It’s so easy isn’t it, to look at your ‘To Do’ list and completely underestimate how long certain tasks are going to take. And every single time you do that, it knocks you back in time, confidence and productivity.
When this happens – how do you react? Are you a proactive sort who goes straight into action mode? Are you tackling it head on with a ‘silver lining’ attitude of everything being completely fine? Or, are you like most of us; cursing the additional time taken because you’re already completely stacked with tasks that even the slightest bump in the road means yet another late night…?
No matter which persona you inhabit, one thing is universal – and it is that we all know (on some level) what caused that underestimation. Was it a lack of resource? Were you part of a chain of information that broke down? Did you just not realise exactly how long that task would take “in real life”? And the first step to avoid repeat instances of that is to be completely honest with yourself.
Honesty and Accountability should be tattooed onto everyone’s psyche by now as it’s something we all admit to having or wanting from our colleagues. But are we honest and accountable when we look inwards? I realise I’m proposing quite a lot of introspective questions in this piece, but it’s important to make sure that we are infallible (where possible!) so we can avoid any future underestimations!
From time to time we will all fall down; the important part is the getting back up and carrying on. And preferably doing that with a little life experience from it too. So, if your ‘To Do’ list is never ending, or is constantly being pushed further back so you can handle more immediate concerns – be honest with yourself – find out what is needed or what isn’t working and fix it.
Perhaps we can help. If you are overstretched, or your business would benefit from additional solutions – we can help. We have spent years coming up with options that help rule out or minimise all of those ‘underestimations’, so if you’re ready to make your life simpler and business more effective – get in touch today and know that Just Williams is always here to support you. Check out our latest vlog on Linked In where we celebrate passionate businesses coming together to support each other and the exciting new Peer to Peer opportunity with Tees Valley Business and Teesside University! View it here: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6755513154660290560
It seems a strange thing to be talking about after such a challenging year… But today we want to talk about the feelgood factor!
Being able to celebrate the good things should be easy – right? But after everything that we have all experienced this year we think we should spend some time today talking about everything that can contribute to a great #FeelgoodFriday.
Making a great new connection, being acknowledged for doing a good job – or even just knowing that something you have done has made a difference to someone else – there are SO MANY ways to get the feelgood into your Friday.
Today, we are celebrating that Just Williams has secured a brand new client on our Hybrid package! This is a great piece of news for us and we can’t wait to start work with this exciting company (we’ll tell you more when we can…). But it’s through hard work, determination and a great team that we have been able to talk about this today. In a really challenging climate, being able to sign a new client to a 12 month contract is really, really exciting.
So whether you have had a ‘win’ at work this week, you’ve managed to reconnect with a colleague or friend – or even have managed to bring back the Elf on the Shelf for your kids – let’s celebrate it together.
It’s important that as we acknowledge how trying this year has been, that we can focus on growth, security and every bit of good news that we can. So, join us – celebrate your wins with us this #FeelgoodFriday!
Sales Academy Turns One After Super Success of First Year
During these times we are all looking for something to celebrate – but when a fledging enterprise reaches its first significant milestone; it should be shouted from every rooftop!
The Just Williams Sales Academy, based in Stockton on Tees, celebrated its first birthday at the beginning of November, marking an unusual but exciting year for the business. Offering a wide range of Sales and Marketing courses – both face to face and online – the Academy has now had over 1,000 sessions accessed and is helping deliver its continued goal of ‘professionalising the sales industry’.
Managing Director of Just Williams, The Academy’s parent company Jessica Williams said; “It’s been a huge year in more ways than one! We have been thrilled to have been able to deliver effective face-to-face training before the impact of Covid, but our ability to flex to an online market so soon has been so exciting too”.
“Sales is often seen as a ‘dirty word’, with some salespeople giving others a bad name with unethical tactics or private agendas. But The Just Williams Sales Academy was born out of the desire to professionalise Sales; and to start breaking down the stigma that is sometimes attached to it”.
In a world where everyone has been forced into virtual environments The Just Williams Sales Academy has eased the difficult conversations about continued development for staff across the Tees Valley; offering accessible, interactive – and above all else – effective training in a challenging business climate.
Head of Delivery for Just Williams, Emma Storey said; “I love what The Academy is achieving. The feedback we have had from learners has really validated the need for this sort of training and helping salespeople either succeed or grow has been a real pleasure to be a part of.”
For more information on The Just Williams Sales Academy, and the training it offers please contact the team on 01642 955862 or visit www.justwilliamsltd.co.uk/sales-academy
Libby Hampson, Associate at Ripple Partners, has been a member of the #JWBookClub from its beginnings. This is what she had to say about it.
