Disengaged man with a hand over his face

How to Ditch Disastrous Delegation

I love cake. I mean, I reaaaally love it!

But say I am given a cake that serves twelve and I try to eat it all myself, I’m going to feel pretty sick. That’s not to say I don’t love cake anymore, but too much will leave anyone wiped out, lethargic, or just ill!

You know that, just by sharing a few slices, you could have avoided feeling totally rubbish but you really wanted it all.

And now you’re feeling awful, and your mates think you are totally selfish.

By giving away even just a bit, this whole situation could have been avoided.

So why are we talking about this?

I know it sounds obvious, but so many leaders want to just dive in and take on their version of the whole cake.

But business is no different. You need to share the workload. You need to DELEGATE!

Here’s the thing – something weird stops us

We must ask ourselves this first question – Why are we taking on too much in the first place?

This could come down to a number of factors, so let’s take a look at what they may be.

Need for Control

As a leader it is easy to feel like, as everything your team does ultimately falls back on you, it is best done yourself, isn’t it?

But, before you know it you can slip into one of two things – the micromanaging spiral, or the “I’ll do it myself” drama triangle.

It is natural to want to know what your team is doing at any one time, but you have to allow them to operate in their own space within your wider leadership.

I don’t know about you, but when someone is on my shoulder all the time, watching what I am doing, I end up telling them to do it themselves because I don’t feel trusted. 

And if you are already doing it yourself anyway, their confidence is going to be shot to pieces so then they probably would just end up fulfilling your fear of not doing it as good as you.

But you may have just created that yourself.

The reality of that need is often fear. The fear of failure and lack of trust that your team can support your aims. 

This is where you have to look at why you brought this team together in the first place.

You assembled this group to do a job for you and you must trust them when it comes down to distributing and delegating your workload. It will also help keep them engaged, interested and motivated.


I hear it all the time, “Giving people work makes me feel guilty”.  “They will think I am lazy.” 

But this should be exactly the opposite.  That is your job.

Many of us have been brought up with a really great (too great) work ethic and have been taught that things should be hard work, or we should work hard.

So, when we start to delegate it feels like we are putting on others and shirking our responsibilities.

But we need to remember our role – To enable a team.

And forget that ingrained behaviour and belief system for the new one that recognises that real success is where we all play a role, not beat ourselves up for not being the hardest working person in the room.

Frustration & Disappointment

Oh, we’ve all been there when we get up the confidence to delegate and then Bam! 

Terrible result. ☹

We then go through the emotions of frustration, disappointment and beating ourselves up because of the good old “told you so, that was a bad idea. Should have done it yourself”.

But hang on a minute, we need to look at that in a different way.

Did we set them up to succeed or fail?

Did we make sure they had the skill, the will, and the way to achieve what we asked them to?

If not, then that’s our fault and, not only that, but we can also do a great deal about it.

And we must.

This is the art of delegation and of leadership.

To take our team from can’t do, won’t do, or don’t do, to can do, want to, and will do.

We need to help people see why they should do a task, why they should do it for you and how they should do it.  Then they can just get on with it with certainty and belief in their own abilities.

Because of course, no one will have the exact same vision or way of working within a group, unless we explain why it should be this way.

So, we need to be able to communicate and inspire those around us to see our vision and the output that we are looking for.   

Individuals may need a few attempts to get a task right but if you, as their leader, jump in too soon or too often and take over, you are robbing them of the opportunity to develop and save you work in the future.

And remember, they may even have a better way of doing something than you, if you would just trust and let them!

Over belief in our own abilities

Just because you have been doing this for 20 years, doesn’t mean that no one else could be as good as you. 

If you gave them the chance they would develop. 

But if they are better than you, then where does that leave you?

Maybe for some of us, ego gets in the way of developing others to a point that we can step back. 

We don’t want it as much as we need it!

So, we must see the bigger picture.   Remind ourselves, it is not about us, but about the greater good.  And we need to leave our ego at home, or we will be a very busy person indeed.

So next time you are worried about delegating, just think “how can I make this work” with three questions.

Is it can’t do, or won’t do or I don’t want to do it for you?

Then once you know, you are halfway there, and you can work on each one of these differently.

