Why Teambuilding Doesn’t Work In An Ecconomic Downturn

In tough economic times lower sales trigger the need for cost reductions and a slimmed down workforce – often leading to low morale and disenchanted staff that are over-worked and stressed. When we’re confronted with this, it commonly leads to a knee-jerk reaction to “do something” to fix it.

Typically that might take the form of some big rousing “team building” event with an upbeat tone.

But according to profitable growth expert Hilary Briggs of R2P Ltd when these kinds of activities are put in place under these circumstances, the impact is not entirely positive.

Events like this tend to turn people off even more; they recognise cash is tight, and see some lavish event as hypocritical, particularly if the key issue of fewer people doing a similar amount of work is not tackled.

Team building events can also lead to resentment because they require taking time out and this exacerbates the overwork/stress situation.

So if big team building events are not the answer – what is?

A better tactic might be to start with a more practical approach to achieve improvements in the short term, rather than a large flashy team building exercise. This smaller more practical strategy can lay the foundations for more in-depth team building in the future – when the time is right. Practical activities include;

1)      Acknowledge the situation and the overwork and stress etc and take responsibility for it. If showing empathy comes with difficulty – tackle your Emotional Intelligence first!

2)      Organise focused sessions on specific problems related to work or to opportunities to improve productivity.

3)      Ensure clear actions come out of the session and make team members accountable for following up on the decisions taken.

4)      Set a clear timescale. Prioritise actions that can be done within the timeframe.

5)      Create a powerful vision of what things could be like. Communicate this vision and help the rest of the team see it, and feel it too.

6)      Review how it’s going and adjust. It’s important to get results and then build on these.

This approach may be less flashy than some high-prestige, feel-good event, but taking these practical steps will not only help your people to feel less stressed and more engaged again, they’ll actually get you bottom line results as well. It’s not that team building events should be avoided – just that the timing needs to be right.

Largest hoard of roman coins ever discovered

A METAL detector enthusiast has spoken for the first time about the moment he discovered one of the UK’s largest ever hoards of Roman coins – after 34 years of searching.

Jethro Carpenter, 43, and his friend Mark Gilmore, 47, we’re enjoying a walk in the Worcestershire countryside when they stumbled across the county’s largest hoard – 3874 Roman coins, dated between AD 280 – 282.

The enthusiasts were enjoying a walk on Bredon Hill, Worcestershire, but within five minutes of turning their devices to the ground, the pair knew they had a find on their hands.

“I knew it was going to be something huge,” Jethro said. “We got the signal and I called Mark over.

“As a child you watch pirate films and dream of finding buried treasure but the truth is that as a metal detector enthusiast, you can hunt for months on end and find nothing.

“I’ve know the Bredon Hill area for more than twenty years and taken my detector there countless times so never in a million years did I expect to come across such a find.

“This find is of major significance nationally and I’m proud to have been involved. ”

Childhood pal Mark, who has been a metal detector enthusiast for 20 years, was 50 feet away from his friend – but spoke of his excitement at finding the tell-tale signs of a big find.

“When Jethro called me over, I dug down and found a bit of pottery,” the 47-year-old said.

“When you get a good signal and find pottery, you know you’re on to something good.

“My heart started fluttering, it’s unbelievable.”

After two hours of excavating the area by hand, and with coins still being unearthed, the amateurs realised the importance of their discovery and alerted the Portable Antiquities Scheme, who in turn informed the Coroner for Worcestershire.

Since the amazing discovery took place in June, experts from Worcestershire County Council Historic Environment and Archaeology Service (WHEAS) have undertaken a small assessment of the site and uncovered evidence of a Roman settlement.

That, and additional research by the British Museum, has discovered that the hoard was buried 80 years after it was accumulated – the first and only known British example of this happening.

“It’s the biggest find in the county by ten-fold,” said Tom Vaughan, Project Manager at WHEAS.

“There was a find of 400 coins 12 years ago but that is it.

“It was basically on the side of Bredon Hill. We know this is an area that’s densely populated with Roman farmsteads but this was a fresh find.”

The exact value of the hoard has not been confirmed by the Coroners Office but Richard Henry, Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, said reported figures of GBP1.5 million are not true.

