Olympia looked majestic in the brilliant sunshine this morning and there was a definite buzz around the place and not just from the coffee. This year’s CIPD L&D show is offering a range of different sessions from free tasters in the main exhibition, short Ignite talks to full workshops. Only able to stay for half a day I picked two sessions on leadership, a topic close to my heart. The importance of being full of purpose and, for leadership teams importantly, that being a shared, collective purpose was a unifying theme at both sessions. A key message I took away from the opening session from Tim Munden & Nick Pope was the importance of leadership teams learning together, building collective capacity, this really struck a chord with me.
The sum has be more than the total of its parts and that takes work and persistence, dialogue and sometimes dissonance. You have to learn how to work together around the table and out in your organisation. Why then are so many leadership development programmes focused on the individual? Good question.
The second session from Alan Nobbs of the NHS Leadership Academy and Peter Morgan from Caffe Nero demonstrated this again, in both settings the leadership development includes a hefty dose of new, existing or potential leaders learning together, sharing experiences and building insights.
Nick Pope’s comment that you’ll know you’ve achieved collective capacity when you see your Director of HR talking about business performance or the Director of Operations discussing people strategy at staff meetings really rang through, we have to lead out from our functions, that’s what convinces people we are a team and what shapes a common purpose.
I can’t sign off without giving a shout out for the way resilience is a core feature of the strategy at Unilever, they described an impressive range of activities which they implement to support and strengthen individual, team and organisational wellbeing (emotional, physical and mental) and it was having an impact, we can all get behind that.
I’ll nuance this a bit if time permits but hopefully it gives a flavour of some of the themes from my Day 1.