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Planning Permission and Building Control

It is up to you to make sure that if you are employing a builder to do your work that they understand from the beginning whether they are taking responsibility for ensuring that building work complies with the Building Regulations. Also you must find out if they are going to liaise with the Building Control Service or you, it is important to make this all clear from the outset.

If the contractor is approved to do so, in some minor works they can self-certify the work. This means you will not need to get approval directly as the contractor will notify the Building Control of the work they are doing and confirm that it has been done in accordance with the Building Regulations.

If your building work actually requires Planning Permission you should make sure you find out who is taking the responsibility of obtaining it. This could be you, your builder or even your designer.

There are however, some types of building projects that may also be subject to other types of statutory requirements and consents so you should make sure that you bear this in mind.

Building Regulations Approval, Do I Need It?

The following types of projects would normally seek approval of the work from a Building Control Body:-

1. The erection of a building

2. An extension of a building

3. An alteration project which involves work that will temporarily or permanently affect the already approved structure, you will normally need to make sure that the new alterations still complies with the same Building Regulations.

4. The installation of replacement windows whereby the builder or window company is not registered with the relevant Competent Person Schemes.

5. The extension or installing of a service or fitting which comes under the regulations.

6. Insulation being inserted into cavity walls

7. When the foundations to a building requires underpinning

8. If the buildings fundamental use is changing

If the builder or installer, self-certify you will not need to involve a Building Control Service.

This only covers specific types of installations and not any other type of building work.

The building work must meet the current relevant technical requirements in the Building Regulations and must not make any other services, fabrics and fittings dangerous or any less compliant than they were before. Double glazed windows must still have means of escape and certain appliances that are combustion in origin must have air supply for ventilation in flues for health reasons.

You may need regulations for changes of use in existing buildings. The change in use of an existing building may result in the building as a whole not now complying with the requirements which will apply to its new type of use. This may mean having to up-grade to meet additional requirements specified in the regulations for which building work may be needed.

Failure to Comply With Building Regulations.

By not following the building control procedures that are set out for handling your building project or you carry out building work which does not comply with the requirements contained in the Building Regulations you will have gone against them.

Fines and Enforcement Notices.

Local authorities have a duty to make sure the Building Regulations in its area are adhered to and will seek to enforce this by informal means wherever possible.

If you have an approved inspector providing the Building Control Service, then the responsibility for making sure that Building Regulations are complied with is theirs. They will in turn advise you of anything that your project will need to adhere to in the Building Regulations. These approved inspectors do not have the power to actually enforce this but if your building work does not comply with the Building Regulations they will not issue you with a final certificate and in addition will cancel the initial notice by notifying your local authority.

If you don’t get another approved inspector to take on your work, the Building Control Service will automatically be taken on by your local authority. Your local authority will then have the power to enforce you to comply with the Building Regulations and there could be a possibility that you might have to alter your work if necessary.

If a person carrying out the work fails to comply with the Building Regulations, you may be taken to court by the local authorities where you could be fined up to £5000 and up to £50 a day for every day that still continues to fail to comply with the regulations after conviction. This action will normally be taken against the builder or main contractor who is doing the work and proceedings must be taken within two years from the completion of work.

However, the local authority can serve and enforcement notice on the owner making them alter or remove work that does not comply with the regulations. If the owner does not take heed of this notice then the local authority will be within their right to undertake the work themselves and recover all costs from the owner.

If twelve months has passed from completion of works, then the enforcement act cannot be served. This does not affect the right for the local authority to apply for an injunction in the courts for the same purpose. If your plans have been approved by the local authority or have failed to be rejected within the statutory time of five weeks, then the local authority cannot take enforcement action as long as the work has been carried out in accordance with your plans.

The Effects of Selling the Property.

If you are thinking of selling your property and it has failed to comply with the Building Regulations it may come to light when a land search inquiry is done. Apart from having enforcement action taken against you by not complying or rectifying your works on your project, you will also not receive a completion certificate of works from your local authority so it will probably be difficult to sell it.

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How to Avoid Building Construction Failure in Kenya

Of late, several buildings have collapsed in Kenya.

There are procedures and best practices that should be followed to avoid this.

Step 1.

Have the building designed by registered professionals. Architects in Kenya are registered by the Board of Architects and Quantity Surveyors of Kenya. The Board of Architects and Quantity Surveyors of Kenya is under the Ministry of Public Works. The registration process is rigorous and is a 2- year examination whereby the Government ensures that the applicant has undergone training under a registered Architect for a certain period after graduating from a recognized Architecture School.

