How to be upwardly mobile

Pip
Thomas, 35, explains how her brand of emotional intelligence will boost her
role as training and development manager at One 2 One Retail

How long have you been in this role?
One month.

How long have you been with your organisation?
Five months.

What does your role involve?
– A complete training needs analysis for stores and head office
– Introduction of development programmes for employees
– Specialist and professional qualifications
– Nationwide NVQ programmes
– Product and price plan training
– Focus on levels of customer service and selling skills
– Helping with the cultural change within the business.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The opportunity to be involved with the evolution of a successful retail
business.

What is your current major project or strategic push?
The rebranding of the company to One 2 One Retail.

Preferred terminology:
Training, development, learning

Favourite buzzwords
Visibility, focus, simplicity.

Most loathed buzzwords
"Why reinvent the wheel?"

Are you good at self-development?
Yes, learning is for a lifetime.

What self-development have you done in the past six months?
CIPD enrolment and personal coaching sessions.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
Still developing and facing bigger challenges and opportunities

What was the most useful course you ever went on or learning experience
you ever had?
Coaching Skills with David Whitaker. This differentiated between coaching
and training, demonstrating how coaching can help individuals identify issues
and work towards there own solution.

Which is the best management book you have ever read or would recommend?
Ken Blanchard’s The One-Minute Manager.

What was the worst course you ever went on?
First aid with the Girl Guides!

What did you want to do for a living when you were at school?
Work as a vet.

What was your first job?
A paper round at 13, followed by part time position in Richard Shops, then
straight into a retail traineeship with the John Lewis Partnership. This
involved a two-year training course leading to the position of section manager.
I stayed with the John Lewis Partnership for 17 years.

What was the best career decision you ever made?
To give up my paper round!

What was the worst career decision you ever made?
I haven’t made one.

Which of your qualifications do you most value and why?
Qualification of life – personal experience and being worldly wise are
valuable assets when assessing people’s reactions and development issues.

Evaluation -…holy grail or impossible dream?
Evaluation is essential to identify ways of continued improvement.

How do you think your job will have changed in five years’ time?
To ensure One 2 One Retail becomes the leading mobile phone retailer, it is
essential to recognise and evolve with customers’ needs. My role must
anticipate and grow with this.

What do you think the core skills for your job will be in the future?
Patience, creativity, good intuition, strong self-awareness and being a
good motivator.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in training and
development?
To become a team member through whatever opportunities available – this may
be through anything from team-working at school and college, to joining the
scouts or the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

How do you network?
By staying in contact with former colleagues and employers, contributing to
business magazines and socialising!

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
Physiotherapist for the British Lions.

Do you take your work home with you?
In respect that training and development is something that continues in all
aspects of one’s life, I find I tend to coach and develop my daughter and
husband, usually when they least want me too.

What is your motto?
"If you think you can, or you think you cannot, you are probably
right" – actually, it belongs to Henry Ford.

How would you like to be remembered by your colleagues?
As a proactive person who gets results.

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