“Where do I start? The books? The group? The enthusiasm and energy behind everything Jessica and Emma do? The discussions? The general support, fun or the feeling of just being part of something which our virtual get togethers engender?
I’ve been told not to make this into a sales pitch, but it’s difficult not to!
I never, ever thought I’d enjoy talking with a group of people (many of whom I’ve still never met in ‘real-life’ but now feel I know really well) via Zoom on my laptop about books and authors I’d never heard of and sharing how we could take some of the ideas off the page and put them into action in our own business networks. More than anything I owe you a huge thanks for helping me to start reading again – the looming of the next meeting keeps me on track and I’ve enjoyed and felt a great sense of achievement in reading several books now from cover to cover (something I haven’t done for a long, long time).
It might sound as though I do lots of this sort of thing, but believe me I don’t. Joining in with virtual meetings is not my natural habitat and being brave enough to voice my own opinions is something I’ve tried to avoid for most of my career. But the welcome and camaraderie from everyone in the group is catching and been a great incentive to hook me in and keep me coming back for more. We’re all having to learn to be open to new ideas and to try doing things in new ways at the moment; for me the JW Book Club has been one of the really positive things to come out of 2020 – thanks Jessica and Emma for everything you’ve put into making it happen and for introducing me to so many wonderful people online – and thank you to everyone in the group for coming together and making it happen.”
Wow! Thank you so much for these kind words, Libby.
Do you want to join the #JWBookClub and have similar experiences? It’s free to join, no obligation and is full of great people! Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or register via Eventbrite for each session.
2020 has been a simultaneously tragic and exciting year. It’s difficult to know how to feel about it.
Amidst the chaos of businesses crumbling and evolving or being born; in between the personal lives torn apart by loss and relationships stretched to the max – this year has taught us one very obvious thing – there are so many different ways to be kind that can counteract some of the heartache.
We started this year with a lot to accomplish and at Just Williams we had BIG plans for growth. Part of this ‘masterplan’ was to keep fundraising in aid of The British Heart Foundation. But throughout lockdown and seeing so many communities pulling together for their own causes we knew we wanted to spread our wings a little more too. So, broadened our horizons and spread a little more kindness where we could.
In the last few months, we have already smashed our (twice updated!) fundraising goal for the BHF, but we have also looked a little closer to home to our local communities too. We pledged donations to The Trussell Trust after seeing the impact of hunger on families during the pandemic; knowing that their foodbanks would help support those in need. We did this by donating proceeds from our online webinars launched during lockdown so whenever someone joined our training, not only did they leave with great tips and skills – they helped to serve up a great dose of kindness too.
Similarly, we made a donation to the fabulous Billingham Synthonia Ladies Football team as well as supporting the ongoing growth and generally ‘awesomeness’ of The Girls Network by part-sponsoring their membership fees to the North East of England Chamber of Commerce and becoming Mentors on their programme. Amidst all of this we made sure we stayed in touch with our clients regularly, we sent each other thoughtful care packages to let each other know we were thinking about them. Generally, we stayed connected and that was most important of all.
Although times are difficult, we don’t know what each day will bring – what we have learned is the best thing we can do is stay connected. Connected to our businesses, to each other and to our Communities too – and that is something that will stay, long after Covid has gone.
Above: Billingham Synthonia Ladies Football team – go on girls!
Hartlepool College of Further Education are shaping a generation with more than just qualifications.
Education is a huge part of our lives. Moving from primary school and playground games to further and higher education; caps and gowns and certificates as scrolls. Many of us are privileged to have had access to different levels of study and what that means for each individual is different. But Principal of Hartlepool College of Further Education (HCFE); Darren Hankey spoke to us via Zoom to discuss their learners and the college’s reaction to the Covid 19 pandemic.
It is with a small smile that Darren said that it was a “heroic team effort” that allowed the college to pivot almost overnight to the lockdown restrictions from Government in March. He talks about his team responding so quickly to use of their Virtual Learning Environment, to get learners working remotely, with a genuine pride that is touching. It is clear that he cares deeply about the team, the students; but also the community that it represents.
“Once the students were working as best they could from home, there were other things we were doing – our kitchens are open to a community group in order to provide meals for vulnerable people and a member of staff took home our 3D printer to make visors for the NHS”. Given the recent focus on diversification in different businesses, this is a great example of working together for one community, “and it’s just that, ‘community’. We’re right in the centre of town, it’s like a big village mentality – all supporting each other, and that’s the attitude we try to instil in our learners”.
HCFE has roots dating back to 1849, making it arguably one of the longest serving colleges in the region (if not the country…!) but it’s Darren’s team principal of ‘HARTS’ that will lead the way in continuing the legacy of further education in the town and beyond. HARTS is a progamme of Hard Work, Ambition, Resilience, Thankfulness and Self Awareness that the HCFE team embed into all their work and teaching. “It’s not just about getting qualifications, it’s about ‘education’ as a whole; about building character as well” said Darren.
