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Qualifying the Customer

Written by John A G Smith – Fri 07 Oct 2016

There are many techniques used to provide good customer service. Our blog writer John A G Smith is a fountain of knowledge and using his experience tells us about just one of these........ if you want to learn more enquire about one of our private customer service courses.

So there I was, stark naked, (it’s too late, you’ve got that image indelibly etched into your brain now so you may as well carry on reading), water running … and it was stone cold.

Man with bed head hair and a shocked face standing in a bathroom

Image by Joshua Rothhaas

No problem.  When you stay in ‘Business Hotels’ this is a familiar scenario.  Each morning, in a very short time span, a hundred business people arise from a hundred (or maybe fewer) beds and head for the showers.  The hot-water storage tank gives up its contents in short order and those at the back of queue, or the top of the building, go cold.  But good hotels, understanding this high demand, will have boilers that can cope so within a few minutes a heater with the power of a small thermonuclear device will restore the status quo and my day’s business will be back on track.......

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Lead On

Written by John A G Smith – Fri 23 Sep 2016

Congratulations! You got the promotion, but do you want to be a good leader or a good manager? Leadership skills and Management Skills for New Managers are 2 of our most popular business courses designed to help you on your way.

But what is the difference between a Leader and a Manager? I hear you ask..... using social history our expert John A G Smith explains.......

Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Josef Stalin at Yalta conference 1945 By U. S. Signal Corps - Library of Congress , Franklin D. Roosevelt Library & Museum

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The One Constant .....Change!

Written by John A G Smith – Fri 26 Aug 2016

Every business needs to make changes but problems arise when there is no one in place to manage those changes...... our writer John A G Smith helps explain how important Change Management is:

Harry studied the paperwork for a few minutes and then looked up. 

“You’re absolutely right,” he said, “the change is essential and urgent.  I’ll give you access to the Live Library.  You and your team go ahead and build the change.  When you you’ve tested it I’ll give you the password and you can put it into live.”

I was stunned.  He was right about the urgency but this was way out of line.  Here I was, just a subcontractor, being given the keys to the kingdom.

“What about Change Management?” I asked.  “And doesn’t it have to go through the Change Advisory Board?  Doesn’t anyone have to sign it off?”

Traffic light tree

“Nah.”  He leaned back in his chair, legs straight and thrust his hands deep in his pockets.  “The problem here is that our systems are too dynamic.  We’ve got so many urgent changes going on that any sort of Change Management system will just get in the way.  It would slow the whole thing up and be too much of a drag on everything.”

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What's the target?

Written by John A G Smith – Fri 12 Aug 2016

We are each set a myriad of targets throughout our lives, by ourselves and by others. How can a leader ensure that the right targets are set to achieve the best from their workers? Learn how to motivate your team and strengthen your techniques but joining one of our Leadership courses.

Line of ducks following each other

Leadership by Pedro  Ribeiro Simões

I was waiting for the Number 7 bus that would transport me in comfort to the delights of Brighton Marina when I noticed the sign on the side that proudly boasted, “Up to every 7 minutes” and this puzzled me.  A quick check on the timetable confirmed my suspicion that, in fact, seven minutes was the shortest time one would have to wait for this hybrid drive, low energy, environmentally friendly behemoth.

Now if someone promised to do a job, say clean your car, you might ask for an estimate of the price. 

“Up to seven quid, gov’nor,” he might proclaim so, on that basis, you give him the work. 

How would you feel if, job done, he now held out his mitt for a tenner?

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To the edge - what's it all about?

Written by John A G Smith – Fri 05 Aug 2016

There are many different ways to manage something and the methodologies of PRINCE2®, Agile, SCRUM and ITIL® help. In this post our expert John A G Smith explains how a system or 2  can keep our world spinning on the correct axis!

It’s all about systems.  Whether you’re looking at something as small as an individual business task or as large as a whole company, they’re all systems.  We’re surrounded by the things.  We live on a planet within the solar system.  Our shower is supplied by a hot water system.  I’m writing this on a computer system.  Indeed we are each our own individual system: the human body.

