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Should you keep it in the Family?

Fewer than 2 % of businesses last more than 20 years.  R and B Star have been going since 1960!  I am coaching the leaders in this ambitious company and learnt some really valuable stuff from Bill, the founder.  He was in work on Monday – still an active part of the business at 86!  I interviewed him about the company’s success and learnt about his story (

This company have doubled their turnover and are really going strong.  They believe in their values and these have not changed since 1960.  Bill has passed his business onto his son Bob and his family but right at the core of everything they do is this one main theme:

“Treat everybody as you would wish to be treated yourself.”

Bob’s son Andrew is now Managing Director and Bob’s nephew and son-in-law are also directors.

Bill’s motto holds true today.  Bill’s story is an amazing one.  He was born in a cow shed and lived there until he was 10.  He worked hard and always had an entrepreneurial flare.  He spotted the mistakes in his father in law’s confectionery business and left but studied hard as an electrical engineer.  During the war he was selected to be part of a special unit which taught themselves how to make the tools to make the parts that could be needed out in the battle field or the jungle.  He became an expert problem solver.  On Monday when I arrived he was fixing the shredder machine!

My work at R and B star is building on Bill’s (and subsequently his son, Bob’s and also his son Andrew’s) beliefs. All three generations have remained true to their values and that has given them the decision making frame work to work out their priorities.  Their success has come from this and it has generated a culture whereby the clarity of what is important keeps things moving forward. I feel proud to be part of this culture and to be working with this leadership team.  They are constantly looking to evolve and improve and they know the significance of great leadership.  They have kept it together through all the hard times by having a shared sense of purpose.

The secret to a successful family business (and any business come to that) is to understand that the values drive everything. 

If you would like to find out more about values–led leadership and leading to improve success then please get in touch: rachel



Can leadership be Taught? A quick lesson from the One Minute Manager

Can you learn how to be a manager? There is always a huge debate about this. What do you think? Ken Blanchard’s great series ‘One Minute Manager’ has taught lots of leaders. Here’s a great lesson you can’t afford to miss.

Ken Blanchard’s Series ‘The One Minute Manager’ has been a massive success and comes highly recommended for any person taking a leadership role.  If you have not yet read any of these great mini books they are well worth taking a look at.  They are quick, powerfully helpful and easy to digest.

My best piece of learning from the leadership-focused one answers one of the most commonly asked questions I am asked when training leaders. They ask “What’s the best leadership style?”  Many people get fixated with their leadership style. They worry what it is, what it should be, what one is best etc.

This is the thing, though, that the leadership style is not about the leader.  It is most definitely about the person being led.  When I tell people about this they get confused.  We are they always refer to a great leader they’ve known and they say that the particular style of that person was ‘best’.

My answer is that a great leader has a style that matches the needs of the person they are leading. A great leader is able to adapt his/her style to match what will bring the best out in the person with whom they are working at the time. 

Another way to think about this is to also consider the situation, too.  What some situations require is diplomacy, tact, a gentle guidance, coaxing and encouragement.  Another situation will require a leader to be direct, decisive, fast and bold – for example in an emergency or a crisis.

So when thinking about leadership style it’s not always helpful to focus on a particular style and stick rigidly to it.  You may have a preferred style with which you feel more comfortable and that is probably the style that suits you best if you are being led.  However, it’s best not to fix on that and be determined that it is ‘how you are’.

Of course there does need to be a level of awareness about your own strengths and weaknesses.  We can’t easily be what we are not.  We do need to have an element of living to our truth.   But with great awareness comes the ability to develop new techniques, new methods and learn lessons about what works effectively and with whom.

In my research for this blog I found a great snippet at :

Adair was probably the first to demonstrate that leadership is a trainable, transferable skill, rather than it being an exclusively inborn ability. In Great Leaders (1989) he suggests that, “The common sense conclusion of this book is that leadership potential can be developed, but it does have to be there in the first place” According to Capowski, “Leaders are not born. Leaders are made, and they are made by effort and hard work”. In other words, everyone has the basic seeds of leadership within them and how these are developed and cultivated will determine whether leadership qualities develop in an individual. It has been argued that “more leaders have been made by accident, circumstance, sheer grit, or will than have been made by all the leadership courses put together. Leadership courses can only teach skills. They cannot teach character or vision…”2 He goes on the say that, “The ingredients of leadership cannot be taught, however. They must be learned.”

Sourced from and thank you to them for sharing.

So what do you think?  Can you learn some new leadership skills?  Can you be taught them?  What leadership style do you prefer and what styles will bring about the best results in the team that you lead?  Food for thought and I’d love to chat about this with you if you would like to comment. You can email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. too.

If you would like to receive free training resources to support your leadership development please click here to find out more:

The Secrets to Great Leadership

Success isn’t always measured by the speed of growth but wouldn’t it be brilliant if your company could grow and increase its success. What one factor would make the difference to your business? Read about two crucial ingredients that make all the difference….

Would it surprise you to know that 16% of all registered businesses in the UK have annual sales turnover of less than £50K? And 24% have between £50K and £100k. So what that means is that there are loads of small companies not really generating a great deal!  For all the effort that goes into it there’s not much coming out at the end of the day!  (ONS, April 2015)

There is a very small percentage of companies making big bucks. The percentages get increasingly smaller the higher up the revenue bands you go.  A great infographic showing some brilliant nuggets about the top 100 fastest growing businesses in the UK currently is here:

Check out some of the key bits of info and then think about your business.  What would it take for you to get that type of growth?  Are these top 100 companies doing something so wildly different to you in yours?  What makes the difference?

