‘Sacrifice People to save numbers’

I came across this quote whilst reading work by Simon Sinek – the renowned motivational speaker – check him out on YouTube.


We’ve all seen companies downsize their staff in turbulent financial times with no thought about the impact on those individuals, their families nor the overall drop in moral on the staff they keep.


Even when there isn’t a financial downturn, companies will often shred staff to reduce their payroll bill and thus increase their profits – more palatable for the shareholders – or is it?


I worked for a company for over 12 years.  Just before the financial reporting, a round of redundancies would be announced to ensure the company retained it’s double digit growth.  In reality, they haven’t grown at all.  All they had done was culled their staff.


Simon’s point was what would happen if companies did the reverse? ‘Sacrificed the numbers to save the people’ – what a thought.  The example he gave was of Bob Chapman Chair of Barry-Wehmiller in USA.  This company was a £1bn plus turnover and made big machinery.  In the 2008 financial crash he decided to ‘sacrifice the numbers to save the people’.   With 30% written of the company’s value in one fail swoop – it was time to try something new.


He suggested everyone – from himself downwards, would take four weeks unpaid holiday.  They didn’t have to take it consecutively and they could take it when they wanted but everyone would keep their jobs.  The response was huge.  Those senior people who could afford to take more unpaid leave traded with those that couldn’t.  Everyone worked as a family, pulling together.  They were involved in the decision, given the support to do it and felt safe and happy.  The company prospered.  It enjoys 20% year on year growth compared with the average 6%.


When you believe in why you are doing something, everything else falls into place.  People support you because they believe in the same thing.


Wouldn’t it be refreshing if all companies ‘Sacrificed the numbers for the people’?


How much more would their profits grow?  What do you think?

Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking – What I’ve learnt….

Today I did an online two hour course by High Speed Training – and thankfully passed!


The modules were broken down into clear, informative parts for the lay person.  We all make assumptions about terms such as ‘Modern Slavery’ ‘Trafficking’ ‘Exploitation’.  The misconception is this goes on in hidden areas – not in our circles.  However, key industries these issues have been found in include hospitality, fishing, factory work, food processing, leaflet delivery, tarmac, paving, agriculture, cannabis farms (these are in residential houses), domestic servitude, sex industry and criminal gangs – ATM thefts etc.


In 2000 the UN met in Palermo, Italy to agree three protocols.  Clearly 18 years later, the problem is still there.  So learning some possible signs and what agencies to involve has got to be a good thing.  Knowledge is power after all.


Learning about the tools used by traffickers, including religious beliefs, has been an eye opener.  Equally understanding and supporting someone who has experienced any kind of trauma/abuse can be misunderstood as lying due to not always being able to recall events easily or in the right order.  We must remember trauma interferes with this process – people aren’t always lying.


Let’s not assume.


If you are interested in doing this online course check out http://www.highspeedtraining.co.uk.



You know when you’ve done a good job….

When at the end of a coaching and mentoring week non-confident selected Growing Talent Associates are transformed into self-believing, confident, talented, can do people ready for the work place and beginning the journey to take control of their lives and you get a lovely card like this….


Isn’t this the best kind of appraisal?



Challenging The Mindset – WiFM 2018

British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) run an annual event for women in FM.  This year’s was focussed on Mental Health in the Workplace – Challenging The Mindset.


It was my first time.  The day was well structured  with diverse speakers with plenty of networking opportunities.


Unfortunately, I could only stay for the morning session. Opened by the Chair of Women in FM, Jackie Furey, the scene was set for an intensive learning session with over 100 delegates in the room.


Of course the AV gremlins were in force and every speaker had the test of dealing with rogue sound and spinning slides – which they all did with excellent grace.  I wondered if this was deliberate as it certainly broke the ice!


