The Gift of a Walk

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries, Uncategorized

P1020831Have you ever spent the day discussing various issues and thoughts, gaining a better understanding of yourself whilst, exploring the beautiful countryside. Well, if not we would recommend you give it a try. Standing on top of some stunning hills certainly gives you plenty of time to think and reflect!

Delivering one of the workshops for our Management Development Programme through a walk really did make a difference and we all got so much from it.

Here’s what one of our delegates had to say. “The second event which involved a walk in Hawnby, a beautiful part of the world, was much more than a walk. We discussed some subjects that in other circumstances you would not as a rule share with people you have only just met, but the conversations flowed, it was easy and we were all made to feel comfortable – what a great day thank you.”

We truly believe to be a great leader you need to know yourself first. Are you brave enough to understand yourself better? Why not come on a walk with us!

Top Tips for Offering Feedback

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Pro Development York

Be timely – The longer you leave it, the less useful it becomes.

Be specific – Highlight the specific piece of behaviour and the actual words the person used.

Be clear – Particularly in cases of giving negative feedback, where there may be a tendency to waffle.

Be factual – Base your comments on directly observable behaviour, not on your perception of them as an individual.

Be sincere – If you’re not it strips the value from the feedback.

Own it – Use “I” to reinforce that the perceptions are yours.

Check it – Always make sure you know that the other person has actually understood what you have said – not what they think you’ve said.

Leave it with them – Feedback is a gift, it’s up to them to accept it!

Living the high life :-)

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries, Uncategorized


Sue and I have been living the highlife.  Following completion of the Cabinet Office change programme, the lovely people at Training Synergy treated us to a wonderful evening in London at Jamie Oliver’s no less.  The evening started with ‘Porn Star’ Martinis overlooking St Paul’s cathedral (wow!) and considering some of the dodgy hotels we’ve been staying in, we couldn’t think of a more appropriate end to a project!

We are so proud of what we’ve achieved on this programme and what our client had to say about it:-

“Michelle and Sue at Pro-Development worked in partnership with Training Synergy on a recent high profile government training programme.  From the outset, their approach and diligence in making this ve never worked with two more committed training professionals who provided learning experience.  They are THE experts in ensuring their learners feel enthused, motivated and prepared for change.   Their engagement with stakeholders was first class and they fully understand and organisations.  The feedback from both learners and client was exceptional and I hope we continue to work together to provide first class learning for many years”  Lou Mooney, Director, Training Synergy, May 2014

Our Management Development has got off to a great start!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries, Uncategorized

2014-04-30 15.31.58

The 30th April is a day that will remain etched in our memory forever. We were so excited to be launching our first cohort of the Management Development Programme and what an amazing day it was!

Set in the beautiful Hazelwood castle, we had a day of getting to know each other, bonding as a team and really exploring what we mean by inspirational and authentic leadership! Or ‘Sunflower Leadership’ as like to call it.

The event really got people thinking about their goals over the next 6 months and what better way to focus that a spot of archery. I’m glad to report that all our delegates survived without injury and are looking forward to the next exciting workshop.

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Have a look on our testimonials page to see what one of our managers, Kim Hodgson, had to say about the day.

And don’t worry if you missed this programme as we’re running another one again in September. If you’d like to know more, have a look on our Management Development page.

The business benefits of our Management Development Programme

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Employee Engagement

Inspire people to be their best, increasing your overall productivity.

Enhance your customers experience through customer centric thinking.

Motivate the workforce to become your advocates.

Build an environment of honesty and trust where change is embraced.

Encourage creativity and help innovate your business.

Contribute to reduced sickness levels by creating a positive working environment.

Reduce staff turnover and attract great people by engaging your teams.

Communicate and lead your people toward achieving business goals.

Our Management Development Programme is a highly creative and vibrant programme.

Working Together – valuing and playing to strengths

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Pro-Development York

We’ve been building some great partnerships with some fabulous Yorkshire companies to ensure our Management Development Programme will be a truly amazing experience.

We are really looking forward to working with the wonderful team at Allerthorpe Lakeland Park and slightly relived that they aren’t going to make us wear a wetsuits 🙂

Really excited too about our up and coming walking event with Mark Reid from TeamWalking where we’ll experience a healthy, revitalising and inspirational walk – what more could we ask for 🙂

Thank you for all fully embracing our values and helping to bring our vision for the Management Development Programme to life.

What’s been making us smile during March!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Pro Development York

We’ve been inspired by some of the amazing stories through Sports Relief. David Beckham stepping out of his comfort zone and into the world of Del Boy and Rodney, Jo Whiley running on a treadmill for 26 hours, Davina McCall and her challenge “Beyond breaking Point” who along with a lot of other people, all raised more than £51million for Sports Relief.

Well, it’s made us smile and inspired us to get fit – I dusted down my bike at the weekend and took the boys off to Dalby Forest for a 12.8 km ride (only managed to come off once!). We have also dug out our running shoes, lycra, sweat bands and swimming caps!

Watch out everyone, here we come 😉

What’s making us smile RB Associates!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Pro Development York

We designed and delivered a programme to RB Associates focusing on customer service and delivering a fantastic customer experience. The feedback from this programme has been fantastic and we’re loving working with a business who is so committed to developing their people! This is what they had to say…..

  • Excellent course – going home with lots of thoughts and ideas ☺
  • As ever, brilliant motivational day with the Pro-Development girls – thank you!
  • Really beneficial – it especially highlighted the importance of clear communication and checking to see if the recipient has understood.
  • Very informative. Definitely made me think about how to implement in everyday life as well as within the business.
  • Always fantastic – has really made me think of how I need to change my approach in some areas.
  • Really beneficial course and Michelle is a joy as always!
  • Great insight into customer service with helpful information and techniques that I will be able to use in my role.
  • As always, fantastic. Will do my best ☺
  • All informative – not just writing strongly agree for the sake of it – it was informative, well prepared and interactive – thank you.
  • Seriously …. thank you for this workshop ☺
Do you need support to take your team’s customer service to the next level? If so please contact us today. 

A Challenge for you – can you Answer the Following Questions?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries


1.How engaged is your workforce?

2.Are you focusing on the right things that will make the biggest difference?

3.Are you at risk of losing some of your best talent?

More often than not the answer is “we’re not sure!” So don’t worry if that was your response, you’re not alone.

The impact, however, of not being sure, could mean you are wasting some of your time and resources focusing on the wrong things and opening yourself up to the risk of losing some of the talent within your company.

What’s been making us smile in February!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Pro Development York  

The work we’ve been doing with the Cabinet Office has been really exciting and has also meant we’ve been out on the road a lot!

We’ve had some real laugh out loud moments along the way with some interesting stories and experiences. We’ve been faced with train delays, exploding lorries, missing manuals, dodgy hotels (including a particularly lovely stay in a Brothel in London!), missing delegates (including an arrest!), some interesting travel companions and on it goes.

We’ve kept smiling throughout and reminded ourselves that you can look at life in different ways – we chose to laugh and decided we should probably write a best selling novel “Trials and Tribulations of a Trainer”!

Choose your attitude but most importantly choose to smile 🙂