Then you will be able to have your cake and eat it!

If you would like to find out about that then that is exactly what we teach on our leaders’ development programs. 

Drop me a line to find out how you can get some help with implementing better delegation strategies and mindset for a happier, more confident team and a more chilled you.

Arguing man and woman

Stuck in the Middle With You

Are you the bottleneck in your own business? 

I was talking to a client earlier this week.  He was talking about how he needed training for his team, as he felt they were unmotivated and didn’t try very hard and weren’t doing what they should be doing.

But here’s the thing.  Behaviour breeds behaviour.  So if your team is not performing the first thing we need to look at as leaders, is ourselves.  Often we are so busy, we only stop to notice when things don’t get done and then we look at the people and ask ourselves why they aren’t doing what they should. Often this is because roles have evolved over time, and communication is not happening (because you are so busy). 

Let’s face it – most people come to work to do a good job.  In most cases they are willing.  So, it is YOU that have to change.  You need to change from a ‘doer’ to a leader.

Do Your People Breathe a Sigh of Relief When You Walk In or When You Walk Out?

You may not even know that you are demotivating people. You need to become a detective and look at the reasons WHY things are happening. 

Sometimes it is because you think it is quicker to do something yourself (which is true on the first occasion, but on the following 50 times – it saves huge amounts of time if you can offload the task to someone else by training them).

As your business grows you will need to identify people in your business who can become your future leaders.  And what you need to do is develop THEM as well as yourself?  And then THEY will also become bottlenecks in your business.

How To Avoid The Bottlenecks

Growing your business means you need to have team performance.  If they are not doing – then it is either because they can’t do it because they don’t know how, they won’t do it because they don’t want to or they don’t think they have to do it a certain way.

So – how did you set things up to change this.  We need confident people – do they CAN do it.  We need people to trust us – then you get excited and want to do it.  You need people who are committed to the cause – do the people in your business know what the vision is? 

This is all the stuff we go into on the Leaders Launch Pad. 

You need to give people Clarity and Autonomy.  Even if you have people who are capable of doing things – if they are not clear about what good looks like and what decisions they are allowed to make, then they won’t do stuff.

How do you create Clarity and Autonomy.  The short version is coaching and clear guidelines.  Easier said than done, I am sure you would agree? 

If you want to find out HOW to increase the clarity and autonomy in your business – message me on or link with me on LinkedIn and message me there –

Exponential Graph

All Change at Transforming Performance

I don’t know about you but I love change.  There is no growth without change.  Evolution itself is the change of one form of life into another.  Change leads to growth, and inevitably there are casualties!  So as species evolve, others die.

And that’s a bit like a business because as some businesses embrace change and grow, others fall by the wayside.

Our business has changed out of all recognition over the last 2 years.  The fundamentals are still there.  Our mission is still to help leaders grow – grow personally and also grow their businesses.  And at the heart of the training, coaching and development that we do is still The Team Performance Engine.

However, many things have changed and to reflect our growth and our message, we have introduced a few new things.

Firstly our branding is changing – check out our Facebook page and let us know what you think.  The website will shortly reflect the new branding.  And the colours have been carefully chosen by a branding expert – Sammy Blindell – to reflect our values of Quality Relationships, Excellence and Dynamic Leadership.

These values are also condensed in our model of 3D Leadership.  So, what do I mean by 3D Leadership?  Well, many Leaders are only 1 or 2D.  How we know this is that they will struggle with problems like – feeling they have to do everything themselves and working harder than all their team.

They may feel they have less quality of life and are doing more and more of the detail work that others do in a mediocre way, so they would rather do it themselves than pay overtime to have it done badly.

They may struggle to get buy-in from their teams, and experience in fighting and dissatisfaction from their employees.  They might have a high staff turnover and high sickness rates.

And that’s because there are 3 parts to dynamic leadership.  You are going to have the chance to learn more about what they are soon.  Meanwhile – let me ask you a question.

Would you like to get a whole day back a week to do whatever you want with?

If your answer is “Yes, of course”, then click here to register for our free web class for business leaders and managers, now!

