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ASPIRE launch

Ask most executives and managers if they are great leaders and you’ll hear, “No, but I have every intention of becoming one!” Big, or small, we all have aspirations, from fueling organisational growth to leading change, encouraging system collaboration to ensuring employees are fulfilled; leadership ambitions can take so many different forms the possibilities are endless!

However, aligning time, skills and effort with the intention to build leadership skill and capacity is not easy, yet with the challenges the public sector faces it is more important than ever. That’s why the ASPIRE programme – a 12-month accelerated leadership development programme for 15 voluntary and community sector leaders – launched with a two-day residential opportunity that provided our emerging leaders with the precious commodities of time, space, a support network and expert challenge, on which to embark upon their journey.

Starting with a deep-dive into their personal values and visions for leadership the intensive two day programme achieved huge impact within the group which emerged with a great sense of excitement and pride in being a part of something new and innovative that has the potential to create a movement of change for the voluntary and community sector.

The first two-day residential workshop wasn't just an extended "get-to-know-each-other" - it was a deliberately accelerated spiral of depth where the group could build trust, explore individual and group levels of support, challenge and find the points where they could stretch. Two valuable days out of the office to gel with the cohort that they will spend time with for the next 12 months, and create a future network with.

ASPIRE balances opposing forces; time away from the office where we can explore and develop depth, with webinars and coaching phone calls that are minimally disruptive yet maximally productive - once time has been spent establishing the right climate and group cohesion and trust for these development conversations to reach the kind of depth that we aspire to.

Steve Mackenzie, Essex Community Foundation, reflects on his progress as part of ASPIRE: “The workshop gave me an insight into my learning style, the way that I interact with others and my strengths and weaknesses. Once I had an understanding of these it allowed me to re-structure my leadership vision in a way that would allow me to address those issues and build upon them. It is already helping me to consciously address factors that I was unconsciously aware of!

“I have started to develop my Personal Action Plan and I’m looking forward to tackling some of the challenges I’m planning to set myself, which once addressed, will become great enablers.”

David Padgett, Victim Support, is also participating in the ASPIRE programme; “I’m not often enthusiastic about ‘training’, however this is already the best development opportunity I have had. It was the clearest learning I have ever experienced. Everyone learned a great deal from the two day residential, and not just about leadership, but about themselves and the enthusiasm to take things forward will mean it becomes a really effective programme. I am now extremely confident that my participation on the programme will support a personal vision I have to get the third sector victim-care agencies working effectively together to provide the best care and be a model for other counties to follow.”

Next steps for the group include the completion of their Personal Development Plans, 1:1 coaching, a leadership webinar and the group is looking forward to coming together once again in May. We’re also looking forward to hearing about the next stage of their development.

Page updated 21/02/18