I have long admired the RSA. If you don’t know about this innovative charity then they sum themselves up well as “encouraging the development of a principled, prosperous society and the release of human potential”. One of the ways in which they do this: “by sharing powerful ideas and carrying out cutting-edge research, we build networks and opportunities for people to collaborate – creating fulfilling lives and a flourishing society”.
I suppose I have an inbuilt bias in how I read this and my mind turns towards inclusion and collaboration in the workplace and in society. Inclusion and inclusive leadership has a constant presence in my work. I have personal, professional and organisational reasons for truly believing that by fostering inclusive environments we create the conditions in which people can unlock their potential and thrive. You should not be surprised if I advocate inclusion when working with leaders via my coaching & consulting work.
I am passionate about responsible & inclusive leadership which ‘gets’ the concept of stewardship, of legacy, and is focused on positive personal impact. When I have been in leadership positions myself I have set out to be this way – although am fallible and certainly do not get everything right.
The same applies, naturally, at a societal level. Now more than ever we need to be nurturing, or even fighting for, inclusive communities which prioritise social justice and mobility. We can all play our part in how we support these objectives in our own small ways:
I have left a more lucrative career to focus on helping organisations and individuals realise their potential – one of my more satisfying decisions.
I lead workshops on inclusion and, as mentioned, challenge my ‘coachees’ to ensure inclusion is a priority in their approach to leadership. Having led the people agenda and HR function at Macmillan Cancer Support – a deliberate choice to step away from the commercial world for a few years – I have also campaigned on aligned issues. ‘Demanding better’ for people affected by cancer is profoundly important work. We need to create workplaces which work for people affected by and living with long-term medical conditions – and those who care for them.
Creativity & innovation were at the heart of my work in one major employer – where I led an internal people consulting team which, in collaboration with other remarkable people, innovated in the field of diversity & inclusion.
I try to put my money where my mouth is: subject to prevalent business conditions, my company and I often have one or more pro bono, or at least deeply discounted, projects ‘on the go’ in the not-for-profit sector. Right now one of these is with a fascinating social mobility charity.
So having considered it for a while, and knowing more than one FRSA, I decided that the time is now right firstly to try and benefit from joining the FRSA cadre and secondly to see how I might collaborate or contribute in my own small way to its wonderful mission.
So I see membership as part of my continuing personal development and hope to network & collaborate with other Fellows; to participate in RSA events/projects; to add to the diversity of RSA thinking in my own tiny way if I can. I also campaign on topics of inclusion and diversity so perhaps can contribute somehow in this area.
One thing I do know: in every organisation where I have worked, or been a leader, I have been seen as someone who thinks a little differently – so maybe I can add something to the mix just as I do with my executive coaching & consulting clients.
I am delighted to be able to say that I have now become an FRSA – and this simple thought piece is a statement of intent which has helped me gather my thoughts on why this seems so exciting for me. After all for some blogs the audience is as much oneself as anybody else.
I hope, humbly, that I can bring some of the above to life.
(Oh and PS: as people do kindly ask….yes the photography is by me. Always.)