I had an interesting e-mail this week from a member of my staff, asking for a reference. Kathryn is considering a working holiday in Canada, and was asking me for a reference. It was an absolute pleasure; she is a very hard working member of staff and has an opportunity to do something that may be life-defining.

It is important to encourage staff development and progression, and in doing so support individuals completely. In fostering this unselfish and open approach to staff development your staff team thrive and flourish in the rich-learning and opportunistic environment that is created.

I think back to when Kathryn spent some time chatting away with me during a difficult day at work; those few minutes told me more about her character and attitude to life than and interview or assessment could ever do. Even if it is only through writing a simple reference, I was more than happy to return the favour.