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How Did I Get Here? Rona Cant

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Adventurer, explorer, author and development consultant Rona Cant is one of the founders of business and people development specialists, The BIG Question.




How did you come to work in training?
After I completed the 2000 BT Global Challenge Round the World Yacht Race I developed a new career as an explorer, author and motivational speaker. Other adventures have included trekking Canada’s notorious West Coast Trail, sailing in and winning the inaugural Round Britain Challenge in 2003 and dog-sledding across the frozen Arctic on the 2005 Nordkapp Expedition.

My move into training and development evolved naturally from my initial keynote speeches and in 2004 I linked up with a business development specialist to form The BIG Question, a company dedicated to helping organisations tackle their specific issues and really make a difference.

Describe your role.
We work with companies – large and small – to help define and overcome their challenges. Most of these are inevitably people-based so we deal with all levels and group sizes to assist them in improving their performance and achieving their ideal of excellence.

What activities do you spend most of your time on?
Talking to businesses, planning events, delivering, gaining feedback and constantly honing and improving every aspect of what we do. Oh – and as much exploring and adventuring as time and budgets allow!

What are the best and worst aspects of your role?
Best: Probably the amazing diversity of people we deal with and feeling that not only do we have an impact on their lives, but yes, we really can help them make a difference to their own lives and businesses – both on an individual and group basis.
Worst: Scheduling work, it can mean long periods of people ‘thinking about it’ and then invariably everyone wants everything all at once.

What is the best lesson you can pass on?
Set challenges in your life –no matter how small – and commit to overcoming them. Nothing valuable is ever achieved by staying inside your comfort zone and just doing more of the same.

What has been your worst training moment?
IT failure – never a disaster but it’s definitely something you can live without.

What influences do you think have had the greatest impact on the training sector in recent years?
Obviously a lot of attention has been paid to the crucial role of leadership and this has been reflected in the huge amount now invested in leadership training. However, perhaps it’s time to redress the balance a little and recognise that great leaders only exist when they head up a group of committed (and developed) people willing to be led.

How do you see your work changing or developing in the next few years?
After years of increasingly lavish ‘big bang’ off-site, adventure/novelty type training/bonding events I think there will be a backlash and we will inevitably see companies getting back to basics with all staff, regularly addressing the basics of what really matters. As I think we’re now going totally over the top with some so-called training events, their relevance needs to be questioned, and this would be no bad thing.

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing trainers today?
Probably the issue that despite the huge amounts being spent on training, little new learning is applied back in the workplace and not much changes. We need to find ways of making training more motivational, meaningful and memorable – fast!

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Annie Hayes

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