrachan.com if you would like a copy of the slides we used! 

  • One of CIPD Manchester's main aims is to collaborate with businesses in North West England and to breed fruitful working relationships with them. I recently had a meeting with the people behind The Nubian Times, an up-and-coming BAME newspaper; they were interested in working with the CIPD, and expressed a particular passion for topics related to diversity and inclusion. Additionally, I am now a member of the Talent Northwest team, a group focused on attracting and retaining new business talent.

  • I also went to a fashion show at L.K. Bennett. Life isn't all work, you know!

There are plenty of big CIPD events still to come, including the institute's Annual Conference and Exhibition in November. The event (subtitled 'Leading HR into the Future') will take place on the 6-7th of November at Manchester Central. Further details can be found on the CIPD website; the Manchester Branch committee will be speaking on both days, so do come and say hello if you are attending!

Have a great autumn,

Olive Strachan
CEO and Founder of Olive Strachan Resources 

Managing Teams

This workshop, provided by OSR, is aimed at leaders who want to inspire teams to work together. Our team management training will help you to deliver results and services better and more cost-effectively.

Course Date: 24th October

Book now to reserve your place! Call 0161 838 5692 or email info@olivestrachan.com to book.

"Olive provided very informative, exciting sessions on the Managing Skills Training programme in Egypt. I benefitted from her expert knowledge and creative presenting of her skills programme. I would recommend Olive and OSR Training Consultancy for any company or business who would like an injection of fresh ideas and fun in the complex art of management skills and training."

- Sue Cole, Director of Studies at British School, Melfi, Italy

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.

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