Chris Croft | Vistage UK
Speaker Bio

Chris Croft

Chris is a Chartered Engineer with an MBA and has worked as Production Manager and General Manager in industries as diverse as aerospace, plastics and automotive with many years of management and project experience. He has also lectured in management for the Bournemouth University Business School, before setting up his own training business twenty years ago. He has been in steady demand within Vistage for seventeen years now, because of his mixture of deep knowledge, his practical approach, and his sense of humour.

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In addition to running one/two day courses in Time Management, Negotiating and Project Management Chris has been over to Los Angeles eight times to film sixteen courses for lynda.com, where his Project Management course has had over a million views and his Happiness tips course has had half a million in less than a year.

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My programmes
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Four Thinking Tools for Understanding the Key Trade-Offs in your Business

Even just one of these tools could make a big difference to your strategy. Once you’ve seen these four ideas you’ll wish you’d seen them years ago, and you’ll never forget them!

Read more

Four Thinking Tools for Understanding the Key Trade-Offs in your Business

Overview:

Even just one of these four thinking tools could make a big difference to your strategy. Most people don’t know about any of them. I’ve taken out the maths and made them simple. Once you’ve seen these four ideas you’ll wish you’d seen them years ago, and you’ll never forget them!

Tool 1 – Service vs Cost: The queue formula

How much extra would it cost to be able to serve people quicker? Would it be worth doing? Are you paying more than you need to? Are you asking your managers to do the imp0ossbile and then wondering why they keep failing? The formula for queues will tell you how much spare capacity you need in order to deliver whatever level of service you decide. A spreadsheet (copies for all) will allow you to model your business, simulate the rate of incoming work, and optimise your position.

Tool 2 – Quality vs Cost: The cost of quality graph

How much extra would it cost to provide a higher level of quality? Are you running your business at the point of minimum cost, and did you know that this will not be the point of maximum profit? Would increasing your profit actually be cheaper for you, or would it be slightly more expensive but in fact make you more profit? How can you work out where you are, and where you should be? What should you be measuring in order to make the right management decisions for your business?

Tool 3 – Price vs Quantity: The elasticity-turnover-profit equation

The effect of changes in price on profit per item, quantity sold, and therefore overall profit. Are you being a ‘busy fool’? Are you sales people incentivised correctly? Are they costing you profit? An elasticity spreadsheet (copies for all) which shows what proportion of your business you should be losing on price if you are going to maximise your profit. It’s probably more than you think!

Tool 4 – Price vs Quality: How to simulate the competitive market options

An interactive game where four teams compete for the market by getting the best mix of price, quality, and customer service. Application of the lessons learned to your real businesses – knowing your competitors’ strategies, knowing your buyers’ thought processes, and being able to pull the right levers in your business.

Project Management - retreat

Participants will know how to manage a project and will have tried out the techniques themselves using interactive examples and exercises. The full day retreat options go into further detail.

Read more

 

Project Management - Retreat

For a retreat, Chris offers three half day options and two full day options, outlines are below.

 

Overview:

  • The role of the MD in Project Management
  • Overview of the 12 step Project Management process
  • Interactive example of why diagrams are needed
  • Trying out the ‘CPA’ process on another example
  • Converting critical paths to Gantts – why and how, with an exercise to try it
  • Predicting your resource requirements when you have multiple projects – small companies can’t do everything at once
  • Some unexpected thoughts on the finance of projects
  • Good questions to ask a project manager who works for you

Outcomes:
Participants will know how to manage a project (or how to get someone else to do it professionally), and will have tried out the techniques.  Participants will have seen how the techniques are quick to do, and allow them sleep at night.  In fact participants will wonder how anyone could live without project management in any size of company, large or small.

 

Half Day Retreats

Option 1: Overview/Refresher
Covering all of the main points of planning and managing projects.

 

Option 2: Workshop

I talk you through the planning of one or several of your real projects.  Suitable for those who have seem the overview session, or who already have a good understanding of project management.

Option 3: Workshop on Gantt of Gantts

Participants will construct a resource plan of all of the projects you want to do in the coming year (or more), checking that you have all of the resources you need, identifying bottlenecks, and prioritizing where needed.  This works best if everyone is from the same organization, but if we use a real example from one company then everyone can see the process used and apply it to their own companies later.

Full Day Retreats

Option 1
Combination of half days 1 and 2 above: covering the main points and apply it to real projects as we go along.

