Thursday, February 27, 2014

Richard Branson's Best Advice

If you ask Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin group (yes, records and airlines), for the best piece of advice he's ever received, he'll tell you: "No regrets." That famous line was from his very own mother, who nurtured his entrepreneurial spirit through failed ventures such as growing Christmas trees when he was a child. She led by example, too, and implemented many business ideas of her own.

Does your child have what it takes to be the next Richard Branson? Check their Learning Style to find out. If they have a preference for variety, high perseverance, a mixture of analytic and holistic thinking, and if they are a self-starter, you may well have a little businessman or businesswoman on your hands. Let them reach for the sky.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Leadership: It's a Marathon Not a Sprint

Leadership is a quality that people need to learn. Whether you are aspiring to a business or management career, or want to be a leader in other aspects of your life, you will want to read this interview with Gordon Tredgold, the author of a new book called Leadership It’s a Marathon Not a Sprint.

Q: How does one move from being a manager to being a leader?

A: To me leadership is all about creating and having influence, so you can actually do this whilst you're in a management position, and then you can use this influence to inspire your teams and motive them to achieve their goals wrath than through command and control structures. There is also the view that management is about getting your teams to do things right, whereas leadership is about getting your teams to do the right things.

Again, as managers we can take the double view of checking first that we are dong the right thing, and then checking that we are doing it right. With this approach we will definitely help to improve the results.

In many companies people who are good managers are often promoted to leadership positions even though these are ostensibly different roles, so being a good manager is definitely one way of becoming a leader.

I would say that an even better way would be to start leading whilst in your management position, these roles are not mutually exclusive and many of the best leaders i have worked with combined both skill at the management level before becoming leaders.

This also gives us the added bond of being able to practise our leadership skills prior to being in a formal leadership position.

Q: What other topics does your book cover?

A: My book covers many different aspects about leadership such as goal setting and inspiring people, the interrelationships between aspiration, inspiration and motivation, team building, reward and recognition and about achieving sustainable results.

You can read the book from start to finish, or you can pick a chapter at random to get a better understanding of a particular leadership topic.

Q: What made you decide to write this book?

A: I've had a lot of positive feedback over the years on my leadership style, people seem to have liked the way i have led them and the successes that we have achieved, so i thought it might be a good idea to talk about my approach and to put it down in words to share it. I don't necessarily think my approach is unique, but it has been effective and its not one that i often see written from a practitioner perspective so i thought this might be an interesting angle.

Also, my approach is very simple and straight forward, as is my writing style, so i thought that might be a refreshing change from of the more technical or theoretical books on leadership.  Dealing more with the how, than the what or why. I do believe the what and why are important, but i haven't seen many how to guides.

Also I wanted to write a book to help aspiring leaders, given them approaches and then examples of how those approaches could be implemented, to make leadership more accessible. 

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm from the north of England, which I think is what helps  makes me a pragmatic, no nonsense, straight talking leader, as these are definitely traits of people from that area. I also have a great sense of humour, which i often use to try and  reduce the stress in tense situation. I like to have fun, especially at work, i think if we can make it a more fun environment people then this will help us increase our chances of success and levels of success.

I'm a very determined character, I used to play a lot of rugby, and being fairly short and playing right in the trenches, I was always a fully committed, lead from the front type player, and this is definitely reflected in my leadership style.

(Visit Gordon Tredgold’s blog -
Leadership It’s a Marathon Not a Spirnt -

Friday, February 14, 2014

Tests, Exams and Learning Styles

Because test conditions are stressful for most children, you as a teacher can remove as much of the stress as possible by letting them learn THEIR WAY, and prepare them for tests in fun and playful ways. Remember,
there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ learning style, just the ‘right’ way for each student (or groups of students).

Some students, usually the holistic ones, will need to know the reason why there have to be tests at all. Tell them tests are important to monitor progress, to show how well the teacher is doing his or her job (an idea which will appeal to them). This should remove some of the stress from the students as well. Although it’s a generalisation, we found that holistic children tend to get more stressed by test conditions than analytic ones. Removing the time factor, and not letting them feel that there is a strict deadline for finishing the test, may make them perform better.

But most importantly: teach according to their preferred learning style, because information stored in your students’ brains ‘their way’ is always much easier accessed under the stressful conditions of a test and the danger of ‘blanking out’ is greatly reduced. 

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Sochi Winter Olympics and Learning Styles

With the Sochi Winter Olympics firmly on everybody's mind, it's worth remembering that the way we get better at sport depends on our own Working Style.

Some style features to consider are:
·         Motivation
·         Perseverance/Persistence
·         Responsibility
·         Teamwork or training alone
·         Time of day
·         Need for structure
·         Need for routine
·         Sequential or simultaneous learning.

A beautiful example of this is golf as Wayne Thomas, a professional golf coach near Melbourne, Australia, describes it:

“I have always recognised that there is something missing with coaching, despite the excellent results many of my students reported receiving. What concerns me most is a person’s inability to sustain new levels of performance and continually falling back into old patterns. My continued pursuit of knowledge about golf swing, human movement, mental approach to oneself, equipment and communication skills wasn’t providing the key that would open the gate to the amazing potential we all possess.

When I first met Barbara Prashnig and she put forward the notion that HOW people learn is more important than WHAT people learn, it sparked for me a new era in coaching: I immediately began changing my coaching style and the learning environment to match the students’ learning styles. This has led to astonishing improvements and sustained playing ability in my golf students.”

What is your working style? Find out