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May's Leadership Academy Reviewed

2nd June 2017

On Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th May, 44 Organisers joined the Usborne Books at Home team at the beautiful Heythrop Park Hotel in Oxfordshire.

The sun was shining, and things got off to an inspiring start with a fantastic workshop by Jon Peach from the 'Art of Brilliance' team. 'The Importance of Your Why' aimed to help Organisers think about 'why' they do what they do. Jon's witty presentation was supported by a great video and gave us all a new saying to adopt - 'practice makes permanent'.

After refuelling with a street food style lunch, it was time to get to work with some FAB selling ideas. We placed everyone's name in a draw and picked out three names, these Organisers came to the front and used the FAB method to sell one of the titles on display. We were incredibly impressed with their presentations and loved learning from the different methods that they used to sell the books. The winner received a money-can't-buy tote bag and hopefully some money-can't-buy confidence!

The afternoon continued with looking at Organisers' 'Your Usborne You' Key Qualities. It's never easy thinking about what you do well, but this exercise was a great moment for reflection about individual strengths, and also areas that could be improved. We spend our lives growing and changing, and it's always important to think about our own qualities and how they are important in our businesses. 

Moving from thinking inwardly, to thinking outwardly we moved on to a coaching session. The session focused on 'What's the biggest challenge I face in my business this season?' and provided a first opportunity for many to put 'coaching' into practice. Organisers took it in turns to play the role of coach, coachee and facilitator, so everyone had the opportunity to help themselves, their teams and others. Although it may have taken people outside their comfort zones, everyone embraced putting theory into practice and gave it a go. Some really great conversations were had by all, and we hope that many more will be had in the future!

More FAB selling led into a final reflection exercise to evaluate the learnings of the day to finish the day's training.

After a hard day's work, a drinks reception was definitely in order. The sun was still shining, so we took our pre-dinner drinks outside, overlooking the seemingly never-ending gardens of Heythrop Park Hotel. Our MD Mark Franklin gave a speech about personal happiness, getting Organisers to consider how this links to their business and, most importantly, their Usborne 'Why'. 

The day ended with a well-deserved three course dinner in the Enstone Suite. 

Thursday morning greeted us with more glorious sunshine, and after a quick breakfast the day started with more FAB selling and more bags to win.

The focus then shifted to the tools that we provide Organisers with to support their businesses. The session highlighted the recruiting tools in particular, with six practical roleplaying scenarios for Organisers to take part in using the Free Prize Draw Slips and Opportunity Booklets. It was a fun, interactive session, and a great way for Organisers to learn from each others' approaches.

After another fantastic lunch, we were ready to continue with the final burst of coaching practise.

The Quickstart Programme is the first stage in a new Organiser's Usborne Journey on their Passport to Success. This coaching session focused on Organisers' current use of the Quickstart Programme, and how they could tweak and improve their use of Quickstart to strengthen their business. Lots of great experiences and ideas were shared.

A final evaluation session gave Organisers a chance to reflect on what they had learned over the two days and, most importantly, a 'next steps exercise' gave leaders time out to plan their strategy for their business goals on returning home.

Finishing on an incredible high, here are some of our favourite quotes from our Organisers about the event:

"I'm still buzzing from the last two days at Leadership Academy. I'm so impressed with the level of training and I am just so excited to have joined Usborne." - Jess Ross (BDP Gold Level Member and first time at a Leadership Academy)

"I came away feeling more focused and empowered. I really enjoyed the quality time spent with other leaders." - Theresa McDonald (BDP Silver Level Member and third time at a Leadership Academy)

"It has given me fresh motivation. It has helped me see the positives in myself and my business." - Kirsty Ward (BDP Gold Level Member and second time at a Leadership Academy)