It’s frightening … the implications of losing your good people?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

scared woman oct newsletter 2019 “Nobody cares about me here, I’m just a number!”

“I don’t feel valued and nobody says thank you for what I do!”

“I’ve never had a 1:1 or a review with my Manager since I started here!”

“Training … what training? I’ve never had any development for me in my role!”

Scary quotes aren’t they? Don’t they make you want to scream in horror?

Shock horror…This is what we hear every week from some people that we come across in our work at Pro-Development through our Employee Engagement work. Yet, how many of you are reading this and thinking your team would never say this. Are you sure? Are you valuing your people and letting them know that they matter? Do you really care or are you just paying lip service? After all, without them, we wouldn’t have a business, team or be able to deliver for our customers and clients.

“We just can’t get good people”

“We’re losing good people and we don’t know why”

“Our industry is renowned for high turnover of people, it’s just how it is!”

This is what we hear from business owners, leaders and managers and it’s the last one that is the biggest worry. Why? Because it doesn’t have to be like that. If you trick or treat people in the right way, with respect and value what they bring and help them to be the very best they can be, they will not get on their broomsticks and want to leave your business and you will attract the right kind of people.

When you lose talent, it is spookily scary and impacts in so many ways:

• There is a sadness that comes from losing the day to day contact with someone who often has become a friend.

• People are often unsettled by the change and start to query their own career and whether its time for them to move on too.

• Then of course there is the increased workload and frustration that can bring.

• Loss of knowledge is a massive risk and can slow down what was a slick and efficient process.

• Someone in the business needs to find time to recruit and finding the right person is not easy – ask any recruiter!

• Once the person has been selected, they require a full induction, not just a tick list of things to show someone in the first week. We mean a 6-month induction programme to support people in their new role.

• Oh and of course, someone in the business will need to design and manage the induction process and the list goes on!

• The true cost of losing an employee has been estimated by the Hayes Group to cost between 12 – 18 months of persons salary.

So, if we’ve not frightened you off yet, here are some questions that we have put into the bubbling cauldron for you…

• Can you afford to lose good people?

• Do you know if one of your best people is considering leaving?

• Are you doing everything to ensure that people want to stay?

• Do you know what is motivating and engaging your teams to ensure they are giving their best?

These are difficult questions but focussing on employee engagement will help you to answer them. Gaining insight into employee engagement in your business means you are well informed about employees views and feelings and this enables you to focus your energy (and resources) on doing the right things, and those ‘right things’ will probably make the difference and be enough to retain your talent.

If we’ve not terrified you too much, but you are horrified to think this might be happening in your business, get in touch with us on or call us on 01904 628 838 or if you want to find out more, join us for our next workshop on the 20th November.

If you would like to find out more, founder of Pro-Development (UK) Limited, Michelle Mook is speaking at the Spa Life UK 2019 conference in Coventry on 12th November and sharing her ideas and challenging you to consider how you can create an engaged workforce who are your best advocates, deliver for you and help make your business a great place to work.

Another Great Personality Tool – MBTI

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

You may have recently read our DiSC Blog discussing our team DiSC profiles. But perhaps what we haven’t told you is that at Pro-Development we use many different types of profiling tools.

Another favourite for our team is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and we offer this fantastic tool to help support our clients.

The MBTI differs to DiSC because the MBTI focuses more on personal preferences which drives our behaviour. The MBTI measures our core personality and how we are naturally wired regardless of our environment or circumstances. This tool is great to help identify underdeveloped behaviours that can be developed to enhance our interpersonal effectiveness. The tool can also help to bring more awareness to the lesser known aspects of our personality that are often explored later on in life. It is a great tool to understand team dynamics and of course leadership style.

With the MBTI there are some great tools to help our clients to understand this.

