Thursday, 31 December 2009

Achieving your New Year Resolutions 2010

With just 2 years to go to the Olympics athletes know the challenge ahead! To be part of it (let alone winning medals ) will involve years of dedication and practice with a very clear and specific dream to be achieved. Assuming athletes are human (!! ) then maybe we can be successful by using the following techniques..
1. Ensure your outcome is positively stated
As there is a tendency to get what you focus on ensure that your focus is a positive one!
Answer the question “what do you want?”
2. Specify the context for your outcome
Does the outcome apply everywhere, under all conditions?
Answer the question “where , when , with whom will you want this?”
3. Express outcome in sensory specific form
How will you know it when it happens?
Answer the questions “what will you see/hear/feel/experience when you achieve this?”
4. Check this is within YOUR capability
The outcome should be formed so that its achievement is down to you!
Answer the questions “ what resources have you got/can activate/can gain to get this?”
5. Preserving your other outcomes/desires
How will this impact on other aspects of your life?
Answer the question “ will you lose anything you have now by achieving this outcome?”
6. Check this is worthwhile
Does the outcome match your values and beliefs?
Answer the question “ is the outcome worth what it will take to get it?”
7. What are the positive future consequences
Check the impact on yourself and those around you
Answer the question “how will your life (and others) be different?”
8. Do it!!
Answer the question “What is the first step and when will you start?”

Have a Happy , Fulfilling and Productive New Year !!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Shaping the Future : Leadership 2020

Great Leaders of the future will be adaptable, empowering, diverse, customer focussed and emotionally intelligent. These were the conclusions from a meeting of 20 MBA graduates (South West Alumni Network) hosted by the Open Business School and run by Paul Maisey of Buffin Leadership International.

After discussing known trends such as economic globalisation, demographic changes and the impact of technology the group went on to create their own model of what great leadership would be like in 2020. Below is the list of key areas - for current leaders to consider for their future development !!

1. Adaptable
- Able to respond to change at different speeds
- Uses different approaches in different situations
- Focuses more on a creative mindset than processes
- Less risk averse and willing to fail ( learn )

2. Empowering
- Will encourage leadership behaviours at all levels of organisation
- General style will be participative and coaching based
- Major focus on increasing teams knowledge base
- Collaborative working across teams and organisations
- Relationships built on listening and trust

3. Diverse
- Welcomes ideas from all cultures
- Inclusive working practices irrespective of gender , background etc
- Explores opportunities in dispersed way of working ( international )
- Utilizes blends of experience and innovation

4. Customer focussed

- Open to different approaches for different markets ( globally )
- Customer centric in structure and accountability
- Will involve customers in generating solutions to their needs
- A flexible and highly responsive ethos
- Will use Information Technologies to connect with wide range of customers

5. Emotionally Intelligent
- Values driven , intuitive leadership style
- Humble ( learns from mistakes and recognises others knowledge )
- Able to engage people in clear Vision
- Uses humour and emotions to draw on teams strengths

Thursday, 12 November 2009

6 pathways to success for L & D professionals

Learning and Development professionals need to focus on six key areas to ensure they drive company performance , according to a recent meeting of the forum ( a group of 22 L&D professionals ) facilitated by Paul Maisey of Buffin Leadership International. Creative Problem Solving is core followed by adaptive learning processes, people engagement , results focus , teamwork and understanding.

Their Top Tips are

Creative Problem Solving

- Facilitate creative problem solving sessions to create and inspire ideas
- Develop innovative solutions to increase positive customer experience
- Create engaging training that opens staff to new ideas
- Drive and nurture creativity in communications
- Instil mindset that looks for new opportunities , new ways of working

Adaptive Learning Processes

- Develop a blended learning proposition focussed on business goals
- Support performance management with employee development via coaching programme
- Identify , share and reward cost effective best practice
- Build a positive training culture that drives team performance aligned to business objectives
- Identify and develop internal talent at all levels

People engagement

- Encourage people to identify and achieve personal goals that benefit the company
- Share ( open book style ) performance and successes
- Promote self belief
- Use new ideas/challenges to energise teams
- Support individuals and teams in taking ownership of issues

