Going It Alone


Linking back to a previous blog post on scary goals and being brave one area that frequently comes up in my career coaching work is when an individual is trying to decide whether to leave paid employment and enter into the world of self employment.

I remember when I made this move leaving a very well paid corporate job in 2000 I walked out of the office door for the very first time “unemployed “ thinking what I have just done is either very brave or very stupid. There wasn’t a plan on what I was actually going to do I just knew that the job I had been in was making me miserable and had been doing this for about eighteen months. I had got to the point where I dreaded going back to work after a holiday and I had always vowed if that happened to make some changes.

Within the first couple of weeks had I heard a few of bits advice from mentors who had a similar path and were a few years down the line at that point. The advice I gained in these early weeks I still pass onto others as I believe them to be very true in my experience

  • It takes 3-4 years to get used to being self employed and if you last this long without returning to a regular salaried job them you are likely to be successful and also become fairly unemployable as you get used to the freedom of being your own boss and the feast and famine nature of this path.
  • It’s all about who you know and who you surround yourself by. There will be many doubts in these early years and pragmatic encouragement from authentic inspirational people who want to help you succeed is a critical success factor.

I certainly underestimated the length of time it takes to

  • Refine what you want to specialise in
  • To work out the correct pricing model
  • To set up the operational infrastructure working out what you want to do yourself and what you want to pay others to do for you
  • Work out the elevator pitch when people ask the classic “ what do you do?”
  • Polish off an authentic sales and engagement process
  • Develop a support network to encourage you when the going gets tough but also challenge you when something needs to be discontinued and you don’t see it yourself.

What you get in return however after persisting through these initial years is immense personal growth along with a sense of achievement and freedom along with the by product of meeting some great new people on route.


Sandra works as a coach with both businesses and private clients. She is also author of the book Own It – regain control and live life on your terms available from Amazon click here http://bit.ly/1JhAkst



Persistence & Accountability


So how are you doing with all those good intentions, resolutions, goals or new habits that you decided to commit to at the beginning of the year?

If I look at myself then I would say I am doing better with some than others, there are certain actions that are proving more difficult to embed as habits than others. When I work with both business and private clients keeping the momentum going over a long period of time and working out how to embed certain behaviours or habits that the individual wants to work on is by far the hardest part of the change process.

So let’s take a work example to illustrate a couple of things that can help embed new ways of improving or creating new actions moving forwards:

 A leader I have been working with for several months was struggling to commit her time to holding regular Team Meetings and hold monthly 1-1,s with her direct reports. She had had various attempts at putting the meetings in the diary and had also managed to keep the momentum going with a few meetings but it never lasted more than a couple of months. She began to think it didn’t matter as she sat quite close to the people they all chatted every day and they were having the occasional meeting. Deep down however she knew that the regular pattern she had originally set out to achieve hadn’t been embedded to become routine practice plus the fact that these two activities in my view (as her coach) were key to maintaining individuals motivation, aiding consistent communication and managing performance issues. It took a couple of events to refocus the leaders attention back to the important “why” did she want to work on improving this area in the first place. The two events were a high performing member of the team handed in her notice as she felt she wasn’t been challenged or developed enough in the role plus in the end of year appraisal feedback the Team commented that they often didn’t know what was going on in other areas of the business. When we discussed both of theses events at a coaching discussion it was clear that if the regular 1-1’s had been happening with everyone and team meetings were a given part of daily operations then these two events might not have occurred.

 So this illustration shows there has to be a solid reason behind why you want to embed new behaviours or change the way you do things.

 Ask yourself the question for anything you intended to do at the beginning of 2018 what was your “why” was it strong enough? Is it still there?

 Also who are you accountable ? It really helps if you share what you would like to work on with someone else and ask them to be your accountability buddy until the new habit or action becomes embedded in your routine.

Sandra works as a coach to both businesses and private clients – more information can be found at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com. She has also written a book called Own It which can be found on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl

How Well Do I Lead My Team?


For some companies the end of the calendar year also coincided with the annual appraisal process in which, if done well, each person comes out the other end of the process having had a really good discussion with their line manager on areas in which they are doing well, some areas where improvements need to be made and with a new set of very focussed goals that are both meaningful and motivational for the individual and to support business strategy.

Conducting a meaningful appraisal is just one of the skills any leader needs to learn. A leader should also have as part of their appraisal a discussion about how they are performing in the leadership role and ask the question of themselves throughout the year “how well do I lead my team?”

In some of the companies I work with we go out and collect feedback for leaders prior to the annual appraisal process and ask both direct reports, peers, customers, senior managers and other key stakeholders. This feedback is summarised and then discussed with the individual leader to ratify things that are working well and areas of development.

If you can get this type of feedback either via a systematic online generated questionnaire and report (360 degree feedback) or a more informal process it is hugely valuable. I have seen leaders transform their leadership ability based on such feedback as they didn’t realise how important their behaviour was on a day to day basis and what their team expected of them.

The type of actions that can result from a critical review of your leadership style on a regular basis can range from instigating  or reinvigorating regular team meetings, scheduling meaningful 1-1’s on a monthly basis with each member of your team to redefining entire team structure and clarifying roles and responsibilities.

The important thing to realise that it doesn’t matter if you are a leader with years and years of experience or if this is your first leadership role there are always areas where improvements can be made and also its nice to know what you are doing well!


Sandra works with numerous businesses across the UK and runs workshops on Leading and Developing High Performing Teams. Find our more information from either http://www.thekudosgroup.com or http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com 




The Ultimate Recommendation


Anyone who has used the profiling tool Belbin will be familiar with the various roles we can all migrate too e.g. Plant (the ideas person), Implementer (the doer) etc.  well I am a Resource Investigator (the person who finds someone to help or finds an expert for the team) I love connecting people who I think will either get on or who can help each other.