For example Michelle has an ENFP profile – here are some words that describe her strengths. See what you think:

mchelle mtbi

Our lovely Sue has an ISFJ profile – here are some words to describe her strengths:

sues mbti profile

Of course it isn’t only about our strengths but our blind spots too. Here is the profile of Vicky and what gets her head in a spin.

upside down head

We think you will agree these fun graphics are fabulous and so useful. At Pro-Development we have access to all these tools and many more. If you think you might be interested in hearing more about MBTI or any other tools we use. Please get in touch, we would love to hear from you. You can contact us on or 01904 628838

Authentic and Inspiring Leadership

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

inspiring leadership

Take a moment and think of a leader that has really inspired you. Someone that was truly authentic and held the qualities and values that make a difference. Someone who encouraged and supported you and inspired you to be your best self. It could either be a leader that you reported to, or maybe it is a leader that was famous but simply stood out for you. Could you think of one?

When we think about this (and we often do at Pro-Development) so many people spring to mind. But what is it that makes an authentic and inspiring leader?

There has been so much research done about this, and many papers written about Authentic Leadership.

Some people say it is simply about being true to yourself when you are being a leader, other have created models about authentic leadership.

We like to think that there are some key traits that are regularly demonstrated when we are authentic leaders, like leading with heart, being self-aware, demonstrating great emotional intelligence. Its also about laying a foundation of honesty and trust in the relationships we build.

Why does this matter? Ultimately these are the kinds of leaders that teams not only survive under but thrive and flourish and what business doesn’t want that?

Michelle is speaking on this very topic at Brand Yorkshire, Harrogate on Thursday 3rd October at 10.10am if you would like to hear more. Her session will share our top 5 tips for being an authentic and inspiring leader along with some stories to inspire us all.

We would also like to hear what you think makes a truly authentic leader, let us know in the comments section.

If you would like to hear more about the kind of work we do in this areas, please also get in contact with us on or call us on 01904 628 838

Time for Change

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

autumn road sept 2019

It’s been an amazing summer for the Pro-Development team. We have had some summer fun and holidays, worked with some amazing clients and life has been happening around us.

On September the 23rd the Autumn Equinox begins, and it is very symbolic for many reasons. At this time night and day are the same length.

It is a time for noticing change. We might see change happening all around us particularly in nature as the plants effortlessly shed the summer growth and begin preparing for winter. It reminds us of how impermanent everything can be.

Autumn is a great time for letting go of what no longer serves us as we see this happening all around us. Letting go is not an end but a beginning as we make space for all the new that can enter our life.

It is also a great time to reconnect with our self and what is important. This kind of reflection can be great for planning and thinking about our goals.

So as we move into this new cycle what can we do to welcome change? Here are a few ideas from the team at Pro-Development:

1. Make a list of things we are grateful for – this reminds us of all what we have

2. Let go of what no longer serves us so we can make room for change in our life

3. Do something different, maybe something we haven’t given ourselves a chance to try or that we have been putting off

4. Notice the changes that have happened naturally without our notice, this can remind us how change is a natural process

5. Remind yourself of things you would really like to change

Change is a big part of the work we do at Pro-Development. If you would like to hear more about how we help individuals and teams to embrace new beginnings and change, contact us at or call us on 01904 628 838.

The listening zone

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

listening aug Being in the listening zone is easier said than done. Listening is notoriously hard work, ask anyone who interviews for a living!

Listening happens on various levels. Firstly, there is the level that is just noise, you know, you can see the lips moving and noise coming out but the meaning is completely lost. You may have glazed over (I’m sure we can all resonate with that!)

We can also listen, but all the while just wanting to get our point across, waiting for that moment when we can interject and take over the conversation. Sound familiar?

Sometimes we listen with judgement. Do you remember ever thinking whilst listening to someone “here we go again” or “you would say that”!

I am sure we can all identify with these listening states and have experienced them at some point. So we need to work on our listening skills to block out these urges and simply listen. So how can we do that…here are some hints and tips.

