Bob the Blogging Badger

Bob is a badger; he likes to blog.

Bob the Blogging Badger joined our content team in 2014. We found him roaming the streets of the the Dorset/Somerset border and decided to give him his big break into business. His talent for writing combined with his love to training, learning and education make him the perfect blogger! If you have any suggestions for Bob, let him know - he won't bite.

How Reciprocity is Effectively used in International Business

How Reciprocity is Effectively used in International Business

Reciprocity is a word many people have heard of before however few can define the mechanisms of this concept in business even though they may experience it all the time and as it happens right in front of their eyes. The purpose of this blog is to explain why one feels the need to return favours and how businesses or anyone can take advantage of the phenomenon.
 

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8 Essential Lessons the German Mannschaft Can Teach Every Business

8 Essential Lessons the German Mannschaft Can Teach Every Business

Last month we witnessed a breathtaking World Cup final which saw the Mannschaft (‘team’) win after a 24 year drought. As well as appearing in the World Cup finals eight times and having won the tournament four times, Germany is now the first European team to have won the cup on Latin American soil.  

Clearly, the German Mannschaft is a fantastic team. After all, we can’t neglect the fact that they played against Argentina, a country which is - unlike Germany - not known for its team but for its star player, Messi, a.k.a “the best player in the world”.

However, do you wonder what their secret was? Was it German efficiency? The quality promise of ‘made in Germany’? Or is there more to it than being German? Coincidence and luck were definitely not part of the equation; for me anyway.

I believe we can learn 8 vital lessons from the team’s performance, attitude and the way they conducted themselves that every business can, and should, learn from.

•    A strong vision: the German team knew what they were about. Combined with a set common goal, hard work, discipline and a positive mindset this creates a powerful entity. If businesses know who they are, what they want and how they want to get there, there is little that can stand in their way.


•    A strategic leader: in a radio interview, Germany’s coach Joachim Löw expressed the team’s confidence in their strength and the ability to stick to their well-established strategy. This comes from good leadership.  It is the leader who gives the team this sense of purpose, direction and commitment to get the job done.


•    Ability to adapt:  as we all know, life doesn’t always go to plan and football is no different. Prior to the final the team lost two key men, Kedhira and Kramer, however the team adapted. Just as with business, it is vital that teams remain flexible and open to situational adaptation, e.g. change of deadline, project amendments, etc.


•    Generational mix: the German team was a perfect balance between old-heads and new blood. One could argue that it was the oldies that kept the team in the final but the new guys such as Götze who won it. In business it’s vital to always have that solid experience as well as new, fresh ideas and impetus.


•    Cultural diversity: the German team had many second-generation Germans such as Mustafi, Özil, Boateng and Podolski. Having people in your business with different backgrounds, experience, ideas and values only strengthens the overall offering and should never be underestimated.


•    Staying focussed: as we saw with the team, when under pressure, and in a critical situations, they never panicked. Panicking is of no help to anyone. For want of a better phrase, it’s so important to always keep your eyes on the goal.


•    Reliance on structure: perhaps better demonstrated by the passion and somewhat disorganisation of the Brazilians, having a structure in place is vital. The German team knew their places, how they had to work for each other and what to do in certain situations. Having a structure in place, along with rules is necessary if any business wants to see success.


•    Stay humble, passionate and genuine: as perhaps personified most by Schweinsteiger, the Germans were the epitomy of class. There is no place for egos in a team and we witnessed this throughout the competition even when they managed to put 7 goals past the hosts. Just as in business, you need to temper any sense of superiority and just put your head down and do the best job you can.


Author: Désirée Gergen is about to graduate in an MA in Intercultural Communication for Business and Professions at Birkbeck College, University of London.

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Cultural Competency - A Military Perspective

Cultural Competency - A Military Perspective

When thinking of culture, first thing that comes to mind for most people is the culture of a certain country or ethnic group. However, working fields also have a specific culture. The military, for example, has a distinct culture that can cause problems when military staff are required to see a therapist.

How can the cultural gap that arises in such a situation be bridged?

Maybe you have never heard of the term “cultural competency,” i.e. the understanding, acknowledgement and appreciation of a therapist concerning the differences between his patients and the effects these differences have on the therapy itself.

However, according to Bret A. Moore, mental health professionals are strongly aware of the phenomenon. In his article on the Air Force Times, he sheds a little more light on how to increase cultural competency.

According to Moore, cultural competency often encompasses characteristics such as race, religion and geographical factors. In addition, he says, Clinicians involved in treating military staff have recently stated that the military also has to be regarded as a culture in itself. This can influence psychotherapy for people in the military. Moore believes that gaps in the cultural understanding between a therapist and his client can not only lead to frustration and confusion, but might affect the progress of the therapy as well. In fact, he says, these gaps can even result in the patient ending the therapy sessions early. Thus, he thinks that stating the most common gaps in cultural competency will lead to better treatments.

Firstly, Moore states that the most important difference between military and non-military civilians is language. Military speech is filled with acronyms and slang and can be adapted in a heartbeat in order to communicate information as efficiently as possible. However, Moore says, this jargon can lead to miscommunication and frustration during therapy sessions . To illustrate the degree in which military language differs from regular speech he gives the following example:

"I recently ETS’d from Fort Hood after six years as an NCO, where I worked in the S2 shop. Now, all I seem to be doing is working as an RTO or watching troops PMCS’ing vehicles all day. Hell, I was trained as an 11 Bravo. And wouldn’t you know it, DFAS screwed up my partial DITY and I still haven’t gotten paid since I in-processed."

