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Leadership Academy June 2018

27th June 2018

On Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st June, 48 Leaders joined the Head Office team in sunny Oxfordshire for two days of business development, inspiration and celebration.

After an initial welcome, the day took a flying start with an incredible workshop from Jon Peach from the 'Art of Brilliance' team. Jon's workshop was entitled 'Influencing in the Modern World' and focused on how understanding yourself, your team and your customers can lead to a much more successful business. As well as looking at how your brain works, and whether you respond more to visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or audio-digital factors, Jon Peach focused on how you can match things like word choice and body language to quickly build up a rapport with others. His workshop combined practical advice with theory to inspire our Leaders to consider the ways they interact with others, and how they can adapt these ways to increase the success of their business.

Jon Peach's brilliant workshop may have seemed an impossible act to follow, until we introduced our Leaders to the incredible Peter Bell - author of not-yet-published novel The Train to Impossible Places. Peter shared with us the inspiration behind his middle-grade novel, telling us how his son had asked him to make up a bedtime story for him, and how that story had turned into a full novel. Our Leaders were then able to ask Peter their own questions, from novels that the book was similar to (think The Polar Express meet The Wizard of Oz), to whether there were going to be any more books in the series (at least three!), to key characters (Suzy and Wilmot the Postmaster to name a few). Each Leader was then given a proof copy of The Train to Impossible Places that Peter kindly signed for them, and we know that they were all itching to start reading it!

Our ever popular FAB selling, was followed by a Back to Basics session that focused on the real nuts and bolts of each Leaders' business. It was started with a brilliant session about utilising your starter kit and setting up your first few events to their best potential led by Sarah Barrett, Emma Devine and Rachel Pettifer. Leaders then had time to reflect on each of the day's key takeaways that they could use to develop their business.

After a full day of business building, we kicked off our evening celebrations with a champagne reception and speech from Managing Director, Mark Franklin. Mark's speech focused on the incredible individuals that make up Usborne Books at Home and his continued awe at how the success of USBAH continued to grow so strongly year on year thanks to the hard work of all our Organisers.

A delicious three-course dinner ended a thoroughly enjoyable day, and we were thrilled to be joined by our special guest, Peter Bell, for an evening of talking all about our favourite thing - books! 

Day two started with a cooked breakfast before we welcomed our Leaders back for more business development. We were very lucky that seven of our India Travel Incentive winners had joined us at Leadership Academy and had agreed to share their travel stories. Their accounts of how they had achieved the travel criteria, and the obstacles they had overcome (both personal and business related) to get on that plane to India had us all in tears, and we were inspired by the life-changing experience they had had in 2018's exotic destination. The winners showed us that anyone can achieve the criteria needed for travel with a little bit of forward planning and a lot of hard work and determination, and that whilst it might seem like a daunting thing to travel to an unknown destination without your family, the reward for overcoming anxiety and fear is more than worth it.

More FAB selling led onto a Problem Bubbles session where Leaders worked in small groups to develop strategies for dealing with common obstacles such as 'No one is interested in signing up', 'The books are cheaper elsewhere' and 'I don't know how to get my team working'. The old saying two heads are better than one was certainly proven in this session as Leaders combined their different strengths to help each other to feel more confident in tackling any common difficulties within their business.

After a filling lunch, our afternoon focused on Usborne's Quickstart programme. Leaders Holly McKeon and Clare Johnson started the session by sharing with us their Quickstart tips and successes, before we divided into large groups to focus on the four sections of the Quickstart Programme: Kit Boost, Kit Refund, Recruiter's Reward and Double Promotion Bonus. Again, our Leaders' differing strengths shone through, and each large group was able to share their strategies to help their new recruits to achieve these milestones in their business. A key point that each group made was that every Organiser is different, and it is up to you as their Mentor to find out what they want to achieve from their business and to help them to achieve it in a way that suits them.

Our two day event finished with Leaders creating their own Personal Action Plan and focusing on their own goals for their business. As always, we were inspired by their determination to succeed and the different ways that each Leader shapes their business to achieve the goals that they individually want to achieve.

We hope that each of our Leaders came away feeling refreshed, revitalised, and ready to take the next step in building their business, whatever that step might be.

Here's what some of our attendees thought of the event:

Emma Devine - Established Gold BDP Member

'I have attended quite a few Leadership Academies now over the time I have been running my Usborne business, but I can honestly say this was one of my favourites!

For me, one of the biggest highlights was listening to Jon Peach from the Art of Brilliance team talking about NLP techniques. It was so useful to sit back and examine the way we communicate with people and it's made a difference already to the way I am communicating with my team, customers, and people who are interested in joining us.

Meeting Peter Bell was a major highlight! It was so interesting to hear the process of getting a book published from his first ideas when telling the story to his little boy, to the bidding process and the final book. I have a feeling this book will be huge so it was very exciting to meet him and feel part of the process.

I think for me, the biggest highlight of all though was hearing from the leaders who had been to India for the Travel Incentive. It inspired me so much to hear such an honest account of how they won it, what it meant to them and how the trip has literally changed their life.

They shared with us their fears about attending the trip and how they overcame these fears to do something so wonderful yet scary and it's completely inspired me to do everything I can to get to St Petersburg!

A huge thank you to Head Office and my fellow leaders for such a fantastic couple of days - roll on October!'

Kath Saunders - Bronze BDP Member

'I knew I needed to come to Leadership Academy this season after not being able to make the last one and noticing the impact it had on my business. I thrive when challenged and love the inspiration I get from the other leaders in the room.

I wanted to be re-invigorated and stretched. I wasn't disappointed. From the moment Jon Peach began his session I felt the fire and surprised myself with how much I already knew about NLP, even if I didn't know that I did. I can now use the techniques much more consciously and effectively.

I practised and refined my coaching techniques and found myself coaching friends over dinner when I wasn't expecting to! I now know that I need to make the first move to set the expectations within certain business relationships.

I'm going to truly believe that what I am doing works, and I just need perseverance to continue in my approach. I don't need to reinvent the wheel, but I will continue to educate myself and invest in my CPD wisely. My team are opening channels of communication and I know that I'm motivating them, long may this continue!'

Billie-Jo Todd - New Gold BDP Member

'I attended Leadership Academy for the first time last week after qualifying as a Team Leader in March 2018. I really didn't know what to expect and I was quite apprehensive about the whole thing, but also excited to meet new people and hopefully learn and thing or two on the way!

There really was no need for me to be worried and my two days at LA completely blew me away! Everyone made me feel so welcome and I made connections with other leaders that I otherwise wouldn't have had. I have come away with so many ideas of ways to imporve the processes I use in my business and to improve myself as a leader.

Not even a week on, and I have already noticed a change in myself and my team. My confidence has soared and my team (who I have really struggled to engage with recently) are giving me more feedback than they ever have. So a big thank you to everyone at LA who inspired and believed in me!'

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