We are really excited to announce that we will be holding this web class next Friday night where we will be sharing with you the key reasons as to why Business Owners are too busy and how you can reclaim a whole day in your week to do the things you love!
Would you like to learn how you can get your team to willingly take the burden from you?
Then click on the link now and register (max 100 places and they are going fast).

And remember – change is good if it means you are growing!


3D Leadership – dynamically enhancing the results of your business’™

At Transforming Performance, we believe that there are 6 crucial areas of Leadership: focus and direction, mindset, engagement, skills, impact and systems.

Transforming Performance can help with our Accelerate Your Business™ and Accelerate Solo™ programmes.

Julie Hutchison is co-Director with Jan Sargent of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:

01722 484155 or 07947 823842

If you want to know how to deal with difficult people in the workplace then click here



job opportunity

So – This Job Opportunity – What’s In It For Me?

Long gone are the days when as an employer you could have an attitude of ‘people should be grateful to have a chance to work here’.  It is not all about what they can do for you – that is now only one half of the story.  It is now also about WIIFM.

Most companies recruitment processes are all about finding the right person.  And that, of course, is crucial and is a whole fine art in itself.  Many companies do not have a planned approach to recruitment and tend to do it ‘on the hoof’ which leads to all sort of issues and is definitely a subject for another day.

But here’s the thing.  Even though managers and leaders know that the workforce is a movable feast nowadays, even though the average lifespan of an employee has moved from 7-10 years to 2-4 year in the past 20 years, most companies still don’t really get how that affects them, and how they should be building the WIIFM factor into their recruitment and their ongoing management of staff.

One of the things that is key to stretching that much shortened employee lifespan – is getting recruitment right in the first place.  And they key to THAT is a matching of values.  The skills and experience someone has might get them a job but unless the values are aligned then it will not keep them there long term.

The ‘What’s In It For Me’ factor can’t be just about the money.  Money is not the thing that will keep most employees in the long term.  There has to be something else that keeps them coming back.

So – why DO your employees come to work here?  If you don’t know the answer to that question it is quite likely your values are not aligned and maybe you are not even recruiting on your businesses core values in the first place.  Perhaps – you don’t even have those defined in a way that all the employees know what they are.

Take for example Zappos.  Most companies say the culture is important.  Zappos lives it.  They hire on culture fit, but they accept that with human beings you can never get it 100 right – so in week 3 of their 4 week onboarding programme, new employees get given an offer – if they don’t think Zappos is the right place to them they can take this offer (which can be several thousand dollars) and they can leave, no hard feelings on either side.

I have always advocated in recruitment, fail quickly.  Zappos lives and breathes this culture. And what if they don’t leave?  Well, then there is a commitment on both sides to make it work.

Zappos also gives its staff the power to make customer decisions.  For example, a woman who had recently lost her husband rang up Zappos to see if she could return the shoes he had never worn.  The employee gave her an immediate refund and told her not to worry about sending the shoes back – that she had more important things to sort out at this time. This level of empowerment might be why Zappos has on average half the staff turnover rates of the online retail industry as a whole.

So – here’s a quick exercise.  List what you believe the top 5 values of your employees to be – and then go ask them.  Now list your top 5 values. If there are any differences, or if this took you longer than 10 minutes, then drop me an email.  We can get on a 20 minute call and help you define this.

Human Calculator

They Call Me The Human Calculator

Actually that’s not true.  No-one calls ME the Human Calculator.  That is what some of the kids at school call my son.   It is because he is so flippin’ good at mental arithmetic.  Which is great.  And that’s only one of his many talents.  (I would say that because I am his Mum – but it is true).  And actually – we all have talents which to us seem easy but to other people might be a struggle.

For example my Mum – she is an expert at grammar and she is a fantastic proof reader whereas I… not!  I have a friend who is brilliant at just throwing together a delicious meal out of a carrot, a babybel and some herbs – well not exactly – but you know what I mean?  She can take any sparse “day before the Tesco delivery” fridge, and make a delicious meal from it.

I have another friend who is a techie Wizz kid, she can solve any IT problem you might have – problem-solving is her joy in life.   I will have been scratching my head for an hour and will eventually solve the problem (usually) but I know if I ring her it will be sorted in 48 seconds!

