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Dear diary: The adventures of a training director


DiaryOur training director has a great anecdote about the danger of thinking that you 'know it all' - especially in a vastly changing landscape. But who is getting his goat by interfering in decision making without consultation?

Who would have believed the financial landscape could have changed so much in just a few weeks? I wonder what it will look like in another month?

As usual a lot has happened – some boring and some not so...

We seem to have developed a taste for completing tenders, and we're on a little winning streak, with another one or two coming our way. They do seem to take a lot of work, but focus and attention to detail really pays off. A friend of mine said 'Don't expect to win any tenders for about two years', how true that was. I have also noticed that the total value of tenders is dropping, we are receiving Invitations to Tender for amounts less than £20,000, and I wonder how cost effective this is for the client and the potential suppliers?

Our new website is up and running (in glorious Technicolor), it looks superb. It truly reflects the organisational culture and ethos. The great thing about being involved in the design and writing of the text, is that it really focuses the mind on the message and the image that you wish to provide – quite challenging for some of us!

Other exciting news... I had dinner at the Wallace Collection the other night, what an amazing place - I was eating in a room that contained the original Laughing Cavalier (painted when the artist was 26), several Canaletto's' and some Dutch Masters. I hate to think how much money was in that one room but it is an experience eating fantastic food with the original masters only a matter of feet away. I felt so privileged. After the meal I walked to my hotel, a 3* in King's Cross, have to say that was a little bit of a crash landing.

One of my current frustrations is that of unclear ownership, when an individual is given (and paid) to do a job and others (such as peers and other directors) interfere, either by making decisions without consultation (and sometimes only a little understanding of the impact of the decision) or agreeing a course of action and then not supporting it. How much energy and motivation is lost when that happens – do you take time out to think about your own performance? My belief is that when I employ someone they are there because I believe that not only can they do the job, they can do it better than me, therefore I need to give them the opportunity to do that, challenge and question them by all means, but don't undermine. Well, that's the lecture over.

On a lighter note, a little story about the need for continuous development especially in the current climate:

A pilot was receiving training to fly an unfamiliar plane. The instructor allowed the trainee pilot to land (successfully) and as they unbuckled their safety harnesses said 'The next stage of the session is showing you how to exit the plane correctly'. The trainee pilot (who was, by the way a pilot of many, many years' experience) looked sharply at the instructor and said 'Listen, I have been flying planes since before you were born. I have spent more hours flying than you have ever spent in school. I have been in every situation you can think of, the Milk Run over Berlin, combat zones, crop spraying, stunt flying, you name it – I've done it'. The instructor then started to reply 'But...' Before he could finish the pilot climbed out of his seat, swung open the door and without looking... fell into the sea.

The moral here is that it doesn't matter what our experiences and learning are, there is always something new out there and that - as in the pilot's case - sometimes the environment can change without our noticing because we become engrossed in ourselves and this can sometimes make us look a little foolish.

Hope to catch up with you next month.

Read the previous diary entry


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