Coming full circle
When I wrote my last blog post about the Future Leaders Programme, I themed it around a particular comment that course leader Mark made in the very first session which resonated with me: that the most highly performing teams are those which are comfortable with change.
And, indeed, it has been “change” which has categorised most of the activity within my team this year. There have been a variety of structural and process alterations, as you would expect when embarking upon a new and ambitious strategy. But what I have been most excited by – and proudest of – are the changes that the team has made to the fundraising that we do. They have torn apart the “status quo” thinking broadly and boldly about the way they work and the activity they deliver, and our programme and our culture has been transformed.
Perhaps it seems counter-intuitive to begin with reference to the incredible work of my team in a blog post about the importance of a course that was intended to allow me to develop as an individual. However, I am reminded again of a talk from Shannon Banks (for HR Director, Talent Management, of Microsoft Western) and her comments around the critical importance of leadership in allowing a team to perform. The successes that my team have been able to achieve this year are a testament not only to their own ambition and talents, but to my ability to draw out the best in them, to motivate them in the more difficult of times, and my passionate and active approach to their development. So much of this is rooted in the skills I developed through the Future Leaders Programme.
She left feeling confident and positive about her own abilities and possibilities. What a different result it would have been if I had simply responded with a solution of my own."
To take one good example – coaching. As members of my Future Leaders cohort might remember, this is not one of the techniques that came most naturally to me! Solution focused and a passionate problem solver, my overwhelming first instinct was always to provide advice. During the session however, the seed was sown about the value of this style of leadership and I made it an ongoing focus using techniques and material from the course. Recently I was reminded of my growth in this area and the impact that it has had when a member of my team brought a development plan to discuss with me. She talked me through her first goal and told me that she didn’t know what she could do to improve, and perhaps she was just never going to be good at that kind of thing. Without even thinking, I coached her through that problem and within ten minutes she had come up with several brilliant, practical actions of her own that I would never have thought to suggest – one of which she had the opportunity to action that very afternoon. She left feeling confident and positive about her own abilities and possibilities. What a different result it would have been if I had simply responded with a solution of my own.
A year on from the start of my Future Leader’s Programme – from those monthly reunions with a group of supportive peers, and of returning to work with numerous “at my course” anecdotes – we have come full circle with a brilliant Senior Manager in my team having joined the January 2017 cohort.
Every day, my team find ways to improve their activity and are focusing on developing themselves to make the biggest possible impact on an organisation that they are so incredibly passionate about – I can’t wait to see what we can achieve over the next year, under not one but two “Future Leaders”!
Millie Perrett, Mid Value Lead, Cancer Research UK and a Future Leader
Are you keen to develop your fundraising leadership skills? Do you have the desire to become a Director of Fundraising in the next 24 months? The IoF Future Leaders Programme could be for you...