The Importance of People

The Importance of People

In business, as in life, the big ‘why’, the greater purpose, always comes back to people and our relationships with them.  Another packed room at Chilworth Manor sizzled with Summertime goodwill – as is very evident from Justin’s photographs.  His images reflect the fact that face-to-face, person-to-person networking adds dimensions of effective communication missing from any other form of human interaction. Networking in person pays dividends.

Our three keynote speakers took three different perspectives on people.  Chris Wilkinson shared a cautionary tale about trusting the wrong people, and the penalties for doing this when you don’t have the right policies and procedures in place.

I encouraged some interactive art to highlight the fact that people are dominantly visual (when it comes to brain-processing priorities) and thus are more influenced by richly visual media platforms like YouTube.

And Daniel Piddington reminded us why we got into business in the first place: to support the people we value most!

Chris Wilkinson – a Cautionary Tale

Chris shared another true story of misplaced trust and the cost of good HR practice being totally missing. The penalties can be huge in terms of stress, time, productivity, and money when matters come to a head. Imagine discovering (through some sophisticated sleuthing) that the problem with your otherwise excellent company lies with your General Manager.  This is the GM that you have trusted for years and into whose hands you have confidently placed the wellbeing of your company and thus your future!

With almost no HR policies and procedures in place, the owner of the business went through the hell that Chris unveiled.  Fortunately, even a situation that is so far gone can often be turned around through the intervention of expert human resource solutions.

Chris was so clear on his recommendations on how to preclude this kind of trouble from emerging in our own businesses that I am going to quote from his notes…

“If you are going to employ people, please make sure you get the basic legal requirements in place – it makes both your and my life so much easier…”

“Please keep records of formal and informal discussions over performance – it makes exiting employees under capability possible…”

“Do not completely abdicate responsibility for your business even if you really trust the employee you put in charge; sadly, there are nasty employees who will take advantage of the situation…”


For the business owner in our story, Chris says,

“…things are back on an even keel.  They are opening another business and all things HR are going to be in place because we are already on the case and they haven’t even started recruiting yet!”

And my favourite quote:

“Finally, never cross an HR professional; we are like Elephants: we never forget, and we NEVER forgive!”

At least somebody is keeping a record!

Lex McKee – People are Visual, the Vision is Global, and Collaboration is the Key

I’d like to be a little bit secretive about what I shared because we are likely to repeat the presentation exercise in Wiltshire and Dorset.  What I will say is that 30% of your brain is given over to visual processing. 8% is dedicated to touch, and only 3% to sound!  If we were to mirror these preferences and priorities in marketing, we can easily see why video and television has such a big impact.

What I will share is just how affordable professional video production has now become.  Here is a back-of-the-envelope calculation for what you need:

  • £20 pcm for a phone contract on a good rate
  • £20 for a reasonable tripod
  • £6 for the caddy to hold your phone and attach to the tripod
  • £50 for a professional lavalier microphone x2 so that you can interview people
  • £60 for the iPhone sound interface.

This means that for circa £260 you can capture professional video suitable for YouTube.  Of course, it would be wrong of me not to mention that £2000 invested in a good computer also helps, along with £500 budget for software!  That said, you can edit your video for free on your phone!

All my recommendations can be found on Amazon here:

Daniel Piddington – on the Importance of People


Whilst we all have a view on what Barristers do, Daniel Piddington made it clear that it’s not just about a distressed purchase when things go wrong.  Barristers are there to support you through various stages of your business – whether that’s drafting a shareholders’ agreement or precluding a potential issue arising – resolving it before it gets to litigation.

Whatever the issue or opportunity, it always comes back to the importance of people.  At College Chambers, the team seek to put people at the heart of each resolution.  This includes making sure that a case is fully understood before standing before a judge to argue it.  It also includes understanding what the potential benefits are to various settlement options, or resolutions out of court.

As Daniel says, “All businesses have people at their heart.”

Citing Richard Branson as a champion at promoting mental wellbeing and staff being at the heart of a business, Daniel stated the powerful truth that a happy employee can have a significant impact on how well your business performs.

Those of us who think that their business is mainly about selling product, especially if they don’t have employees, may be tempted to think business is not about the people. This is a mistake.  You may be in business to benefit the end-user, but even if you don’t have an altruistic intent, you are in business for you, your family, and your friends.  Getting the balance wrong means you’ll end up neglecting the people you value the most. The process of doing business can all too easily consume your time and zap your energy.

The purpose of business is to provide a means to you enjoying your life and to giving to your family the best that you could possibly provide.  Daniel’s key message was,

“How do we focus not on what we do but actually on who we are doing it for?”

Beating Procrastination and Boosting Productivity

A welcome bonus was provided by Sam Sharma for those able to stay on for his group coaching session. We learned how to beat procrastination and how to take some serious strides towards boosting our productivity.

Sam is running two additional sessions – making the same high quality outcomes available to our Wiltshire and Dorset groups.

Here are the Eventbrite links to these free sessions…

TBN Wiltshire – 25th July
TBN Dorset- 1st Aug

And, finally, a taste of Sam’s group coaching, in action.