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                   uniform2.jpg                           robbie.jpg
No, we’re not talking about a heated stand off in the office…… we’re talking about the real thing… or as near as you can get anyway!!

A short while ago we visited the World of Learning Exhibition & Conference to check out the competition, to network,  and generally to see what people wanted to shout about.

One stand in particular stood out for us as it was totally unique and literally eyecatching…. with Mike (co founder, Director & historian – left above) striding purposefully along the perimeter of his territory. My colleague and I also had the pleasure of dining with Robbie, the Sales Director (right above) – who regaled us with stories of the chief players in the battles of Waterloo & Somme…. really bringing people such as Baron Von Muffling and the decisions they had to make to life.

Corporate Battlefields is founded on the belief that the abitilites required on a real-life battlefield can inspire and enlighten the skills needed for the battleground of business.

What do you want to achieve? How well-defined is your plan? Are people empowered? Would you disobey a direct order?

 You can find out more about Corporate Battlefields and the team here.

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Buster KeatonHere’s your thought for today. It’s short and sweet so brace yourselves.

When you’ve got a point to make in a meeting how do you follow it up? Maybe you shouldn’t follow it up at all.

Make your point and try letting it sit for a while, creating a silent void. What happens with a void? Something will always come along to fill it.

Silence is a very powerful tool, try using it once in a while.

Silence can also be uncomfortable so don’t push it too far!

Let’s take Buster Keaton as an example of taking it to the extreme. Buster Keaton used silence for years, mainly because he didn’t have a choice as sound recording with film wasn’t around at the time but his films are still fondly remembered and widely regarded as pioneering and influential for many people. The story always comes across.

A picture does indeed say a thousand words.

To brighten your day click here to visit a stunt reel compilation of Buster featured on Youtube.

A couple of ‘new’ ideas for delivering e-learning content came out of a meeting yesterday. Not exactly new – but a forgotten idea from the past. They may be topical and relevant because of the increase in journey times and the portability of audio – mp3s, iPods etc.

One: A CD to use in the car that recaps the workshop or on-line learning. For instance a 5 minute audio clip that you can use to help you get in the right place mentally before a key meeting. Help – when and where you need it.

Two: A weekly dial-in.  Dial in to hear a pre-recorded short message or learning bite.

Three: MP3 reflections. Using an iPod is a very personal experience. What a great method to speak about more personal issues like development and career choices.

Delivering a high quality audio experience is key for all 3 methods. Just like video we may have had negative experiences of these methods in the past. But create a full, emotional journey in sound – and you are talking directly to the audience one on one in a very powerful way.

Justin KingLast week I was fortunate enough to hear a very interesting speech from Justin King, CEO of Sainsbury’s just after he had collected his honorary degree from Bournemouth University. The university honored him by highlighting his incredibly successful career – Director of Food at Marks and Spencer, and a high ranking senior in Pepsi, Mars and Asda. He is also the person who brought Haagen Dazs ice cream to the UK. Now he is known as the man who is turning around the fortunes of supermarket Sainsbury’s.

So for someone with such a successful career track what advice could he give to the graduating masses? Surprisingly he claimed that he has never had a career plan, but he  did offer these points of advice for anyone wanting to get ahead in their chosen career:

  • Do the best job you can.
  • Grab opportunity as it comes along.

Both are very good points and obviously they have worked very well for him.

Isn’t it still better though to have the end in mind?  For many of us a career track is necessary to keep us on the right path and get us to where we want to be.

Award details
Last night saw us celebrating in style as we won the prestigious E.learning age Team of the Year at the 2007 e.learning age awards. The team faced stiff competition from 7 other shortlisted companies including Shell International and BT Retail at the swanky Sheraton Park Lane awards ceremony. The team were recognised for their work with Britannia Building Society during the integration of Bristol and West – pulling out all the stops to deliver an e-learning system in 12 weeks that enabled Britannia to meet a crucial deadline and potentially saved millions for the business.

A quote from Marton House’s multimedia developer Steven Andrews swung it for the judges:
“There was a great vibe when we were working with them and it really felt like we were making a big difference. I think this really helped us work so well together as a team – we all wanted to deliver a high quality product – even though we were really up against it. I look back now and think it’s amazing that we still managed to innovate and develop new techniques and approaches under such time pressures – and that’s what makes us a winning team.“

But this blog is about learning and sharing. So we’ve uploaded our entry document as a pdf. You can read it here.

And below is the moment it all happened…

What do you think of when you come across job sharing? This article describes some less conventional examples of job-sharing and the implications for leadership and worklife balance. Another related article I really liked is about two friends who use job sharing as a way to set up their own business.

A few themed quotes for today:

Neil Armstrong – I guess we all like to be recognised not for one piece of fireworks, but for the ledger of our daily work.

Edward Koch – The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse.

Shunryu Suzuki – When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.

Jerome K Jerome  – The boy who can play a good game of cricket is liked. The boy who can fight well is respected. The boy who can cheek a master is loved. But the boy who can make fireworks is revered above all others as a boy belonging to a superior order of beings.

platform logo

Getting your foundations right.

What the blog shows us is how quickly ideas and techniques may change. And that’s no surprise seeing as how the typical person in a large corporation stays in a job role for an average of only 3 years. That means a new job, different targets, a changing set of standards and unfamilar colleagues every 3 years.

So does that mean you are ‘starting over’ every 3 years. No. That’s the perception we wanted to change. As a training organisation working in this new world our methods had to shift. We needed to focus on the fundamentals instead. The core learning, the key behaviours of successful people, the cornerstones, the things that don’t change.

If we could deliver that then people would have a solid platform onto which different jobs could be laid.

So that’s what we did. Working in conjunction with HSBC we’re building ‘The Platform’ – our most comprehensive training package ever. It’s designed for leaders and their teams. It’s a training manifesto that contains only the most powerful advice and tools. No filler. If you follow the advice we’d expect to see a lift in performance of 20%.

Below is a video trailer for The Platform.

Expect more about The Platform over the next few months – including how we build it, how it works and some concrete results.

We all take in information through our senses….. and we also use our senses to store and recall information. Most of us over our lifetime develop a primary preference for one of our senses which means that our preference will dominate how we receive information and how we communicate. Generally speaking:

  • 35% of people are primarily visual
  • 20% of people are primarily auditory
  • 45% of people are kinaesthetic

People who have impaired hearing or sight may compensate with their other senses; particularly smell or taste.

Knowing this is useful because it could explain why we find some things easier to take in than others. I have always been able to spell quite well for example, but it took me until adulthood to realise that I has to see a word written down before I could remember how to spell or pronounce it.

VAK can also help us improve our communication by recognising that other people are processing the same information you are but using a different sense. If this is the case then we need to make sure that our communications are, as far as possible, multi-sensory.

Want to know your preference? Take the Sensory Test now. How does you compare to the circle of people you have around you? How can you make sure your communication is more multi-sensory?

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