One thing for sure is that one key feature of their successful growth will be linked to the two main ingredients that underpin EVERYTHING about business success.  It all boils down to 2 main things.  Without these two factors NOTHING happens in business at all, let alone growing and being even more successful.  Zilch occurs when these two things aren’t right. 

Whatever business, wherever you are, with whatever background,  with the most brilliant product or service, there will be nothing if these two crucial elements aren’t right.. …

So what things are so crucial that I’ve had to keep you in suspense for a couple of paragraphs to build up your appetite?  (Or  get on your nerves!)

Well, let me tell you. (Finally) It’s all about relationships and communication.  Which ever way you look at it the whole kit and kaboodle relies entirely on these two to get anywhere. NOTHING happens without people talking to other people and that only works properly if those people have  healthy working relationships. Honestly.  Nothing is more important than these two things.

So how do you get that working properly?  It’s about leadership. 

Those businesses making huge strides in their growth (and doing it successfully)  understand the significance of developing their people so that they communicate like experts and can create relationships that create results. They develop a leadership culture and train their staff properly.

The common mistake is to assume these specific leadership skills are present, especially if someone is technically good at their job.  The way to achieve those dizzy heights of sales revenue, profit, success and growth is to prioritise the way the people in your business learn to be effective communicators and leaders.  If you’d like a free training guide to kick start the development of your teams to obtain more success in your business, PLUS a free masterclass to teach leaders in your business improve their crucial skills in giving people feedback to improve performance,  then click on this link. You won’t regret it!  It will be the beginning of something really impactful in your business.  You can always contact me to discuss how I can help you develop your team and get the results you desire.  


Click HERE! 

What do Damian Hughes and Clive Woodward say about how to change absolutely everything??


I’ve read a great book by Damian Hughes called “How to Change Absolutely Everything” (who also wrote the famous book “How to Think Like Alex Fergusson”.)

I love Damian’s books! This ‘change’ one has some really great bits to move you forward in your business (and in your personal life).

The section that has struck me hard is where Damian quotes Sir Clive Woodward who was the very successful coach of the England Rugby team. (Sir Clive also wrote a book called Winning (2004, London, Hodder & Stoughton). In this section Sir Clive’s approach to the game is set out. The team had 10 minutes between halves and in those 10 minutes the routine was as follows:

0-2 minutes – Absolute silence, think about performance, shirts off, towel down, new kit on, imagine 0-0 on the score board,

2-5 minutes – coaches’ assessments, take on food, fluids 

5- 8 coaches’ final word

8-10 minutes – absolute silence, 0-0 on the score board, visualise kick off.

The idea was to wipe the slate clean – get a chance to start again and to focus. How many of us have ever wished we could do that? Well, why can’t we? We can make tomorrow better than today. We can learn to not make the same mistakes over again.

By taking a few moments on things you want to change by breaking down what you want the behaviours to be that will create that change. The behaviours are the key. We are a blend of how we feel and what we do.

Another great tip is to write the behaviours you want and place them where you can see them as a visible reminder.

Damian writes about how he worked with a big retail chain to bring about change to improve customer service. He had the organisation place a mirror on the door way with a reminder to staff to set their uniform straight plus the 12 key behaviours they expected of staff, such as “smile” . These subliminal reminders had a huge effect on the staff and the subsequent staff surveys. The results were dramatic.

What would you like to change to bring about a great, dramatic effect on your performance? What about “Stand tall and speak confidently”? What would you remind yourself of and where would you place the reminder?


Damian is one of my key note speakers at the “Leadership that gets Results Conference” October 20th and 21st at the Grand Hotel. To find out more Click Here


Is micro-managing costing you business?


As a leader of a large or small team, you will hear the above phrase many times over, this job isn't my responsibility! You may even hear your staff state but you didn't say I had to do that… This is where job roles and job descriptions come in.  Everyone should have a clear job description which sets out their part in moving the company towards its goal. For an employee this is an excellent reference point for what they should be doing – and what they will be measured against. It is also an excellent reference point for the leader or manager to use when helping people do what they should be doing to the standard they should be doing it! Without this framework it’s very hard to manage a person’s performance. The job description should clearly state what they are responsible for and the standard to which they must work. How well should they do this activity? How will it be measured? How will the employee and manager or leader know when the work has been done well.

Many times as a corporate service provider, I hear the same stories, “I don’t know how to manage this with the staff,” “how can get the staff to be more self sufficient”, “I don’t want to micro manage the staff any more”, “I can’t build my business and micro manage the staff”  and the list of stories continues, so how can we learn to manage staff without watching their every move, how can we utilize the staff members full potential without having to MICRO MANAGE!

In my experience micro managing causes work related stress and many other issues, such as staff fearing to talk to their manager, goals and targets not being met, frustration and working relationships deteriorating. Let me tell you about a secret ingredient that can help remove these issues and create a more productive and efficient working environment:


If you would like to learn how to give powerful feedback and learn new skills

click here to find out how you can access my FREE master-class!