The FA should do their homework

With Sam Allardyce leaving his post as England Manager some people think the Daily Telegraph was wrong to engineer a situation where no crime had been committed until their involvement.

Personally I think they were right to expose someone they suspected of being open to corruption and it is no different from the vigilante groups who expose paedophiles by luring them in with fake social media profiles – the intention to commit the crime is there.

Either way it is a sad situation that the England FA are now looking for another manager, with Allardyce lasting 67 days since being appointed.

Surely the way to try to remedy the situation going forward will be for the FA to undertake more thorough due diligence on all future candidates for the job, especially the one they plan on offering the position to.

It is something all football clubs should do with players and managers and this episode goes to show it is not just useful for when they are signing an obscure young player from abroad.

Possibly because Sam Allardyce is well known in these parts that assumptions are made (wrongly) that we know all there is about someone who has been in the game for so many years as both a player and manager.

There was of course a 2006 BBC Panorama expose linking him and his son Craig Allardyce – in addition to other agents, players and managers – with illegal bungs for signing certain players. Allardyce denied the allegations and nothing was ever proven so he was able to continue his career within football.

So as well as doing a thorough investigation on the employee, the FA should also require the manager to undertake an initial compliance assessment, reminding him (or her) of the importance of the position and how they may now be subject to many more meeting requests by parties with vested interests.

I am not saying it is all down to the FA and Allardyce is blameless but there will be cases where the job is too big for the person and the right sort of pre-emptive action will help.

It might be wise to check for any skeletons in the closet and deal with them before making any jobs offers which would avoid a whole heap of embarrassment down the line and continue to have these compliance meetings to keep any potential issues at bay and reaffirm what’s acceptable by the England manager before greed kicks in again.

Perhaps the lofty position went to his head and he was flattered by the attention he received as England’s Head Coach but we’ll see whether any further action will be taken or if Allardyce just has to wait for the dust to settle before accepting his next job in the game.




Why appearing so busy isn’t attractive

Why appearing so busy isn’t attractive

Busy image


You’ve probably heard this more than once and perhaps even said it yourself.

It flows from the tongue almost as much as talk of the weather or where you came from when making small talk at a networking event.

Yet if there is one thing I find off-putting and would recommend people didn’t say to new or existing contacts is telling all and sundry how incredibly busy they are.

It’s not quite as bad as launching into a full-on sales pitch but it could still be detrimental to your networking prospects.

I know many people may well be busy – in work, in life or whatever – and they intend for it to be a positive statement in that they are so successful that they have so much work on the go.

However when I hear someone tell me that it makes me think they must be too busy to take on any more work so they are obviously not interested in receiving any more referrals or hearing from any of my contacts who I think may be of benefit to them and their business.

Either that or they are disorganised and inefficient.

So whilst it is tempting to say it I would suggest you don’t tell everyone how busy you are and if asked if you are busy respond by saying you are pretty busy but can handle more business.

Conversely if you have absolutely no business volumes to speak of don’t mention that either!

People like to deal with and be associated with successful and productive companies so the best advice is to find the middle ground.

Maybe I am on my on here so let me know if you agree or not either here or on Twitter.

Now I’ll leave it there as I am so…well, let’s just say I have other things to do!

Personal Development

F-E-A-R – What’s its meaning to you?


I was watching John Lee Dumas on Snapchat this weekend (still trying to get to grips with SnapChat but more of that another time).

One of his key messages was to challenge yourself to do something outside your comfort zone every day.

Nothing exciting, original or innovative comes from staying within your comfort zone but by demanding more of yourself to do something that scares you will result in magic happening.

It could be recording a live Periscope video, it could be making a cold-call at work or even handing out a business card to a stranger.

But something that makes you feel awkward, uncomfortable even scared – and do it daily.

When you know you should do something but don’t really want to and you can think of countless excuses NOT to do it, then I promise you it is that very thing you SHOULD do.

It could be going swimming or going for a run; there’s something that each of us dreads that someone else finds easy.

Whatever it is, the idea is you not only gain confidence in that one activity but you will also become better at it and most importantly you explore a new area and do something you know will help you move closer towards a goal.

It’s also by pushing yourself you have those breakthrough moments. Maybe simply the realisation that actually you can do it and perhaps even the inspiration to go on to something else.

Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action! – Benjamin Disraeli

So are you going to stay within your comfort zone, hoping for things to change? Will you bury your head or even run away from those activities that frighten you?

Or are you going to tackle those hurdles by rising above so that you can be the person you want to become, the person you were destined to become?

There are probably several areas of your work or personal life you want to improve so that could mean various activities you fear.

Rather than committing to dealing with all of them in one go, which will invariably be daunting, difficult and ultimately overbearing, pick just one – and it could be a small one – the easiest, most insignificant one to start with.

