Accelerating Business Growth

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Running the Marathon Des Sables 2013 - MDS2013

I am running the Marathon Des Sables in April this year. 6 marathons in 6 days across the Sahara carry all of the gear I need to sustain myself! This is my first ultra event and one I am thoroughly looking forward to!

Follow my training and event progress at

The next 3 months are going to be intense and I hope you can join me on my least in spirit anyway.

Graham Nicoll

Sent from iPad

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What did you wear to the interview to get your job?

I’m pretty sure you wore a suit! I’m also fairly sure you will probably have at least one suit sitting in your wardrobe gathering dust.

Well how about donating this suit to someone who could truly benefit from it?

Birmingham Suit Amnesty – Friday 12th October 2007

On Friday 12th October 2007 we’re collecting suits from people across the business community at the ICC (Hall 6). These suits will then be distributed through our charity partners to people who will benefit from your suit. It may just help someone to make the right impression at a job interview.

Many companies across Birmingham are going to be arranging for suits to be collected throughout the week of the Amnesty (8th – 12th September) and these suits can then either be dropped off at the ICC from 07.30 – 15.00 - or we can arrange for the suits to be collected by our dry cleaning partner MailWash.

If you wish to locate your companies Champion or volunteer to act as a Champion for this initiative simply email:

Make sure you put any suits aside ready for the suit amnesty.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Check out to find out more about giving your old suits as part of a great initiative to help others get a step up in life.

Also take a look at

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"How to run focused, structured, action packed meetings!"

One of my friends called me last week in a state of flux – it was their team meeting the very next day and they were in the middle of doing their planning and preparation.

Well I say planning and preparation as it was 5.30 in the evening! Perhaps lack of planning would be a more appropriate description.

They asked me for some ideas, which I was only too happy to help with – however what was apparent was they had no real structure to the session.

As it was the first meeting of January they also wanted to hit the ground running and really focus their team for 2007.

So, that kind of got me thinking and I shared with them a model which I have used for years. It creates structure, focus and guarantees you keep on track every time!

Now, like with all my ideas it’s really simple and is based on just 6 quality questions.

Where can you use this model?

At Pti we use it for team meetings, as the framework for consultancy days. We also use it for coaching sessions – both one on one and group. In fact as you review the questions I’m sure you’ll be able to see many practical applications of where you’ll be able to apply it.

So let me share with you the six questions:

Where are we now?
How did we get here?
Where are we going?
Why do we want to go there?
What are some of the possible obstacles?
What are we going to do next?

Let me give you my thoughts on each of these and why they are so important.

Where are we now?
The foundation, the starting point of the entire process. Whether this is where you want to be is another matter – however this is the ‘reality checker’, acting as the spring board to move to where you want to be.

How did we get here?
I’m not one for living in the past, however can learn so much great stuff though just by spending some time analysing the journey and the actions which have brought us to where we are now.

And I don’t just mean the negatives – in fact the most important part of this stage is analysing and catching the successes, the positives, the things that have gone well. Why? So we can replicate them and so we can make the ideas work for us moving forward – ‘fast tracking’ or accelerating our success!

Where are we going?
Focus is so important in this fast paced world that we live in. There’s so many distractions on our time it’s so easy to loose focus and be pulled off down different tracks and roads.

The great thing about this question is you set the timeline. If it’s a coaching session you might be looking at where you’re going today, for a team meeting the next month or if you’re reviewing your strategy for the year you might break it down into bite size chunks. At Pti when setting the strategy for the year we work on a 30/90 day and year end model.

Why do we want to go there?
For me, one of the most important questions: Why do we want to go there? In my experience we do not spend any where near enough time answering this question – if at all. And yet it is the critical part of the process on the premise motivation is an inside job. If we don’t find out the why for our people and the internal motivations aren’t in play then we’ll leave them behind on the journey of getting to where we want to be.

When looking at the why I mean looking at the why for the individuals? What’s the why for you? For the Customer or Client? The why for the stakeholders or sponsors? The team why? For our business partners? The list goes on!

I urge you to really think carefully about this question – making sure you build enough time into the process to truly answer this question in depth.

What are some of the possible obstacles?
Another great question! It is so easy in life, particularly business to become reactive. By ‘brainstorming’ in a pro active way some of the potential obstacles that could appear and throw you off track in delivering your goals and vision then perhaps we can avoid them before they even come into play.

What are we going to do next?
And finally the last and final question: What are you going to do next? Life is all about massive ACTION. What’s critical is knowing the right actions to take. By following through this model you’ll arrive at the actions which really will make the difference in short circuiting your journey to success.


So, there you have it! A simple model for you to follow and use for reviewing your strategy, for team meetings, for coaching sessions etc.

Try it today!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Successful or NOT!?

How has 2006 been for you? Have you achieved all the goals you wanted to achieve?

Are you happy with both your personal and businesses progress?

If so, then fantastic, give yourself a big pat on the back and keep up the great work!

If not, then why not? What has limited your progress in 2006? If you are anything like the majority of the population it is due to a lack of planning and due to a lack of action?!