Option 2
A more in depth coverage of the principles of project management.  The half day session has to omit some useful techniques, so this full day session can cover the process of planning and running projects with more detail on forecasting costs, using Excel effectively, choosing the most economical templates and systems, and resource planning for single and multiple projects.

Personal Goals - Retreat

Using existing goals and creating new ones, participants will build and refine their goals, renewing determination to get the goals defined and achieved.

Read more

 

Personal Goals - Retreat

For a retreat, Chris offers both a half day option and full day option.

Half Day Retreat

This retreat is a mixture of inspiration and methodical process.  The inspiration is about how goals make a huge difference to our lives, both at home and at work, and how writing down makes them happen.  The process is about how to clarify and define your goals – I use SPVEM instead of SMART, and I believe that goals should cover home and work, and also cover things you enjoy as well as things you want to achieve.  Some people call this my ‘Meaning of Life’ session.  Combining goals, efficiency, achievement and enjoyment gives six types of life, of which five are flawed.  Which is yours and how are you going to change?

We will actually get our goals written in this session.  I know that many people are already very big on goals, so participants will already have been thinking about their goals, this session won’t duplicate this, it will build on it and refine what’s already there, as well as renewing the determination to get the goals defined and achieved.

Full Day Retreat
Combining the above goals workshop with areas from the efficiency workshop, see below, would make an excellent day.

  • Best use of email within your company.
  • How to get your meetings to be more efficient.
  • Strategies for handing interruptions.
  • Better delegation – overcoming the barriers we all have.

 

 

Time Management - Retreat

Participants will learn what a personal organisation system should include. Looking at lists, processes and habits with the objective of being able to get more done in less time, and with less stress.

Read more

 

Time Management - Retreat

For a retreat, Chris offers three half day options and a full day option, outlines are below.

Half Day Retreats

Option 1
This retreat workshop focuses on two areas: personal systems (lists, processes etc) and habits (assertiveness, delegation etc) with the objective of being able to get more done in less time, and with less stress.  Lots of practical techniques will be discussed in the group, ending with everyone having collected many useful ideas for their action plans.  It is a more in depth version of Chris’ Time Management from the Top workshop, so it a good follow on, or could stand alone.

Option 2
A half day could be targeted to cover any two of the following problem areas in particular detail:

  • Best use of email within your company.
  • How to get your meetings to be more efficient.
  • Strategies for handing interruptions.
  • Better delegation – overcoming the barriers we all have.

Full Day Retreat
Would cover both of the above options, or all four of the subjects in option 2. This would make an excellent full day.

Introduction to Project Management - Keynote

This 45 minute keynote gives attendees an introduction to project management, looking at the top ten things you need to know.

Read more

 

Introduction to Project Management - Keynote

A keynote is a speech or presentation that establishes the main underlying theme of a conference or event, usually to a large audience and lasting approximately 45 minutes.

 

This keynote will give attendees an introduction to project management, looking at the top ten things you need to know including:

  • How to find out the key driver of your project.
  • How to list the tasks and estimate their times and costs.
  • How much contingency to put into your plan.
  • Critical paths aren't scary if you use post-its.
  • Why I love gantt charts and so should you.
  • Why 'under budget' is usually bad.

 

Setting Yourself Goals - Keynote

This 45 minute keynote will look at how to set yourself goals in work and life, covering why goal setting works and the process of how to fix your goals.

Read more

 

Time Management - Keynote

A keynote is a speech or presentation that establishes the main underlying theme of a conference or event, usually to a large audience and lasting approximately 45 minutes.

 

This keynote will look at how to set yourself goals in work and life, covering:

  • Why goal setting works.
  • A process for setting your goals.
  • Going beyond smart.
  • How to increase your assertiveness and self-discipline.
  • Which goals?  The meaning of life.

 

 

Time Management - Keynote

This 45 minute keynote focuses on how to achieve more, with less stress and will cover the five options if you're too busy to do everything you want to.

Read more

 

Time Management - Keynote

A keynote is a speech or presentation that establishes the main underlying theme of a conference or event, usually to a large audience and lasting approximately 45 minutes.

 

This keynote focuses on how to achieve more, with less stress, including:

  • The five options if you're too busy to do everything you want to.
  • Doing the most urgent things first won't get you anywhere.
  • Daily and weekly actions to control your life.
  • How to overcome a tendency to put things off.
  • The two lists that you must have.

Negotiating Skills - Keynote

This 45 minute keynote will cover the five step process of negotiation, how to trade rather than concede and simple tricks to use when negotiating.

