Vitae Peritia


Tony Bray’s list of topics

A – Leading and managing people

A1 Stepping into management

This three-day programme gives delegates the skills, confidence and practical experience to lead and manage their teams more effectively. The course is a rich mixture of tutor input, practical team exercises, delegate self-assessments, and coaching sessions.

  • Understand personal leadership disciplines, emotional maturity, self confidence, and empowerment.
  • Grow self-confidence, utilising and practising their ability to solve problems, understand team dynamics, and implement team action.
  • Develop capabilities to handle conflicts, behave more assertively, and apply the principles of situational leadership.
  • Have practised a rigorous coaching technique, which incorporates a five-step problem solving methodology.
  • Understand the key role delegates have in encouraging and developing their staff.

A2 A manager’s first 100 days

  • Cascade well-defined goals, establishing ‘line of sight’ with corporate objectives.
  • Know how to recognise and harness the power of hidden motivators.
  • Feel more confident to delegate tasks.
  • Be able to use a variety of coaching skills.
  • How to recognise, and confront in a positive-way, under-performance.

A3 Coaching

  • Distinguish between coaching and mentoring.
  • Identify and analyse coaching needs.
  • Plan and manage effective coaching sessions.
  • Explore the key inter-personal skills required for effective coaching.
  • How to give effective feedback – Ask don’t tell.

A4 Mentoring

  • Recognise the benefits of mentoring to the individual, the line manager, the mentor and the organisation.
  • Understand the skills and characteristics of an effective mentor.
  • Be able to use a variety of tools and techniques to progress the mentoring relationship.
  • Understand the eight stages of introducing mentoring to an organisation.
  • Understand the mentoring life-cycle and how both parties contribute at different phases.

A5 Appraisals

  • Understand the annual appraisal system.
  • How to prepare for an appraisal – employee and appraiser.
  • Agreeing meaningful objectives, especially how they will be measured.
  • Feeling more confident to discuss ‘unwelcome’ feedback on performance.
  • Effective questioning techniques, including encouraging the ‘quiet’ person to contribute.

A6 Mediation

  • Approaches to managing and resolving conflict – the continuum.
  • Understand what mediation is and when it can be effective.
  • Types of mediation – facilitative vs. evaluative.
  • Explore in detail the five phases of the mediation process.
  • The skills of an effective mediator, including techniques for breaking deadlock.

A7 Consulting

  • The eight stages of a consultancy assignment.
  • Understand the importance of clear objectives before you start an assignment.
  • Be able to establish a good relationship with the client, using the most appropriate consultancy style.
  • Know how to diagnose the problem by fact finding and analysing data.
  • Know how to generate options, make decisions, and plan.

A8 Absence Management

  • Giving line managers the confidence and skills to confront frequent absentees.
  • Improving interviewing skills to identify the difference between short term and chronic illnesses.
  • How to coach staff to reveal, then confront non-sickness  related absences. E.g. Stress, finance, marital, personality clashes etc.
  • Finding the underlying cause of absence. Should they be switched to another role or function?
  • Giving line managers the attitude and skill to support staff with genuine problems to return to normal attendance.

B – Organisational effectiveness

B1 Customer service

  • Refresh the importance of good customer service, and the key part it plays in your continued corporate survival.
  • An immediate and measurable improvement in both customer and employee satisfaction.
  • The importance of paying attention to what your customers think.
  • How to develop and implement meaningful measures of customer satisfaction, including customer or supplier surveys.
  • Managing the ‘moments of truth’ effectively.

B2 Making effective decisions

  • A step-by-step practical and rational approach to making decisions.
  • Remove the ‘fog factor’ from decision making.
  • Proven tools and techniques for each step of the process.
  • Methods for reaching consensus.
  • Techniques for formulating agreed selection criteria.

B3 Accuracy – reducing errors at work

  • Understand the real costs resulting from errors at work.
  • Have explored their own strengths and vulnerable points relating to working error-free.
  • Be aware of their own personal error patterns so they are alert to areas where they are most likely to make a mistake.
  • Have an improved awareness of the customer-supplier chains within Baillie-Gifford and how they can be strengthened.
  • Have increased concentration and attention to detail.
  • Have found errors or inaccuracies in their own work they were previously unaware of.

