I remember the day I found out One Degree Training & Coaching Ltd had been named a finalist in The Lloyds Bank British Business Excellence Awards – to say I danced like a lunatic is a massive understatement!
Being nominated for an award, let alone being named as a finalist in such a prestigious national one, simply wasn’t on my radar. As someone who’d spent the vast majority of his working life in the military, it hadn’t even occurred to me that things like this existed, let alone to put ourselves forward for one.
It was a lady named Lindsay Lider, who I’d met at a number of local networking meetings, who told me about it. She was very kind in her words of the business and suggested we enter.
As One Degree had enjoyed some early success, I figured, ‘why not’? At the very least it will open up some exposure and invitations to networking events held specifically for nominees. It would be wrong to say that I didn’t have any expectations, mine were that we’d be given a “thanks, but no thanks”. Not because I don’t believe in what we do – the results our clients are getting speak for themselves – it was more a case of the fact that we were such a young business, completely self-funded, and only operating in such a small region; I told myself there’d be far bigger players, operating far wider than us, and therefore able to state much bigger results.
Then I received the email “we are delighted to announce that One Degree Training and Coaching has been named as finalist in the New Business of the Year Award”.
“Holy ****” I thought! And if the prestige of the awards themselves isn’t enough, when I look at the businesses that we’re up against, it’s incredible that a tiny, one-person-band, can considered in the same vein.
I started One Degree, because I became disenfranchised at the attitude of the larger providers of leadership training. Those who know me, know I spent 23-yrs in the RAF; my final few years were as a facilitator at their Leadership Training School, which was by far my favourite role. It was actually my love for leadership development that prompted me to leave. I wanted to do it forever, but couldn’t if I stayed in the RAF.
Initially, I had no inclination at all to start my own business, I applied for, and was offered, 3 roles at large corporate training providers – all with a very good salary. They all preached the importance of leaders being able to empower and encourage innovation, but when I asked about creative license in the way that training was delivered, there wasn’t any. It was a case of there’s your slide pack, there’s your script – go do that. They didn’t practice what they preached, so how much did they actually believe what they trained?
My studies into leadership development, the psychology of leadership, and the neuroscience of learning, led me to conclude that the traditional way we developed leaders just isn’t effective. I decided, if I have an idea of the best way to do it, why don’t I just go and do it?! So I did!
I believe, it’s the results we’re getting for our clients, that are based on a holistic, bespoke, way of developing great leadership, is the reason we’ve got this far.
Even if we don’t win, I’ll forever be grateful to Linsday for her encouragement (and writing of the nomination) and to the awards organisers and judges for recognising our efforts.
We’ll find out on Tuesday 14th November 2023 if we’ve won – wish us luck! 😊