Mind the gap!

One of things that we women in business quickly come to realise is just how much we don’t know…

We don’t let that stop us, of course; we make mistakes, pick ourselves up and learn on the run, rubbing our bruised bits as we go!

But, energetic and motivated as we are (most of the time anyway), we simply can’t do it all. In the course of running a training business, I’ve mastered things I never thought I would like producing animated PowerPoint slides and dealing with very difficult clients. On the other hand, I know my limitations and they apply to very technical things like building websites, balancing accounts and putting air in my car tyres….


If we’re responsible for the success of the business, it’s worth taking the time to step back and look at the skills we need to achieve that success. That’s not just about investing money; it’s much more about defining clearly where the skills gaps are and looking for the best way to fill them.

For example, say you have a great product but the word’s not getting out there; you’re not making the sales you need. You have a number of choices for filling the gap:

  1. You learn about marketing for yourself, by signing up for a course, or working with a coach or mentor
  2. You hand the marketing and sales over to a consultant, or other specialist to do the job for you
  3. You train a member of staff to focus on marketing and sales
  4. You do nothing.

Of course, if you choose number 4, the problem – and the business – will probably go away.

Remember not to base your decision on cost alone – you have to take into account the best and most appropriate use of your time and skills. In my case I love marketing DEVA, but I happily pay my accountant to do the accounts and the tax returns. That buys me time to develop new training courses, which I do well, and lets me off doing hard sums which I’m very bad at!

Each to her own…

If you need help prioritising your work or your life, consider Personal or Business Coaching. For more information and resources, visit the DEVA website or phone 07834 706553.


What’s your purpose in life?

I spent a day in Edinburgh recently; the Festival was over, and the Royal Mile had returned to its everyday, routine self. I had the good fortune to meet
Tom Gilzean aged 92 and 3/4. He’s a dapper man who obviously takes great pride in his appearance. When I stopped to chat, Tom was having a cup of tea, but he was more than happy for me to take his picture.

Tom Gilzean, Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Tom regularly sits on the Royal Mile, talking to passers-by and collecting for a children’s hospital in the area. I don’t know how much he’s made to date, but there were plenty of people putting money into his collecting can last Friday.

He told me he’s asked the good Lord to give him another 7 years and 3 months – he wants to make it to 100. In return, he’ll keep collecting for the kids’ hospital. I asked him – what about after that? and we agreed he’ll probably ask for an extension.

How about that for a purpose in life?

Wondering where your life is going? You could benefit from Personal Coaching to help you find a sense of direction. Visit the DEVA website today.


Training Trainers – icing on the cake or essential ingredient?

Why train people? Is it the last thing you want to spend your precious budget on? Or something that you know you should be doing – but you don’t quite know where to start?

For some companies, training is seen as an unnecessary luxury: as a trainer, I reckon I’ve heard all of the possible excuses put forward by decision makers for not investing in staff training. One favourite is:

“There’s no point training our people; they just get poached by the company down the road.”

The best answer I ever heard to this came from one Scotland’s top hoteliers. He said:

“The alternative is not to train anyone – that way no-one will poach them and you get to retain all of your incompetent workforce!”

Just the icing on the cake?

One aspect of business we all encounter is customer care, – or lack of it, because we’re all customers of someone. How do you feel when you’re on the receiving end of incompetent service, whether from a supplier, a waiter or a plumber? Personally, I turn into my alter ego, Mrs Angry of Ayrshire – not a pretty sight -  and I’m very quick to take my business elsewhere.

I always associate excellent service with quality staff training, whether from my favourite eatery or my mobile phone provider. If the people I’m dealing with are interested, empowered and competent, I’ll (literally) put my money on the fact that someone has invested time and resources in training them!

One excellent training resource often overlooked by busy managers is the one they already have. In any business, skilled and experienced people can learn to become in-house trainers: imagine what happens when their best practice is “multiplied” across the company:

  • Everyone gets it right first time
  • You get a reputation for consistent quality and service
  • Customers like working with you
  • They stay  – and recommend you to everyone they know!

If you do consider adding training skills as an essential ingredient to your business, you should look at:

  • Choosing trainers for attitude as well as skills – they should enjoy helping people to learn and to succeed
  • Investing in training for them, so that they learn to pass on their skills and knowledge confidently
  • Allowing enough time for them to train their colleagues – it will be well worth it
  • Rewarding your trainers and celebrating success – with a nice iced cake perhaps?

Interested in training of trainers? Find out more on the DEVA website


Hassle-free Funding

Scottish companies with fewer than 100 employees can be eligible for a 50% grant of up to £5000 to invest in developing the skills and knowledge of its people.

We all know that people are the best asset a business has – potentially. We also know that times are tough and training budgets don’t grow on trees.

It may sound too good to be true but hundreds of small businesses, including micro-businesses and social enterprises have taken advantage of Flexible Training Opportunities through Skills Development Scotland.

What’s more, the application process is relatively painless, and SDS is very responsive in turning applications around. Funding cannot be used retrospectively, though, plan ahead.

Follow the link to find out more or visit www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Meantime, if you are looking for help to identify, plan or organise training for your business, visit the DEVA website or give us a call on 07834 70 65 53…….We’re also hassle free!

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“Doing a Rosol”

“In every human endeavor there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner…The inner game is played to overcome the self-imposed obstacles that prevent an individual or team from accessing their full potential.” Timothy Gallwey: The Inner Game of Tennis

There’s a really excellent photo of Lukas Rosol, smiling with real joy following his surprise win against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon 2012 -  and who can blame him? From his place as 100th in the world, he beat the world champion in 5 sets.

Watching the interview with Rosol immediately after the match, I was struck by his own amazed reaction. He spoke as though he himself was not quite sure what had happened. Later he said:

“…tonight I was someone else. I believed in myself, I knew I could make it.”

In a world where people are ranked very specifically according to their (perceived) abilities, such a result had the commentators jumping out of their seats, and led to all kinds of media  speculation about the impact of champions’ off-days, sliding roofs, questionable tactics and the like.

Surely, this was missing the point? The fact is that Rosol had inside himself the confidence to what he had set out to do that day. Confidence is on the inside – which means that we can control it.

What is confidence? Feeling confident is feeling happy in what you are doing, and sure that you can do it well; this applies in every situation. A very few people seem to be confident all the time, but for most of us it comes and goes, depending on our mood and on circumstances.

How to be more confident?

  • Notice the situations where you lack confidence and ask yourself why. Be honest and aware of what’s affecting you
  • Try out techniques for building your own confidence, and then give yourself credit for success
  • Visualise success:  focus on how it looks and feels to be confident in a given situation
  • Use your body language and voice to act confident – fake it till you make it!
  • Listen to the inner voice that can undermine you – and use that voice to remind you of past successes instead
  • Appreciate what you’re good at; find out what others appreciate about you and take that on board
  • Give and receive balanced feedback: there’s always room for improvement, but that’s not the same as beating yourself up
  • Learn from constructive criticism, and use it to build your confidence for the future.

Do a Rosol every day – go on, surprise yourself!

For more on building confidence, visit the DEVA website