Jackie introduced Louise Ashton, Wellbeing Director from BiTC.  Louise fired off a lot of stats, policy etc but a disappointment for me was no mention of signposting for suicide.  People don’t need to know the stats they need to know what to do.  So in the Q&A session, I shared the excellent free add #StayAlive which gives step by step guidance and signposting.


Next was Asa Bjornberg who uses horses in her unique and interesting work.  Asa shared her journey from being an expert at McKinsey & Company to becoming a clinical psychologist and coach using horses in her leadership and development programmes. Asa also shared some of her personal exposure t mental health and recovery.  Hugely innovative and interesting session.


Bianca Angelico followed Asa.  She is Deputy Chair of Women in FM and an exec manager at Sodexo.  She shared a heart rendering experience made all the more human and poignant by her dad in the audience who had travelled from the family home in South Africa to support Bianca.


Karen Shaw – passionate Employer Programme Manager from the excellent Time To Change spoke about their role, their work in removing stigma at work and encouraging all to sign the Time to Change Pledge.


Lauren Trent a recruitment consultant with Trust in SODA made some in the audience reach for the Kleenex again.  She was one of the people involved in the acid throwing by Arthur Collins.  Her visible concern for her friend who was with her on the night and more disfigured was permeable.  Lauren enabled the audience to know what the life long journey is for someone affected by this horrendous trend to use corrosive substances as weapons and the confusion on the night with a lack of help from the nightclub, the horror of having her family over an hour away and the pain for them.  Lauren spoke about the training needed for everyone on what to do in an acid attack.


Graham Bird, Workplace Director at Where we Work gave a funny, presentation on how to look after ourselves in the workplace which held the interest and resulted in much note taking.


The final speaker of the morning session was Lucy Jeynes, MD of Larch Consulting and Co-Founder of Women in FM.  The reaction of Lucy’s colleagues and peers in the audience was most startling as she revealed the mental health issue that had impacted her family, the pressure of holding it together in the workplace and supporting everyone around which no one knew about.  For me this illustrated the often hidden impact of Mental Health – trying to carry on at work as though everything was ok.  Her talk started off with a member of her family experiencing cyber bullying – a 24/7 issue that never stops…. Various stages of Mental Health decline followed until ultimately the worst case scenario was attempted but luckily unsuccessful.  Lucy shared some interesting stats – 40% of bullying is via social media, 30% is in on-line gaming platforms and 30% on instant messaging.  It’s more subtle in the workplace with ‘Frenenemies’ – pretending to be your friend but in reality they are your enemy – these offer advice and then exclude totally undermining self confidence.  Cyber bullying continues even when schools, work, location is changed.  There is a campaign to stand-up to this ‘Stop, Speak, Support’


An incredibly interesting event.



Social Mobility – What is it exactly?

I was thinking about this the other day.  Maybe my definition is different to others….


So what prompted this thought?  I’d been invited by a global financial services organisation with a multi £bn turnover and global presence to share my work with their Social Mobility team.


During this meeting I explained how I devised and run Growing Talent which has got over 120 people from the ranks of the unemployed into permanent jobs which they have flourished in.  Over four years, many have returned to encourage those following them and shared how much Growing Talent had changed their lives.  Some have started their own business.


I gave many examples from graduates who had no direction, self belief nor understanding of what the world of employment looked like to people like Richard – mid 30s, never worked – who not only completed the programme but has been employed for over two years now.


People on Growing Talent come from all social backgrounds including the homeless, single parents, people who have experienced mental health issues and so on.


With nurturing and encouragement they have secured employment, got savings, taken back control of their lives and have immense self-belief.  To me, this is social mobility.


At the end of the meeting, the Social Mobility team said Growing Talent was good but what about clothes?  Clothes do not bring about change.  A mindset, encouragement into work and self belief do as my evidence shows.


So what does Social Mobility mean to you?  Is it a new set of clothes or is it giving the tools to someone to literally change their lives?


I sincerely hope the money being invested into these Social Mobility teams actually delivers real change and doesn’t just become a tick box exercise….