Fellow to Assistant Chief Executive for West Northamptonshire Council.
The Red Thread Fellowship Experience
I joined the RTFP in 2017 whilst working for Milton Keynes Council. I was really keen to take part as it is such a unique programme, combining leadership development with charitable work and involving colleagues from a range of different sectors and professional backgrounds.
As we worked through the programme, what struck me was how similar the challenges were that we were navigating as leaders, despite the differences between our roles and organisations. Our action learning time gave us the opportunity to share creative insights and approaches and I learnt so much from the other fellows in my group.
Freddie and Adrian made sure all of the sessions were thought provoking and enjoyable and we were lucky enough to have some excellent venues including Delapre Abbey and Chicheley Hall. We were all working in busy, challenging roles and having some space away from the day job to focus on development was invaluable.
Using tools such as Myers Briggs Type Indicator helped us to develop our self-awareness and an appreciation for the value of diversity, different styles and approaches to work. This also helped us to focus on ways we could become more effective. The charities involved in the programme were so inspiring and it was incredible to see the difference that they were making in the community.
I found the programme really helped to challenge my thinking and assumptions and together with some individual coaching with Adrian, it also helped me to develop my confidence to take the next step in my career, leading a shared service for two London Boroughs.
Having recently been appointed as Assistant Chief Executive for the new West Northamptonshire Council launching on 1 April, I have been reflecting on my learning from the programme around building strong teams and developing positive organisational culture which will be a key focus for our new council.
I really encourage anyone working in leadership to take part in the RTFP. Whilst I appreciate it can often feel like it just isn’t possible to take time out for development, investing the time in yourself will bring benefits for your organisation and for your own growth.