B4 Time Management

  • Understand the difference between urgency and importance, and the impact it has on setting priorities and scheduling tasks.
  • Explore the difference between ‘progress’ and ‘maintenance’ tasks.
  • Explore a variety range of time management techniques and practices.
  • Learn how to set stretching goals and realistic priorities for self and team.
  • Learn how to say ‘no’ without offending people.

B5 Creative thinking

  • The ability to see familiar problems from a fresh perspective.
  • A variety of tools and techniques which help to unblock long-standing operational issues.
  • Overcoming barriers to creative thinking.
  • Finding creative solutions to familiar problems.
  • Using practical, easy tools and techniques on delegates’ real issues, eg ‘six thinking hats’ approach. ‘power post-it notes’ and ‘random entry’ methods.

B6 Facilitation skills

  • Understand what facilitation is, and the four stages of facilitation.
  • Understand the role and responsibilities of the facilitator when overcoming barriers to change.
  • Develop listening, questioning and intervening skills and strategies.
  • Promoting participative and analytical discussion.
  • Developing a toolbox of effective tools and techniques.

B7 Root cause analysis

  • Root cause analysis.
  • Scoping the incident and collecting the information.
  • Interviewing and witness statements.
  • Mapping the information and analysis – separating relevant from non-relevant.
  • Identifying improvements and root causes

B8 Investigation skills for HR teams

  • Build your confidence to manage the investigation to a satisfactory conclusion.
  • Have a method for evaluating different evidence types.
  • Develop your interview and questioning techniques.
  • Gain skills to help witnesses recall accurate testimony.
  • Clarify report presentation, layout and structure.

B9 Selling skills

  • How to turn initial contacts into firm appointments.
  • Being able to quickly build rapport with new clients and influence them with integrity.
  • How to explore needs and present solutions.
  • The difference between features and benefits.
  • Handling objections effectively, and closing the sale positively.

B10 Negotiating skills

  • Thorough preparation, especially researching the opponent’s position.
  • Use a four-step process to manage your negotiations.
  • Be able to understand and anticipate other people’s reactions.
  • Refresh awareness of the importance of non-verbal signals.
  • Separate the people from the issues, focus on interests not positions, and understand what’s negotiable.

C – Working together

C1 Team working

  • Understand the key role you have in encouraging and developing your team.
  • Have explored the key elements essential for peak team performance.
  • Learn how to harness the power of underlying personal motivators.
  • Become more aware of the ‘informal’ roles you adopt – the Belbin team roles.
  • Feel more confident to confront unhelpful behaviour in a positive way.

C2 Emotional intelligence

  • A three-option method for addressing any stressful situation in Emotional Management.
  • A toolbox of personal skills, including using routines, relaxation techniques, and a stress log system.
  • The tools you need to be emotionally intelligent in your workplace.
  • How to manage impulses, communicate with others effectively, manage change well, solve problems, and use humour to build rapport in tense situations.
  • He to have empathy, remain optimistic even in the face of adversity, and be able to educate and persuade in a sales situation, and resolve customer complaints in a customer service role.

C3 Continuous improvement

  • Know how to demonstrate the importance of continuous improvement for survival.
  • How to perform a business skills audit of overall business operation, to broaden individual skills and enhance overall team performance.
  • To show that creativity and fun can exist in a productive working situation.
  • How to measure performance in areas hitherto considered incapable of being measured.
  • Become an effective facilitator, using a step by step approach which can be applied in any industry or profession.

Mending a broken team

C4 Dealing with conflict

  • Recognise that conflict is going to happen and deal with it when it arises – preferably sooner rather than later.
  • Handling conflict in a positive and motivational manner, gaining you respect and support.
  • Recognising that conflict is usually a symptom of deeper emotions – so search for the underlying causes.
  • Practical steps to resolve conflict.

C5 Chairing or holding effective meetings

  • More for less. Fewer meetings, shorter durations, and better outcomes.
  • Become an effective chairperson – better preparation, managing the variety of inputs, to achieve focused and timely decisions.
  • Enhancing personal skills – asking the right questions, encouraging others, and working through difficult conflicts.
  • Using modern technology to achieve the best results.

C6 Networking

  • Greater realisation of the value of networking to you and your business.
  • Ability to enter a room of strangers confidently and open a conversation.
  • Understanding of the factors which can dramatically improve your success at networking.
  • Ability to give a concise, focused, one-minute statement of what you can offer.
  • Develop the key interpersonal skills involved, and know how to build an effective network.
  • Feel confident to ask your way to success.

