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Train to reign: A training needs analysis for the Queen


CrownShe may have had many years of experience and proven to be effective in her role, but is there room for improvement? Cheryl Taylor asks an expert panel to consider the training needs of Her Majesty - with their tongues firmly in their cheeks.

The Monarchy is unique insofar as many of the Queen's core competencies are inherited and therefore require no training or skill enhancement. In addition to having hot and cold running servants, lackeys, cronies, footmen and other hangers on, the usual messes can be cleaned up without anyone noticing.

However, there is one area of weakness that requires special attention: every Thursday the Queen grants an audience to the incumbent prime minister. Having ascended to the throne under a Conservative government with which she feels comfortable, no one thought to make allowances for a change.

Labour prime ministers have attempted to impose several training schemes including Train to Reign, but the Queen's teeth still rattle against her teacup when entertaining Mr. Brown every Thursday.

Core skills required include:

  • Wardrobe control – an area in which the Queen has manifestly failed in not keeping abreast of modern fashion

  • Eating honey, and, in the absence of a King in the counting house…

  • Counting all the money – this is a skill the Queen inherited from Queen Victoria who was the first to insist on not paying tax, a tradition the Queen has assiduously followed

  • Stealing tarts

  • Balancing a bone china teacup and saucer and a plate bearing a cucumber sandwich, while giving your other hand to be kissed at the insufferable Queen's garden parties

  • Being not amused

  • Bladder control

  • Following health & safety rules when wastefully hurling a bottle of champagne at a ship (fortunately this is seldom required as most British shipyards have been closed)

  • Equality, diversity and gender awareness (provided that does not include papists who are in any event excluded from the throne under the Act of Settlement). This training is particularly relevant for Prince Phillip and succeeding generations including the third in line to the throne, Prince Harry

  • Boredom control most required when reading the Queen's speech to Parliament (not authored by the Queen) and listening to the Lord Mayor's loyal address

  • Duke of Edinburgh gagging

  • Having a 'good seat' best learned mounted on a wild horse, but preparing the Queen against being unseated by Prince Charles

  • Not being late (punctuality is the politeness of Queens and well as Kings)

  • Going to the races (horse racing is the sport of Queens as well as Kings)

  • Crown wearing

  • Orb and sceptre balancing (only required once, at 'our' coronation)

  • Portrait sitting

  • DIY – if the Queen had DIY skills she would save a lot of money doing up her many houses

  • Security – the Queen needs training in keeping strange men out of her bedroom.

  • A skill that may be required again

  • Signing death warrants

  • Exercising the Divine Right

  • Conquering new territories
  • 2lst century skills

    "Needs Analysis is often 'subject' specific. This is a rare instance where one's subjects should know their place. A competency-based approach is always a possibility – waving skills, asking what people do, etc. – but of course the Queen is an 'Excellency' and not a 'Competency'," advises trainer Graham O'Connell, who is one of Her Majesty's Public Servants.

    "Then there is the Gap Analysis – between the current state and the desired state – but when one owns the State, that is not an option either.

    "An old favourite is Task Analysis. But, when one has staff to do 'tasks', that is not a runner either. SWOT sounds too common. Balanced Scorecard sounds just too managerial. That leaves just one possibility: Peer review."

    Conflict management

    "Her Majesty has had many years' of experience and proven to be effective in her role.

    Her main continuing training need is in the area of mediation and managing conflict to keep her unruly family in order," advises Iain Blake-Lawson of Insight People Development.

    How does one enter into this blog thing then?

    Trainer Mike Morrison believes the Queen needs to know how to communicate suitably with her subjects in the new Elizabethan age (virtual hand-waving skills): Social media website/How-to Twitter/Facebook/You Tube. And, more importantly, how to upload images of 'our' corgis onto 'our' computer.

    Also, how to update 'our' wardrobe – 'How low on the hips should one's Royal person go with 'our' jeans? Should we show our naval ring?'

    For Prince Phillip, Morrison suggests: "How to drive one's mobility scooter in a manner that allows the security team to keep up…" And, "How does one drive one's mobility scooter slower than the Queen to keep up with Her Majesty..."

    Finally, flying lessons - no more Royal flight – how does one check in?

    HRH - patience is a virtue.

    The main requirement for the immediate heir to the throne is that of patience, according to Blake-Lawson, who has mapped Prince Charles's job role against some common behavioural competencies and identified those he may need to focus on for his future position.

    On 'ensuring execution', he suggests Prince Charles deals with performance problems/obstacles decisively and effectively, but not in the Tudor manner. He recommends an intensive 'back to the shop floor' style of development programme to ensure his feet are firmly on the ground and he is able to communicate and relate effectively to the 'common man'.

    Avoiding Royal 'gaffes'

    To avoid Royal 'gaffes' on trips abroad, Shelley Gallagher, head of training at Pareto Law, says: "Having good advisers who can guide you through a potential minefield of politics, body language, and even what colour to wear can be the difference between a royal flush or a flushed royal."

    With thanks to: Graham O'Connell, Mike Morrison, Peter Davison, Arian Associates Ltd, Iain Blake-Lawson, Insight People Development Ltd and Shelley Gallagher, Pareto Law.

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