One hour: massive change

December 16, 2014

There’s a problem, a challenge, an issue – something is not right.

It may be a relationship issue with a colleague or a client, a friend or partner. Often it’s a member of our team, or the boss! It may be a process issue, perhaps a ‘how can we get more of xxxxxx?’ or ‘how can we make sure less xxxxx happens?’ question.

Sometimes these things can hang around for months – years in some situations I’m aware of. Some can be very complicated and require an awful lot of work and skilled help to resolve however, an incredible amount – I’m going to make an informed guess of around 80% – of the challenges that you and I face on a day-to-day basis can be massively improved if the relevant parties can sit down, block out all interruptions, get some good coffee…AND TALK. It might take longer or shorter, but aim for an hour.

I’ve seen it with clients. I’ve experienced it myself. If you face something like this, try it. One hour: massive change.

Extra maths!

November 21, 2014

I was walking Eden, my ten year old daughter, to school this morning half an hour ahead of the rest of the family because of an 8.15am extra maths session.

Was this a punishment? A chore? A drag-your-feet, wish-you-weren’t-there experience? Nope – the absolute opposite.

Eden was bouncing along the road, and had been bouncing round the house for at least an hour before we left. She was excited….about extra maths!


What makes this really interesting for me, and worthy of a blog, is that just a few weeks ago she was ‘rubbish at maths’ and regularly told us how much she disliked it. When it came to maths homework, motivation was seriously low.

Then it changed, literally overnight.

One day at school there came a Maths test in an area that she was ok at. She did well. She felt good. The teacher praised her. She felt encouraged. She liked that feeling and she set a goal to go one mark better (out of 20) next time. So she worked at her homework and achieved her goal. Suddenly, she loves maths, is doing loads better at it, motivation is sky high and her attitude has been transformed.

This morning’s early start was for a special invitation maths club for the super-keen!

Proud parental gushing aside (sorry about that!), this is such a lesson in how attitudes, motivation and results can be similarly transformed. Set yourself and others up for some small success, celebrate that success, set another goal. Achieve that goal…and so on.

Sounds over-simplistic I know, but it works. Sometimes it takes longer to see drastic change, but sometimes there really is an immediate impact. Either way, set goals, celebrate every small success and keep on going!

Trust me, I’m a good kid!

April 3, 2014

Yesterday evening we’re sat round the dinner table, all five of us, having a chat about the day as we often do. Eden, who is 10, has just had a couple of friends knock at the front door: “Can Eden play out?”

We’ve said yes to this a couple of times, and sometimes we’ve said no.It’s a tricky challenge for any parent. How much freedom do you give and have much do you exercise control and parental authority?

We got into a conversation about how Eden might get more freedom and have mum and dad say yes to her more often, and also extend the boundaries of her freedom so she can travel further and stay out longer.

She’s a smart kid and she got it quickly.

“If I keep to the rules when I am allowed out (get back at the agreed time…call if plans change etc), then you’ll trust me more and therefore I’ll get more freedom.”

Spot on!

It’s exactly the same in life, work and business for all of us. If we deliver on what we promise, or what is asked of us, we build trust.That gains us more credibility and ultimately responsibility. If we want to expand the scope of what we do, build trust. There’s no point saying the equivalent of “I’m a good kid, trust me!” – we have to earn it.

This is true in relationships with our customers, the teams we lead and manage, our own managers and leaders…as well as our friends and family.

A few years ago I was hosting a leadership seminar and the speaker, who was extremely experienced as a senior leader in a major corporation said something I’ve never forgotten:

“The most important thing to being an effective leader is simply to always do what you say you’re going to do.”

Challenging words. Extremely important words.

Choose confidence

October 31, 2013

Welcome back if you read the first post on confidence. If not, it’s worth looking at the previous post to put this one into context.

The headline today is a ridiculously simple one… But it’s true and it works! It seems you can choose confidence.

I’m not saying that its the very last word on the subject. I’m not in the ultra-success, ‘saying it makes it real’ camp, but choosing to adopt a more confident stance rather than accepting and allowing those feelings of lack of confidence to persist, definitely makes a difference.

I think the most important first step is to recognise situations in which we feel lacking in confidence and, rather than allowing those negative and constricting thoughts and feelings to overwhelm and control us, make a conscious choice to fight them. It’s like setting out on a journey to visit friends in a different city. We must first commit to leaving where we are and heading off in the right direction.

This is such a complex and challenging situation. If becoming super-confident was as easy as 1-2-3 then we’d all have it mastered already. Having said that, once we’ve made the choice to work on overcoming our fears, insecurities and feelings of inferiority, there are many things we can do to help that process. One key tool in the box is to develop ourselves in the area where we lack confidence. More on that in the next post.

Sunday afternoon in A&E

October 16, 2013


It had been in the diary for three weeks and my youngest son Jonar, who is six, was seriously over-the-top excited.

As a reward for something (I can’t even remember what!), he got to take a friend bowling. Such was the enthusiasm for this weekend excursion, within ten minutes of being there, as he was hurrying back to the lane having chosen the finest looking selection of bowling balls, he tripped, fell and broke his arm. The rest of Sunday was spent in A&E.

My instinct as a parent was to instruct my immature and careless son about the need to be more cautious, not to run about in crowded places and – I cringe at the thought that I might actually have said this – not get so over-excited.

