Finishing school


To quote Vince Lombardi, leaders aren’t born, they are made. CUC business support manager Marian Bond explains how

Martin Luther King, Churchill, Gandhi. Some people are born to be great leaders and managers. Sadly, some of us start out less like Alexander the Great and more like Alex the Just About Coping.

The fact is that we mere mortals tend to work our way into senior positions almost by accident or as a by product, particularly if it’s our own business. In the same way that we find the money to upgrade equipment and premises, successful companies tend to invest in developing the top team rather than assuming that they will somehow become great leaders and managers overnight.

One of the most effective tools for management development is the concept of action learning sets. Cutting through the jargon, this is about assembling a small group of people, from the same or different organisations, who get together with a professional facilitator to tackle real and common issues that participants bring to the table.

“One of the most effective tools for management development is the concept of action learning sets”

As well as helping all concerned to hone their management and leadership skills, action learning sets can be a great way to bring new perspectives from current practice and thinking to bear on your business challenges. Senior executive coaching, open or tailored leadership and management programmes also play their part.

There are plenty of good businesses and other organisations out there offering these types of services, but you may not have considered checking out what the universities and colleges might be able to offer in this area.

Truro & Penwith College is an Institute of Leadership and Management accredited centre offering a range of courses, some of which have been tailored to meet the specific requirements of clients such as the Eden Project and Cornwall Care.

Cornwall College Business, also an Institute of Leadership and Management accredited centre, has delivered programmes to the requirements of St Austell Brewery, MJ Medical and Seasalt.

Close to home, the Centre of Leadership and Organisational Excellence at the University of Plymouth specialises in performance improvement and building leadership capacity at senior executive level,

tailoring their provision to your needs in the areas of executive coaching, strategic planning, managing change programmes and succession planning.

Their client list includes the likes of CISCO and the NHS in the South West. The University of Exeter Business School offers Director Development, an MBA (Master of Business Administration) and strategic leadership using the action learning set approach.

Their clients include the likes of creating a tailored programme of CPD (continual professional development) for South West Water. Cornwall College Business and Truro & Penwith College also offers Performance Boosting Short Courses and Success Courses, which are great for arming key

staff with the insight to help your business grow. It pays to shop around and find out exactly what each provider can do for your business and assess them as you would with any other supplier.

Nobody is claiming that training and development is the one great answer that will solve all your business challenges, but it makes sense to make sure that your star players and rising stars are performing to the best of their abilities. And there is one person who you shouldn’t overlook in all this. When’s the last time you spent some time on developing your leadership and management skills?