Next to language, military staff are often solution- instead of problem-focused, Moore says. As therapists often focus on the past and the subconsciousness, Moore believes the standard question “How does that make you feel?” can severely get on the nerves of a solution-oriented patient. In addition to this, Moore thinks the military focuses more on “the group” than regular society does. In fact, he says, individuality and independence are seen as a possible threat to the cohesiveness and morale of a military unit. Therapists must also keep this in mind when treating a patient from the military.

In conclusion, Moore advises military staff that when they believe cultural differences between their milieu and that of their therapist are in the way of their therapy, they should address this to their therapist as soon as possible. After all, this will save them and their clinician not only time, but frustration as well.

Do you work internationally or cross-culturally? Check out our international business skills training courses which all cover cultural competency to a certain degree.

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Join Us for Our Open Day

Join Us for Our Open Day

You're invited to our Open Day May 6th!

Come and join us to officially open our new training centre and meet with other local businesses for a bit of networking and nibbles.

We welcome you to come either between 12:00-14:00 or 18:00-20:00 on Tuesday May 6th 2014.

Networking Scavenger Hunt!

To make this time valuable for you, we are going to hold a Scavenger Hunt! You'll find out information about other local businesses as well as spread the word about your own. The winner will win a prize, but shhhh, it's secret…come and find out what it is ;)

We would love to see you on the day, so get that diary out and pen us in!

To register, please email Caroline on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For directions, please visit the 'Finding Us' section on our Training Centre page.

 

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Contagious Leadership – Emotional Intelligence and its impact on Team Performance

Contagious Leadership – Emotional Intelligence and its impact on Team Performance

In today’s business world, hard skills are no longer seen as the sole key to success. While in the past there was no room for emotions in the workplace and the importance of soft skills was largely underestimated, they have come to be considered as indispensable and well worth striving for – and rightly so, I believe.


Just think about your own experiences. Wouldn’t you agree that your emotional state greatly influences your thoughts, attitude and behaviour and consequently, your personal wellbeing, your relationships and your performance both at work and in your private life?


This is why Emotional Intelligence (EI), the ability to identify, assess, and manage emotions in a positive way, is extremely valuable for every individual. EI not only includes being able to “read” others’ emotions, and react accordingly. It is equally, if not more important, to understand and control one’s own emotions. And self-awareness doesn’t stop there. It is also essential to understand in what way and to which extent your own emotions impact others, especially if you find yourself in the role of a leader.


Neuroscientific research has proven that emotions, positive and negative likewise, can “rub off“ on others. This phenomenon is called emotional contagion. The psychotherapist Elaine Hatfield, PhD, and her colleagues discovered that “all of us imitate facial expressions, postures, and voices of the people around us. Those expressions trigger certain emotions - the same ones experienced by the person we mimic. But the process happens so fast, we're completely unaware of it”.

Hence, the emotions conveyed by one person can spread like a virus and infect others. Think about your own experience as an employee: Doesn’t it lift your mood and don’t you feel much more appreciated and motivated if your boss has a positive attitude and encourages you, rather than constantly focusing on what you did wrong? Did you ever notice that your colleague’s anxiety started to make you shift from one foot to the other, because you were starting to grow nervous yourself? – Now, judging from your answers, what implications should these findings have on your behavior as a leader?


As a leader you need to be even more aware of the contagious effect of emotions, because your team will look towards you, and your emotions are likely to spread quicker and more persistently than others’. Making derogatory or negative comments and having an unwelcoming attitude can get down the whole team, leaving each team member feeling drained, unmotivated, or even reluctant.


However, when talking about emotions, their viral nature can actually be something very positive and useful. If you learn to harness and emit positive energy as a leader, you can foster enthusiasm, put your team members at ease and make them feel appreciated and encouraged. By doing so, one person can positively influence each individual team member and improve the dynamics and the performance of the team as a whole.
Mastering EI and harnessing the forces of positivity will lead to enhanced results and greater business success and it will make you a highly valued leader in any business sector.

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What makes for the Perfect Training Centre?

What makes for the Perfect Training Centre?


Proximity

For a business it is good to have local facilities that avoids to go too far to find the right place. It saves time and money. This is the reason why we think that our training facilities can help regional businesses to develop.

Comfort

To learn, you need to be in the right conditions. Our rooms are spacious and comfortable. We want them to be right environment for you to bring away as much as you can, in the right conditions.
The training centre also includes a lounge. Perfect to have a break with some refreshments, it is also a good place to talk with the other attendees. It is available all day.

Adaptability

According to needs and expectations you would not need the same room organisation. Therefore we chose to have a room that can have different arrangements to set up the optimal lay out for the training.
The rooms can host up to 15 people. We also have also 2 smaller rooms (up to 8 people).

Experience

When you have no experience, you can make mistakes easily. We have got a 10 year experience in the field of trainings. It enables us to deliver high standard trainings.

Quality trainers

A training is totally useless if the trainer has nothing to learn to you. Our trainings are delivered by first class trainers. We only work with trainers have many years of expertise in various business sector as well as on the subject matter.

Attention to people

We think that respect is an essential value in life. If you come at our trainings you will find professionals that are passionate about how you learn and that make customer service their priority.

 

Written for Bob by training intern Elorn Causer.

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