Problem-solving with a Christmas spirit

December 8, 2023

ILM members attended a fun Christmas-related training evening with corporate partner Charles Russell Speechlys (CRS) on 30 November.

The event, which focused on “effective decision-making and problem solving”, was hosted in conjunction with the Institute of Legacy Management and was followed by festive drinks and networking.


With attendees – including ILM CEO Matthew Lagden – split into three teams, they had to find solutions to three very unlikely topics:

  • The ethics of bringing Oompa Loompas in to break a strike by unionised elves
  • Whether Santa was bound by GDPR, as he lived at the North Pole
  • If the computer containing the nice and naughty lists had been hacked, could everyone just get gift vouchers instead.

The session looked at the need to draw on a wide range of skills, including collaboration, effective communication and critical thinking. And it also highlighted the common issues that can stop us from solving problems, such as jumping straight into the solution without stopping to analyse what the problem is; not investing enough time and resources in planning the implementation; and sticking with a solution, even when we can see it’s not working, because we don’t want the solution to be perceived as a failure.

A five-step programme showed how to counter some of these potential pitfalls:

  • Define the problem
  • Ideas generation (no idea should be off limits)
  • Choose your solution and develop it
  • Implement your solution
  • Review

Matthew said afterwards: “Despite the tongue-in-cheek subjects, we all agreed that we had learnt a lot about decision making and weighing up options. Everyone had a lovely time and went away very grateful that we weren’t having to organise toy deliveries for every child in the world!

“A huge thank you to CRS for organising its annual Christmas event in conjunction with ILM and for its ongoing support.”

In true festive spirit, there was even a traditional Christmas jumper competition, won by the attendee wearing a jumper featuring Leonardo de Caprio as Santa.

Among those attending was Sarah Seddon, Head of Planning Giving at Combat Stress, who said: “I thoroughly enjoyed attending the joint CRS/ILM event. The scenario was a humorous Christmas theme, but it got all of us thinking with questions throughout the process of how to problem solve, how to work with others and how different approaches can be utilised. Made all the more useful by being with other charities so with different approaches. I came away with a reminder of how important it is to stay open to new ideas and suggestions. It was also lovely to have the opportunity to chat and get to know others. Thank you for the invitation.”


Louise Timbrell, Head of Legacy Management at NSPCC, added: “It was a lovely event – a great mix of networking, fun and practical training. This type of wide ranging, soft skills training is so useful as an individual and as a manager, but something of a luxury as I imagine many charities just don’t have the budget for this type of expertise to help develop staff. More would be very, very welcome!”


Mark Beale, Director of Finance and Business Development at Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care, thanked everyone for the event and said: “I thought it was particularly good in facilitating a networking session. The three scenario problems we were given to solve were fun but practical – showing especially how a team is so much more effective than an individual in solving a problem“Moreso when you feel you’ve given it your all, a new set of eyes and minds still found some more options. A great session, some good learning, well facilitated – and fun was had by all.”


Post in the forum (members only)
Mention on Twitter