After registration as an Architect, the applicant can then register with the Architectural Association of Kenya as a corporate member.

The Architectural association of Kenya also registers students-student membership, architecture graduates who are not registered-graduate membership, building contractors, developers, draftsmen-virtually everyone with an interest in construction.

This begins the confusion in that a would-be developer will approach a quack who is not registered to give Architectural services in Kenya. The quack will then prove to the innocent developer that he is registered to offer Architectural services by producing a registration certificate from Architectural Association of Kenya as a Licentiate member. What the developer doesn’t know is that only Corporate and Fellow members have the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors certification as a must have requirement.

I also noticed that even leading Banks and Financial institutions still can not differentiate between the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors of Kenya certificate and an Architectural Association of Kenya certificate. They insist that for someone to offer Architectural services to their customers, one has to hold the Architectural Association of Kenya certificate. What they don’t know is that the Architectural Association of Kenya Licentiate certificate is open to a wide variety of applicants-except the Corporate Membership certificate. This is the trick that is used by most quacks to confuse innocent developers and Financial institutions that they have certificates to offer architectural services since none of the developers will insist of Corporate Membership certificate because they don’t know about the categories of membership.

If a law is established to create one centre of reference for Architects-such as with the Law society of Kenya, we will be one step ahead in ensuring qualified personnel offer Architectural service to Kenyans.

Step 2.

Once the developer has maneuvered their way into getting a licensed Architect to offer the service, drawings are produced and lodged for approval at the relevant Local Authority.

Most local authorities don’t have adequate technical personnel to decipher the drawings and give the necessary input for approval.

Nairobi city council has the personnel but they are too few to handle all the workload that comes to them daily.

Since the council can not offer professional technical information regarding the approvals, due to understaffing and lack of the technical know-how, this creates a perfect recipe for corruption. The developer’s approvals are delayed to the point that he is forced to part with some money for the plans to be approved-usually without the plans being scrutinized. If the plans are scrutinized and all processes are followed, a fatal omission will be easily noticed and structural drawings from a registered structural engineer are supposed to be produced. The Local authority is also supposed to check that the plans have been produced by a registered architect.

Of late, local authorities have been insisting on the architect’s registration-registration from the Board of Architects and Quantity Surveyors of Kenya.

This is a good step but the quacks and corrupt council officials have found a way of going around this by attaching a ‘real’ architect’s certificate on the drawings produced by the quack. This can be easily stopped by ensuring that all buildings being constructed should have a sign-board showing the name of the professionals who have been involved in the design.

Step 3.

After the developer getting the necessary approvals to commence construction, he is supposed to contract a registered building contractor for construction services.

Building contractors are registered by the Ministry of Public Works.

The developer can either single-source a contractor or request several registered contractors to quote or the building construction and choose the best.

The registration of the building contractor is supposed to show that the contractor has proved that he understands building construction and has agreed to adhere to the best practices as stipulated by the Government.

In Kenya, most developers do not use the building contractors. This requirement is again not enforced in private developments. In Government, Parastatals and corporate developments, this requirement is fully followed to the letter.

The Architect who has been contracted by the developer is supposed to offer periodic supervision of the building construction until completion of the building whereby he is supposed to certify that the building is complete and ready for human habitation. These processes are enforced by the local authority who as we said earlier, are understaffed and don’t have enough technical personnel hence this step is rarely taken unless when the developer wants to insure his building and the insurance company insists that they need to see the completion certificate.

In corporate sector projects, all these processes are followed to the letter-that’s why we never hear of the 20 -plus storey buildings collapsing in Upperhill, Kilimani and other areas where the corporate sector develops even though the buildings are approved by the same local authorities and constructed within the same laws that govern the individual-owned buildings which are prone to collapse. The building construction collapse is mainly on the individual-owned constructions who do not follow the laid -down procedures and whom the local authorities are too overwhelmed to cater for. If all the laid-down procedures are followed regardless of the size of the project, collapse of houses will be a thing of the past.

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Cool Ways of Building a Home

Lots of people like buying brand new homes and having them built to their specifications and tastes. However, there are also many other people who go the extra mile and have their homes designed in a completely customized style. An original home-builder's masterpiece, so to say. In this article we take a look at some options one might choose from. Some of the unique features someone can opt to have in their homes include pools, storage spaces, wall designs, and / or modern furniture or even aquariums. We will discuss other choices too. Be warned though, that after reading this you may become unhappy with your current home.

