Tag Archives: Rick Hutchinson

Rick Hutchinson to retire from The Rickter Company


Rick Hutchinson to retire from The Rickter Company

I am writing this letter to you all today to make the formal announcement that as of 31 May, Rick Hutchinson will be retiring from the Rickter Company he and I founded together. He is doing this for health reasons.

As well as being a formal letter dedicated to the contribution Rick has made to the Company, I want it also to be a personal letter on behalf of the team and myself.

I have known Rick – Thomas Frederick Hutchinson – since he first invited me to train his staff who were working with young offenders in a Probation-partnered voluntary sector project in Durham. That three-day course on Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) and Solution-Focused working  took place back in 1993.

Two weeks later he rang me to say how the course would change their way of working. Not only that, a couple of things that I had said during the course had particularly resonated with him, and as a result he had come up with an idea. Would I be interested in seeing something he had made?

Intrigued, I met him, and he showed me a rather fragile A4 sized board – a real Blue Peter special – with these ten horizontal scales constructed in plastic with paperclip sliders standing out against a colourful background. Each scale had the numbers one to ten written above.

This of course was the stroke of genius that over many reincarnations has become the Rickter Scale Board. That meeting also ignited a partnership that was to last for twenty years. My own part was to give a voice to those who used his creation by developing the language of the Rickter Scale Process.

And so we began to work together to refine the Board’s production – from Rick’s kitchen table to the factory of Screenprint (Peterlee) Ltd in County Durham;  to develop an Excel programme on floppy discs that could record the Rickter Interview; to provide Rick’s management team and the Home Office with evidence of distance travelled by the young offenders; and very specifically to record their personal journeys towards responsibility, a sense of purpose and direction – and in many cases a life now free of drugs, with better health, better relationships, better housing and sometimes even a job.

The rest, as they say is history.

Except that I do want to pay my own tribute to Rick’s invaluable contribution to the Company in time, dedication, professionalism and passion. I guess you could say, ‘no Rick, no Rickter’, and for every occasion that he and I have talked about work together, I believe there have been very few times that we have not engaged in further co-creation –  in sharing ideas, exploring possibility and coming up with something new. In fact there are still many projects that remain as potential applications, additional features or simply blue-sky thoughts that might one day help to fulfil our vision of a global enterprise, awakening individuals to choice, ownership and responsibility.

Based on the strong foundations built by Rick and I over the last twenty years, The Rickter Company already has ambitious plans agreed for its development and growth. For the present, I can only hint at the prospects ahead, by mentioning a brand new multi-platform online Rickter Scale Process, adventurous new international activity, and the creation of an additional Not-for-Profit Company, but which I look forward to telling you about in much more detail in the weeks to come.

So for now, Rick, from the team, company associates, business colleagues and over 20,000 practitioners who have been trained by The Rickter Company so far, here is our heartfelt THANK YOU. You will be greatly missed.

We wish you a happy retirement and both you and your family all the very best for the future.

Keith, your co-developer, co-Director and friend.

28 May 2013

How is your Rickter Scale?

How is your Rickter Scale?
Daniel Cochlin, The Journal. Originally published August 2005

A small plastic board has become one of the most unique and effective ways of encouraging people to improve their lives. Daniel Cochlin found out how.

L-R icNewcastle Daniel Cochlin with Rick Hutchinson

L-R icNewcastle Daniel Cochlin with Rick Hutchinson

In an age where self-help books, lifestyle gurus and feng shui are all the rage, any newfangled product which claims to give people a helping hand in life is often viewed with suspicion. But a North East firm has come up with a new entry on the market which they claim is the best and most unique method of dealing with people’s problems.

The Rickter Scale is a coloured chart with ten categories – including employment, relationships and happiness – each numbered one to ten. Clients are then asked how they grade each topic, and their answers are talked through by experts. The Scale, designed by North due Rick Hutchinson and Keith Stead 13 years ago, allows people to discover their own aims and aspirations without being told what they are. And the model seems to be working. There are now 8500 practitioners in the UK, 78% of Connexions branches use the scale with jobseekers and Keith has just opened a sister company in Australia.

That said, I have to admit to misgivings about baring my soul to a total stranger on personal issues just using a plastic chart.

Rick explained the Rickter Scale’s effectiveness:

“It works because it is people’s own responses which are evaluated and they begin to realise what their own goals are”

This turned out to be true.

Even in a busy Durham café, I found myself staring at the board and opening up to Rick without a hint of embarrassment.

Rick then took me back through the answers and asked if there were times in my life when the numbers were higher or lower – which for almost all there were – and what number I wanted each one to be. Through some more gentle coaxing, I suddenly realised the board had mapped out where I see my life going – and had thrown up some goals I had not realised I was striving for.

Rick told me:

“With a client, I would then ask a series of more detailed questions on the aspects they were concerned about, and then offer support such as offering doctor’s appointments or careers advice. My conclusion about you is that I can see how far you have came in recent years and your values, and how your happiness is affected by factors like work, money and relationships. Money isn’t a huge issue for you – it’s important, but not as much as happiness or friendships – and it seems that humour is a big part of your day to day life and a way of dealing with problems.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.