Category Archives: Project Planning

From Uniform to Civvies With Harry

According to the Ministry of Defence Armed Forces Annual Personnel Report (1st April 2014) in the year 2013/14 some 640 officers and 20,350 other ranks left the British Armed Forces. Sixty-five percent of those leaving (known as SLs or Service Leavers) were aged between 20 and 34. That comes in at 13,040 officers and other ranks. Who knows what the future holds with regard to these numbers?

On 17th March this year BBC Radio5 Live hosted by Adrian Chiles interviewed many veterans and also AVM Ray Lock of the Forces in Mind Trust . The reason for this interest in Service Leavers, veterans and their transition from the Forces was as a result of the announcement that a certain 30 year-old Captain Wales (Prince Harry) will be leaving the Army after 10 years service. Harry has served his country well and now is moving on – as all service personnel have to do sooner or later.

AVM Lock was exactly right when he listed the hurdles that face all those transiting from uniform to civvies. A single man such as Prince Harry will need to plan for his income, role, and a place to live once having left. Again AVM Lock was right to say that Harry does face these problems although he does have a pretty strong support group. Even so, has Harry planned his exit?

But this blog is not just about Harry. It is also about the many men and women – anything up to 20,000 of them – that leave the Armed Forces each and every year. Men and women that are single or have families, are fit or unfit, are often well prepared for the ‘transition’ but sometimes not prepared enough.

Yes there is a resettlement support function available whilst serving and if a Service Leaver is lucky they will have the full two years to prepare. If they had been made redundant, with the best will in the world, some of those leavers would have been forced into making some quick decisions. Those decisions may sometimes also be made in isolation away from spouses and partners, away from family back home – even under fire.

I started a discussion on LinkedIn just by asking the question, “Do you go where there is work and risk not having the support of family and friends, or do you go where there is family and friends and risk not finding work?”

The responses made one thing obvious and it was that each individual or family may share a core of needs but that those needs are often satisfied differently. The sweeping generalities that are sometimes applied can miss out important needs.

For example, a spouse or partner may attend two briefings – housing and finance – but the rest is down to the Service Leaver. From personal experience (having left the Royal Air Force on two separate occasions) I often had difficulty explaining in detail to my worried partner about what I had learned in the past week. And worried she was, because she was not involved in the fact-finding, decision-making process as much as wanted to be.

And it is not just the immediate family that should be included. Never ignore the contribution of a spouse or partner – they may be the major breadwinner at first. Don’t forget the input from friends and family back home.

Tools such as MAPP Resettlement allow the Service Leaver to include everyone in the planning process from spouse, partner, dependents, resettlement consultants, family back home and even – yes Harry – father and grandmother!

The same MAPP tool prompts the decision-making process and allows tasks to be delegated – all planned over the Internet. Never forget that whilst planning is vital, the inclusion of everyone impacted by the transition in that process is even more important.

So has Harry planned his exit alone? Or will there be an input and support from his immediate family and friends?

Want to know more about Resettlement MAPP? Here are some links:

Related blog posts:


When in Rome!

It’s often said that when in Rome we should do as the Romans do. This translates to – if you want to fit in then change your behaviour to match that of the inhabitants of the country you are living in.

This definitely applies should you wish to open an office in a new country.!

There are a number of things that you need to be aware of when starting up a new office in a foreign country. Using that good ‘change management’ standby referring to the six triggers ‘PESTLE’ the MAPP Academy came up with a list of areas that you might need to research:

  • Political – we are living in a world that changes politically like the shifting sands of a desert. Take a look, look away then back and is the view the same? But political risk can be researched at – go to the International Property Tights Index for a risk assessment on the country you have chosen.
  • Economical – We are going through a world-wide financial upheaval at the moment. Avoid countries that are economically inactive and – whilst it may seem difficult in this day and age – look for a country where people are spending and unemployment is on the way down. But most of all look for a low debt-to-GDP ratio!
  • Social – language and culture – the people you are going to deal with – The Romans – will have their own culture. Even if the language is shared (and that is doubtful sometimes – USA and UK are often referred to as two countries separated by the same language) the culture may be radically different. Consider using a trusted businessman from the destination country. They will have networks, obviously speak the language and have a handle on culture. We might know our home-grown ‘body language’ signals but will we know those of the country we are investing in. Remember all of those television adverts for a well known international bank?
  • Technological – Do they have the ‘platform’ or infrastructure for you to communicate easily? Is there good web-access? You don’t want a business that can’t communicate with you at home or can’t communicate internally in the country you have chosen for your new office. Who are the most technological innovative countries? Look here for some advice from Bloomberg – Most Innovative Countries Index.
  • Legal – Whilst some countries are great – stable – and supportive of business run by foreigners others are not. For example, look for countries where there is not a history of ‘confiscation’ of property or business. As above the same excellent research tool can be used International Property Rights Index. Research the country of your choice.
  • Environmental – There is a whole raft of differences between countries when it comes to the environment. There are countries that are green and others that have no green credentials at all. Take a look here for the green credentials of your country of choice – The Green Index

But it doesn’t end there; add to the above PESTLE triggers your personal knowledge of your industry sector and – most definitely – a great deal of market research in the country of your choice (just as you would if opening a business in a new town within your home country) and your chances of success just got better.