One idea that has been implemented by some is to lower the living room to give your home a spacious but warm-looking effect, and create a special place to engage in conversations. You can choose to include antique furnishings and décor; OR, you can opt for a more modern look. It all depends upon your personal tastes.

Do you and your family members enjoy having slumber parties? If so, you can use part of your home to create a unique special place to have them. It can be an attic or an out-of-the-way room in the home. You can have murals of the sky painted on the walls and pillows all over the room. It could even have one wall big enough to be an improvised movie screen.

Will you have a big staircase in your new home with a lot of space underneath? There are a few ways you can more effectively use this space and enhance the look of your home. You could use it as a book nook with a little lounge chair and light fixture – perfect for reading your books. Or, you can build shelves under the stairs and store the books themselves. This space can also be used for storage and be designed to be decorative at the same time. Do you have dogs? Another option for this area is a little slice of heaven for him; Complete with a small window for outdoor viewing.

If you are either building your house from scratch or doing an entire remodeling job; And you have kids, do not forget the tree house! You can get their input on how they would like it to look and totally customize it. If your kids are already grown and / or you like to have guests; Instead of the tree house, you can have a guest house already furnished and decorated.

As for the outside design of your home you might select something like an English Tudor-style; Complete with multiple levels, winding staircases and turrets. Or you may want an unusual style of ranch home. People in the southwestern United States love roomy and beautiful Adobe-style houses. Other people prefer a large modern construction to their homes. Whatever suits your particular fancy you will be happy living in a home designed specifically for you and your family. Enjoy your new home!

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A Win-Win Strategy for All

White, black and yellow humanity

1. All human beasts of any color are imperfect beings, but nearly identical in character to one another.

The residents of developed countries, developing countries, and backward countries have the same human characteristics. A tribal of relatively unknown tribe of Africa is as proud of lineage as a citizen of a developed country, of his feudal ancestry. There are similar weaknesses in human character across the world: jealousy, hatred, greed, lack of tolerance, and finally 'me, my family, my language, my culture, and my religion' are the best. Let's remember, color of skin of an individual depends upon temperature of native place of his ancestors and is in no way indicative of intellectual superiority of an individual. When equal opportunities are there, human beings have excelled, irrespective of their color. Yet, there is divisive politics in the world, based on color. It does not result in a win-win situation for all.

Divisive politics based on countries and religions

* Israel and Palestine

2. In Middle East, Israel and Palestine blame each other.

Creation of Israel was possible due to 'Might is Right'. 'Might is Right' gives a temporary solution. Any transaction to succeed, needs a win-win strategy for both parties. Israel uproots Israeli Arabs' settlements in Israel to settle Jews. Israel is militarily stronger, yet Israelis are still awaiting peace and harmony in life. They have waited for seven decades, and will wait indefinitely. They do not believe in a win-win strategy for all. It is a fight of egos between Israel and Arab states. Without a win-win situation for both, there will be no peace and harmony.

* US police and Afro-Americans

3. US has come a long way, from the days of slavery.

There is equality of law for all: Whites, Afro-Americans, and immigrants. But there is supremacy-attitude, still prevalent among a small section of White population – a legacy of Ku Klux Klan. Who will integrate these Whites with others? They must understand: 'Same God lives in all of us.' Hopefully, they all go to same church. Let's begin by training the US police, followed by other US citizens, for a unified humanity approach. Meanwhile, let the state accelerate, the welfare of the down-trodden. Only then US will usher in a new era, with a win-win situation for all.

* Shias and Sunnis

4. Within the same religion, there is divisive politics.

Sunnis and Shias are killing each other. Allah is sad. Iran and Saudi Arab clash in Yemen, indirectly. Who is to govern Yemen: Shias, or Sunnis? Let's unify humanity. Let there be a win-win situation for both: Shias and Sunnis.

* Kashmir

5. A state whose identity depends on a religion is an anachronism in the 21st century.

The separatists – encouraged by financial support from oil-rich Islamic-nations – are trying to destabilize the state. They have raised three hundred thousand Hindus, three decades ago, who are living now as refugees in their own country. They have the same philosophy – bit milder approach – as Talibans, Boko Harams, IS, and Shabaabs. Who will teach the separatists and militants the concept of unity in humanity? The separatists are active in every nook and corner of the World – Russia, China, India, Nigeria, and Kenya. One Caliphate for all Muslims will never be realized! First, let Shias and Sunnis learn to coexist in harmony. We need a society, which offers a win-win situation for all groups.

