Terry Prior


Diploma in Organisational Leadership




Heavy Construction Projects



By Terry Prior

Why I chose to be happily outside of my comfort zone

I have thought about modernising my skills for a long time, but over the years working on construction projects 6-7 days a week for months on end, often in remote locations, always seemed to get in the way of actually doing something about it.  Every year I would receive a fresh batch of bright young graduates for moulding into the business with the objective of showing them the necessary survival skills to get through the cut and thrust of project life ‘on-the-ground’.  Having this responsibility is truly one of the great pleasures associated with my role, however over time it became increasingly obvious that many of my assumptions regarding coaching and people management were somewhat outdated and in many cases entirely wrong.

A couple of significant things finally drove me to do something about it.  The first was reaching an age milestone (and lets just say that I won’t see 60 candles again) and secondly a period of reflection about my two daughters and contemplation about the legacy / example I wanted to give them – specifically that you don’t stop learning, indeed you are never too old to learn.

In my wisdom I decided then and there that I couldn’t do too much about my age related milestone, however I could do quite a bit about setting the example for my children, as well as graduates that I have coached over the years, by undertaking a period of upskilling and reconfiguration of thinking.

Never one to do things by half measures I applied my current thinking to what really interested me, and that is Leadership, Coaching and Change Management.  The next exercise was to embark upon a study of where to seek such learning and more importantly (from my perspective) identify the best place in the world where I could undertake this, and still fit in my ongoing work responsibilities.  If I was going to do this I wanted to do it with the best.

Quite quickly the Said Business School Diploma of Organisational Leadership came to the top of the list, helped in part by my previous experience attending their Negotiation Programme, but also because of the modular delivery, the standard of tutors (yes I did my research!) as well as the standard of fellow attendees.  Again, if I was going to do this I wanted to do it with the best.

The application process was robust, as would be expected, and to be honest I was unsure as to whether my age, industry or work experience would be acceptable, and I still remember the interview over a phone at midnight my time whilst in a remote desert construction village where I pleaded my case to a very friendly Said Business School representative.

Sometime later I received notification that I had been accepted into the programme and I can still feel the feeling of pride as I called my wife in disbelief.   To be honest I still get an immense feeling of pride about being accepted as a participant, what it means to be part of the cohort and how this programme will ultimately help me become a better coach to my graduates in tandem with being an example to my daughters by action as opposed to just words.

So, what happened next.  That will be the content of the next blog where the title ‘Why I chose to be happily outside of my comfort zone’ will become more obvious – in a good way.

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