One final link worth a look is Starting a Business Abroad. Aimed at businesses of a certain size (10-50 employees) this can provide you with a number of insights and may save you making a big, costly mistake.

The MAPP has produced a comprehensive, on-line decision-making tool that can be used to plan an exciting project such as this. For product information follow the link:


Want to Export? Don’t just Survive When You Can Grow

UKTI Front CoverUK Trade and Industry, in their excellent publication, ‘Bringing home the benefits: How to grow through exporting,’ explain how exporting can lead to growth, further exports and consequently greater growth.

Exporting can also lead to improvements in efficiency, new products and services. Top that off with an increase in confidence, ambition and momentum for greater growth and the idea of exporting your product or service becomes quite exciting.

In the above publication the UKTI reports that a survey of their clients:

  • 85 per cent said exporting led to a ‘level of growth not otherwise possible’
  • 87 per cent said exporting had significantly improved their profile or credibility
  • 78 per cent said exporting had given them exposure to new ideas
  • 73 per cent said exporting had increased the commercial lifespan of products or services
  • 70 per cent said they had developed or modified a product or service due to doing business abroad

Many potential exporters are put off by the task that lies ahead of them the planning seems to raise more questions than answers and the whole thing project appears too complicated.

The Export MAPPs

But help is at hand, The MAPP Academy – working with the UKTI and experts from within the MAPP Academy – has developed two on-line, decision-making tools to help you plan for your exporting. And being on-line means you can invite your mentor or team members to work with you from anywhere in the world.

The two product pages giving you more detailed information about each product can be accessed by these links:

But if you want go directly to the two MAPPs in the MAPP Store please use these links:

Negotiation – Get What You Want By Giving the Client What They Want!

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘negotiation’ as:

noun: a formal discussion between people who are trying to reach an agreement : an act of negotiating.

If negotiation is a give and take process between two or more parties then you need to be aware of your ideal outcome, what you will accept as a minimum and what you will not accept (causing you to walk away from the table). And you need to have a firm grasp of these three outcomes before starting the process.

However, in order to participate in a ‘give and take process’ you also need to find out quickly what the other party sees as their ideal, minimum or unacceptable outcome.

This means you must:

  • Have a strategy
  • Develop tactics
  • Ensure that the right team/individual is handling the negotiations
  • That the ‘relationship’ with the other party is handled professionally

All 4

Some Tips from the MAPP Academy


  • Start by researching – identify who you will be negotiating with. It might give you an idea as to what they will see as an ideal outcome for them.
  • You must – ‘know your numbers’ – see the three outcomes suggested above, especially what will be your ‘deal breaker’.

Develop Tactics

  • Look to find common ground.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want – sometimes a client will give you more than you though they would. They can only say no!
  • Stick to your numbers! Never be afraid to walk away – but do so professionally. Thank the other party for their time but no thanks for their offer. A polite refusal can lead to future negotiations; a ‘flounce’ leads to nothing!

Ensure that you have the right team/individual handling the negotiations

  • Someone who asks for what you want in a confident way.
  • Someone who also knows how to listen and pick up on the signs – body language, tone of voice will communicate over 90% of the message from the other party.
    Sometimes silence on your part can act as pressure on the other party.

Handle the negotiations in a professional manner

  • Ensure that you are negotiating with someone who can make decisions.
  • Don’t forget to listen – give the other party respect
  • Make concessions on a ‘tit for tat’ basis. Give back to the other party if they give to you. Never make concessions if none have been offered.
  • Don’t be afraid to change your offer if you need to – but never change your own offer downwards. Never negotiate against yourself and don’t agree to something if it feels wrong. If it feels wrong it probably is – for you!
  • Be creative – together. Use new information to adjust your offer.
  • Don’t use the ‘walk away’ as a negotiating tactic.
  • Finally, once the negotiations have come to a conclusion and both parties recognise that it is fair – put it into writing!

The Negotiation MAPP was created by members of the MAPP Academy along with Spoken Word Limited, a MAPP Partner company. It provides you with a framework for your negotiations. Have a look at the product description by following the link below:

Or to get directly to the Negotiation MAPP follow the product links below to the MAPP Store:

Selling Your Business – Need an Elevator Pitch?

Remember all of those networking events where people asked you, “What do you do?” We all had that ‘elevator pitch’ handy for those occasions.

We all asked ourselves the same question, devised and rehearsed an answer so that we appeared to be confident about our products and services.

Well equally, before selling your business up for sale you must ask yourself, “Why?”

Then you must devise and rehearse your answer to the question which will undoubtedly be asked by interested purchasers and time wasters alike.

You might question the objectives of selling from the points of view of owner, manager. You might want to consider why you are selling in terms of the business itself. You might have a workforce to take into consideration. Oh and don’t forget shareholders, stakeholders and any other interested parties!

Answers to these questions might include a need for investment in the company or in your own future. Your business might be your pension plan or a step to greater investment in future plans.

Basically, if you can’t answer the question ‘why’ then you haven’t thought it through. You haven’t planned properly, you will not look professional and customers will question your motives in selling.

shaking handsAnswer it and you will have a successful sale!

Better still you could use a tool such as MAPP Business Sale. Designed specifically for owners and managers it is based upon research with individuals and managers who have been there. Follow the link below to the MAPP Store and a successful, professional sale!