1. Editorial: Awarding honours
Welcome back. Those in the northern hemisphere from a short break and those further south from a longer break. We hope you are well rested and ready for an exciting and fulfilling year.
In Britain, New Year is one of the times when we award honours for achievement and public service. This year there has been controversy about the process but generally it is a means of recognising people – famous and unknown – who have contributed to national life.
If we were able to award these honours, who would we choose, and why?
I have three nominations. In two cases I am shamed that our nation appears not to have recognised them and in one case I expect that an award will be forthcoming – but it is early days yet.
My first nomination is Richard Noble. Richard could be described as the sort of eccentric that defines Englishness. In 1983 he broke the world land speed record, raising it from 622 miles per hour, which had stood since 1970, to 633 miles per hour. Not content with this he put together a team that in 1997 raised it to 763 mph. Although he managed to get some commercial sponsorship, it was a continual fight to obtain finance, and the record was broken on the proverbial shoe string. Bearing in mind that a complete rugby team has recently been given awards, then I also nominate his driver on this occasion, Andy Green.
My second nomination is Tim Smit. Tim conceived the idea of an international visitor destination that would feature major climates from different parts of the world in which the plant environment could be shown off.
He found a disused quarry in Cornwall and set about selling the idea, raising £90 million and building the Eden Project.
Into a 50 metre deep crater three of the world's climate zones ("Biomes") have been constructed and planted with over 100,000 plants representing 5,000 species. The Humid Tropics (Rainforests and Oceanic Islands) and the Warm Temperate regions (the Mediterranean, South Africa & California) are contained within the two giant conservatories that have already captured the public imagination.
The third, or "Roofless Biome", is a Temperate zone that thrives on the climatic advantages that Cornwall has to offer. Here, a fabulous range of plants from India to Chile rub shoulders with the much loved native flora of Cornwall, the Atlantic rainforests, and many more familiar crops.
The whole is run by an educational charitable trust, and has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, attracting 2 million visitors a year. This voluntary achievement is more spectacular when compared with government sponsored projects like the Millennium Dome and some other Millennium projects which have failed to attract expected visitor numbers.
Creation of this project was a continuous battle against funding budgets, engineering challenges and the weather.
Both Richard Noble's and Tim Smit's achievements are about leadership and man management as well as entrepreneurial and engineering challenge. Maybe they have refused honours out of respect to the rest of their teams but it seems more likely that an honour to these individuals would be seen as recognition for the teams as a whole.
My third nomination is for a young man who is also a television celebrity. However, my regard for him is concerned with education. He is Jamie Oliver, a television chef. Jamie has set up a charity, Cheeky Chops Limited, to open and run a restaurant in London using 15 trainee chefs taken from the unemployment register.
Jamie says "Being a good cook isn't about being born to it, it's about discovery and growth. Having not been the brightest banana in the bunch myself, I realised that my biggest weapon in life was the determination, enthusiasm, hands-on and "actions speak louder than words" approach my father taught me, and I wanted to get this across to others, especially those interested in food."
Jamie's progress with his first year group was followed in a television series. His language is certainly not respectable, but what came out was his deep commitment to helping these people grow – and his personal anguish as he learned from his own mistakes how to achieve this. Here is a true human being giving of himself.
Who would you nominate, and why? And when you have made your selections, consider what does that say about you? Have you nominated people who represent what you stand for, or have you chosen people who you admire because they are different from you?
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I have been reading a marketing book that I expect to review for you next week. It is by Debbie Jenkins and Joe Gregory. I have enjoyed it and taken some of the actions recommended. This week I met a local client of theirs who recommended their "Detox" courses. Now you can get access on the Web.
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2. Coaching notes: Setting well formed outcomes
I know that many people use a New Year as a reason to make changes in their lives and to set new resolutions. Often these do not last very long.
January is an excuse, therefore, for me to re-visit the most powerful coaching technique that we use – setting well formed outcomes.
Setting well formed outcomes (download the checklist) is an iterative process that ensures that when an individual or organisation sets an outcome, or a manager and subordinate agree to delegate a task, they are wholly congruent with the process.
Here are some questions that will help you set outcomes that you will achieve.
It is likely that the first time you go through this exercise you will find that you cannot answer every question satisfactorily. That is when it is being useful to you and identifying weaknesses. Keep cycling the questions until you are satisfied with every answer.
These notes refer to the checklist.
And finally, when all is well for you, consider the impact on others. Their response can often be the greatest saboteur of all.
Download the form and try it in a variety of situations. You will find that as the process becomes a habit you become more successful.
We aim to make the Brefi Group web site the premier developmental site for teams and individuals in organisations, so do please send us your suggestions and requests for further development. And let us know what you think of this newsletter, and comment on the content.
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We hope you enjoyed this issue of CorporateCoach. If you would like to learn more about how we can work together, then please contact me, Richard Winfield:
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