Depending on the activity it may not be possible to maintain it daily but it is important to do it regularly so it must be at least weekly.

Put it in your diary or to-do list and start today (ok I’ll even let you start tomorrow in case you’re reading this in the evening). But make sure you do start tomorrow.

Let me know what it is you are going to do daily (stating it on-line gives you a virtual accountability partner) and let me know how you get on by commenting on your progress after 7 days (so same time next week), 30 days, 60 days and 90 days.

You can even update me at Twitter.


Personal Development, Uncategorized

Five Quotes For Perfectionists To Get On With It Already

Five Quotes for Perfectionists To Get On With It Already


It’s not quite ready, the timings not right, the economy’s too fragile, the weather too cold, I’ve not got a customer yet.

All of these are reasons why people delay in launching their product, service or business.

If everyone waited for their product to be absolutely perfect as well as the timing, market-place, customers, suppliers, most ventures would never see light of day.

So whether they are perfectionists or just procrastinators here are FIVE quotes to make sure you don’t delay!

  • Good enough is good enough. Perfect will make you a big fat mess every time – Rebecca Wells
  • Done is better than Perfect – Sheryl Sandberg
  • If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late – Reid Hoffman, Founder, LinkedIn
  • Every Master Was Once a Disaster – T Harv Eker
  • You don’t have to be great to start but you do have to start to be great – Zig Ziglar

Which quote resonates with you the most or is your favourite?

Networking, Uncategorized

Preparing for Your Networking Event

Many people receive invitation to a networking event and promptly confirm their place, put it in their diary and then turn up on the day.

Yet having made a conscious decision to go out and network, they don’t give that networking opportunity any further thought until they are walking through the doors, usually ten minutes after the meeting start time.

And herein lies the problem with so many networkers today.

Whilst on occasion they might stumble into the one person who could help them most, usually by not having a networking plan, it will end up being a waste of the well-intentioned networker’s time.

So firstly make sure before you set off on the day you have two pens (one to use and a spare) and enough business cards to give out should anyone ask you for one.

Ahead of the event it would be useful to study the delegate list. If one isn’t automatically made available (some on-line registrations allow you to see who else is registered from your social media profiles) ask the organiser who might be happy to share it.

Chances are there will only be a few really useful contacts at any particular event so if you can establish who is attending, highlight those people and make it your priority to meet them.

If there is no delegate list it is even more important to arrive early. Arriving early for a networking meeting has two benefits; firstly you can meet the organisers and ask them to introduce you to the previously-identified priority attendees. It’s in their interests to make this happen as if you make some really useful contacts at one of their events you are more likely to recommend their events and return to future ones.

Secondly you can offer to help the organisers in setting up (they will be even more likely to help you meet your top targets now!) and even act as an unofficial host yourself. It’s far easier to meet and greet people as the host than just another visitor.

Most people are not naturally comfortable walking into a room of strangers so by welcoming them and offering to help them they will be grateful to you and you will find your targets quicker and easier.

Factors such as the type of business you are representing, the size and type of event and the number of delegates, will all determine how many useful contacts you can expect to meet. But remember you should not go expecting to sell; most people do turn up looking to promote themselves, sell their services (I have even had a full laptop presentation thrust on me when asking a fellow delegate about his business) so be prepared to be more interested than interesting.

Your agenda should be about meeting those top-target contacts and simply engaging in conversation with a view to setting up a meeting at a later date.

So make sure you are prepared for each and every networking event you plan on attending.

Networking, Personal Development, Uncategorized

What is Business Networking

Some people are naturally good at meeting people and engaging in conversation.

They can quite quickly establish what the other person does for a living and who their target clients are – and perhaps just as importantly ensure the other person knows the same about them.

Such people find it easy to do this whether in the dentist waiting room, in the queue at the supermarket or in their children’s school playground.

This may be social networking but plenty of business deals and relationships start from such social encounters.

However for many people it is uncomfortable, daunting and even scary to talk to people (after all we are brought up being advised not to talk to strangers) despite them knowing it is necessary to develop new contacts.

In simple term business networking is about leveraging your relationships with business and personal contacts to refer their connections to you on a regular basis.

So networking involves farming; establishing new and nurturing existing relationships to increase your business.

It’s not just about meeting new people and it’s certainly not a case of attending events just because they are advertised as networking events – chances are you’ve been to these and come back having given out a few business cards and collected several more (watch out for the spam emails that will undoubtedly follow!)

Networking also has several other benefits but more of them another time.

Business networking is a pro-active exercise that should a fixed part of your business or marketing plan.

In fact, whether you already incorporate networking into your current role or are planning to do so, you should have a specific networking plan with clearly defined goals.

Anyone else have any other definitions of business networking?

Personal Development

You Have a 100% Record at Getting Through Bad Days

Prior to giving a recent presentation I was asked to provide an introduction which included a quote or a “secret to success.”