Read more

 

Negotiating Skills - Keynote

A keynote is a speech or presentation that establishes the main underlying theme of a conference or event, usually to a large audience and lasting approximately 45 minutes.

 

This keynote will cover:

  • The five step process of negotiation.
  • What do you need to plan?
  • How to pitch your opening offer.
  • How to trade rather than concede.
  • Tricks: round numbers, the flinch, the nibble etc.

An Instant Guide to Project Management

By the end of this workshop participants will know how to manage a project and will have tried out the techniques themselves using interactive examples and exercises.

Read more

 

An Instant Guide to Project Management

Overview:

  • The role of the MD in Project Management
  • Overview of the 12 step Project Management process
  • Interactive example of why diagrams are needed
  • Trying out the ‘CPA’ process on another example
  • Converting critical paths to Gantts – why and how, with an exercise to try it
  • Predicting your resource requirements when you have multiple projects – small companies can’t do everything at once
  • Some unexpected thoughts on the finance of projects
  • Good questions to ask a project manager who works for you

Outcomes:
By the end of this workshop participants will know how to manage a project (or how to get someone else to do it professionally), and will have tried out the techniques.  Participants will have seen how the techniques are quick to do, and allow them sleep at night.  In fact participants will wonder how anyone could live without project management in any size of company, large or small.

Time and Priority Management

This workshop looks at why management of your time is still an issue, in fact even more so, when you reach the top. Participants will learn what a personal organisation system should include.

Read more

Time and Priority Management

Overview:

Time Management encompasses the huge (the meaning of life, what is important in the big scheme of things, home/life balance, how do our lives manage to slip by with the trivia somehow pushing out the things that really matter?) right down through many of the most important skills in life and management (negotiating, being assertive, planning, delegating etc) and ending up with the detail of your day – diaries, jobs to do lists, tidy or untidy desks, interruptions, etc.

In half a day we will take a tour of most of the above, pulling out some interesting and unexpected nuggets from this most vital of subjects:

  • Why management of your time is still an issue, in fact even more so, when you reach the top of a company
  • What does ‘important’ really mean?
  • Not enough time in the day – is working longer hours the answer?
  • The five options for getting more done – and there are only five
  • What should your personal organisation system include?
  • The link between personal goals and the two foundation behaviours: Assertiveness and Self-discipline.

In Summary

What you must do once as a result of this session, and what you must do every day.

The session will consist of Chris putting across ideas in an interactive / discussion style.  There won’t be many group exercises but there will be some controversial debates.

Previously titled: Time Management from the Top

Four Thinking Tools for Understanding the Key Trade-Offs in your Business

Even just one of these tools could make a big difference to your strategy. Once you’ve seen these four ideas you’ll wish you’d seen them years ago, and you’ll never forget them!

Read more

Four Thinking Tools for Understanding the Key Trade-Offs in your Business

Overview:

Even just one of these four thinking tools could make a big difference to your strategy. Most people don’t know about any of them. I’ve taken out the maths and made them simple. Once you’ve seen these four ideas you’ll wish you’d seen them years ago, and you’ll never forget them!

Tool 1 – Service vs Cost: The queue formula

How much extra would it cost to be able to serve people quicker? Would it be worth doing? Are you paying more than you need to? Are you asking your managers to do the imp0ossbile and then wondering why they keep failing? The formula for queues will tell you how much spare capacity you need in order to deliver whatever level of service you decide. A spreadsheet (copies for all) will allow you to model your business, simulate the rate of incoming work, and optimise your position.

Tool 2 – Quality vs Cost: The cost of quality graph

How much extra would it cost to provide a higher level of quality? Are you running your business at the point of minimum cost, and did you know that this will not be the point of maximum profit? Would increasing your profit actually be cheaper for you, or would it be slightly more expensive but in fact make you more profit? How can you work out where you are, and where you should be? What should you be measuring in order to make the right management decisions for your business?

Tool 3 – Price vs Quantity: The elasticity-turnover-profit equation

The effect of changes in price on profit per item, quantity sold, and therefore overall profit. Are you being a ‘busy fool’? Are you sales people incentivised correctly? Are they costing you profit? An elasticity spreadsheet (copies for all) which shows what proportion of your business you should be losing on price if you are going to maximise your profit. It’s probably more than you think!