You – as a manager or an entrepreneur probably have a good old raft of things you are pretty good at, but there will be some you are absolutely genius at.  These are the things which come so easily to you that perhaps you undervalue them, or think everyone can do that.   Or perhaps it is the opposite, perhaps you think no-one else can do the stuff you can do and so you fail to utilise the skills on your team.

If you look really closely you will find that there are hidden skills in the people you have on your team.  One of my clients the other day was talking to their team about an issue around social media and during the course of the conversation she found out that person was an absolute genius at Instagram.  The team member had her own little business that she ran in the evenings and the weekends which used Instagram as one of her main sources of leads.  And so – a potentially thorny problem was solved, just by talking.

So – how do you find out what genius lies within your team?  Sometimes you need to uncover it, sometimes you already know it but aren’t really leveraging that to the fullest extent.

A good way is to just talk to your people – maybe go back to their CV’s if they are recent hires, and have a look over what they said there.  There could be things you had forgotten about that they could bring to the table in their current role.  Or perhaps you could put out a message at a team meeting or by email or in a one2one, outlining a project and asking who would be interested in getting involved, or who might already have skills that would be useful to the project.

You never know what might come up.  And remember – hidden talent is of no use to anyone, and as a Leader, it is your job to uncover those hidden talents in your team and allow them to develop them.

And if you are having trouble either with identifying the skills in your team or devising ways to use them fully and free up a bit of your time – then drop me an email to and let’s have a coffee and talk about it!




You remember the old joke about how many people it takes to change a lightbulb…? Well….

There I was. Walking down a London street a few weeks back on a Sunday morning and I was presented with a real-life picture of that old joke about lightbulbs (except, obvs, it wasn’t lightbulbs but men watching someone else dig up the pavement…all 5 of them.).

I was bemused as I walked past them; there was no sense from them that ‘Oi, we ought to be getting on with work, lads’. No. Perhaps they thought they WERE working. After all. We NEED people to supervise the supervisors who supervise those supervisors. Don’t we….?

Now I’m guessing that these chaps (and they were all chaps) were all working for a public body or at least a sub-contracting company who had the contract to the public body. And I thought, I’m glad I’m not a tax payer in Ole London Town. I’d not be happy at this. Why DOES it take 5 men to supervise one man digging a hole? Seriously?!

And as I went down into the bowels of the Earth on the Tube I started to think about how the heck does it come to this when a business can allow this kind of wastage to happen? This could easily be multiplied throughout the business. What has gone wrong with the culture of a business when staff feel that this kind of behaviour is acceptable? That this is OK?

It all comes down to Leadership. Leadership at all levels within a business. All Leaders should be aligned and engaged in the direction of the business. They must all believe that they are here to make a real positive difference and that it isn’t just about the money. That they are here to serve others and provide the best service that they can possibly offer. That they take huge pride in providing the best service they can offer. That they are always striving to improve that service.

As Simon Sinek says:

‘If you hire people just because they can do the job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe they’ll work for you with blood, sweat and tears.’

Not a lot of the blood, sweat and tears going on there that day…..

What this means is that it’s about engaging the ‘hearts and minds’ of your people. And recruiting people who have the ‘right attitude’ in the first place – those people who have the right mindset – who believe what you believe. But it also means that the senior Leadership need to be absolutely clear on the direction of the business and ensure that everyone has a clear line of sight to it. They must live and breathe those values that they say are important. They have to walk their talk and be seen to do so. They need to ensure that they are keeping the hand on the tiller and guiding their people to the place they are headed.

Senior Leaders can’t be everywhere so it’s vital that they ensure that the more middle and junior Leaders in their staff have the right mindset, skills and resources to enable them to lead their people and to do their job properly.

So often, we see investment made in systems, plant and premises and yet so often not a lot of, or no, investment in staff. It is short-sighted of businesses if they don’t invest in the development of their staff. Staff development is not just about ‘technical’ skills. It is also about their Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and attitude (or mindset) – developing them so that they are aware of their impact upon the business and their colleagues. Staff are so very often part of the competitive edge. Winning contracts is frequently down to who provides the best service for the best value.

