The most highly performing teams are those which are comfortable with change
Having just embarked on a new role as Mid Value Lead at Cancer Research UK, this was a conversation during the first week of the IoF’s Future Leader Programme that felt extremely timely and apt.
I was tasked with leading my team through a restructure, setting and launching an ambitious new strategy, and inspiring the brilliant people I work with to embrace the challenges of completely transforming the way we think about and run our Mid Value activity.
Through a well thought out combination of discussion, exercises, eminent guest speakers and vibrant examples from a range of sectors, Mark Hughes guided us through the tools that would equip me to do this and to feel more confident in doing so. It would be impossible to capture everything that I have gained but I will share just two further examples!
Each week, we start the session by going round the room and sharing how our month has been, what we have achieved, what has been difficult; what we are proud of and what we want to continue to work on. Having the time to reflect on these issues and to articulate them to a roomful of brilliant leaders who were equipped to offer invaluable support, and being accountable for the development actions that you had signed up for in the last session, made this much more than a course. Each session was a set of practical tools that you then had a month to reflect on and implement, before informally “reporting back” to your peers. This meant that there was no danger of the learnings being neatly filed in “personal development” and then forgotten about, as is so often the case after one day courses, despite all good intentions!
A theme throughout the course was the importance of leadership, and the wide reaching impact that individual leaders have. When Shannon Banks, former HR Director, Talent Management, of Microsoft Western Europe, came to share her experiences with us, this was particularly clear. Having worked for Bill Gates for many years, Shannon’s stories illustrated the impact of inspirational, passionate and authentic leadership on the entire business. She also generously shared her own, continuing, journey of personal development as well as the importance that Microsoft as a whole placed on this – an empowering and important justification of the time we were spending on improving our own leadership qualities.
The quote about the most highly performing teams being those which are comfortable with change became a mantra that my entire team would take on when we went through particularly significant shifts. They are an ambitious, hard working and passionate team who are determined to work at the absolute peak of their potential, in order to allow our organisation to invest more in cancer research. I am certain that my participation on the Future Leaders course, and the lasting network of peers that will continue to support me, will play a significant part in allowing me to lead them to achieving this.
Millie Perret, Mid Value Lead at Cancer Research UK
Millie took part in the most recent IoF Academy Future Leaders Programme
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