• Move away from distractions e.g. phones, other people etc (we recommend going outside)

• Give yourself permission to stop and listen

• Recognise listening as part of your job, not an interruption from it

• Ask questions and probe for greater understanding

• Good eye contact and attentive body language helps

• Repeat back a summary of what you have heard to check your interpretation and understanding

• Enjoy listening to others and how valued you are making that person feel

If you feel you or your team would benefit from development in the area of communication click here or contact us on 01904 628838. Don’t forget that we have the amazing 40% funding that many businesses will be eligible to receive from the European Social Fund via the WYCC Skills Service.

WYCC_Skills Service_ESF

To find out more contact

Being organised

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

organised aug 2019 Going on holiday does accentuate the need to be organised. We need to make sure everything is sorted, loose ends tied off and make sure the team are up to speed with the latest information. So, what are the key organisation skills we use? We’ve already talked about clear desk policy and that caused quite a stir! So moving on, let’s look at some other techniques!


We love an outcome-based plan. A plan that identifies the end goal and the steps required to achieve that goal. A plan that has deadlines set and a weekly check to see if everything is on target. Some people we talk to don’t have a plan, because planning takes time, time people don’t have, but believe us, take the time out to plan will pay dividends in the long term.

Effective diary use

If you use your diary, be honest with yourself. Are you being realistic or are you underestimating the time activities will take? Another common theme is people double booking their time. Not for client facing work of course, but for behind the scenes work, administration, development work etc! This could be construed as an act of denial, unless of course you are a multitasker extraordinaire.

Empty your head

Some of our clients spend the first 5 minutes in a morning or the last 5 minutes of the day downloading their brain. Simply capturing all the information swimming around and writing it down. Once it’s written down you could formulate a list or a mind map to then structure the tasks. That way you start the day or end the day feeling organised.

Recognise when it’s too much

Call it or delegate when you are overloaded. Sometimes there simply is too much to do. This is the point we can become stressed, flustered and can stop thinking clearly. So, call it out and tell people and get their support, there is no place for hero mentality here.

Have a tidy up

You’ll be surprised how much better that makes you feel. I know tidying up makes me feel better yet I am always taken aback by just how much better I feel. I think we forget sometimes that simple things can make a big difference.

We challenge you to take some time out to get organised today, take just 10 minutes out of your working day and see if that makes a difference to you.

Need help with planning and prioritisation or time management? We offer development in these areas so contact us. Don’t forget that we have the amazing 40% funding that many businesses will be eligible to receive from the European Social Fund via the WYCC Skills Service.

To find out more contact

WYCC_Skills Service_ESF

Get out of your comfort zone!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

comfort zone blog july 2019 Have you ever been pushed outside of your comfort zone? Can you remember how you felt? What you learned and how you developed as a result?

At Pro-Development we like to challenge people to step outside of their comfort zone, particularly in some of the leadership work that we do. Take our Management Development Programme that we have recently run. On this programme there is so much opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone with the experiential learning we do. On the last programme, everyone we spoke to stepped outside their comfort zone and experienced some real change as a result. Of course, it isn’t only the participants that go through this. Our very own Vicky Deighton had her own experience of stepping outside of her comfort zone when she abseiled, and gorge walked for the first time.

She explained that she had some strong emotions and wasn’t even sure if she was going to be able to do it. But afterwards she felt a real sense of accomplishment and courage. She also explained that there was one activity that she couldn’t do and that pushed her into her danger zone. This is a place beyond the learning zone where no real learning happens at all. It is important that as managers we can establish where our comfort zone, learning zone and danger zones start and stop. This is all part of raising our self-awareness to become stronger leaders.

Our leadership programme starts again in September and we are excited to be taking another cohort through this amazing journey of self-discovery. If you know anyone who might be ready to step outside of their comfort zone and raise their self-awareness with other like minded leaders, we are now taking applicants for the waiting list.