Tool 4 – Price vs Quality: How to simulate the competitive market options

An interactive game where four teams compete for the market by getting the best mix of price, quality, and customer service. Application of the lessons learned to your real businesses – knowing your competitors’ strategies, knowing your buyers’ thought processes, and being able to pull the right levers in your business.

An Instant Guide to Project Management

By the end of this workshop participants will know how to manage a project and will have tried out the techniques themselves using interactive examples and exercises.

Read more

 

An Instant Guide to Project Management

Overview:

  • The role of the MD in Project Management
  • Overview of the 12 step Project Management process
  • Interactive example of why diagrams are needed
  • Trying out the ‘CPA’ process on another example
  • Converting critical paths to Gantts – why and how, with an exercise to try it
  • Predicting your resource requirements when you have multiple projects – small companies can’t do everything at once
  • Some unexpected thoughts on the finance of projects
  • Good questions to ask a project manager who works for you

Outcomes:
By the end of this workshop participants will know how to manage a project (or how to get someone else to do it professionally), and will have tried out the techniques.  Participants will have seen how the techniques are quick to do, and allow them sleep at night.  In fact participants will wonder how anyone could live without project management in any size of company, large or small.

Time and Priority Management

This workshop looks at why management of your time is still an issue, in fact even more so, when you reach the top. Participants will learn what a personal organisation system should include.

Read more

Time and Priority Management

Overview:

Time Management encompasses the huge (the meaning of life, what is important in the big scheme of things, home/life balance, how do our lives manage to slip by with the trivia somehow pushing out the things that really matter?) right down through many of the most important skills in life and management (negotiating, being assertive, planning, delegating etc) and ending up with the detail of your day – diaries, jobs to do lists, tidy or untidy desks, interruptions, etc.

In half a day we will take a tour of most of the above, pulling out some interesting and unexpected nuggets from this most vital of subjects:

  • Why management of your time is still an issue, in fact even more so, when you reach the top of a company
  • What does ‘important’ really mean?
  • Not enough time in the day – is working longer hours the answer?
  • The five options for getting more done – and there are only five
  • What should your personal organisation system include?
  • The link between personal goals and the two foundation behaviours: Assertiveness and Self-discipline.

In Summary

What you must do once as a result of this session, and what you must do every day.

The session will consist of Chris putting across ideas in an interactive / discussion style.  There won’t be many group exercises but there will be some controversial debates.

Previously titled: Time Management from the Top

Introduction to Project Management - Keynote

This 45 minute keynote gives attendees an introduction to project management, looking at the top ten things you need to know.

Read more

 

Introduction to Project Management - Keynote

A keynote is a speech or presentation that establishes the main underlying theme of a conference or event, usually to a large audience and lasting approximately 45 minutes.

 

This keynote will give attendees an introduction to project management, looking at the top ten things you need to know including:

  • How to find out the key driver of your project.
  • How to list the tasks and estimate their times and costs.
  • How much contingency to put into your plan.
  • Critical paths aren't scary if you use post-its.
  • Why I love gantt charts and so should you.
  • Why 'under budget' is usually bad.

 

Setting Yourself Goals - Keynote

This 45 minute keynote will look at how to set yourself goals in work and life, covering why goal setting works and the process of how to fix your goals.

Read more

 

Time Management - Keynote

A keynote is a speech or presentation that establishes the main underlying theme of a conference or event, usually to a large audience and lasting approximately 45 minutes.

 

This keynote will look at how to set yourself goals in work and life, covering:

  • Why goal setting works.
  • A process for setting your goals.
  • Going beyond smart.
  • How to increase your assertiveness and self-discipline.
  • Which goals?  The meaning of life.

 

 

Time Management - Keynote

This 45 minute keynote focuses on how to achieve more, with less stress and will cover the five options if you're too busy to do everything you want to.

Read more

 

Time Management - Keynote

A keynote is a speech or presentation that establishes the main underlying theme of a conference or event, usually to a large audience and lasting approximately 45 minutes.

 

This keynote focuses on how to achieve more, with less stress, including:

  • The five options if you're too busy to do everything you want to.
  • Doing the most urgent things first won't get you anywhere.
  • Daily and weekly actions to control your life.
  • How to overcome a tendency to put things off.
  • The two lists that you must have.

Negotiating Skills - Keynote

This 45 minute keynote will cover the five step process of negotiation, how to trade rather than concede and simple tricks to use when negotiating.

Read more

 

Negotiating Skills - Keynote

A keynote is a speech or presentation that establishes the main underlying theme of a conference or event, usually to a large audience and lasting approximately 45 minutes.