Within a family

6. Within a family, we have: own family members and in-laws.

We fail to unify the two groups in our thoughts. The daughter-in-law and daughter are never at par. A mother and mother-in-law are always poles apart. There are ego clashes between spouses. There is lack of tolerance, and selflessness. When there is no win-win situation for both, it results in a divorce. It affects harmony in every family. Let's begin to unify humanity at family level. Let both groups experience a win-win situation.

Why the divisive politics

7. When we are born, our soul is pure, a part of God.

Slowly, the soul gets polluted as it interacts with the family members and the society. The conditioned soul is proud of its lineage, its religion, and its country. Patriotism instills in us that our country is best; Because we are born in it. That begins the battle for supremacy. Thereafter we are no longer Godlike. We are human beings: imperfect, impure, and with conditioned souls. We fight for more resources: land, and money. There is avoidable violence, all around. Harmony in life, will evade us, as long as there is no win-win situation for all.

The remedy

8. We have to aim for a unified humanity.

It means we have to cleanse our polluted and conditioned souls. We have to erase the existing conventional wisdom and old beliefs in the mind. It is possible. When and where there is a will, there is a way! Cuba and US have resolved differences after 50 years. It was just a small step to unify humanity. We've got to go, before we sleep '. And Obama says: we can do it.
Amen!

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Facts About Cornhole

Cornhole is a game that has been played for a very long time now. Though its popularity may have decreased in the recent years, it still remains to be one of the simplest yet very fun games of all time. This game is played by many people in different countries. Many people loved it since it could be played by anyone and can be played in many different places with enough space. The materials used for the game is not that hard to find and can even be made by the players themselves if they want to. It is ideal for different occasions such as birthday parties, team events, and even a regular gathering of friends and family members. Even if you have not heard or tried this game, you can easily learn it. Rules are relatively simple much like other corn toss games and games like horseshoe and washer toss. Children will definitely have a great time playing it as well as adults.

The game is played by 2 opposing players or teams. A special platform is made for this game which is has an angle of inclination of about 45 degrees and has a hole. 2 platforms are placed on opposite sides and a string may or may not connect them together. The distance between the 2 platforms would depend on the players’ preference but they are usually around 15 to 20 feet apart. Each team would have 4 all weather bean bags each which are filled with corn kernels. Players take turn in throwing all their bags. If the bag goes inside the hole, the player who threw it will be given 3 points. If the bag does not go inside the hole but remains at the top of the platform, it is considered as 1 point. If the bag settles at the edge of the platform, the platform is lifted to determine whether the bag stays on top or falls off of it. No point is given if the bag falls off the platform.

In order to win the game, a team must score 21 points. A round is over when each team throws one bag each. In a round, the total score that is given to a team is the difference of the points gained by each team. For example in round 1 team A scored 3 points and team B scored 1 point, 2 points will be awarded to team A for that particular round. This game is usually played in a lawn but it could also be played in other venues which have sufficient space. It is great for team building activities and parties as well. It would also be ideal if you want to pass time with your friends.

Cornhole is a type of game that will be loved by future generations. Though it is old and simple, it is very fun to play. It is a great alternative to video games and it is also a way to have quality time with people who are special to you.

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Carwash Marketing and Customer Retention – Back to Basics

Creating marketing and promotions that work are a great challenge for car wash owners and operators. The fundamental problem that many car washes run into is that they will never generate the level of customer loyalty that they are hoping for unless they meet the basic needs of their customers first. If a wash owner can identify consumer behavior, he or she will be in a better position to target products and services at them. Buyer behavior is focused upon the needs of individuals, groups, and organizations.

It is important to understand the relevance of human needs to buyer behavior because marketing is about satisfying needs. Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs is taught in psychology classes around the world and the theory outlines the very basic human needs that must be provided in order to truly experience higher emotions such as achievement, respect, and self-esteem. At the lowest tier of this hierarchy are the basic needs such as food, air, water, heat, and the basic necessities of survival need to be satisfied. You cannot move up to higher levels of the hierarchy unless your basic needs are met.

Consumers also have a very specific set of needs that must be addressed. To understand consumer buyer behavior is to understand how the person interacts with your marketing message.

Consider that every consumer is going to be influenced by their culture and word of mouth, attitude towards washing, their ability to learn by instruction (customer education), and their perceptions of the wash facility. There are a number of NEEDS that must first be met before a consumer can move to making a purchasing decision, location choice, brand choice, and any other choices they will inevitably make.

Customer Needs

At the very basic level a car wash operator must appeal to the basic needs of their customer before they can consider focusing on establishing customer loyalty.

