Nice guys don’t always finish last

Last week was the 16th Learning and Performance Institute Learning Awards. This dinner at the Dorchester in London is always a great event, and – as chair of the Institute – it’s my privilege at the end of the evening to present the Colin Corder Award for services to Nigel Paine. (Here’s Nigel, me and our host for the evening, top British Olympian swimmer Sharron Davies MBE.)

The thing is this: you often hear it said that nice guys finish last, that you need to have a ruthless streak to succeed. There was a lot of this around the time of Steve Jobs’ death (for an appraisal of this, see Be a Jerk in The Atlantic).

That’s nonsense.

There is no question that Nigel Paine has been successful. As head of training & development at the BBC in London. He was responsible for all BBC training and development worldwide – that means he had responsibility for 340 staff in 6 locations, and for the learning of 27,000 employees.

He transformed the BBC’s training and development operation and introduced a novel form of governance that ensured strategic alignment.

Since leaving the BBC he has worked a gruelling schedule of international lecturing and presentations, and held down posts including Chief Executive of the Technology Colleges Trust and Executive Chairman of Linking Education and Disability.

And yet despite all this, Nigel has remained open and very generous of this time to others in the industry, at all levels, sharing his knowledge and experience. He is good fun and witty but also courteous.

In short, he – like previous recipients of the award – is proof that nice guys don’t finish last. Quite the reverse. His dedication to learning, and to sharing, make him a great example of what a true learning and development professional should be.

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One response to “Nice guys don’t always finish last

  1. Couldn’t say it better myself Don. Nigel is one of a rare breed that, irrespective of the huge demands on his time from organisations around the world, Nigel always makes time to help you, no matter who you are. Last year’s winner of the award Charles Jennings is of the same ilk. We are very fortunate to have such people and I feel privileged to be part of the group that chooses the award recipient.

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