Speaking about a possible reward, finder Jethro admitted that money wasn’t the motivation behind his hobby.

“It’s not all about the money, I enjoy the hobby,” he added.

“If it was about money, I’d have given up a long time ago.”

Speaking about the excitement of the find, Richard Henry said: “The discovery of this coin hoard is really exciting news for Worcestershire and of major significance for the country.

“The 3784 coins span 38 years and are a fascination piece of history dating from a turbulent time during which the Roman Empire saw revolts, rebellions, plagues and invasions.”

WH Smith join forces with Kobo to provide ‘biggest eBook catalague in the UK’

High street giant WH Smiths revealed a strategic partnership with Canadian eBook supplier Kobo.

 

WH Smith have agreed a distribution deal that will see it become a seller of electronic readers for the first time – sold in store and online.

 

This will give UK customers access to the largest eBook catalogue through the deal which will supply 2.2million titles and one million free books.

 

WH Smiths will be selling two visions of Kobo’s electronic reader, the book seller has stated the move will compliment its traditional print book business.

 

 

The book giant has also reported an increase of 4 per cent in profits in the year to August 31. The company has also increased its annual dividend to 22.5p (16%).

 

 

Although book sales have fallen 4 per cent, the travel business has seen record profits from stores mostly situated in airports and railways.

 

The business has made £14 million savings from its high street stores, mainly from better energy use, new technology and increasing supply chain efficiently. More savings are planned for the next two years, a further £11 million.

 

ECD Offering 15% Discount on Disposables

Stanmore, Middlesex, UK 10/03/2011 – Electronic Cigarette Direct, an online e-cigarette retailer featuring VAPESTICK brand products, has announced a special offer on disposable models which could save customers significant amounts of money. The special deal is in relation to their V1 disposable e-cigarette which is now available in a 10-count pack for just £85.00, a savings of 15% over the normal cost of buying each disposable unit separately.

Disposable e-cigarettes work exactly the same as refillable models except for the fact that when they are empty you simply throw them away. Just like their refillable counterparts they consist of a battery, atomiser unit, e-liquid, and a mouthpiece. As an added bonus, V1 electronic cigarettes utilize a glowing blue tip rather than orange or amber. In this way it is easier for others who might be around the user to understand tobacco is not being used.

For those unfamiliar with electronic cigarettes, these devices are quickly becoming one of the most popular alternatives to tobacco. They utilize a small atomiser unit, similar to a medical vaporizer, to transform nicotine-based liquid into a mist. When the electronic cigarette user inhales, he draws in this mist and then exhales water vapour. The best electronic cigarettes, like those made by VAPESTICK, produce a realistic mist cloud that not only looks like real smoke, but also provides the same throat hit and sensation as tobacco.

In the UK, electronic cigarettes are allowed in most places where tobacco is not. That means they are a great alternative for smokers who are negatively affected by the smoking ban. They also do not put off the thousands of toxic chemicals contained in tobacco, so others don’t have to worry about being poisoned by second hand smoke. They can be used in bars, pubs, restaurants, and even in the workplace.

Smokers who might be thinking of switching to electronic cigarettes should consider trying the V1 disposable from Electronic Cigarette Direct before investing in a starter kit. With ECD’s 15% discount on their 10-pack, now is the perfect time to give e-cigarette a try. Each disposable unit gives you the equivalent of 500 puffs which, depending on your smoking habits could equal up to 5-10 packs of tobacco cigarettes. To learn more about the V1 disposable visit the ECD website at http://www.electroniccigarettedirect.co.uk/.

About Electronic Cigarette Direct

Electronic Cigarette Direct was founded by former smokers who turned to electronic cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco. These individuals are now full-time e-cigarette users who have extensively tested many of the leading brands on the market. They have chosen the VAPESTICK brand because they believe it most accurately simulates the smoking experience without the toxic chemicals associated with tobacco. In addition to disposable e-cigarettes, the company also sells refillable units, starter kits, couples packs, chargers, and charger packs. Company officials are available to answer your questions or provide you with more information. Feel free to contact them at:

CONTACT
Electronic Cigarette Direct
VAPESTICK House,
85a Stanmore Hill,
Stanmore,
Middlesex, UK
HA7 3DZ
Telephone: +44 (0) 800 011 4324

Jongleurs plan to float on the stock market

The comedy brand, that helped launch Peter Kay and Michael McIntyre to fame, next plan is to float on the stock market in the next 18 months to finance its development plans.