The decision making process for a customer of a car wash will be to first determine which car wash facilities they will use followed by comparing the available choices against a number of other criterion.

Basic Need 1: Quality

This is where it comes down to truth in advertising. You need to provide the very basics for a customer to properly wash their vehicle. If you cannot clean the car with soap and water your failing as a business that specializes in vehicle care. It should be no surprise to a wash owner that people will stop using your wash if it does not get their car clean. The second aspect of quality is when a customer has access to problem-free equipment. If wash equipment is damage or in disrepair this will impact whether a customer will use your facility.

Basic Need 2: Appearance

Most wash customers rate cleanliness as one of the most important factors of a car wash. Locations with dirty walls, peeling instruction signs and faded decals will see a noticeable drop in customer retention.

Basic Need 3: Safety

Customers that visit car wash facilities next consider their safety when using a wash facility. Locations with poor lighting and excessive loitering will drive customers away and keep them from coming back if they did not feel safe when using the wash facility.

Basic Need 4: Value

In order to create a loyal customer a car wash owner needs to create value in the service that they provide. Value is going to be perceived differently by every customer and as a wash owner you need to evaluate your demographics to find out what will be the most important to them.

Examples of Value Propositions:

Environmentally Friendly – A car wash that focuses on environmental stewardship, water conservation, energy conservation, sustainable chemicals, and promotes this will create value for a wide demographic.

Charity Support – Car wash owners have the opportunity to get involved in their local community by supporting local charities and organizations. Car wash operations have a huge opportunity to be known as the community-based wash business in town.

Car Wash Club – By taking advantage of a loyalty card system car wash operators can give customers a reason to ‘buy-in’ to their loyalty program through incentives and promotions. Consumers have been trained by big-box retail to be a card-carrying customer and operations that take advantage of loyalty card programs are highly competitive in their local markets.

Rain Guarantees – Many full service and express wash operations offer a rain guarantee which gives a consumer piece of mind and security in their wash purchase.

Unlimited Wash Programs – Programs that allow for unlimited washes in exchange for a monthly payment or an annual subscription have been found to be highly successful in certain markets.

Low Price Guarantee – There has been a huge explosion in the number of low-cost express washes opening up around the country. This model will not work for every owner or even every market, but the growing trend is worth watching. Some markets are having record-breaking profits and others struggle to make ends meet with such low margins.

Superior Customer Service – Having great services has long been one of the big selling points for going to a full service carwash. Whenever you have employees on site you have a wonderful opportunity to provide great customer service.

Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is something that is earned by a business by satisfying your customers needs as a consumer. If you can meet the basic needs, establish value in your services, and remain consistent in the delivery of your service your customers will remain regular customers.

What does success look like?

In order to appeal to the widest number of customers your focus should be to focus on getting back to basics. Once you can be the clean, safe, quality carwash that offers simple value statements to your customers you can then focus on additional value added promotions to bring customers back.

The difference between a successfully promoted business and a business that fails to promote successfully is that in the long run you are remembered by your customers for what you’ve done for them. Far too many car wash businesses think that by slashing prices and giving huge discounts will win over new customers. Discounting only goes so far when you are trying to bring in new customers because discounting is temporary and long-term price cuts hurt your bottom line. As long as you are meeting your customers basic needs a successful promotion will engage your customers and community in ways that will endear themselves to you and your business. A successfully promoted car wash business will not be known as “the cheap wash” in their community. The successful wash in town will be known as “the charity wash”, “the fundraiser wash”, “the wash that drives the funny car in the local parade”, “the fast wash”, “the convenient wash”, or we can hope at the very least the wash is known as, “the wash that gets my car clean”. These are the value statements that we should strive for within our local communities and with the customers we do business with.

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Recording Studio – The Best Design and Location

Recording studios bring to mind very expensive high tech gadgets that only professional technicians know how to use to produce music. Most people think of these studios as being out in the countryside where it’s very peaceful and quiet, allowing for the artist’s natural talents to flow.

There is in fact a much more diversified range of recording studios than you might expect, all with unique designs to cater for specific types of recording projects.

For example, a speech and drama studio will focus their design on the best acoustics achievable, as for dramatic recording projects this is the most important consideration.

These types of room are usually designed and built totally around the acoustic values needed to achieve the studio’s recording needs. Those requirements will be calculated first, and then the building will be fitted out or built accordingly.

Because studio design is very important, and there are so many different things to be taken into account, it is wise to consult a professional specialist design company if you’re considering building a recording studio.