 

This keynote will cover:

  • The five step process of negotiation.
  • What do you need to plan?
  • How to pitch your opening offer.
  • How to trade rather than concede.
  • Tricks: round numbers, the flinch, the nibble etc.

Project Management - retreat

Participants will know how to manage a project and will have tried out the techniques themselves using interactive examples and exercises. The full day retreat options go into further detail.

Read more

 

Project Management - Retreat

For a retreat, Chris offers three half day options and two full day options, outlines are below.

 

Overview:

  • The role of the MD in Project Management
  • Overview of the 12 step Project Management process
  • Interactive example of why diagrams are needed
  • Trying out the ‘CPA’ process on another example
  • Converting critical paths to Gantts – why and how, with an exercise to try it
  • Predicting your resource requirements when you have multiple projects – small companies can’t do everything at once
  • Some unexpected thoughts on the finance of projects
  • Good questions to ask a project manager who works for you

Outcomes:
Participants will know how to manage a project (or how to get someone else to do it professionally), and will have tried out the techniques.  Participants will have seen how the techniques are quick to do, and allow them sleep at night.  In fact participants will wonder how anyone could live without project management in any size of company, large or small.

 

Half Day Retreats

Option 1: Overview/Refresher
Covering all of the main points of planning and managing projects.

 

Option 2: Workshop

I talk you through the planning of one or several of your real projects.  Suitable for those who have seem the overview session, or who already have a good understanding of project management.

Option 3: Workshop on Gantt of Gantts

Participants will construct a resource plan of all of the projects you want to do in the coming year (or more), checking that you have all of the resources you need, identifying bottlenecks, and prioritizing where needed.  This works best if everyone is from the same organization, but if we use a real example from one company then everyone can see the process used and apply it to their own companies later.

Full Day Retreats

Option 1
Combination of half days 1 and 2 above: covering the main points and apply it to real projects as we go along.

Option 2
A more in depth coverage of the principles of project management.  The half day session has to omit some useful techniques, so this full day session can cover the process of planning and running projects with more detail on forecasting costs, using Excel effectively, choosing the most economical templates and systems, and resource planning for single and multiple projects.

Personal Goals - Retreat

Using existing goals and creating new ones, participants will build and refine their goals, renewing determination to get the goals defined and achieved.

Read more

 

Personal Goals - Retreat

For a retreat, Chris offers both a half day option and full day option.

Half Day Retreat

This retreat is a mixture of inspiration and methodical process.  The inspiration is about how goals make a huge difference to our lives, both at home and at work, and how writing down makes them happen.  The process is about how to clarify and define your goals – I use SPVEM instead of SMART, and I believe that goals should cover home and work, and also cover things you enjoy as well as things you want to achieve.  Some people call this my ‘Meaning of Life’ session.  Combining goals, efficiency, achievement and enjoyment gives six types of life, of which five are flawed.  Which is yours and how are you going to change?

We will actually get our goals written in this session.  I know that many people are already very big on goals, so participants will already have been thinking about their goals, this session won’t duplicate this, it will build on it and refine what’s already there, as well as renewing the determination to get the goals defined and achieved.

Full Day Retreat
Combining the above goals workshop with areas from the efficiency workshop, see below, would make an excellent day.

  • Best use of email within your company.
  • How to get your meetings to be more efficient.
  • Strategies for handing interruptions.
  • Better delegation – overcoming the barriers we all have.

 

 

Time Management - Retreat

Participants will learn what a personal organisation system should include. Looking at lists, processes and habits with the objective of being able to get more done in less time, and with less stress.

Read more

 

Time Management - Retreat

For a retreat, Chris offers three half day options and a full day option, outlines are below.

Half Day Retreats

Option 1
This retreat workshop focuses on two areas: personal systems (lists, processes etc) and habits (assertiveness, delegation etc) with the objective of being able to get more done in less time, and with less stress.  Lots of practical techniques will be discussed in the group, ending with everyone having collected many useful ideas for their action plans.  It is a more in depth version of Chris’ Time Management from the Top workshop, so it a good follow on, or could stand alone.

Option 2
A half day could be targeted to cover any two of the following problem areas in particular detail:

  • Best use of email within your company.
  • How to get your meetings to be more efficient.
  • Strategies for handing interruptions.
  • Better delegation – overcoming the barriers we all have.

Full Day Retreat
Would cover both of the above options, or all four of the subjects in option 2. This would make an excellent full day.

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