Results Focus

- Measure performance and recognise individual/team contributions
- Ensure L&D activities are match for current and future business needs
- Help people to maximise all their current skills
- Develop L&D programmes that drive greater quality and efficiency
- Measure impact of L&D activities on business priorities


- Establish cross functional relationships focussed on results
- Create and Celebrate role models of teamwork
- Develop supportive culture where sharing issues is encouraged
- Provide models of ways of team working
- Invest in teams that deliver results


- Ensure company understands current and future needs of customers
- Learn from how other companies practices
- Encourage and listen to ideas from all staff
- Drive shared understanding of key objectives and issues
- L&D must be open , approachable and quick to respond

L&D professionals that adopt these 30 Top Tips will help to ensure their companies become better , stronger , faster.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Dynamic Leadership in a Global Future

Continuous learning is at the heart of great leadership as we speed towards the future, according to experienced members of the Chartered Management Institute in Guernsey. Future Leaders will also have a dynamic vision, be market driven and globally competitive. These were the conclusions from a seminar organised by Susie Andrade of the CMI on “What will great leadership in Guernsey be like in 2020? “ run by Paul Maisey of Buffin Leadership International.

Top Tips for continuous professional development include

1. Continuous Learning
- Broad skills set with commitment to lifelong learning
- Knowledgeable at different levels ie detail ( product ) big picture ( global market )
- Making the most of information systems and leading edge technology
- Able to multitask and prioritise actions
- Flexes leadership skills to changing needs of virtual teams

2. Dynamic Vision
- Have and clearly communicate a consistent and compelling vision ( Direction )
- Be adaptable and responsive to changing circumstances ( Route )
- Inclusive of all beliefs and ideas
- Empowers and motivates to achieve creativity and innovation
- Supports colleagues and customers with effective coaching

3. Market Driven
- Open to different approaches for different markets ( globally )
- Customer centric in structure and accountability
- Adapts business model that balances needs of all stakeholders
- Recognises role in shaping Governmental and international policies
- Brand is visible and appropriate to markets

4. Globally Competitive
- Aims to be market leader in chosen market segments
- Multi cultural demographics reflected in structure and practices
- Adapts “ AND “ approach. Customer centric AND operationally efficient
- Earns respect and loyalty from customers and employees
- Sophisticated business model as competitors in one market may be partners in other

With thanks for these 20 Top Tips to all those who gave up their time to contribute their thoughts, ideas and energy to the seminar.

Paul Maisey is Regional Director Buffin Leadership International. Further information is available at

Monday, 3 August 2009

Engaging Leadership

Engaging Leadership

A recent government backed report – Engaging for Success – looked at the role of Employee Engagement in surviving the recession and producing high level performance results. It concluded that better engagement could do more than
“ anything else “ for the success of UK businesses. Below are some highlights and thoughts on how you could make a difference.


The report outlined the enormous amount of evidence that higher employee engagement leads to better customer service and better financial performance.

Did you know that

- a massive study of 50 organisations and 664000 employees showed that high engagement lead to a 13% increase in net income whilst low engagement lead to a 4% decrease in net income
- on average people who feel engaged by their company only take 2.7 days per year sick absence whilst people with no sense of engagement take 6.2 days


The reports says you could focus on

- visible leadership
- clear shared vision
- treating people as individuals
- listen to your employees

I think that the frameworks provided in “Leading at a higher level “ by Ken Blanchard will give you some excellent ideas

In particular

1. SCORES – the six elements found in every high performing company
Shared information – so that everyone in the company can make the right decision

Compelling Vision – to energise and focus people

Ongoing Learning – changing and striving to get better

Relentless focus on Customers – an obsessive drive to keep customers

Energising systems – ensuring structures and processes are aligned to improving results

Shared power – teamwork, collaboration and engagement

You can see a full copy of the Engaging for Success report via

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Leader Heal Thyself

Leadership it seems is getting a bad press ! Many would argue that it was the leaders in the financial sector that drove us into this recession. Others that Alan Sugars “ The Apprentice “ does nothing to give you confidence in our future leadership

It is clear that Leaders in a whole range of industry sectors and companies of all shapes and sizes are having to deal with very unusual times. In such a time people look to their leaders for confidence, guidance and clarity.
To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling

“ If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you ..... then you’ll be a leader !