The building’s architecture, interior design, sound proofing, acoustics, and even the type of furniture the studio is equipped with are all things that need to be taken into consideration.

Sound quality can be broken into two separate aspects; acoustics, and sound-proofing.

These days, is possible to get professional sounding recordings from relatively inexpensive computer-based recording equipment that most people would find difficult to distinguish from a recording made at a higher priced studio. Great results can even be achieved in a home studio.

Generally, smaller recording rooms are normally used for voiceovers, lead vocals, drama and interviews. Larger rooms are used for music recording, choirs, string sections, and ensembles.

Because technology has moved so far, nowadays it is possible to carry out many different types of production needs in one place, whereas a few decades ago recording sessions would have taken place at different studios and brought together to achieve the finished product.

Recording studios can be adapted to fit into most buildings, depending on the expected use. Those based in cities will normally be used regularly by local artists, and are often smaller.

The larger recording studio complexes tend to be outside the city center, and are generally privately owned. A large studio complex can afford recording artist privacy, and such studios are for the most part hired out to artists exclusively for the duration of their project.

Commercial studio complexes are built along the lines of multi screen cinemas, offering a diverse number of recording facilities all under one roof.

Bands and solo artists no longer have to arrange and pay for space at several different locations to create their required finished product any more.

The larger commercial studios can even offer film facilities such as back-drop facilities so it can look as though things were shot on location.

Smaller studios are often restricted by town planning restrictions, noise levels, building access, and objections by local residents as to what they can offer.

This is why major artists tend to book recording studios located outside of residential areas.

If you are contemplating having a recording studio built, don’t neglect to find out about any restrictions that may apply from your local Government or building authority before you start building.

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Eleven Tips to Build Trust

I recently spoke with the senior VP of Human Resources of a Silicon Valley company regarding providing executive coaching for the company CEO. She asked some very insightful questions to determine fit. She specifically wanted to know how I work with different personality styles, and my methods for initiating change in thinking and behavior.

The senior VP of HR and I spoke about my approach to coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior based on neuroscience and emotional intelligence are important competencies for coaching executives. We also spoke of the need for her company to create a high involvement culture where innovation and creativity flourish.

The senior VP of HR is interested in partnering with me in helping create a collaborative and high involvement corporate culture based on trust and respect. We further discussed how company executives can benefit by working with a seasoned cognitive executive coach.

Organizations are woefully slow to realize the bottom-line implications of trust deficits. After trust's importance, few leaders give it the focus it describes. Misunderstood as a nebulous "feeling," trust is earned through consistent, positive behaviors practiced over time, making it extremely manageable.

Trust is one of the essential ingredients to build a great relationship, winning team and a high involvement culture. Without trust you can not have engaged relationships and without engaged relationships you will not be a successful leader, manager, sales person, team member, coach, etc.

You can build the trust that is essential for great relationships. The following are eleven ideas to build trust. Feel free to share these simple reminders with your leaders, teams and team.

Mindful leaders implement the following tips to build trust:

1. Display character: What do your employees see when they look at you? How do they perceive your values, work ethic, integrity and honesty? Studies consistently cite honesty as managers' No. 1 attribute-consistently doing what they say they'll do. When managers act with integrity and reliability, they lay a foundation on which employees can relly.

2. Model competence: Employees place more trust in you when they believe you're capable of effective leadership. This does not mean you're the smartest one in the room-a position of superiority that, in fact, undermines perceived competency. Your managerial competency should not be measured by your technical skills, but by your ability to understand and influence people.

3. Show you care: The most neglected ingredient in the trust trinity is the ability to show you care. Employees do not want to be cogs in a wheel. They want to feel that they matter and their bosses actually care about them as people. Only then can they reciprocate with trust.

4. Open up: During the course of your workday, squeeze in an occasional impromptu conversation with a subordinate about interests other than work, such as children's activities, restaurants, sports, movies and the like. Share a glimpse into your personal life while taking time to listen.

5. Empathize: Offer brief, personal acknowledgments of significant events in employees' lives, such as additions to family, marriage, family death and serious illness. Share how a similar event affected your life without overshadowing the employee's circumstance.

6. Remain professional: Share information that enhances the work relationship, yet does not harm your reputation. Exercise discretion; Avoid over sharing.

7. Go on a walkabout: Walk around the office each day to touch base with individual contributors to your company's success. While email and group meetings are important, one-on-one "face time" is critical.

8. Capture vital statistics: Learn about each employee's life: spouse's name, children's names and ages, major hobbies. Use questions to elicit meaningful information: "Where are you from?" Or "What do you do on your days off?"