Panel 6 Solar System

Image - Panel 6 Solar Systemm,  Ralph Buckley 

So what, I hear you say, is a system?  And what qualifies each mentioned above as one of them?

It is generally accepted that a system has five components: Inputs, outputs, processes, stores and a boundary.

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Learn Facilitation Skills not B A Ping Pong!

Written by John A G Smith – Tue 12 Jul 2016

Facilitation is a skill crucial in guiding a meeting to make a decision or think of a solution without providing it. Our writer John A G Smith uses his experience to explain why learning Facilitation Skills  is so much better than 'B.A. Ping Pong'?!

The Rules of B. A. Ping Pong

It’s a game that every Business Analyst has played.  Many do not even have a name for it and, of those that do, it’s usually unrepeatable in polite company.  I call it ‘B. A. Ping Pong’ … although maybe that should be ‘wiff waff’?

Table Tennis Rio 2007

Image courtesy of Wikimedia 

The rules are very simple and any Business Analyst can play.  Here’s how it works:

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Time Management learn to Work Smarter

Written by John A G Smith – Fri 01 Jul 2016

“If I want the job done properly then I have to do it myself.”

How often have you heard that one … probably said by a manager, frustrated by the lack of expertise of some staff member?  

Canadian soldiers peeling potatoes - Canadian Official War Photographs

Image courtesey of Wikimedia Commons

Why, you may wonder, has the worker not got the expertise?  Why must the harassed manager carry so much of the burden?

Several years ago I was working for a major international financial organisation when they offered a Time Management course for senior executives.  All agreed the course would probably be useful.  But attendance was optional and when the day arrived only four, of over forty, of these senior people turned up.  The reason?  Go on, you know already, don’t you?  Yes, they couldn’t spare the time to attend!

Why are staff at all levels – from the most junior to the most senior – so ‘time poor’ in today’s business environment?   

Where, it appears, too many people seem to be taking on an inordinate workload … and not handling it well.  Could it be that, to use a common modern phrase, rather than working harder they need to work smarter?

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Management - a learned skill?

Written by John A G Smith – Fri 24 Jun 2016

Congratulations you got the promotion, you are now a manager but what does this mean?

Everyone has the intention of being good at their job and with the correct training and support every manager old or new can be a great manager!

A group of Adelie Penguins on an iceberg, one higher than the others

Image courtesey of Wikipedia 

Join one of our Management Skills for New Managers and gain the skills to take you forward in your career.

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A Silicon Beach Training guide to lunch

Written by Sarah Longbottom – Fri 17 Jun 2016

For those of you that know Brighton you can be a testament to the fact that it is filled with a myriad of great places to eat and drink for every kind of consumer. When you’re here for just a short time knowing where to go on your lunch break is of great importance to most!

Don’t stick to the boring sandwich but taste a bit of Brighton without breaking the bank, here are a few of our favourites...... our 7 lunch wonders of Brighton!

Our key to pricing:

£ - under a fiver

££ - between £5 and £10

Pastrami sandwich from Flour Pot

Pastrami Sandwich from Flour Pot, Image courtesy of Restaurants Brighton

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ITIL Foundation - What's the Story?

Written by John A G Smith – Wed 08 Jun 2016

The outsourcing of IT and other services is now common practise. Problems can arise when it is seen as a means to pass on responsibility for service management or IT service management.

Two vans back to back, sign written with the word 'Service' on them, image by Sascha Kohlmann

Image -'Service' by Sascha Kohlmann

There are a significant number of problems for which the application of ITIL disciplines can bring substantial benefits. All of which are covered in the ITIL Foundation course.

As with many technical subjects, a little storytelling makes concepts easier to understand, so we asked our expert John A.G. Smith takes a lighter look at the subject of ITIL Contracts, Services and  Agreements.

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