Now this might seem a little harsh, but it is often the hard facts. So what I would encourage you to do is to take some time out over the festive break to ask yourself what you really want to achieve in 2007 and to start planning what you are going to do in order to achieve this.

Here are some questions you might like to ask yourself:

What do you want to achieve in 2007 - both personally and business wise?What increase in sales do you want to achieve?

What income do you want to achieve?

How much do you want your business to be worth by December 2007?

What do you want your colleagues / friends / family to be saying about you in 2007?

What net worth do you want to have by December 2007?

What actions do you know you need to do in order to achieve the success you and your business deserve?

What are you going to do each day, week and month to move yourself towards your goals for 2007?

These are just some of the questions you might like to ask yourself, but they are a great start. I can't encourage you enough to take some time out to plan, as every minute spent planning will pay dividends in 2007 in terms of results. The key is to take action!

Have a great Christmas and New Year and I look forward to working with your again in 2007.

All the best

Graham Nicoll

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"Why Your ATTITUDE Will Always Determine Your ALTITUDE In Life!"

On this weeks ezine I want to share with you one of my favourite poems regarding the importance of Attitude – it’s by Charles Swindon.

I carry this around with me in a plastic wallet in the back of my daytimer. Every time I feel I need a gentle nudge (or perhaps a thump with a sledge hammer) regarding my Attitude I take 20 seconds to re focus using this poem.

I hope you enjoy it too!


“The longer I live, the more I realise the impact of Attitude on life.

Attitude to me, is more important than education, than money,

than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than appearances,

giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, church or home.

The remarkable thing is that we have a choice everyday regarding the

Attitude we will embrace for that day. We can not change our past.

We can not change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We

can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the

one string we have, and that is our Attitude. I am convinced that life

is 10% of what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is

with you. We are in charge of our Attitudes”

How does it make you feel when you meet someone with a positive ‘can-do’ attitude? Energised? Positive? Enthused?

You know the type of individuals I mean - their glass is always half full…not half empty.

They’re always looking for the “opportunity in the difficulty” instead of the "difficulty in the opportunity".

Their Attitude is infectious!

Your ATTITUDE will always determine your ALTITUDE in life - so make sure you catch yourself with the right attitude on a consistent basis and make sure you surround yourself with fellow like minded positive ‘can-do’ individuals.

Who else do you know who could also benefit from reading this? Perhaps you could forward it on to them?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"How Good is YOUR Opening?"

We were running one of The Pti Training Academy boot camps last week and a key element of the 3 day workshop is all about having a powerful opening.

Part of the pre work the delegates have to do before the workshop is to write down the opening they currently use when opening the training workshops they run. For many this is a cathartic experience and the feedback normally goes something like this:

“I’ve never really thought about it before”

“I’ve never written it down”

“I don’t really have one; it’s just what comes out when I start”

“I kind of have a framework, but it depends on what happens on the day and how it comes out”

Interesting responses!

So, on the programme all the delegates deliver their openings – then we run through the WHY – the benefits of having a POWER Opening.

Now when I’m talking about a power opening I’m talking about a structured, grooved, well rehearsed opening which instantly builds creditability, captivates the audience and positions you as the professional you want to be.

Start Off Well And Momentum Builds…

Whenever I talk about the power opening I liken it to the athlete coming out of the blocks for the hundred metre sprint. You start off well and momentum builds. You start off slowly and boy is it difficult to catch up.

What other analogies apply?

How do you feel if you’ve ever overslept or lay in? Isn’t it amazing how you spend the rest of the day playing catch up! Or…

Monday morning comes around and you didn’t make time on Sunday to do the 2 hours of work you promised yourself you’d do. How does Monday go? Yes – always playing catch up!

Back to the Power Opening…

Now I’m not just talking here about the opening you use to open a training event – it can apply to so many other areas: Your monthly board meeting, a critical meeting with a Client, the opening for a sales meeting, a telesales call. There’s so many practical application.

I wish I had a pound for every time I’ve put a sales person on the spot on one of their sales programmes and asked them to say the opening they use when attending the most important sales appointment of the year.

Pti has a Client is Leicester – they’re in the labels business. We’d implemented a new sales process with them – a key element being the power opening.

The opening which they now use goes like this:

“Well Royston, thanks very much for agreeing to see me today. As I understand the purpose of the meeting today is to discuss three key things. Firstly to understand more about you and the business, secondly to understand more about your current and future label requirements and thirdly to ‘demonstrate’ why Label Apeel should be you partner of choice.

I’ve been thinking about our meeting and I’ve prepared an agenda, is there anything you’d like to add?”

What impression do you think this created in the mind of the potential Client?

Professional? Prepared? Different from the competition? – You bet!

And the sales person – how did they feel? Powerful? Confident? In control? Absolutely!


So there you have it, my brief insights, key benefits and importance of having power openings for those critical meetings or presentations.

If you have a sales team what’s the opening there currently using? A telesales teams what are the first few words they utter and even the front of house or receptionist. How good is their opening on the telephone or for Clients walking into your offices?

I love this expression:

“In a world where the BIG things make little difference it’s the little things that make a BIG difference!”

Your power opening is a little thing which can make a BIG difference!

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