If I had been told 15 years ago, that I would have worked in many countries across 3 continents, spoken at over 400 conferences, facilitated learning programmes for project, operational and leadership teams on behalf of many global brands and shared the stage with some incredible sport stars, leaders, explorers and heroes, I would have laughed. This is what has happened to me and all because of the 12 words,
“I think I know someone who may be able to help you.”
In 1999, I was an accredited project manager in Barclays and a pretty poor one at that. A couple of failed projects had dented my pride, it was at this point I realised project management tells you about the process and framework to run a project but little about how to lead people. That’s when Barclays funded me to undertake a business psychology accreditation.
With this new learning, and a new title of Change Director, I led the people work stream of a change initiative, to merge two departments, with 200 staff and develop a new culture aligned to the strategic purpose of the department. As part of this I needed everyone to understand their skills and also value and appreciate those of their old and new colleagues. That is when someone suggested that I make contact with a guy named Mike Jones, who worked for a company called Insights, based in Dundee. Insights had developed a profiling tool, based on the work of the highly-regarded Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung and had also developed a colourful model of human behaviour to bring it to life, making it accessible to all and importantly useable.
Mike introduced me to the model and the Discovery profile and explained its long-lasting positive impact at individual, team and organisational level. I was hooked. I was initially accredited to use the profile and model in 2000, whilst working with Barclays and then when I exited Barclays, I transferred my accreditation to the 3 companies that I’ve either founded or co-founded. I have only ever used one profiling tool and model, that is Insights. Why? Simply, I believe it has been and still is the best in the market-place and I’d rather be a master of one, rather than a Jack of all trades. In addition, Insights are an excellent organisation to partner with and really make you feel part of the family.
This week, as a guest of Insights, I travelled to Terra Nova House, Dundee, their Global HQ. I was honoured to receive an award for 15 years commitment to Discovery, their flagship product. I was treated royally, with a tour of the HQ, meeting old friends and making new ones along the way. I was able to put faces to names that had appeared on emails and whom I’d only chatted to on the phone. I had some excellent meetings with various teams, taking away with me some great learning and additionally, developing some new ideas for my continued partnership with Insights.
At lunchtime, I was presented with my award, which now takes pride of place in my office. During lunch, Andy Lothian, CEO of Insights, suggested that I should try to sum up what my 15 year relationship with Insights has meant to me.
I have a passion to help other people develop and grow, to become the best person they can be, using their unique skills and talents to best effect. Whenever I meet people, whether it is on one of my learning programmes or when I speak at a conference, I always say to them,
Whatever you do in life, make sure you are passionate about it.
So what memories and experiences has my passion for people development helped me achieve over the last 15 years? There have been many, however below are the highlights.
I’ve facilitated a 2-day workshop in a Bedouin tent in the Saudi Arabian desert, in heat of 50c, with no electricity or PowerPoint!
I’ve delivered leadership development aboard racing yachts in the Solent.
I’ve left Bournemouth on a Friday at 5pm, driven to Heathrow, flown to Bahrain, delivered a 1-day programme for 30 people on the Saturday, flown back to Heathrow overnight, to be home by 10.30am on the Sunday morning.
I’ve run a leadership programme at the top of a Swiss mountain, where the temperature was a rather chilly -30C.
Conferences & Venues
I have been privileged to have spoken at over 400 corporate conferences, the largest of which was in front of 900+ people. I have also been honoured to have been voted ‘top speaker’ on many occasions.The venues I have spoken at, have included Wembley, Twickenham, Gleneagles, The O2 Arena, The Millennium Stadium, Ageas Bowl and Home Park, the stadium where my beloved Plymouth Argyle play.
Meeting Inspirational People
I’ve had the pleasure of gracing the stage at conferences with Britain’s greatest living explore, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Simon Weston, hero of the Falklands War, Catherine Grainger, Gold-medal winner at the 2012 London Olympics, Lord Sebastien Coe, Olympic Gold medallist and leader of the successful 2012 London Olympic bid, Rosemarie Terenzio, former PA to John F. Kennedy Junior and author of “Fairy Tale Interrupted” and Libby Moore, former PA to Oprah Winfrey.
Working With Household Brands
I have worked with many of the FTSE 100 companies and global brands, a selection of which are below.
Being instrumental in winning 7 Insights’ Fiery Red awards in 10 years.
I have enthused many individuals and companies, to become accredited to use the Insights model.
In the 12 years that I have kept records, I have achieved a 96% brilliant/amazing rating for the learning programmes that I have delivered.
Giving Something Back
I’m a firm believer in giving something back to the community and over the years, I’ve developed and created learning programmes where teams and organisations have undertaken community projects to help others. I’ve also raised money for worthwhile causes, by undertaking fundraising events, some of which have helped me overcome my fears.
My blog, Yours Behaviourally, where I share articles on personal, team and leadership development, is read in 108 of the 196 countries in the world.
My greatest joy, has been the various emails over the years from individuals, that have been on courses I have facilitated, sharing how their Discovery profile and my learning programmes have had a positive impact on their lives both in work and in their relationships that they have with their family and friends.
Here is an extract from one I received only a couple of weeks ago.
Thank you for shining a light on my life and for explaining so many things that I had struggled with over the years.
What Do I Get From Insights?
Whether I call the technical developers of their products or the production team, if I tweet with their social media and graphics team or email the UK support team, from the CEO to accounts, I can expect the same high quality of service, guaranteed customer service excellence and importantly, a culture and passion for developing people.
So whether you are a facilitator, wishing to develop and grow and have a profiling tool in your kit bag, or are an organisation that is serious about developing your greatest asset, your people, I’d recommend that you take a look at Insights, or get in touch with one of their Licensed Practitioners, like myself, to find out more.
In the last 15 years, I’ve met some amazing people, developed some great relationships and learnt, developed and grown as an individual. I’ve had wonderful experiences and on a few occasions, some not so good, each has helped me to become the person I am today. There are so many people I’d like to thank, family, friends and business acquaintances. You know who you are, and I want to thank you for being part of my life’s rich tapestry and helping shape the person I am.
I’d also like to thank my business clients who have had faith in me to engage with their staff, motivate their teams and help them transform to achieve even greater success.
My Learning For You
Quite simply, do something that you are passionate about, always explore opportunities, as you never know where these will take you.
So What’s Next?
That chapter is about to be written, so watch this space. If it is half as good as the last 15 years have been, I will feel truly blessed.
Yours behaviourally, Nick