Welcome to the team Will. What’s your philosophy behind leadership training and development?

The basis of my approach can be summed up in four words: people work for people. What comes first and foremost in any business or in any management and leadership role is that, by and large, people work best if the relationships are right.

It works both ways. It’s not just a matter of team members working well for a leader. A key part of a leader’s role is to realise he or she has to facilitate an environment whereby his team can do the best work possible.

I get a real buzz from getting people to change, through pragmatic and practical implementation. I love helping to put in place plans we have worked on together, so that the results come. It’s a special responsibility to help leaders along their leadership and management journey.

What is your background?

I have a strong corporate background with 20 years in leadership and development roles at Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and Telefonica.

I designed and delivered the high potential leadership programme for Telefonica Europe, getting that “people work for people” ethos embedded into a company where the culture was primarily focused on mergers and acquisitions, rather than empowerment and engagement.

I ran an experiential leadership training programme for John Lewis, taking managers away for weekends in the Lake District or Devon and putting them in outward bound situations which reflected situations in their businesses.

As a result, the Partner Survey saw employees at John Lewis returning a 20 per cent improvement in satisfaction rate with their leaders over four years. The biggest testimonial the company could give me is that the programme I designed is still being run today.

Who has inspired you?

When I was at Britannia Royal Naval College undertaking my officer training I had a tutor called Harry Dickinson. He gave me research project, to read The Defence Review of 1957 and a give half hour presentation on the subject.

When he saw my face, he looked me in the eye and said: “The operation was a success. But did the bloody patient survive?” Those words have always stuck with me and they’ve informed everything I do.

I’ve been on some courses which were delivered to the letter by the trainer but the audience was bored to tears. I think of Harry’s words every time I work with individuals and teams knowing that my impact must mean more to people, than just running the programme successfully.

Our role as trainers is to engage the audience both intellectually and emotionally; we must inspire them and ensure that we make a real difference to them both in the room and after they return to their workplace.

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