Type of Fellowship: General
Year of Fellowship: 2012
Update April 2012
My initial response after being awarded the Fellowship was the sense of unique potential offered by this programme. We were all too aware of how valuable this opportunity is, and how unlikely it is that we will ever again get the time, space and budget for a personal leadership development programme on this scale. I was not the only one who was concerned about getting these very important decisions “right”. With this in mind, the 360 degree evaluation was extremely important – and has helped to confirm my own views of focusing development interventions on issues of presence and profile.
My initial assumptions that the principal value of Clore will be identifying skills and knowledge gaps, and remedying them through training and development have also been challenged. While this will undoubtedly be an extremely important aspect of the programme, I have been struck by the value in the time to “step off the treadmill” and to reflect upon my career to date, and the assumptions which have underpinned its development. And even at this early stage of the Fellowship, it is clear that there will be a huge amount of benefit and learning from the relations between Fellows, both in 2012 and in previous cohorts of fellows.
I did wonder how much I could escape the day-to-day work issues while I was on my residential week in January. However, while I made sure that I cleared work emails on a daily basis, I did find that the camaraderie, intellectual stimulation and sheer fun of spending time with the fellows did become the focus of my attention and energy. Of particular value were the sessions in small groups – and the Action Learning sets have already provided a great source of support, experience and wisdom.
The camaraderie between the Fellows is particularly special – I had the good fortune of bumping into another Clore 2012 fellow on an otherwise dull train journey back to London from the Midlands, and afterwards he emailed to say that if I ever wanted a drink to talk through some of the work challenges I was facing, he would be happy to do so. Such solidarity is all too rare, and really very moving.
Exposure to leaders’ reflections on leadership has been particularly stimulating. I attended a very good ‘Learning with Leaders’ lunch, organised by ACEVO and with Dianne Thompson of Camelot as a very entertaining and stimulating speaker. Her advice was that coaching and mentoring had been most useful to her in her leadership development – which chimes with my growing sense during the Fellowship to date.
I have secured a coach and a mentor and on the way to commissioning some media training. A key priority for year one of my Fellowship is completing the research. I have identified a topic (performance measures for family information services), and am in the process of identifying a research supervisor.
Current principal role: Chief Executive
Current principal organisation: Brightside
Other leadership role 1: Chief Executive
Other organisation 1: Brightside
Other leadership role 2: Non-executive director
Other organisation 2: Social Investment Business
Research: Measuring the impact of providing information to families
Research topics: Impact;
Secondment host: John Lewis