Thursday, 22 October 2009

Back to my roots...

I get to do something that I love doing tomorrow! I'll not get paid for it, but it's why I originally set up in business and so it'll be a treat anyway.

I'm meeting with a young person to help them plan what to do next with their life. More education? A job? A bit of both? Self employment?

People rarely want to be instructed on how to run their lives, or their job, but they are much more comfortable with an open discussion that allows them to come to an informed decision that is personal and appropriate to them.

My core belief is to offer alternatives and not give directions. Hence my company strap line: Unique Solutions for Unique People. I get a bit hoity toity when folks tell me I should "always recommend" their pet solution or that I should "follow the received advice". I bear all the information in mind and bring it into play if it's appropriate.

I try and avoid offering "the obvious"advice. If "the obvious" worked then I'd be eating less, exercising more and wearing a size 12 frock! It also insults the intelligence of the person you're trying to help. There are far more subtle ways to discern whether or not they know the base information needed for the conversation.

People aren't a commodity to be "channelled" into a particular stream of education - or employment. A good consultation can help change some one's life and really make a positive difference. It's a privilege to be a part of the process.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Taking my own medicine.

I spend quite a lot of time encouraging people to build in effective evaluation into their processes. I then spend a larger amount of time persuading them to act upon their findings! You'd think that I'd automatically do the same for my own company would you not?

Today I took some time out to do my 6 month evaluation. Like so many people before me, it told me that what I had thought was going to happen and what had actually happened are two very different things! Even though the evidence was staring me in the face, I didn't want to move away from the areas that aren't performing because I have invested so much of my previous life in them.

After a cup of coffee and a self administered pep talk (my neighbours must worry about me!) I tried to look at the facts as if I were my own client.

I expected to be visiting schools and colleges giving advice to young people on selecting a University, or a different path that will get them to where they want to be. Although the interest is there, the cash to pay for the service is not.

What I'm actually doing is helping people set up their own social networking models, coaching people and acting as an agent for other consultants. I've also developed an e-publishing and e-merchandising strand.

My advice to a client would be, concentrate on what is working and join the voluntary advisers for the education side of things once you're finances are stable.

Looks like I'm revising my business plan then...