Leadership has been at the top of the agenda this year. More and more organisations are realising the need to develop their leaders.
Succession planning is also emerging as a priority in our work on sustaining organisations and impact. Where will the next generation of leaders come from?
The main way Wren and Greyhound can contribute something new to these challenges is through our Lasting Difference resources. The recently updated toolkit contains a new section on leadership, with lots more practical tools and ideas to help anyone in any organisation lead their colleagues to take action on sustainability. It is vital to clearly identify and understand your personal aims, agendas, power and influence. These are often overlooked in leadership thinking, so the Lasting Difference toolkit gives you the chance – and tools – to assess your own priorities before attempting to influence anyone else’s. (Tip: you are part of the problem you are trying to solve).
We have also developed bespoke leadership programmes using the Lasting Difference resource, for example with special four-hour masterclasses for senior leaders in the ACOSVO network and a recent pilot of a full-day leadership workshop with 50 highly-engaged participants. Run in partnership with Corra Foundation and Scottish Government, the workshop proved to be a powerful, effective (and cost effective) way to approach leadership and organisational sustainability in new ways. The ideas and actions that were generated were so useful we’ve collated them into a special write up (available on the Resources page). The most striking thing about the feedback wasn’t that 100% of participants gave top ratings to the event and the learning outcomes. It was the urgency with which they intended to take action as a result of what they’d learned. Here’s a small flavour of what people committed to do:
· Create an income generation plan then see how we can develop other plans linking to that.
· Be a better listener and collaborator when managing change.
· Create more space – to listen, hear and reflect not cluttered with obstacles. Encourage more play with new ideas.
· Immediately pick up phone to a Board member.
· Challenge Senior Management Team about our understanding of our sustainability and what we can do differently.
We are also continuing our exploration of Punk Leadership. Notes from our two short events to date are on the Resources page. We’re doing more conference inputs and workshops on the subject in autumn so will create and share more resources after that.
We’re also running leadership programmes with individual organisations, particularly to overcome the gap between strategic planning and implementation. In one really exciting year-long programme that’s still underway, we’ve developed a new model of developing individual and team learning goals; devised a truly participatory strategy implemenation programme; and made sure that staff can lead the strategy from the ground up – and are ready to make the most of ‘top-down’ initiatives.
Our work on developing complexity-competent leaders in the transformation of health and social care has begun and takes a similar approach. Informed by Carl Rogers’ work on self-directed learning and influenced by systems approaches, complexity theory and design thinking, ‘Embrace the Chaos’ is a uniquely stretching leadership development programme.
Finally, as well as rewriting the Lasting Difference toolkit, we spent the summer on lots of new publications and resources that take a slightly more lateral approach to inspiring leadership. Our postcard provocations are now available as sets of 20 and are in demand as facilitation tools. The ‘Exquisite Consequences’ book is in the early stages of testing and promotion. And there’s a lot more in the pipeline. All we need is to keep our own leadership at the top of the agenda – easier said than done!