Thankfully in my job I get to meet a huge variety of people, so I can connect people easy if asked to do so or I spot an opportunity that I feel will be mutually beneficial. There is one prerequisite however before I recommend a professional service provider to someone though and that is that I must be 100% happy with that service and the individual providing the service myself. For me to be 100% happy I need to have had a consistently high level of service over a long period of time coupled with the traits I mentioned in my previous blog regarding the individual being knowledgeable, passionate about their subject area and tailored in their offering to each individual client.

When I was asked for the “thankful list” for a profession or service that others provide that I appreciate I had no hesitation in calling out two people in my life who meet all the criteria above and who I always recommend to others without any hesitation and have done for the past three years.

My hairdresser Nadine of Madison Rae  http://www.madison-rae.co.uk/ and my acupuncturist Verity Allen http://www.verityallenacupuncture.com/ both ladies tick all the boxes on a consistent basis, so if ever I meet people via business or socially I share their contact details.

When working with teams of customer service professionals one key measure universally used to measure the current level of customer service is the Net Promotors Score which simply asks the question would you recommend this service others? This is the ultimate result we should all be aiming for; if all our clients are delighted with the service that we provide they will have no hesitation in recommending your service to others and act as your unpaid salesforce always without realising it.

Sandra works as a coach to business and private clients and is also the author of the book Own It available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl


Avoid the Trap of the Busy Fool


Whether you are employed, self employed, running a small business or juggling a portfolio career its important to stop falling into this trap. Everyone we meet now is very busy, it is rare that you meet someone who isn’t, some people are always frantically running from one thing to another or burning the candle at both ends working on various things or meeting the demands of others.

Periodically it is good to take time out and evaluate whether you are spending time on the right things, especially if you are starting to feel frazzled and unhealthy on a regular basis.

So, what are the right things? Anything or anyone that is important to you is the ideal answer. If the activity you are currently working on is an important part of your job, if it is aligned to a key goal you have set yourself or if it involves spending time with someone who inspires, encourages you and makes you feel good then that is probably time well spent. Obviously in all our lives we have necessary tasks to do that aren’t that exciting e.g. Paying bills, sorting out household chores, general life admin etc. and with these types of things it is best to set aside blocks of time and rattle through as quick as possible with minimum interruption. In a funny way if I take this approach there is a sense of satisfaction when I can tick these mundane things off my list and move into more enjoyable activities.

The dangerous trap you need to avoid is the busy fool one…. This is where we are busy however we are spending time on non-value added, unnecessary and unenjoyable experiences. If you look back in how you spent your day, week or weekend and you are thinking that the time spent ticked any of these boxes then maybe changes need to be made. For any activity where you feel that way you can decide to either a) not do it again b) find a way of doing it more effectively so spending less time it or c) get someone else to do it.

The other way you find yourself in the busy fool territory is when you are spending too long on something that doesn’t warrant it either because you are a perfectionist and the task doesn’t need that level of perfectionism or you are spending too long on one task as an avoidance strategy or procrastinating to prevent the more important task you should be doing but don’t want to do.

So, look back at last week’s diary did you spend time on the right things and with the right people? If not, what changes can you make to your schedule next week and in the future to prevent this happening again. Oh, and leave some space for downtime and recharge… scheduling time for this is important for your wellbeing so that you don’t become a burnt-out fool.


Sandra Webber works as a coach for businesses and private clients and is the author of Own It – regain control and live life in your terms available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl


Do we ever get used to change?


Building on the theme of the last Kudos blog everyone I meet at the moment seems to be facing some type of change e.g a new IT system, a new job, a new leader or someone key in the organisation hands in their resignation, you discover a health condition you need to manage, something you planned to do is now cancelled…. the list is endless.

How quickly we adapt to changes like these are vital for both our own well being and the organisations or teams we belong too. Change can cause worry and stress but equally it can be the cause of excitement and new challenge.

Some people thrive on change and get bored if things stay the same too long while others love it when everything is predictable, structured and routine. When we talk to people about what motivates them the discussion can go into these two types of reaction and it helps if you recognise which group you belong too.

High performers and those interdependent people, we all strive to be and love to work alongside always have the ability to adapt quickly to changes and embrace new situations.

So if you ever find yourself thinking or saying any of the phrases in the photo above think again. Could you look at the situation differently and maybe the change wont be as difficult as you originally thought. Try it the next time a change comes your way, and it will do very soon !

Form Your Future

your futureOver the past few weeks in a variety of our workshops a common theme has emerged. When trying to secure a job or trying to progress within a company ,people are coming across barriers. We hear phrases like “ I have applied for lots of jobs but heard nothing” or “ the agencies said they would ring back and they haven’t” or “there is nowhere for me to progress in this company” or “that department never has any vacancies or “none of the managers are ever going to leave so I will never get promotion”.

There is a common theme with all of these statements… the individuals are not taking the action upon themselves; they are waiting for others to take action on their behalf.

At a presentation last week one senior manager asked a great question “so what do you plan to do about it then?” This is exactly the thought provoking question that needs to be asked so that we as individuals realise if we want something badly enough then we need to take ownership ourselves. Everyone is extremely busy and they do intend to get back to you, they do intend to look out for career opportunities for you but unfortunately its not their top priority and other things on the to do list take over.

Make your future your priority, decide what you want to achieve, identify those people that can help you but make it easy for them… you drive the action, keep it a priority, don’t give up, keep communicating, consider alternatives. Take ownership for your own future , you may be surprised how quick things happen when you do?