For leaders to help steer their people and companies through these times it is essential that leaders first of all look after themselves. But how ?

1) Have a clear IDENTITY. Be sure you know who you are and what you stand for. A leader , parent , school governor , football coach. Ask yourself what would your passport say on the page headed “ who is xxxxxxx and what do they believe in ? How do want to be physically , emotionally, mentally and spiritually ?

2) Generate a clear VISION for SUCCESS in all the areas ( and beliefs ) that are important to you. What would it look like , feel like , sound like ? How would you know when you had got there ? Share this vision with those important to you.

3) Raise the ENERGY levels by aligning your thoughts, beliefs and emotions to your vision. All successful leaders ( and teams ) operate with high energy levels. Imagine how great it would be if everyone shared your dream and were passionate about working towards it. If you can imagine it you can make it happen. Help your team to find ways to address the six human needs of certainty, growth, significance, variety, connection and contribution. Ensure they can overcome any “ survivor syndrome “

4) Take ACTION to make the things you want happen. Set out and agree clear specific outcomes leading to actions now. Check the results you get and if it worked do more. If it didn’t work try something else ! Work to create small successes and a virtuous circle of ambition , actions , results.

To paraphrase ( again ) from Michael Knight of Knight Rider fame “ one person can make a difference .. when they believe they can “

Friday, 15 May 2009

Recession Busting HR!

Effective communication is critical in HR’s role in ensuring a company successfully emerges from the recession, according to twelve HR specialist’s from the South West. You also need engaging leadership, future oriented Organisational Development, efficient operations and powerful training. These were the conclusions from a creative problem solving seminar looking at the issue of HR’s role in driving success, run by Paul Maisey of Buffin Leadership International.

Top Tips include

Effective Communication

- Listen to staff concerns and openly share company information
- Ensure everyone understands business drivers and company plans
- Ask for ,and use , ideas from within the company
- Use HR professional networks to gain new ideas and options
- Step up the frequency of communication to all stakeholders

Engaging Leadership

- Support all Leaders in building and re-inforcing a positive mindset
- Encourage additional coaching activity to address concerns
- Ensure everyone remembers importance of Customers
- Re focus leadership training to business priorities ( and find cheaper and quicker delivery mechanisms)
- Remember how we treat our people know shows our real values!

Future Oriented Organisational Development

- Drive change management to re-focus roles on business priorities
- Re visit your vision and values, could you achieve them in a new way?
- Encourage cross functional working with focus on external customers
- Plan ahead – balance short term responses with longer term needs (you will still need talented people)
- Increase the company , and individuals , ability to manage change

Efficient Operations

- Adapt HR processes to reflect priorities
- Implement alternative reward and recognition practices
- Use flexible working opportunities
- Ensure people are “ managed out “ with respect
- Consider shared services and use of free websites

Powerful Training

- Prioritise learning and development focus to align with company needs
- Create innovative and practical development methods
- Encourage active coaching and mentoring
- Adapt talent management programmes to reassure managers of future
- Ensure all learning is aligned to measureable business benefit

Paul Maisey is the Regional Director for Buffin Leadership International. Further information is available at

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Criminal or Leader

Criminal or Leader : Caterpillar or Butterfly ?

“There is nothing about a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to become a butterfly “
What costs the UK £11 billion annually and doesn’t work ? Our criminal justice system!
Over 70 % of young offenders ( age 18-21 ) re-offend within 2 years !
Are you shocked – or do you think that simply locking people up doesn’t change their behaviours or beliefs?
What if we could apply the same world class interventions demanded by corporate business? What could a high quality personal leadership programme achieve? A reduction in the prison population of 5% would save £120 million annually – not to mention falling crime levels!
Having spent a year researching, designing and piloting we are now launching a brand new and unique leadership programme. Harnessing Potential Ltd, in conjunction with Buffin Leadership, is proud to launch the Chrysalis Programme at the House of Lords next week!
Our aim is to help individuals learn how to better understand , manage and modify their interactions with others , in terms of , attitudes , behaviours and and choices leading to less anti-social behaviour. Over 12 different modules, 18 guided learning days, they will be able to receive a BTEC level 2 certificate in Workskills.
Feedback so far has included
“It helps me realise how I can change my ways of thinking and thinking patterns, whilst having fun at the same time “
“ You’ve handed me a manual that could help me change my life , others and maybe even the world”

