Simon Jordan's Blog – October 2015

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Praise for the Hot 100

On September 24th I was pleased to welcome a lot of familiar faces to Themis HQ on Princess Way as we joined Lancashire Business View for a very special Hot 100 event. It was great to get everybody in one room to discuss hot topics like job creation and growth within all of Lancashire’s top industry sector. We also celebrated a lot of well-deserved successes and shared thoughts on recently released figures that showed the Lancashire economy growing in all key measures. Thanks in particular go to speakers Laila Remtulla, Ken Shackleton, Jo Varey and Paul Taberner, who spoke enthusiastically about motivating a workforce, retaining and nurturing talent, gaining skills and training employees and succession planning. For more information and photos, visit our blog post on the event. [url]

“Ultimate Hell Week” – how resilient are you?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been sitting down on a Sunday evening and finding myself consistently in awe of the incredible feats of endurance and self-discipline show on the TV programme “Special Forces – Ultimate Hell Week”. If you haven’t seen it, the show follows a different crew of tough individuals each week who are put through their paces by Special Forces professionals in gruelling activities designed to “weed out the weak.” I love programmes like this; I love watching the psychology play out between characters and seeing different leadership styles emerge within them; seeing people grow or give up and seeing how far people can be pushed. Of course it’s also quite fun to watch other people doing hundreds of burpees in the freezing sea and knowing that I don’t have to join in, especially when the Navy Seals or the Russian Special Forces are screaming commands through the fog. Even though I’m not signing up to be on the show any time soon, I enjoy pushing myself to see how much more I can achieve. Running the 100 mile challenge taught me how much determination I have stored inside me and I’m convinced that everybody has the ability to crash through their limits given the right amount of encouragement and a goal that suits them well. I don’t believe in a lack of drive – people want to succeed if it benefits them. For the poor, dehydrated, over-exhausted persons on Ultimate Hell Week, their benefits are all personal. Their desire to reach their end goal resides completely internally in the reward of self-satisfaction. Of course many people need a little more encouragement than the promise of the feel-good rush of completing a project, but it’s not difficult to understand how to tap into what they want the most. Some want the responsibility of leadership. Some prefer the rewards of targets. However your crew – sorry – workforce work best, it’s important to get to grips with what drives them to succeed so you can push them further to help reach those bigger goals you have in mind. May I suggest an SAS-led team building exercise to get you started?

The Future Is Here, Marty!

BTTF-sliderIt’s official – on Wednesday 21 October we’ll be living in the future. The date marks the day on which Marty McFly took Doc Brown’s Delorean to visit the extremely futuristic world of 2015 in Back To The Future Part II (arguably one of the greatest films ever made.) If you remember, Marty uses the stylish time-travelling car to stop his future son from being sent to prison but in the process manages to re-imagine a future where the evil Biff becomes a billionaire. Whoops. What I love the most about the film though are the inventions and technological advancements forseen by the 80s film-makers. Did they really believe that by October 2015 we’d have flying cars? What’s brilliant though is that for all my complaining about the lack of hoverboards available on the mass market, (Lexus seem to be helping me out there) the film actually did predict a number of technological and sociological changes, such as the incredible rise in the use of compact cameras, widescreen TVs mounted on walls (and the ability to watch six channels at once if you wanted to), video chat systems like Skype and controller-free computer games. But what will we have by 2030? It’s a question I like asking manufacturing and engineering professionals because the answers they give are incredibly practical and exciting. We’re talking about the development of new composite materials that’ll increase the speed and safety of aircraft, smart textiles that can map eye movements, transmit information and respond to touch, acting as extensions of the wearable technology we’re only just getting to grips with. If this is what we can do within the next 18 months, where will we be in fifteen years? Will we be flying our hovercars to work? Will we have implanted smart devices to regulate our mood? Will “Human Augmentation” to enhance human ability become the norm? What do you think? I know one thing – I’m really excited to see what we can develop in such a short space of time.

What Sort of Manager Are You?

All the talk of personality types and leadership styles thanks to “Special Forces – Ultimate Hell Week” has got me thinking about what leadership styles we all think we have. How do you manage your teams? Have you ever had a hero boss who’s style you’ve tried to emulate? I’ve put together some of my favourite ever bosses in a list and our ever-creative marketing team have created a quiz to help us all find out who we most emulate. I really want to know who you get so don’t forget to Tweet me with your results! @SimonThemis

Using Disruption for Good

I’ve been really interested by some of the thought pieces written for the Virgin “Disruptors” microsite. Pushing a focus on changing the way we think about technology within our industries and daily lives, a lot of the articles posted deal with the very pertinent question of how we move STEM education forward to fit the growing skills gaps in engineering, technology and data-driven industries. On article in particular, written by the editor of Pearson Labs Maxine Lyseight, caught my attention. After reading previously that 55% of young people are already showing a desire to work for their own start-up companies, her piece on trends within technological education really struck a chord. You may remember last month that I expressed a desire to learn how to code in time to help my son Harry with his homework when he starts bringing it home. It seems that advancements in technology and the embracing of new skills aren’t the only things shaking up the way young people are taught in 2015. Maxine’s “Disruptors” piece focused on the emerging trends in tech education and what became clear is that young people are using technology to extend a teacher or tutor’s reach, making it easier to come into contact with experts. This is opening up education to larger numbers of young people than ever before. Another “disruptive” tool being trialled is the idea of capturing real-time analysis from student performance. With the goal of cutting the number of traditional style exams being used to qualify young people, this could really see a shift in the way we train and ultimately employ people; essentially using ability measures and “invisible assessments” to learn the true capability of the young people we are looking to take on. The resurgence of “maker” education is what really interests me though. In an emerging age of engineering and technological advancements running side by side, hands-on learning that encompasses craft, design, electronics and programming seems a completely logical step in bridging the skills gaps we hear so much about within our industries. Will “Disruptive Learning” create the generation of highly-skilled, eager to learn young people we need? I hope so. I also hope this model can be used to inform the way people are trained, upskilled and reskilled so that professionals of any age can reap the benefits of this rapidly changing educational movement. As always, let me know your thoughts (and tell me which manager you got in the quiz!) on Twitter: @simonthemis

Source Url: http://www.themis.ac.uk/simon-jordans-blog-october-2015/
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