Reflecting on all this over the last couple of days I’ve very definitely changed my mind.

Life is meant to be exciting. We should be super-enthusiastic about things that we do…even if that means we are more likely to risk a break.

Whether its a work project, a family trip, my goals for my business, or just going about my days, I should be excited about it and act enthusiastically. Kids do this naturally until, sadly, many see it gradually eroded by the cautioning words of well-meaning adults.

I was that adult. I repent!

I choose to promote enthusiasm.
I choose to practice enthusiasm.

Feel free to join me. I think we’ll have more fun!

3 years, 8 months…and I never knew

August 5, 2013

“I’ve been working here three years and eight months and I never knew how smart he is and what a fantastic job he does.”

Its The West Wing, Series 4, Episode 2. Friends of my wife and I recently got us into this gripping political drama set in the West Wing of the White House. You don’t need to know the story or the characters for this to make sense, but its a great series and well worth checking out.

Josh Lyman is the Deputy Chief of Staff. He, along with a couple of other senior White House staffers, has been stranded on a trip and so Sam Seaborne, Deputy Communications Director has to step in to cover Josh’s role which is to be with the President in his various meetings throughout the day. The meetings come thick and fast, and the variety of issues he is expected to know everything about is just astounding. Sam, who is usually pretty sure of himself, is out of his depth.

This day in his colleague and very good friend’s shoes is a real wake-up call for Sam. He suddenly got a whole new respect for what his close workmate does and realised the pressures they work under and the daily challenges they had to overcome.

The analogy is simple. Empathy is not ‘what would I do if I were them?’, or even ‘what do I think about the job that they do?’

What does it actually feel like to be them, to sit where they sit, to face what they face and to overcome what they overcome? What are their challenges, their hopes, their goals? What is it that obstructs and frustrates them…and why?

Such contemplation could transform many a team…a workplace…a relationship…a family. Worth a try.

Why I feel so passionate about…

July 17, 2013

OK, here’s a bit of an outburst about why I am such an advocate of the LMI Effective Personal Management course that I run and why I have decided to launch such a ridiculously good offer on this in order to unashamedly entice sensible, sane, intelligent and wise people like yourself to take the plunge and come try it out!

It’s an age-old adage that something everyone has in common is time. We all have the same amount of the stuff:

– 24 hours a day

– 168 hours per week

– 365 days each year

As someone arrived on a recent Effective Personal Management course they announced, “I did a time management course 15 years ago so I’m not sure how valuable this is going to be.”

That same person left four and half hours later with a very different thought about the value of the day. They had loved it!

You see, using your time well to accomplish this or that task using up as few of your 1440 minutes quota for that day as possible is all well and good, but who’s to say that it was the right task to be doing in the first place!

That’s where the focus must shift from time management to effective personal management, and that’s where this course comes in. It describes ‘personal management’ as:

taking personal responsibility to do the right things, the right way, in order of priority.”

It is so incredibly easy to actively blame others for what we have or haven’t done, or passively just accept that things will always be the same, and important, valuable things in our lives will never get done because of the myriad of other stuff that’s always leaping ahead in the manic scrabble for our attention.

Effective personal management is about taking time out, away from the pressure and intensity of your work, your family life, the 1001 jobs to do round the house…whatever it is that engulfs you… and starting to think about the following questions:

* what is most important to me in life?

* what do I want from my business / career?

* what are my dreams and goals?

* what activities are going to get me to achieve those dreams and goals?

* at work, what are my most important ‘high payoff’ activities and how can I work smarter rather than just throw more hours at it?

* how much time do I want to protect, at all costs, for myself, my health, my husband / wife / partner, my kids, my friends?

* what contribution do I want to make to my community? to the world? and what am I going to do about that this week?

* how much rest, and what kind of rest, do I need to function at my best?

Throwing these kinds of questions at you is easy. Anyone can do it. You’ve probably heard it before, tried some of, started out with good intentions, succeeded a little, failed a lot! That at least would be my autobiography of many years.

If only someone could help me with a way of keeping on going with these great ideas. Is there not some system out there that is more than just the latest tasks and to-do list app? Something which can really help me stop, think, plan, set goals, review goals, schedule time for the most important things, and the most important people, at work and at home?

I could write reams and reams more, but I think you get the picture. I love the LMI Effective Personal Management course because it not only looks at what you should be doing, it also provides you with the tools – a tried and tested personal success system – to start and keep on doing the right things on a monthly and daily basis to achieve the success that you desire.

For £49, with a 100% money-back guarantee, that’s gotta be worth a go!

There it is, I’ve spilt the beans with the offer. My usual price for the Effective Personal Management course is £389 + Vat. My offer is £49 + Vat  for the first person from any organisation to attend.

I mentioned the guarantee. Another client said to me this week, “I wish I’d come across this ten years ago, Nick.” I said I felt exactly the same myself. Therefore, in order to potentially swing just one more person to take up the challenge and come along, I’m doubling the guarantee. If you come along to one of these courses for £49 and don’t feel it was a fantastic use of your time and money, I’ll refund £98!

Find out more about upcoming dates and venues in Coventry and Warwickshire via the event booking page:

…and drop me a line on to request your personal £340 off promo code.

That’s all. Rant over. Have a great day!