In a world that is changing day-by-day it is reassuring to hear what the HCFE and Darren are doing to ensure the future of their college, safeguarding their current learners needs as well as helping to produce generations of learners with more than a paper scroll and a passing grade. These learners travel from all over the region to experience the college, its enviable facilities, its outstanding reputation and relationships with the giants of industry – but more than that – they travel to Hartlepool for its heart.
Talking of themselves only as the ‘current custodians’ of the college Darren’s team are working hard and making exciting plans for their future – and with a team in place that have reacted so effectively and considerately to one of the greatest challenges of our time; we are excited to see what the NEXT 170 year brings for this amazing establishment in our region.
We hosted a panel discussion on Sales and Social Media – and here’s what happened…
Whether you’re an established business, or just starting out – one thing is for sure, you’ve had a conversation about how to sell during the covid-19 pandemic. And I’d put money on the fact most (if not all of you…) have suggested using social media more.
Not surprising, and absolutely right to do! But over the last few months what has become apparent is the amount of us who are not social media experts… Not meant as an insult, we all have our strengths – which is why we assembled a panel of industry experts in our region to level the playing field and help us unify our selling on social media platforms.
Simon Clayton (Marketing Skills Academy), Jess Facchini-Tucker (Social Allies) and Paul Lancaster (Plan Digital UK, Newcastle Startup Week) joined us today to help shed some light on best practices to sell on Linked In, Instagram and Twitter. With over 50 delegates registering to attend, we already had high hopes for what came next…
With relaxed conversation (and a bit of friendly platform rivalry!) the panel quickly set about giving out amazing tips, tricks and advice on how best to get the most out of each platform, and different ways of selling and attracting audiences. But it was the lively and continued engagement from the delegates that really set this panel alight. It’s rare these days that a video call or conference sparks so much engagement, but with the delegates keen to learn all they could in the time allowed, it was exciting to try and field so many queries.
I won’t go into specifics of what was discussed (because you can watch the whole session for free on our YouTube channel *shameless plug*) but what was overwhelming obvious to us was that people are keen to learn, keen to engage and very keen to grow online. And this is so exciting in a time where the world seems so uncertain.
So, let’s stick together, learn together and grow together. With more panels and webinars in the pipeline for coming weeks, we can’t wait to get more of you in front of exciting industry leaders and join you on that journey of discover too!
Watch the full session here: https://youtu.be/Y4k7GmEYF3U
Communicate PLC’s Reaction to Supporting Their Clients During COVID-19 Pandemic.
It’s not news to say recent weeks have been challenging, or that we’re all having to adapt to a ‘new normal’ whilst the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. But, we were interested to know how some companies have managed the changes, and how they’ve evolved during this crisis.
Speaking to Chris Mullen, IT Infrastructure Manager of Communicate PLC, we asked him how this massive change to life and business has affected Communicate what they were doing for their clients. Very simply he said; “Just look after them”. Knowing that most businesses were going through a period of panic or upheaval with the movement to working from home, Communicate has worked hard to make sure that their clients have as seamless a transition as possible.
Chris said; “We saw a massive increase in demand from our existing customers at the start of the lockdown in the UK. They needed to be instantly remote, so we set to work in making that happen”. With many businesses using desktop PCs, fixed landlines etc their task was not a small one; but one that they more than rose to the challenge on. Often working until 9 or 10 o’clock at night, Chris and the rest of the team made sure that where possible organisations could continue to function; setting up VPNs, redirecting telephone lines, establishing profiles on laptops etc.
This continuation of functionality meant that their clients could keep going; to keep managing their day-to-day business as well as keeping their staff safe working from home. Chris said; “We tried to put ourselves in our client’s shoes – how would we want to be treated if roles were reversed? And we knew that we would want our issues resolving as quickly as possible – so that’s what we did. Working later hours during those first few weeks meant that our clients got what they needed – and that’s so important to us; so we just did it”. It’s clear that their clients have felt the benefits of their commitment too, with many taking time to leave glowing reviews of the business on Trust Pilot.
Looking to the future we wanted to know whether or not the Communicate team expected remote working to become more of the ‘norm’ than before; or if we would ever go back to the way we used to work completely. They said; “We think most companies will adapt to more home working; it makes sense when you can prove it has worked. But it will only continue to work if a company’s support system is robust and can support that in an ongoing way. That’s why were so proud of our staff and services because we know it works; we know that it can help companies grow and be connected effectively – but also safely”.