9 . Find similarities: Instead of focusing on differences, find mutual interests (hobbies, desires, career goals).

10. Ask for ideas and feedback: Trust must already be established for people to be honest with you. Ask what they need to perform their jobs better. Acknowledge that you hear their opinions and will think about what they've said. Do not dismiss or argument the merits of their input; Offer a simple and genuine "thanks for sharing that."

11. Acknowledge progress and miles: In many organizations, problems are solved, barriers are surmounted, tasks are completed … and nothing is noted. People crave acknowledgment and recognition, so seize these opportunities to build trust. Celebrate progress. Do not let it slip by unnoticed.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build relationships built on trust? Resonant leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is "Do I have emotional intelligence competency to reinvent myself and grow? " Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their transformational peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you become a more trustworthy leader. You can become a leader who models emotional and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

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Self Build Project Management – To Be Or Not to Be Your Own Self Build Project Manager?

With about 20,000 of us deciding to 'build it' each year, the plucky British DIY spirit is fully on view across the country and should be applauded wherever it is found. Figures from Buildstore Ltd show that around 80% will attempt the project management side of the self build project themselves and around 20% of the projects will be run by an outside project management consultant or company.

It is part of every project and is the most important role in the project.

The most important role, in any self-build project, is the role of Project Manager. This is a straightforward statement of fact and anyone that tries to say otherwise is guilty of living in denial – sorry but that's the truth.

Project management is part of every project – it exists even if everyone denies its existence. Someone will be doing some or all of it at every stage of the project. So better to acknowledge that at the start and take it on board, control it and use it to your benefit. Make it work for you by understanding its implications rather than have it work against you by ignoring it and hiring it will go away – it will not!

Anyone can do it! But should everyone do it?

This is a role anyone can take on but there are certain implications and effects on the persons life that need fully engaging with before the role is accepted. Although anyone can take it on, some of you may decide not to when you see the nature of the job; In all its gory detail! It requires the ability to balance many different skills and tasks at the same time while leaving sufficient head space to deal with minute by minute and day by day issues that are inherent in any and all construction project management situations.

So will you take it on? And, more to the point, should you take it on? After all it's your project and only you can know if it's the right thing for you, your partner and family and your project.

Cost effective use of resources? Relinquish, or take, control?

Lets look at some initial considerations. Do you work? How much do you earn? Is your budget able to provide some of the costs of an external project manager? The fact that to be an effective project manager you need to be site based for most of the week means that you will most often need to give up your job or take an extended period of unpaid leave (upwards of a year to a year and a Half).

Is it cost effective for you to do this? If you went to work and paid an external project manager to take control (and responsibility) from your wages would you have a better quality of life during the project? Would you feel out of sync with it? Could you relinquish that much control? Only you can decide these things but just make sure you at least consider all the options and consequences before accepting the role. It will cost more, proportionally speaking, to engage a project manager further down the line to rescue a self build nightmare than it would to include one from the start with a contract and guarantees etc.

Watching 'Grand Designs' and 'Property Ladder' every week has shown all of us two things that happen in real life on almost all projects.

  • Projects run over schedule!

Sometimes by as much as twice or three times as long as the original forecasts. Can you take that much time off work if things run seriously over schedule?

  • Projects run over Budget.

Some of the projects we see on those programs achieve a very commendable 0% to 10% over run, but we have all seen the episodes of both shows that have over runs of 100% to 150% !! Are you the sort of person who needs to be in charge of the pennies and the schedule; So that if there is a budget over run you can confidently say – 'there was no more that could have been done'?

Or would you be better suited to living slightly removed from the day to day ups and downs and fully trusting an outside agency to summarize and report back to you through the project?

Predicting the future, based on experience.

Now no one can predict the future – except possibly Nostra Damus (and that's very debatable). However the role of project manager involves a need to try and do just that. University and books can not teach this – only experience, proper systems and management can help avoid the worst of unexpected costs, events and weather.

The role of the project manager is to plan for the best and worst situations; To have a plan for as many eventualities as possible. To know the project 'inside and out' so that you can make decisions on the fly in line with your long term and short term project plans and goals.

Making that decision consciously puts you in the top rankings of self build managers everywhere!

When considering all of the above in your process to decide which way to go, please do not be put off or scared by the reality. Enjoy it! I know that sounds weird but looking at this without blinkers is the first step to successful project management. You have put yourself in the top rankings by even 'deciding to decide' rather than allowing the decision to happen to you!

