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January Newsletter

“Life is like a box of chocolates”

Over the holiday period and a little tired, I found myself relaxing on the sofa watching a re-run of Forrest Gump. It was the scene where Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks) was recounting to a stranger that his mother had told him, “ Life is like a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you’re going to get.” Looking at the side table in the far corner, I spied my own collection of half eaten boxes and tins. Now, if you are anything like me, you too will have your favourite flavours. Orange creams, toffee, truffles, mint, or just chocolate, the choice is endless. However, by the end of the holiday period, all that remain are those that no body really likes or wants. In our case, it’s the sugared almonds, ginger and marzipan. I know what’s going to happen. The tins and boxes will stay for a little while before being thrown away, along with the unwanted contents.

I wonder who decides which flavours go into making up the box. Is it a team of people or an individual? Is it scientific, worked out by algorithms and analysis? Or is it just a chance to market the full range of available products?

If life really is like a box of chocolates, then I suppose it begs the question, what are the unwanted or disliked remnants that you will be disposing of this year. Or better still, why are they there in the first place?

In life, our work and how we deal with issues as and when they may arise, the choice is ours. Our actions are not dictated by others, but are the result of our perceptions, values and personal goals. It is the clarity of who we are and what we believe that defines us as people. The daily decisions that we make as friends, colleagues, teachers and leaders can only give us satisfaction if they reflect the sense that we have done the right thing, rather than doing things right. A deep sense of frustration remains if there is an overriding sense that others do not share the same values as you. It’s like letting someone else choose the chocolates to put in your special box, they may not be your choice, but they still cost.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and successful 2017. As for me, I’m off to the pick and mix, to select my own special treats, safe and secure in the knowledge that the choice is all mine.



What did you get for Christmas?

I loved getting a nice variety of books. One was about the leaders in history who made a significant difference to the lives of others. I chose some quotations to share with you as you kick off a new year.

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love.” (Marcus Aurelius)

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this and you will find strength. The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” (Marcus Aurelius)

“If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.” (Thomas Aquinas)

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more and become more, then you are a leader.” (John Quincy Adams)

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” (Steve Jobs)

“Leadership and Learning are indispensable to each other.” (John F. Kennedy)

“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” (Alexander the Great)

“Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.” (Jean-Paul Sartre)


Brain Teaser

I know that with all of the extra time on your hands, you may well be looking for something to do. So here is a little quiz for you to complete. Fill in the missing blanks and let me know when your done. If you get frustrated by any of them just email for extra clues or help.

Good luck. Why not send me one in return.


What’s new and upcoming

Learning, Leading, Laughing

New for 2017, we have teamed up with The Watersports Academy and developed a new residential program of activities for pupils. Based in Poole Harbour, schools can choose from a program of activities designed to equip pupils with opportunities for character development, gain an RYA qualification and stay in some fantastic accommodation in an unrivalled location. Prices are highly competitive in comparison with other providers. For details and a brochure please contact us.



I was approached last year by a number of Headteachers, who asked if I would put together a bespoke coaching program for senior school staff. The brief was to support and develop coaching skills so that leaders could have a greater impact on improving the quality of teaching, learning and progress. The result of this request was the launch of “Spectrum.” Run over a year and consisting of six separate inputs, leaders are supported as they develop a coaching program in their schools. “Spectrum,” has been very well received by all schools participating and we are now able to roll it out in other areas.

The first cohort of delegates for this new coaching program are half way through training. Reviews and feedback have been really good. We are looking forward to sharing the improvements in a future newsletter. If you would like to explore implementing this in your group of schools, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.


We are now in China

In the early part of 2017, we are heading off to China to start work with schools and colleges. It is a fantastic opportunity to see how different cultures are tackling specific school based issues in different ways. As part of our ongoing commitment to our own development, we relish the opportunity to learn from each new establishment we work with. We work in different areas both nationally and internationally and are always keen to hear from people who would like to experience talking at conferences and events. If you would like to join our data base of prospective speakers, then let us know. Don’t worry, you will never be left on your own and support for planning and delivery will always be provided.



As one of our preferred partners, many of you have heard Craig Goldblatt speak at training courses we have run. Craig will be in London on 26th January, running a leadership master class. Details can be found at


Booking Nick 2017-2018

Yes I know it’s a long way in the distance. School diaries do fill rather quickly though. We would love help you plan a day with a difference for you staff. All of our days are designed to have maximum impact and are far more than just a one off delivery. For an informal discussion and a no obligation chat, just contact our operations manager.


Character Development

The first of our “Character Development” courses, is to be held in Herefordshire in February. We would love you to come, and we have negotiated some great deals on accommodation. Alternatively we can run this course in your area or even your school as a professional day.

View course details here