Last week marked the start of my tenth year of running AWD Development Solutions following my 26-year career at Rolls-Royce.
Three years ago I didn’t know if I’d have a business anymore.
At the start of the pandemic my work disappeared overnight as all my delivery at that time was face-to-face. I was forced to decide if I wanted to keep doing the work I was doing, but deliver it in a different way. I moved all my work online. Before March 2020 I’d never heard of Zoom but now it’s a cornerstone of my business.
Thankfully, after a tough time things have really started to pick up again.
My face-to-face work is coming back. In the last two weeks in rooms with people in three dimensions. But I’m still delivering about 80% online. This is creating opportunities that I know I wouldn’t have had before the pandemic.
I’ve just started the third cohort of delivery of a programme to employees of a business based in South East Asia – a region very close to my heart. It might mean getting up at 4.30am but it’s great to be working across different geographic cultures as well as different business cultures.
Another positive impact of the pandemic was to force me to review my cost base. Where was I spending my money, and particularly my time, from a networking perspective? I had to make some difficult decisions to stop some activities and not renew some subscriptions.
I now focus my regular personal development and my networking activities on two main groups. My personal development has benefited massively by my membership of the Professional Speaking Association. My networking and business development activity has really benefitted by becoming a member of FORE Business. It also gives me an excuse to play golf. Let me know if you’d like any information about either organisation.
What I really enjoy about running my own business is the variety, autonomy and the flexibility it gives me to work with who I want to, in a way that works for me and my clients. This year I’ve started to work with three new clients on a long-term basis. Each of them operates in a different business sector. This gives the opportunity to think about how we can apply the tools, the techniques, and the principles of what we’re working on in their very different business contexts.
I still offer some of my time on a voluntary basis and just last week I supported some HR students at the University of Derby where I shared my thoughts on career management as part of one of their modules.
Finally, I’ve recently released the second edition of my Exceptional Team Blueprint™ book.
I’ve no idea what my tenth year will bring, but thank you to all my past, my current, and my future clients and to everyone who’s supported me on my journey so far.
I’m looking forward to helping more businesses to develop their people, their teams and their organisations so they can grow.