If, having considered your options, you decide to go for the self managed route then there is a third option; A middle way. Some companies offer real time project management support. These are much less expensive than full external project management but allow you to self manage with some one back to you up!

The learning curve to successful project management is based on education and experience. Learning at the same speed as your project AND having someone with 20 years experience to talk to once a week and email often, could have seen to be the best of both worlds.

Which ever route you choose, choose from a place of calm, knowledge and understanding. Ask questions and talk to your partner (s) in the project, be honest and open about both hopes and fears. When you decide which route to take be decent. I wish all of you, in the enviable position of starting a self build of any size or type, luck, wisdom and a successful build.

(C) Mark Watson 2009

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Brand Identity – Building Your Brand With Integrity

Building a brand is not a gimmick or fluke, marketing for deep positive branding is a necessary part of business. If marketing with integrity is at the core of your business, you can develop branding strategies that are customer focused built on your values.

Branding Strategy #1 – Branding through top notch customer service

A major aspect of branding for any business is the customer’s experience from first learning about the company to actually using the product. Competitive pricing, quality return policy and programs to generate customer loyalty all add up to effective customer service. Running a business with integrity includes asking for customer feedback, efficiently handing customer complaints and truth in advertising, your brand’s essence is based on the promises made with the initial branding. From the onset, give your potential customers your brand’s promise in the simplest terms possible THEN live up that promise – that IS customer service!

Branding Strategy #2 – Consistent visual branding

Visual branding is very powerful. Both online and offline branding is built on your use of logos, banners, tag lines, packaging, business cards, advertising and direct marketing tools. Even if funds are limited, you can strive to be consistent AND creative with your visual branding efforts. As your business grows, invest in creating a visual logo that can be built into all aspects of your business. Remember that your brand’s promise and personality is most effective if your customers can mentally CONNECT your logo with your business.

The use of a trademark is an integral part long term visual branding. A trademark also protects your business in the long run. Building your brand with a trademark occurs when you convey you are a serious contender for their business. When your potential customer is on the fence between two companies seemingly equal companies, a trademark can influence their choice. Your customer service from sale to repeat sale will help keep them loyal customers but getting that initial foothold will either make or break your business.

Branding Strategy #3 – Branding through relationships with your customers.

Through building relationships with your visitors and customers, you will create deep connections that compel them to return to you for future business. Granted many customers buy based on price or brand names regardless of the environment or customer relations BUT if your business is built on customers rather than sales ~ you will learn the power of branding through relationships. Essentially, it comes down to what your business offers. A service business can only thrive when you are able to develop strong professional relationships with your customers. If you run a website that offers digital products with little human interaction then you may discount the relationship aspect. Smart business? I don’t think so. Customer loyalty and word of mouth recommendations come from customers impressed with your product, service and the way they were treated by you and your team. That’s the bottom line. The long term benefit of connecting with your customers definitely outweighs any short team business success.

Branding Strategy #4 – Choose your branding and marketing strategies based on your potential customers.

Personality branding lifts a business apart from the competition and above similar business with the human element of the business. Your brand’s “personality” is made up of the human aspect of your brand. What human attributes do you WANT you’re branding to project? Think of the customers you seek. Consider the human traits that will draw them toward your brand. Does your brand project warmth, fun, wit, efficiency, imagination, maturity or thriftiness? The human elements you convey in your marketing and branding will be key to reaching your target market. Investment bankers often use branding strategies that convey steady, mature, serious and bottom line thinking because those are what their potential customers seek.

On the other hand, viral branding works best with businesses that tote themselves as cutting edge, trendy, hip and fresh like Apple computers, cell phone companies and even credit cards.

While sensory branding is built on the full experience of the customer, you may make the sale but the customer’s TOTAL experience is what provides the branding you seek. Although sensory branding occurs after you make the sale, sharing customer testimonials that relate their own total experience with your product or services will help get the first sale. When their own experience closely matches the testimonials, the branding will be further deepened for them. Because branding helps customers make a choice, deep positive branding is your goal.

Remember…

Branding and marketing your business is a big venture. Spend time each week on building your brand. Your brand consists of the qualities others assign to your business. Your business offers something – but starting a business alone does not mean success. Success comes when others look at your business in its entirety as VALUABLE and DELIVERS.

How will you know when your branding efforts have succeeded? When the experience of doing business with you fulfills the Brand Identity you set out to develop. Essentially, it comes down to the customer’s experience. When your business is living up to your brand’s essence, consistently and with honest business practices…you will know you have succeeded in building your brand! Profit margins aside, you will know you ARE a successful business owner.

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