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Last week our MD, Stephen Cole, attended the Business Excellence Forum created by ActionCoach and held in Telford. With 1,200 people from across the UK and Europe, it was a great opportunity to discuss ideas with like-minded business owners to help our design agency in Scotland grow.

Our MC for the conference was the incredible Michael Heppell. Considering many thought it might be a stuffy business event, Michael had the venue fired up for every speaker.

With so many brilliant moments, we’ve pulled some info from Stephen’s notebook…

Sir Clive Woodward

When Sir Clive Woodward coached the English rugby team to World Cup success, he started to increase his team’s performance by giving each player a laptop computer. Sir Clive was criticised for doing this, but people didn’t realise that he was giving players the opportunity to study their performance with Prozone.

Prozone provided data on players, on the team and therefore on the games that was never seen before. As players checked out their own stats they started to take responsibility for their personal performance.

“Great teams are made of great individuals” is what Clive promotes and that a culture of relentless learning is what needs to be encouraged.

People can either be rocks or sponges. If you’re a rock between the ears then personal performance won’t happen. Be a sponge!

Jo Fairley

Jo is the co-founder of Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate, growing the brand before its acquisition by Cadbury’s. This exceptional entrepreneur talked about putting yourself in the customers shoes and that the introduction of Fair Trade was very important to her company. They’ve helped develop regions where the farmers who produce the cocoa beans by providing clean water, education and housing. Incredibly inspirational, Jo started her session by giving out free chocolate to all 1,200 people in attendance – what a lovely idea!

James Clear

Author of Atomic Habits, James gave a talk on making little improvements on a daily basis to achieve great things in life. James shared that while the results of success were very visible, the hard work is hidden from view.

James also gave us an ace example of removing distractions to achieve success involving Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables.  Hugo became the toast of France after his novel became a raging success. His publishers gave him a hefty advance for his next book and he used the funds to life a lavish lifestyle. Trouble came months later when his publishers asked to read a first draft of the next book. Hugo had been partying hard and had done no work at all!

Under pressure, Hugo had his assistant remove all the expensive furniture making the home appear shabby. Then his designer outfits & robes were thrown into chests and taken away. He could no longer host parties to entertain the French elite and his wardrobe consisted of worn-out clothes, so he would be ashamed to visit fine restaurants.  

With no distractions, Victor Hugo went on to swiftly complete his next book which became another smash hit entitled The Hunchback of Notre Dame!

Brad Sugars

The man who started ActionCoach many years ago discussed the power of systems in any company regardless of size and that communication is key. A top takeaway from this session was that doubt kills more dreams than failure.

Special mention…

Finally, we must talk about HayPigs! who have designed a range of guinea pigs products. These guys won a business award during the event and are superstars in the making. Ones to watch for the future!