There are so many glib quotes filling up our social media time-lines, and whilst some may resonate, the sheer volume seems to result in most being ignored.

Yet one I heard this year that I keep repeating to people was the one I plumped for

You have a 100% record of getting through bad days

I’ve previously written about seeking challenges and not wishing it were easier and this quote reinforces the message of overcoming adversity to achieve your goals.

It is by facing and defeating these obstacles that we learn and grow.

Chances are if you are reading this, then you are alive and well.

And I bet you have had some bad days; some horrendous days even.

Yet here you are, still going, looking for some inspiration, persisting with your endeavours.

Whatever life has thrown at you, it might have temporarily derailed you, set you back, dented some pride or confidence but ultimately it hasn’t defeated you. All of those bad decisions, awkward circumstances, that bad luck, those darkest moments, you’ve come through them.

So keep going and remember that each and every day.

Networking, Sales

Act Like Your Toddler


When was the last time you held off making a phone call to a potential client or customer?

Even if that person had been referred to you and was expecting your call, have you ever deliberated and ended up putting it off or not calling at all?

It’s seemingly human nature to be fearful of rejection, of hearing the word “no” or of being told the client/customer does not want or need your product or service.

However for the first few years of life we are told “no” countless times without us ever feeling hurt or rejected.

This will resonate with parents of toddlers but anyone who has ever seen a young child make their case to a parent or grandparent will appreciate how determined that youngster can be.

Children will relentlessly ask for a chocolate treat, their favourite teddy or doll, their TV programme or whatever it is they want right there, right then.

I want chocolate!

Well-intentioned parents and guardians will start off firmly declining that request until their objective has been achieved, whether it is getting the child to eat their meal or tidy their toys or even just to prevent the toddler from getting his or her own way.

Yet the pleading carries on.


No! No! No! Don’t ask me again because my decision is final

But I want chocolate – NOW!

and back and forth it goes; on and on and on – and on.

Eventually the parent gives in if only for a little bit of peace and quiet.

The satisfied child has succeeded despite being told in no uncertain terms he or she would not win, despite being told “no” more times than he or she can count.

The point is the toddler is not insulted, offended or put off by a rebuttal knowing he/she is getting closer to that yes.

I am not saying to hound your prospects with the same tenacity as a toddler in a tantrum but the next time you have to make that call to a potential client or customer ask yourself what is the worst thing they could say to you and if it’s a no (which might just be a “no for now”) will that really upset you that much?

Let me know if you have ever come off the phone after a sales call and been truly hurt? And please share with us how you deal with making those calls.


Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Time at Networking

So you’ve joined a networking organisation, now what?

Chances are you’ve paid £500-£700 for a year’s membership, committed to attending every meeting and really make networking your main system of building your business.

Here’s my top ten tips on how to waste your time and money and be a complete networking failure:-

  1. Don’t turn up (after all you’ve got a whole year of meetings so what difference if you miss the odd one, right?)
  2. Arrive late (by all means say sorry and appear genuine but why bother to network with the members and their visitors; remember to make it clear you don’t value everyone else’s time)
  3. Don’t bother preparing your 60 second presentation (just “wing it” and hope for the best)
  4. Don’t listen to everyone else’s 60 second presentation (use that time to think of any referrals you want to give, check your phone for emails and messages)
  5. Focus on selling your services to everyone in the room
  6. Never follow up on a referral quickly – they know where you are if they want you
  7. Don’t invite visitors to your networking meeting (there’s plenty of other people who are better at it anyway)
  8. Don’t have 1-2-1s with fellow members; you can learn all you need to know about them when they do their 60 seconds. If you really can’t avoid having one, use that time to complain about how no one gives you any referrals)
  9. If you get the opportunity of doing an extended 10-minute presentation, use it to really go into every minute detail of how your business works, not forgetting to include when the company was established, which towns or cities you have offices in.
  10. Ensure you air all your grievances amongst the members and visitors

Here a special bonus tip to really alienate you from your fellow members:-

11.  Add everyone to your mailing list without asking them and keep on sending them as much irrelevant information as you can!

Anyone else have any top tips to share?



Don’t Wish It Were Easier

Everyone faces difficulties. Face it, it’s a fact.

It’s these problems that arise, whether monthly, weekly daily or even several times a day, that actually help us – and here’s why.

If everything came easily, nothing we did would be particularly special.

We learn more by being challenged – after all necessity is the mother of invention – so the more obstacles we face, the more resilient, adaptable and creative we become.

Many people, many businesses will fall at the first hurdle so overcoming adversity separates the one’s who will survive and thrive.

Jim Rohn said it best:

”Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better”

He was absolutely right; we don’t want less problems because anyone can handle an easy life. We should want more wisdom to solve challenges.

I would love to hear about any major or minor obstacles you overcame that you initially felt were insurmountable?