We don’t know what will happen in the coming weeks as the pandemic continues, but what we do know is that the team at Communicate are working hard to help their clients keep going. And in the grand scheme of things, that is an exciting prospect. If you are looking to discuss your IT, telecoms or network systems, or cyber security, you can learn more about Communicate here www.communicateplc.com
Communicate Technology PLC offer a range of IT, telecoms, network and cyber security services and products. Based from their Head Office in Wynyard, Teesside; Communicate PLC has a national presence with offices across the country.
By James Pirie.
It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be. Even the title of the book makes you challenge your way of thinking from the off. We’re hard wired to think that we must get better at this, we must do better at that. Why? Because in life it’s how good we are. Isn’t it?
Arden argues the opposite. What matters most is the mind set behind your actions. Why are you becoming good at something? Is it because social etiquette dictates that you have to be good at it in order to progress – or is it because you want to be as big as Persil automatic?*
A collection of helpful, motivational hints and tips, Arden’s work almost reads as a microcosm of every self-help guide or motivational hard-back most of us have ever read. Pocket-sized and paperback some of the help contained in the brief 127 pages can sometimes read as obvious. But then again, some of the best ideas in the world are the obvious ones. It just takes a second of redirection, a second of pause to realise this.
The book itself is very much a book aimed at those in the professional world who are looking to make a difference. It reads as though it may be more geared towards someone in the marketing/media sphere. However, with a little thought and care when reading, Arden’s advice can be redirected to fit almost any profession.
Throughout life we often find ourselves in periods of doubt and distrust in our own ability. Arden argues that in reality, it is our choices that show who we truly are far more than our abilities.
Two things about that really connected with me about this book;
- People love a show. If you get the opportunity to get in front of the MD that you have spent the last 3 months reaching out to over LinkedIn, over telephone and at networking events all around your region – do not waste that opportunity by given a presentation about how good your organisation is (if your meeting is mid-week, chances are you’re the third one he’s listened to.. *yawn*). Use the opportunity to explain to the MD how much you want to make changes for them and how you want to do that together. Make it memorable. People love a show – make it memorable.
- Do not seek praise. It’s so easy to ask your colleague that you eat lunch with every day if a piece of work you’ve done is good – of course they are going to tell you yes! You buy them coffee every other day. Instead, ask those around you what you could improve upon? What do you not like about this? How can we make this better for ‘x’? Generally speaking your work is probably OK at best most of the time, so how can we make this better? Ask those around us to tell us what’s wrong with it, you’re much more likely to get an honest response. Why? People don’t mind picking something apart once you’ve asked them – we are British after all! Do not seek praise. Seek criticism. Can you find fualt with this?
To summarise, Arden has carefully selected real life advice. Advice that at some point in everyone’s life we need to hear. If you’re going through a period of self-doubt or feel like you need that push but you don’t know where to get it from – get it from Paul Arden and remember – It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.
*Teenage Victoria Beckham
by Emma Storey
2020 is seeing Just Williams adopt multiple charities throughout the year, chosen by staff members as causes close to their heart *no pun intended…*
As many of you may already know why Just Williams is choosing to support The British Heart Foundation in the first quarter of 2020 – but for those of you who don’t know; here’s why…
I am a true ‘family gal’, with a really close connection with my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles etc. This is important as my Dad, a bit of a legend in Teesside after teaching in secondary schools for over 50 years(?!); suffered cardiac arrest at home at the end of August. He was resuscitated and taken to North Tees where he suffered a further cardiac arrest – was resuscitated AGAIN before spending a week with the unbelievable Critical Care team; but unfortunately on 1st September; a third arrest took him. Nobody can say he wasn’t ‘tough as boots’ to have survived so much.
However, given that he had no previous cardiac diagnosis or condition – the fact he died so suddenly has left a huge, un-fillable whole in mine and my family’s lives. But, the support and understanding I received from the Just Williams team was incredible – allowing me time to spend with my family until I was ready to return to work.
As a result I wanted to ‘do my bit’ to make sure that at some point in the future other families may not have to go through the same heartache; losing someone close. That is why I am choosing The British Heart Foundation.
On Friday 14th February we will be hosting a Valentine’s Heart Party at Fusion Hive from 11am-1pm, where we will be selling delicious baked goods, running a Secret Tombola and an amazing raffle! Then, at 12.30 I’m running a short quiz where the victorious team will take home the (soon-to-be coveted) Hive Heart Champion Trophy! We’ll be running little games and competitions on the day and will release information on how to purchase raffle tickets in advance very soon – but it would make a wonderful difference to see as many of you there as possible!
Please help us support The British Heart Foundation, and beat heartbreak forever!
Please feel free to contact me directly if you would like to be involved (you don’t have to be a Fusion Hive resident to join us either!) on email@example.com