And 5 staff leaning on barriers watching a single person do the work are clearly not giving best service nor value…..

At Transforming Performance, we believe that there are 6 crucial areas to Leadership: focus and direction, mindset, engagement, skills, impact and systems.

Transforming Performance can help with our Accelerate Your Business™ and Accelerate Solo™ programmes. We work with Leaders to help them to recognise their impact upon those around them and to support them in changing to more positive and productive behaviours and impacts.

We can help. Give us a call on 01722 484155 or email us at


‘3D Leadership – dynamically enhancing the results of your business’™


Jan Sargent is Co-Director with Julie Hutchison of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership coaching, Team Development and Performance coaching, Executive coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:


01722 484155

07770 904179 ;



What’s Managing People Got To Do With Sugar? 

Do you have sugar in your tea?  Or your coffee?  Perhaps you have a biscuit addiction, or can’t resist a cake in the afternoon?

We know it is bad for us, don’t we, but we just can’t help ourselves.  It’s not our fault / we enjoy it too much / life would be boring without it.

Why do we do stuff that we know is not good for us?
It’s because we are stuck, stuck in our own comfort zone.  We have sugar in our tea, it’s just what we do.  The thought of changing that is just too painful.

But maybe you have already given up sugar in your tea, and you know that actually – after a few days it is not so horrible after all, and after a few weeks you start to prefer it and after a few months – well you wouldn’t go back to drinking tea with sugar in it if someone paid you a lot of money.

You see – much of our life is ruled by habit.  And for most people their habits are their comfort zone and also their truth.  Like the tea thing.  I have friends who also don’t have milk in their tea.  When they did, the thought of no milk was disgusting, and now the opposite is true, they wouldn’t take even a sip of tea with milk in.
And that is why we remain stuck in our bad (and good) habits – we believe that they are the only truth.  It’s the same at work too.

Have you ever felt you were going round in circles at work?

It is probably because you, or someone else, is stuck in their comfort zone of bad habits.  It is easier (or seems to be easier) to continue to do things the same way even though you want different results, and you know there must be a better way

Sometimes we refuse to stop and look at the norm to see if it could be tweaked because we haven’t ‘got time’.  Perhaps you know there is stuff you COULD delegate but you think it will take ‘too long’ to teach someone else.  And that is because all you are seeing is the short-term pain.  More work.  Less time.

And perhaps you think it might not work anyway, and then you would have wasted your time for nothing.  Or possibly it is because you haven’t spent any real time thinking about the long term gain. It just seems easier to keep on doing things the same way.  Less risky.  Yes, you might be absolutely exhausted, but at least everything will get done.  Until the day it doesn’t.

Because deep down we know that we should eat less sugar, not have the donut, walk instead of taking the car and we also know we should  not only be open to change so that we can make a better environment, but actively pursue this as one of our priorities as the leader of the team/business.

So – how do you do that – well – like sugar – you could go cold turkey – and change everything all at once. Or start to create new “good” habits, see how they go, get feedback and tweak.  Keep moving, and changing. Some people manage better on sugar deletion, by cutting down by ¼ of a teaspoon a week until its gone.  Others never get past the last ½ spoon doing it this way, and cold turkey works better for them.

I would suggest try changing one thing this week and commit to it.  See how it goes and let it become a new habit.  And then change another.  And another.  It is seldom as difficult as you think it is going to be, and when you have done it and you can see the benefits, boy does that feel good.

Sometimes we need a bit of accountability though to make sure things happen so why don’t you email me with your ‘One Thing’ and let’s keep you on track.   Or if you need a bit of a helping hand, if you can’t think of anything you could delegate down, or you are just feeling a bit of overwhelm, then email me and let’s have a coffee (or a virtual coffee) and see if we can help ….or maybe even a tea, with no sugar!



3D Leadership – dynamically enhancing the results of your business’™

At Transforming Performance, we believe that there are 6 crucial areas of Leadership: focus and direction, mindset, engagement, skills, impact and systems.

Transforming Performance can help with our Accelerate Your Business™ and Accelerate Solo™ programmes.

Julie Hutchison is co-Director with Jan Sargent of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:

01722 484155

07770 904179 & 07947 823842 ;


Do you have a pigeon on your team? Someone flapping around causing chaos and pooping everywhere?

