Now that the summer has gone and we’ve all had our holidays, it’s time to start all over again. It’s funny that when you go on holiday and eventually turn off from the “day job”, you can get a different view of things and you should come back refreshed and ready to go again. With, hopefully, new enthusiasm and desire and maybe even a “new broom”.
Of course, being in training, sometimes when you’re on holiday, you don’t switch off. You can always spot the trainer on holiday, they are the one on the beach with the flipchart and the kids who are patiently shown how to build a sandcastle, have one built for them, then have it knocked down before they have to build their own, with an action plan at the end for further development and refreshment at eleven.
You can also tell the trainer on holiday as he’s the one with the constantly crying kids.
As the cliche goes, every day is a day at school and, even on holiday, in fact especially on holiday, you can learn something new (or-re-learn something you have forgotten).
I holidayed in Northumberland this year (a beautiful place, even better when the sun shines on it) and, as well as having some of the best beaches in the UK, they also benefited from the Romans a few years ago. Boy, could they build a straight road. And when you find about the Romans, you realise they did do a lot for us (copyright Monty Python) but also the key to their success in the world (after their ability to kill people) was down to… well, the things that make every successful company successful (no, not killing people): organisation, weapons and training (I got that from an educational film about Hadrian’s Wall by the way).
1. Organisation: knowing what you want, how you get there and what you need to get you there. Clear goals. Today, a clear business plan and project management. Maybe even throw in a Mission Statement.
2. Weapons: okay, weapons would be frowned on today so this would be the right resources and support (laptops weren’t invented back in Roman days I don’t believe, as long as you don’t count the abacus, so swords and other killing things were the equivalent, something that on a bad day at the office you may have found use for yourself).
3. Training. Yes, training. The Romans realised that even with the best weapons and the best management, if you didn’t up-skill your basic staff (they won’t have said up-skill even in Latin) you wouldn’t succeed.
And this is often forgotten. You can have two out of the three but it’s the third that makes it all work. Training was a vital element for the Romans and this helped in their domination of the world; maybe that is something we have forgotten and maybe we should learn a key lesson from one on the most influential civilisations that we have ever witnessed.
Obviously, The Romans did eventually decline and fall (as any gibbon will tell you) but, my word, they did a lot of brilliant things before the fall (and see Life of Brian for what they did for us).
Whatever you learned from your holiday, make sure you come back and put it to use, as soon as you can. Otherwise, you may just drift back into those “old ways”.
My learning points from my holiday? Learn from history… and I’m no good at building sandcastles.
Born in Liverpool, Len went to Leeds University before joining Philips and later 3M and formed his own company, The Skills Exchange, in 1998 where the focus is on the interpersonal aspects of selling and management, with a specialisation on the financial services industry. He has been involved with many blue chip clients in the financial industry and beyond both delivering and designing training, as well as writing and directing training videos.
With two kids, one marriage, one cat and a huge mortgage, Len can also be heard regularly on Radio 2 and is currently trying to sell a novel, a film script and a sitcom so he can concentrate on getting his golf handicap down to double figures.