Things you can control… and things you can’t

I was chatting with a client the other day and he asked me how I go about winning new business. How, he wanted to know, do I secure a steady stream of projects to keep me busy and to help me pay the bills? A fairly simple question, surely. But my answer was most definitely not the one that he was expecting. And, to be honest, it wasn’t the one I was expecting, either. Continue reading

On planners and planning

I had the honour last week of being invited to present a workshop at the annual conference of the Higher Education Strategic Planners Association (HESPA) at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. It was a great event. And I met some fantastic people. But it was the amount I learned in two short days that astounded me. Continue reading

VFM: It’s about the value, not the money

With higher education institutions in England being required to report annually on value for money, universities need to raise their game when talking about what they do and how well they do it.

As funding gets tighter and competition for students becomes more intense, our higher education institutions are coming under increasing pressure to justify the public investment that they receive. So it is now more important than ever that we are able to explain clearly and effectively what we do and how we use the funding entrusted to us to create lasting value. Continue reading

The power of conversations

I’m a big fan of doing new things. But that isn’t to say that I don’t find them a little scary sometimes. So it was with not inconsiderable trepidation that earlier this week I joined my first session of a local coaching group.

Now, you’d expect a group of executive coaches to be reasonably friendly and helpful. But I can honestly say that the hour and a half I spent with this small group of people in a local cafe was a real eye-opener. And a fantastic investment of my time. Continue reading

The executive summary: A reader’s plea

I love executive summaries. I like to read as many things as possible, but don’t always have as much time as I’d like. So a good executive summary allows me to get the gist of what something’s about, quickly and without fuss. And depending on what I find, I can then digest the key points and move on, grab a cup of tea and read the whole thing, or throw whatever it is in the recycling without feeling that I’m missing anything important.

So it pains me greatly when I come across an executive summary that doesn’t cut the mustard. And quite recently, that’s been happening a lot. Continue reading