What To Do About The Pigeon in The Conservatory

The other day as I sat in my office, I saw a pigeon fly into my conservatory.  I was on the phone at the time and couldn’t get up and sort it out, but I could see it flapping around making a right mess.

I politely ended my call and then thought – ‘hmm what do I do now?’.  It would have been great if I had any experience at all of catching birds, that I could call on.  I didn’t want to make the situation worse, and scare it into making an even bigger mess whilst getting it outside where it belonged. Maybe it would find it’s own way out if I just left it alone?  And so, I bemoaned my fate to everyone who was listening – which was, of course, no-one since I was on my own!

And so – for a while – it continued to flap around, knock things over, and generally s**t on things, while occasionally stopping and looking around quizzically as if to say, “how did I even get here, and why is no-one paying me any attention?”.

Eventually I “plucked” up the courage to catch it and put it out.  Don’t ask me exactly how I did it, but once I made the decision to deal with it – it wasn’t so bad after all and when I just took charge, firmly but carefully, it stopped flapping and behaved.  I then just let it out.

And it made me think how that is a lot like dealing with a ‘troublemaker’ on your team.  You know the person, the one who is always moaning, who is a time suck on other people?  They always have a drama going on don’t they, and they take up other people’s time talking about it again and again, instead of talking to the right person, or getting on and solving it.

Sometimes, especially if you have never had to deal with this type of behaviour before, it can seem overwhelming and you aren’t sure how to deal with it.  So, you do nothing, because surely that is better than making things worse?   They might just stop, all on their own, you think.

But the thing is – they don’t.  Sometimes, in fact, most times, they aren’t trying to be unhelpful or negative, they often don’t realise the effect their behaviour is having on those around them as they are so wrapped up in their own world, their own problems.

But here’s the thing.  If you DON’T deal with it, then it will be like the pigeon flapping around making more mess, and not going away.  You might think hoping is a strategy but it really isn’t.  And once you do decide to tackle the thing head on, it is almost never as difficult as you imagined it was going to be and always, always better afterwards.

Is there someone in your team who needs to be dealt with firmly but carefully before they make more mess in your team? Call us for a confidential chat about your ‘pigeons’ !

3D Leadership – dynamically enhancing the results of your business’™

At Transforming Performance, we believe that there are 6 crucial areas of Leadership: focus and direction, mindset, engagement, skills, impact and systems.

Transforming Performance can help with our Accelerate Your Business™ and Accelerate Solo™ programmes.

Julie Hutchison is co-Director with Jan Sargent of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:

01722 484155

07770 904179 & 07947 823842 ;





Are You Chopping Down Trees?

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you will be (probably boringly) familiar with the fact that the Hutchison tribe recently moved house.  We are very happy with our new abode, but my lovely other half was not too impressed with an apparently dry bunch of sticks posing as a tree in the back garden.  He was keen to chop it down and get rid of the eyesore he saw before him, and I almost agreed.

But then I really looked at it, and I could see that it was not in fact, dead.  It had buds coming and it was only dormant – waiting for its time to shine.  I could almost see it in my minds eye in its full glory – and me sitting in the shade of it in the summer, with a glass of something, watching the children playing.

And so, I asked him not to chop it down, but to leave it, to trust me that it would flourish.  And if it didn’t – well then – he was free to chop it down and dispose of it as he saw fit.

And it made me think of being a manager.  It reminded of one time when I was an Inspector in the Police Service and I had a police officer who one of my sergeants wanted to axe.  They believed that there was nothing there, that this person was not making the grade and that they should go.

Well, if you want to know what happened to the tree, and why it reminded me of this person, just look at the picture. Yes, that is the beautiful, in fact, stunning tree in my garden.  That is not just any old tree, that is one fabulous Arbor (Latin name for tree – sorry just seems like the sort of tree that deserves a fancier name!!).

That tree, reminds me so much of the situation with that officer.  The sergeant was right – they were not performing or showing much outward sign of being ABLE to perform in the role.  However, I was fairly new to this person and didn’t know much about them and therefore was keen to get more information before making a decision about their future.  In conversation with the sergeant it seemed to me (without going into detail which might identify the innocent), that this person had just had a bad start.