Don’t forget that we have the amazing 40% funding that many businesses will be eligible to receive from the European Social Fund via the WYCC Skills Service.

To find out more contact

WYCC_Skills Service_ESF

We’re all going on a summer holiday

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

summer holidays july 2019 Another poptastic tune. So, are you ready for a summer holiday? Is the holiday booked? Are you beach ready? Or are you one of those people who gets to the end of the annual leave years with weeks’ worth of holidays to cram in? We’ve talked about increasing self-awareness this month, and the more we take the time for ourselves, the time to reflect, the more self-aware we become and the more we will see.

Ultimately, we need to notice what’s going on for us in both our physical and physiological being. If you take the time you may notice the fatigue, headaches, grumpiness, rising tress levels. If you don’t notice these things, the minute you stop it’s very common to be struck with a mild illness for example an irritating cough. We hear people say “I’ve hit the wall” all too often!

When did you last take a break – and we mean a real break where you did not check emails?

Our challenge to you if you are going on a summer holiday this year

• Leave the last half day at work to sort out admin, make the final phone calls

• Put your out of office on

• If you have a separate works mobile – give your phone a holiday too!

• If you only have the one phone, make sure you cannot see incoming e-mail alerts on your mobile

• If you’re reading this blog saying “but this doesn’t work in reality”, then you are our target audience – so accept our challenge!

Enjoy your summer holiday, relax, restore your energy levels and come back firing on all cylinders, but don’t forget to keep looking after yourself and remember we can help with health and wellbeing so why not get in touch on 01904 628838 or


Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

disc pic july 2019

We use a few profiling tools at Pro-Development, however at the moment there is certainly a front runner in terms of demand. This front runner is the DISC profiling tool. We like DiSC for its simplicity, we find some profiling tools can be more complex to decipher.

The simplicity however does not take anything away from the insights it brings. It’s value comes in increasing your self-awareness, how you react to other styles and how to increase your effectiveness with other styles. At it’s highest-level DiSC identities fours styles, key behaviours associated with these styles and how these styles interact.

The magic happens when we see DiSC brought to life with teams who have shared their profiles and preferred way of working. Through having honest conversations with each other they have explored how to adapt their style to get the best from each other and as a result their relationships are stronger and built on trust. The language used in DiSC is easily transferrable into the workplace and this means that the conversations continue outside of a facilitated session and become part of the business way of working. Now who wouldn’t want that!

And if you’re interested in how we have brought it to life, have a look at our last blog about “A DiSC Day at the Races – it’s a bit of fun on how our DiSC styles came to life!

If you would like to know more about DiSC and other profiling tools, contact us on 01904 628838 or

Celebrate good times, come on! (Let’s celebrate)

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

celebrate good times Another Disco classic with the feel-good factor. Before you go off on your holibobs take some time out to reflect. What have you and your team achieved in the first half of the year that has given the feel-good factor? What key deliverables have been achieved? What obstacles have been overcome? Which key learnings have been banked for future reference? Have people been brave and stepped out of their comfort zones? Have the businesses values been brought to life with great results?

So, come on… time to think about all these great, amazing things you and your team have achieved and make sure you stop and celebrate good times. Quite often we are too quick to move on to the next thing, pressured by time, concerned about lower production over the summer months as your team take time off – sound familiar?

There a numerous ways to celebrate – a summer BBQ perhaps? An outdoor team event (we have heard that some teams even go to the races!) Whatever method you choose to celebrate, make the time to highlight what you are celebrating and the impact the success has had on the business. It will also give you an opportunity to build on the success for the coming months too.

So, lets celebrate and share with us what you’ve been doing too! We work with lots of businesses with team events and we’d be happy to help.

Best of all, there is funding from the European Social Fund via the WYCC Skills Service for business in the Leeds City Region if your business is eligible which offers 40% towards the investment in the day! Read our recent blog to check if you are eligible and how to access the funding.

Call us on 01904 628838 or email for more.