 

Jongleurs was founded in 1983 by Maria Kempinska, who now plans to open seven new comedy clubs over the next three years. There are also future plans to take the brand over seas and further increase its franchise network.

 

Jongleurs was sold in 2000 to Regent Inns which made Kempinska a multimillionaire. However Kempinska and John Davy regained control of the comedy band following Regent Inns collapse in 2009.

 

They each own one third of the organisation, with the final third owned by finance director Marios Lourides.

 

Before its launch on the stock market, the comedy clubs hopes to attract new investors which will be used for website development and TV pilots. In exchange for £500,000 needed, new investors will hold 11%

 

The organisation also has plans to build on the 2,000 stand-up acts it already employees, hoping to build a global database of acts. Jongleurs are also predicting a rapid increase in turnover, currently at £1.9million, the organisation hopes that by 2013 it will have reached £10.3million.

Fraudster mum of nine claimed £63,000

A GYPSY mother-of-nine has admitted claiming over £63,000 worth of fraudulent benefits as a single mum – while living with her partner in their caravan.

 

Chavelle Price, 33, claimed she was a single mum when she was actually living with her husband Patrick on a travellers site which featured on Channel 4’s ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ last year.

 

Department for Works and Pensions investigators revealed Price had claimed income support saying she was unable to work due to a shoulder injury and also stating that she was single.

 

But she was caught out when planning applications made to South Staffordshire Council to build private gypsy caravan sites for Patrick’s family at a site in Wolverhampton were made in both her and her husband’s name.

 

Price also claimed that she was living in her parent’s caravan and had split up with her husband in 1997. However all of her nine children had Patrick listed as the father on their birth certificates between 1997-2008.

 

Appearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday Price pleaded guilty to fraudulently claiming benefits between June 3 1999 and December 10 2010.

 

In a three minute hearing Price, wearing a blue long-sleeved T-shirt, blue jeans and black shoes, with her brown hair tied up in a clip, spoke only to confirm her name and plead guilty.

 

Malcolm Fowler, defending, requested the case be adjourned for a pre sentence report to be produced.

 

Price, who has previous convictions for fraudulently obtaining goods in 2003 and 2001, will be sentenced on October 12.

 

Harbinder Lally QC, prosecuting, indicated the prosecution will be looking for compensation under the proceeds of crime act.

 

Judge John Warner. said: “I understand the amount is over £63,000.

 

“I am adjourning your case until 12th October so that a pre sentence report can be produced.

 

“If you do not appear back here then you may be liable to be prosecuted again.

 

“You are free to go on unconditional bail after you have seen the probation officer.”

 

The investigation came to light after the DWP received an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public claiming she was married.

 

Price married Patrick Dunne in October 1995 but she claimed they wed in February 1997 – also claiming their marriage only lasted two weeks.

 

And when confronted by investigators as to why Dunne was listed as the dad of all nine children, she replied that she had permission from Patrick to put his name down as the father – due to their strict Catholic faith.

 

Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud said after the case:”Benefit thieves are costing the taxpayer almost GBP1billion per year.

 

“This money is intended to help those most in need not line the pockets of criminals.

 

“We will continue to tackle this problem at the front line but also at the root by reforming the benefits system to make it less open to abuse.”

 

A report in a local newspaper also reported how an application for the gypsy site in the Coven Heath site was granted on appeal to “Patrick and Chavelle Dunne for green belt land.” following a six-year battle with the council.

 

The family also won a fight to keep a permanent kitchen, bathroom and dayroom built on the site, local media reported.

 

After the Coven Heath site was featured on the Channel 4 show My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, the site was by terrorised by attackers who drove two stolen lorries through their site smashing up mobile homes.

 

Mr Dunne, who was quoted at the time as having nine children, said: “This is attempted murder. We are fortunate to get away with our lives but I fear it was just a warning.”