Could The Wizard of Oz hold the key to success for Norfolk’s businesses?

Ian Hacon at finish of Ironman ©FinisherPix.com Ian Hacon at finish of Ironman ©FinisherPix.com

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
8:00 AM

President of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce Ian Hacon is to launch a new-style leadership development business - Yellow Brick Road - focusing on mind, body and soul.

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The key to success?

- Keep Active – being physically fit gives us more agility to do things. Just 20 minutes of light exercise a day can make a real difference.

- Diet – The old saying you are what you eat is true, avoid too many carbs and too much saturated fats. The other old saying, eat like a king for breakfast, a queen for lunch and a pauper for dinner is great advice.

- Live in the moment - we spend our lives rushing through focused on the past and the future.

- Practice Mindfulness - it is scientifically proven to help. If you don’t like the idea of meditating, try listening to classical music on your commute.

- Avoid distractions – Our phones and tablets go everywhere with us, try turning them off some times, take a two week Facebook / Twitter holiday.

- Don’t take life too seriously – Try to have fun, laughter is scientifically proven to be good for our well-being.

The former CEO of Blue Sky Leisure has secured premises at The Shrublands Centre in Gorleston, and emphasising the holistic approach of his new enterprise, will be launching it at the Norwich and Great Yarmouth offices of mental health charity MIND on July 18.

On that day he has assembled a team of more than 20 business people, ranging from solicitors to IT specialists, to help the charity plot its strategic course.

Mr Hacon, 45, of Lyndhurst Close, Gorleston, describes Yellow Brick Road as the metaphor for a journey - “Wizard of Oz is a really good metaphor as characters such as the Tinman and Scarecrow all had it within them to succeed” - and it mirrors his own personal journey from out-of-shape executive to Ironman triathlete.

The father of three, who has taken to wearing red shoes, a la Dorothy, said: “When I started training at the age of 39 I noticed the endorphins release and how the runner’s high helped me get through the day better; for one thing my attention span improved.”

The positive impact physical fitness had on his ability to run a successful business - culminating in Blue Sky Leisure winning last year’s EDP Business of the Year title - inspired his vision for a new type of leadership course.

Creating Leadership ViTALiTi, initially targeting senior managers in organisations, will combine traditional leadership training with a focus on nutrition and physical and mental health care.

He said: “It won’t be a boot camp. The emphasis will be on providing information for people to make informed decisions although there might be some light work, yoga and stretching.”

Better physical and mental fitness throughout an organisation resulted in sharper decision-making, lower absenteeism and less likelihood of people leaving.

He said mindfulness was an important tool for bringing about a clearer mind - he practised meditation - but improving mental wellbeing in a company could be as simple as encouraging staff to take a walk at lunchtime.

Mr Hacon, who expects to employ up to four people within a year, said he felt his journey with Blue Sky Leisure had come to a natural end – “I had left a staff united behind one set of visions and values and prepared the groundwork for franchising Zaks restaurants” – and had a strong desire to be an entrepreneur again.

He is confident Yellow Brick Road has strong potential to grow and is particularly eyeing the London market.

As well as Creating Leadership ViTALiTi, initial programmes will include one on Creating Purpose with Meaning, aiming to help organisations find their true purpose and clearly articulate it to their teams and other stakeholders.

Courses of up to a week will be followed up by longer-term coaching sessions to complete the journey and regular assessment to track progress.

Mr Hacon’s personal journey to physical fitness resulted in him completing the Ironman France Triathlon last week – his first outing over the Ironman distance which includes a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a marathon (26.2m) run – although he was keen to stress that completing an Ironman would not be part of course content!

9 comments

  • Ha ha ha. I see the King of Trolls is showing his complete ignorance yet again. Chambers of Commerce are private companies, funded by private sector membership fees. Whatever your views of their value or effectiveness, they aren't publicly funded. You really do need to get a life, which is clearly very unfulfilled given the volume of dross you constantly expound on these pages. I'm gainfully employed and manage to comment about once a night. Given the amount of time you have to waste, perhaps you should spend a bit more time reading and less time wasting space here.

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    Tom Jeffries

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  • But they are paid by their members (who are companies not individuals). They put on networking events and offer business services, none of which falls into your description of "legal powers". They lobby government and council on behalf of their members, not the other way round.

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    J Smith

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  • "The Cabinet Office 2009 report on non-departmental public bodies (official term for quango)" and the dictionary meaning "(in Britian) independent body with legal powers set up by the government" i cant imagine what "legal powers this mob has got, but what is to stop them being taxpayer funded ?. Looked at the financial sheets for the Chamber of Commerce head office and the total funding is in one lump, not broken down, so any funding is cleverly disguised by KMPG.

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    "V"

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  • I think "V" you either don't know what a Quango is or you (wrongly) think that any of these mentioned organisations are tax-payer funded.

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    J Smith

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  • Im not talking about him, Im talking about the other self important members.

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    "V"

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  • Just because you don't understand it, doesn't make it a quango. And, quite clearly, he was a CEO of a successful business.

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    gy_bourne

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  • Employed as what ?. The usual self publicising ones are on this quango who without their companies would not be able to get a job in the real world.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    "V"

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  • I would image you'd have to be employed to be a member of this "talking shop" It'd be a bit pointless (like some comments on here) if you weren't......

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    gy_bourne

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  • Oh God. You couldnt make it up, and this idiot is in charge of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce. No wonder it is just a talking shop for the otherwise unemployable.

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    "V"

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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