C7 Assertiveness

  • Rights and responsibilities of assertive behaviour.
  • Practice using skills and processes which develop assertiveness.
  • Explore a four step process for taking control of your life.
  • The OK corral.
  • Assertiveness styles questionnaire.

D – Communication skills

D1 Influencing skills

  • Enhanced confidence in all influencing situations.
  • Understanding how others think, feel and behave.
  • The art of getting your way and how to appeal to hearts and minds.
  • Key skills and techniques revisited.
  • Structuring and delivering persuasive arguments.

D2 Presentation skills

  • Researching your audience and identifying a clear objective.
  • More effective preparation of your presentation.
  • Increased confidence, greater impact, and a better impression.
  • Using visual aids that add value and create impact.
  • Handling questions professionally and effectively.

D3 Holding difficult conversations

  • Have a logical process for managing difficult conversations more positively.
  • Know how to control a conversation more assertively.
  • Feel more confident to give people answers you anticipate they won’t like.
  • Have some techniques for calming people down.
  • Be able to end conversations more positively.

D4 Writing reports, letters, proposals, e-mails.

  • Having a structured approach and identifying a clear objective.
  • Enhanced impact of the content of your written materials.
  • Reduced time spent redrafting reports, proposals etc.
  • Turning data into written information, and selecting and shaping material effectively.
  • Creating recommendations that have impact.

D5 Minutes for meetings.

  • Understanding why minutes are taken and the impact that has on the format.
  • Building the relationship with the chairperson.
  • Refreshing what the minute secretary does before, during and after the meeting.
  • Understanding different formats and note taking techniques.
  • Taking notes during a recorded meeting, writing your own summary, then receiving feedback.

D6 Eagle-eyed proof reading

  • Understand the importance of good proof reading, and the barriers they need to overcome.
  • Have a specific check-list of features to work through to ensure a document is fully fit for purpose.
  • Have a tool kit of techniques to make proof reading easier.
  • Have practised proof reading in a series of realistic and practical exercises.

D7 Effective reading

  • Know how quickly and accurately you currently read.
  • Have some techniques and approaches for more effective reading.
  • Be more effective in isolating and noting key information.
  • Have practised your skills.

E – Becoming a confident trainer

E1 Developing engaging training programmes

  • Identify those problems for which training can offer a valuable solution, and those issues best tackled by other means.
  • Write focused objectives which describe the task, the standard, and the setting in which the task has to be carried out.
  • Design the whole programme start to finish, ensuring every element is complete and consistent.
  • Use a variety of visual planning techniques to make the design phase easier.
  • Build in through-out measurement and evaluation systems.

E2 Designing effective training materials

  • Use planning techniques which enable training materials to be designed quickly and effectively.
  • Be aware of the impact well designed materials have on the learner and their ability to absorb and retain key points.
  • Be conscious of the variety of learning styles and the impact this has on training materials.
  • Always bear in mind the concept of ‘show don’t tell’.
  • Maximise every opportunity for delegates to touch, feel, smell and taste visual aids.

E3 Magic of learning

  • Understand the concepts of accelerated learning and how they can be incorporated into any training programme.
  • Constantly look for every opportunity to bring fun and excitement into the training environment.
  • How to create a relaxed yet focused atmosphere so when people first arrive they feel encouraged and empowered.
  • Create learning experiences that are as close to the ‘real thing’ as possible.

E4 Personal training skills

  • How to prepare yourself before any live training event – the power of practice.
  • Learning how to relax in front of delegates from the first moment, so engaging people immediately.
  • Being confident to deliver an extended session without reference to notes.
  • Using stories and experiences to illustrate theoretical concepts.
  • Helping delegates to overcome their inhibitions and hang-ups so enabling them to learn.

E5 Designing and delivering Virtual training

  • Mastering the technical aspects of the chosen virtual training medium.
  • Designing training materials, both the display given by the presenter and workbooks used by delegates, that are engaging, fun and high impact.
  • Understanding how to capture the interest of delegates working remotely, and to maintain their interest.
  • Knowing how to ‘reach out’ to people remotely, recognising the wide variety of comfort delegates will have with the training medium.

E6 Prove training works

  • A rugged, step by step approach, for measuring the success of training.
  • Delegates work through each step, identifying the key factors for their organisation.
  • Ideally the work should be done to allow ‘before’ and ‘after’ measurements.
  • A great focus on the precise methods of measuring success.