They had not had the usual encouragement and some personal issues had left them a bit distracted and slightly lacking in confidence.

Together with the sergeant, we put in place a training programme and some one to one time, to give the team member the knowledge and more importantly, the encouragement of having their boss (the sergeant) believe in them – and you should have seen the results.

Look at the tree and imagine it’s a person.  That was the result.

Situations like these are what encouraged me to develop the Team Performance Engine, to help leaders see past the dry sticks, and see the potential of their individuals.  And not only see it but also be able to tap into it and turn it into a reality that everyone can see.

So I ask you today – are you giving your people enough time to flourish, are you giving them the space and the environment they need to flourish, or are you judging them too soon because you don’t see their potential?

If you would like to know more about our training programs built on the Team Performance Engine – drop me an email to and let’s have a chat.




VISION – ‘You have to think anyway, so why not think big?’

I know… It’s a Donald Trump quote. But he has a point.

It’s been said that only human beings think about the future, no other animal does. That’s quite amazing, isn’t it? Cats aren’t worried about the possibility of making a mess on the carpet and whether it’ll get stained when they bring a dead or dying creature into the house. Your dog doesn’t think about what running into the river will do to its hairstyle when it goes into retrieve a stick and whether that might make it late for dinner.

Human beings think about what they will be doing in the future; it might be what they are going to do with that well-earned degree when they leave University. Or, it might be, where they are going to move to and how that will improve their life. Perhaps it might be that they are thinking about where their next career move is going to take them.

It was said that Michael Heseltine (he of the blonde bouffant hair and Defence Minister in the 1980’s) had planned his career route when he was a teenager, all the way from school (yes, it was Eton..) to being Prime Minister – he only JUST missed out on that role. That’s called having a VISION; it’s our future and we all do it all the time.

And this is what leaders do when they create a VISION. They create a full picture of how things will be. What their world will look like when the hard work and effort comes to fruition.

People in many different roles and at all levels in an organisation can be a leader and they are creating VISIONS of how things can be improved all the time. Creating a VISION is not just the preserve of the lofty few global ‘names’ or some lone genius. You don’t need to be Richard Branson; Bill Gates or Sheryl Sandberg. No.

A lot of people can create a VISION, and visions can be collaborated on and contributed to, by a number of people. Leaders in all roles can learn the skill of creating a VISION.

You might be asking why creating a VISION is important. Well, experienced leaders say that VISION is absolutely vital to every leader’s work. If you are a leader, you are leading people somewhere and it isn’t where you are now! Leadership is all about change; which means the leader must have a clear VISION of where the band of merry men and women is going. The leader must be clear on what things will look like when it all comes together.

‘The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground’. —Sir Winston Churchill

A great VISION lifts our spirits and work and fires our imagination. It has value and meaning for us. People want meaning in their lives and to do something which gives and adds value to what they do.

A VISION should inspire people. It should help the business to stand out from everyone else; to show how this Company is different to that one over there. It should give purpose; create a focus for effort, energise people and create team spirit as people go all out to reach it. It provides the focus towards which goals are created; if an organisation is clear on where the journey ends then that destination is to the fore, and goals and milestones are easier to identify.

A VISION is the business of every leader at whatever level they happen to be. After the senior level leaders have developed a VISION, it is the job of all other leaders to shape their own visionfor their teams, to support the top level VISION. At each level, each leader must create that VISION and communicate it. Indeed they should keep on communicating it so there can be no doubt where everyone is headed.

So, unlike the recent advert for a major telecommunications provider who told you to ‘think dog’ or ‘think cat’, I’m going to say DON’T.

Think like a human and have a VISION.

We’d love to hear from you. We’d love to hear your challenges and what approaches you may have tried, or be thinking of trying, to improve your VISION for your company or your part of the company. Email us on  and share your stories with us. Go on. You know you want to.


Jan Sargent, Director of Transforming Performance, can be contacted for support with Leadership, Team Performance, Coaching, Mentoring, Behavioural Profiling and Executive Coaching and help in getting the best from you and your people.


01722 484155