Conducting the orchestra – facilitating sessions with senior leaders
Over the years we’ve become specialists in facilitating conversations with senior leaders. It’s quite common for us to have 20 or 30 people (or more) all in one room. It’s a time for Boards and senior leadership teams to come together, pause and take a view of their internal and external landscapes. This time also allows senior leaders to reflect on great successes. And, sometimes, those moments that have caused major reputational and/or financial damage.
In these circumstances, we don’t have to create a set curriculum. There’s already plenty of material on leadership development. Instead, we have to be the conductors of the orchestra. The talent and skill are already there in abundance: it just needs the right space in which to flourish. So it’s our task to create the conditions and methodologies that will allow these clever, committed people to think and challenge each other constructively.
It’s then that they can decide how to respond creatively – and in keeping with their values – to the challenges they face.
Leaders need this time to be together and support each other. They can also feel confident to voice any concerns or disagreements, before deciding next steps. Our clients know that we’ll always weave the principles of inclusive leadership into their facilitated sessions. That’s just a given.
Facilitation work certainly keeps me busy, too. In the space of the next two weeks, I’ll have spent time with:
- The Council of a university
- A group of 15 Chief Executives from across the UK criminal justice system
- A group of 30 very experienced mediators who work across the globe, covering strategy, system leadership, diversity and inclusion, branding, unconscious bias, and performance management.
I have a deep respect for the senior leaders I work with. I think this means I can get the balance right between support and constructive challenge.
I never forget that it’s an honour to be invited into their worlds. And to be allowed to conduct the orchestra, before handing the baton back to them – firmly – at the close.