We are immensely proud that our leadership and creative problem solving techniques can generate such a positive response from young offenders! Who knows they may be the leaders of our future!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Surviving and thriving in a recession

Some months ago I was interviewed by ITV West on how to survive and thrive in a credit crunch ( as we called it then ). I highlighted 3 key areas of focus
CASH – the lifeblood of any business. Managing its ebb and flow and spending it effectively is critical
CUSTOMER – where the money comes from. Knowing who they are, what they want and why they should come to you
CREATIVITY – adapting to the environment and changing customer’s needs. Involving your staff and customer’s in adapting your product and services. Trying to find what works and then doing it
Also many business leaders have been saying that a good company pre the recession will be able to steer a course through these difficult times and come out of it stronger. Amidst all the gloom there are tales of firms adapting and growing. So what makes the difference?
According to “Leading at a higher level “ by Ken Blanchard and published by FT Prentice Hall high performing companies
- Set their sights on the right target and vision
- Treat their customers right
- Treat their people right
- Develop the right kind of leadership
Ken shares his experience of working with High Performing Companies across 300 pages and 13 chapters. Full of simple models and concepts, littered with illustrations, it provides an excellent framework for thinking about your companies triple bottom line “ provider of choice, employer of choice ,investment of choice “
Two key models are of particular interest today.
SCORES – the six elements found in every high performing company
Shared information – so that everyone in the company can make the right decision
Compelling Vision – to energise and focus people
Ongoing Learning – changing and striving to get better
Relentless focus on Customers – an obsessive drive to keep customers
Energising systems – ensuring structures and processes are aligned to improving results
Shared power – teamwork, collaboration and engagement
PERFORM – the seven characteristics of high performing teams
Purpose and values – mutually agreed on goals
Empowerment – they have autonomy and decision making powers within clear boundaries
Relationships – people share their thoughts, opinions and ideas openly
Flexibility – adapting to changing conditions everyone is interdependent
Optimal Productivity – a commitment to significant bottom line results
Recognition – positive feedback reinforces appropriate behaviours
Morale – the team is confident and optimistic because all the above elements are in place!

If you want a book full of ideas that will help to energise you and your team then that take a look at this one and use whichever model works best for you!

For further articles and tips visit me at

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Credit Crunch - Managing Difficult Situations

As we all know we are in a recession! Many of the national indicators look pretty bad – GDP , employment levels etc – and every news bulletin seems determined to depress us. Whilst it is critical that we face this new reality it is equally critical that we all use our own abilities to manage and resolve the increasing tensions in the workplace. Two simple and effective approaches are outlined below.
An Overall Approach to Achieving Your Objectives
1. Focus – keep a clear eye on what you want to achieve, what is the outcome? Re-frame any obstacle/hurdle as exactly that – something to be overcome on the way to achieving your objective

2. Clear priorities – take a deep breath and remember why any outcome or goal is important to you. What values will you demonstrate in how you tackle the situation? In Neuro-Linguistic Programming terms you are at choice and can choose how to respond.

3. Identify your resources – this could include personal qualities & skills , friends , previous experience as well as the traditional financial and people resources

4. Take action – whatever you think appropriate. This may simply start by dividing the challenge into “bite sized chunks “and taking steps to address the “easiest “bit.

5. Use stress reduction techniques. The Stress Management Society recommends avoiding alcohol, taking physical activity and using self-hypnosis!

Reducing Stress and Conflict with Colleagues

Listen. Take a breath and get a sound inner dialogue before you reply. At this point the other person will be all of the talking (or shouting).

Empathise and show that you have heard them. The purpose of this stage is to ‘fix’ the person. Say something like “I can hear that you’re angry about …” or “I can see how upset you are about …”.
Explore. Seek information, ask for clarification and / or check understanding. Questions must be assertive, evenly paced and asked with the voice up. Then summarise by saying “So if I understand you correctly, you feel that …”

Problem solve by discussing the options in terms of moving forwards. For example “how do you think we can resolve this?” or “what if we were to …?”

These two techniques will enable you to continue to achieve results , work with your colleagues and hopefully emerge through this period like a phoenix from the ashes !!