What do you hope to get out of today’s session?
We’ve all heard it before. It’s the question at the start of almost every training course that, strangely, comes as a shock to attendees. Quick, think of something!
Personally I like to stick with a standard response of ‘learning’ – you can’t go wrong with that, can you? It’s all about playing it safe.
Or is it?
Clearly when I came to apply for the Future Leaders programme I had to dig a little deeper in my answer to the question of what I wanted to get out of it.
The answer, though, centred around one word again. Insight.
I wanted to get an insight into what makes this country’s public sector communication the best in the world – so that me and my team could deliver consistently excellent work.
I also wanted to get an insight into what excellent leadership looks like, and and how that can drive such excellence.
And what’s clear from the programme so far, and from working with my incredible colleagues at SYFR over the last year, is that none of this involves playing it safe.
If you want to deliver world-class communication there is no room for comfort zones. Especially not if you want to be a good leader.
You have to be brave enough to put yourself out there and apply for things, like this course, that will challenge you and help you grow – even if it does involve crazy stuff like networking.
You also have to be confident enough to push back those beloved poster requests – making time for objective-led planning, insight-driven delivery and outcome-based measurement.
The chances are you’re going to upset an applecart or two, at least at first, whilst you show the value of proper strategic communication.
But my hope is that the next year will equip us all with insight, knowledge and confidence that we can bring to the table – taking us one step closer to the world-class standard that brings about huge benefits for the people living within our respective communities.
All of this is easier said than done, of course, but one thing’s for sure – you can’t do it alone.
I’m very lucky to work with a small but amazing team. We are good friends, not colleagues, and we stand shoulder to shoulder in everything we do.
And, whilst there’s been various highlights to my Future Leaders experience so far, the greatest moments have included, and been down to, others in the group.
The networking that I described earlier as crazy has introduced me to 13 great people, and now indeed friends, who share the same desire to learn, improve and grow.
The New Zealand All Blacks believe the strength of the wolf is in the pack. They are one of the greatest rugby teams of all time – with a win rate of nearly 80 percent.
It’s clear that if we are to be the very best leaders we can be, we must work together like the All Blacks, now and far into the future.
The good news is, we’ve already started!
Jack Grasby is Campaigns Manager for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and one of this year’s Future Leaders cohort