Thursday, June 21, 2007

Inspiring Leadership

Tonight I discovered that the secret to a good life is Eudaimonia, a Greek word which means doing your best with what you are best at for the good of others. That makes so much sense to me and it was great to have it explained by a man that I have looked up to for quite a number of years, management guru and writer, Charles Handy.

I felt privileged to have been able to attend the Inspiring Leadership event, which was organised by St Nicholas Hospice and which featured Charles Handy and leadership development consultant Richard Olivier. Two inspiring leaders inspiring us, the audience.

As well as offering an insight into what makes an inspiring leader and effective manager, much of Charles Handy's presentation focused around The New Philanthropists, highlighting an emerging trend where
inspirational individuals are using their own entrepreneurial and management skills to help others help themselves.

It was also interesting to gain an insight into the work of his wife, Elizabeth Handy, who as well as being his agent, is also a professional photographer. We were able to study a range of her "still life" works that feature in Handy's latest book, where modern day philanthropists were asked to pull together five objects and one flower, which could be used to symbolise important elements of their lives. Objects ranged from items relating to family, those that highlighted proud achievements, tools of their work and a range of important personal achievements that reminded their owners of where they came from and and what it took to get them to where they are now. What they really were, were reflections of their core values.

I was also delighted to experience the theatrical empowerment of the second guest of the evening,
Richard Olivier, director of leadership consultancy Olivier Mythodrama. (Here he is, pictured with communications coach and TV presenter, Katie Ledger).

He talked the audience through the leadership and management lessons that can be learned from Shakespeare's Henry V and blimey, there are quite a number.

I'd never thought of Shakespeare as a resource for leadership techniques before, but Olivier's presentation made a good solid case for studying some of the bard's works again.

I came away from tonight's event with a much better understanding of Henry V than I had ever managed in my schooldays, but more importantly, an unmatched comprehension of the values and skills that are needed for today's leaders to inspire others to believe in themselves and their own purpose, whether they be in the private or public sectors, or the emerging third sector.

So who are our local inspiring leaders? There was a very long delegate list, over 100 people in total, but if I were to cherry pick just a small number of representatives from the evening, they would probably be St Nicholas Hospice, (the event organisers), Common Purpose, West Suffolk Business School, West Suffolk Mind, Cambridge Curiosity & Imagination, Open Road, Speaking Up and 4th Angle, local organisations that focus on inspiring those who often need that inspiration the most.

So what next for the inspired 21st Century Mummy? My first step is to read my freshly signed copy of "The New Philanthropists", perhaps take another look at Henry V and influenced by Elizabeth Handy, I am now looking forward to choosing my own "still life", which I will set about doing very soon.

Not tonight though, as the still life would probably include the staircase, my bed, the new book, my sleeping husband. the alarm clock and some dried lavender. I will ponder upon something more meaningful, some other time.


Baba said...

Amazing ! I just knew you'd love the Olivier Mythodrama stuff - isn't it just fab!! Glad you had such a good evening....I would have really enjoyed it!

Ruby in Bury said...

Lovely write up of the event - has given me a really good window into what it was all about. Sound very inspiring.