You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category.

Illustration vs stock photography

Interesting article that looks at the benefits of illustration over stock photography.


And yes, I like to use alliterations where I can. By vitality I mean broadly ‘quality of life’. Don’t get so caught up with the vision that you forget to have fun and worse still, stop others from having fun and enjoying life. You might have a strong vision for your company, but don’t forget about your family. Don’t get so caught up in achieving best ever global sales that your team members feel you see them as tools to achieve a task, rather than people who add value.

In order to help prevent falling into vision vice, I would strongly suggest making sure you have written a vision down for your personal and family life as well.

Part of living the vision is about letting other people know what that vision is. People follow those they are forced to or they follow those they believe in. Ideally you are looking for the latter kind of followers (I hope!).

In order to believe in you they need to know what your vision is. A team leader that keeps his amazing vision of the future to himself is going to find himself struggling uphill all on his own. But if you can articulate your vision regularly to your team then they start to see the bigger picture and the adventure.

Sticking with the Barcelona theme, Gaudi didn’t build each house he designed himself. He had to articulate his incredible vision to those who were going to be doing the building. Without his ability to articulate that vision, it is unlikely that Barcelona would be graced with such amazing works of art.

Hopefully the previous post will have helped you write down a vision, which will help you articulate it clear to your team or your family.



An outsourced training project will have a lot of stakeholders. It is likely also to take place over a period of time, which means that there needs to be an opportunity for change control, particularly within a regulated environment.

It is important that all materials are current and fit for purpose and that there is an easy to use change control system in place which is rigorously enforced. This will prevent different stakeholders making changes in an ad-hoc manner, or even required changes within content and delivery being completely missed because everybody thought it was somebody else’s job.

To support the change system a well thought through and easy to use method of storing of training materials is critical. Who has access to those materials, whether to view or edit, needs to be clearly defined in order to ensure that the change control system works to the benefit of the organisation.

A really strong case for using outsourced trainers for your learning and development needs is Cost Saving.

Savings tend to be around 20%, brought about by:

  • Working with a commercially aware supplier operating as a cost centre
  • Increased “percentage utilisation”. Having a permanent full time L&D resource means inevitably there will be peaks and troughs in utilisation of this resource. Internal utilisation is typically 60-70% whereas external utilisation is typically 95% upwards.
  • Reduced overheads including:
  • NI and pensions; all trainers are set up as limited companies and are IR35 compliant
  • No career planning or training costs



This year, we are going to resurrect the Marton House blog. There are numerous reasons why one would want to re-start a blog:

  1. It’s the ‘cool’ thing to do. Used to be cool. But then again, so did shell suits.
  2. Everyone else is doing it. But I wouldn’t walk round with my pants on my head even if everyone else was doing it.
  3. I’ve got nothing better to do. If only that were true.
  4. We want to share our expertise and experience with you. A bit like James Martin does on Saturday Kitchen, but without the incessant talking, sizzling and ‘I don’t have a clue what you’ve just cooked’.

If you are new to Marton House, we are about people.

We are about helping people add value to themselves and therefore their organisation. We do that through learning and development, which means we are constantly learning and developing ourselves. This blog will be about we have learnt and are learning, as well as what we have done and are doing. It’s not just about being ‘cool’, because as shell suits taught us, ‘cool’ is very temporary.

chair crossing road

Somebody didn’t just dump this chair outside our office, instead they carefully placed it beside the road as if it wanted to cross to the other side.

Fly tipping or social comment?  You decide.

I was recently asked to run an audition for a series of roleplays for a corporate client. The job would involve actors going into the workplace to play the part of difficult colleagues. There can be some confusion over what to do exactly in an audition so here is my top three tips for roleplay auditions.

One: Play fair
Don’t play games. People need to trust you. So don’t do things to trick auditionees like saying you are looking for one thing when you are really looking for something else. Say clearly and simply what you expect. Also ensure everyone is given the same treatment. It is tempting to refine your audition as the day progresses. However that means the people at the end of the day get a better chance. And the ones at the start of the day, less so.

Two: Film it
And watch it back. So many times now my initial response has been proven wrong by reviewing the performances again. 

Three: Do it in pairs
I’ll be working with Ian tomorrow. He will be doing the roleplay part and representing the client. I will be observing and aiding the actors. Again, following rule one, this will be made clear. You can’t fulfill both roles at once.

And enjoy it!

Mark Cuban has an offer to help businesses. Here are his ‘dragon’ rules…

1. It can be an existing business or a start up.
2. It can not be a business that generates any revenue from advertising. Why ? Because I want this to be a business where you sell something and get paid for it. Thats the only way to get and stay profitable in such a short period of time.
3. It MUST BE CASH FLOW BREAK EVEN within 60 days 
4. It must be profitable within 90 days.
5. Funding will be on a monthly basis. If you dont make your numbers, the funding stops
6. You must demonstrate as part of your plan that you sell your product or service for more than what it costs you to produce, fully encumbered
7. Everyone must work. The organization is completely flat. There are no employees reporting to managers. There is the founder/owners and everyone else
8.  You must post your business plan here, or you can post it on , or google docs, all completely public for anyone to see and/or download
9. I make no promises that if your business is profitable, that I will invest more money. Once you get the initial funding you are on your own
10. I will make no promises that I will be available to offer help. If I want to , I will. If not, I wont.
11. If you do get money, it goes into a bank that I specify, and I have the ability to watch the funds flow and the opportunity to require that I cosign any outflows.
12. In your business plan , make sure to specify how much equity I will receive or how I will get a return on my money.
13. No multi-level marketing programs (added 2/10/09  1pm)

It is great to see an open and transparent offer on the table.

It’s Christmas Day, it’s 10 past midnight, I’ve just heard Santa’s reindeers on the roof and I’m still at work blogging! They work us hard here at MH Towers. Can I have another piece of coal Mr. Broadbent please?

Just joking, of course! I’ve been on holiday for the last few days and this is the first chance I’ve had to write a Christmas message to all our readers out there, which is all very timely now as it is officially Christmas.

So Merry Christmas one and all. We hope to see you here again in the new year.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 22 other followers


%d bloggers like this: