Niki Fuchs: Why we invest in our leaders.
When my brother Giles and I founded Office Space in Town, our vision was to create the most productive, pleasant and inspiring environment for our clients with unique buildings, boutique-style décor, the latest technology and a service-led culture that would be the envy of the industry. We knew that we would need a very special team to deliver that very big ask and we put as much effort into recruiting and developing our staff as we do our buildings.
To that end, and with the help of Alembic Strategy, we decided to invest in our very own Office Space in Town Leadership Academy and we’re proud and excited to see our first group of Directors and General Managers graduate from the programme.
The design of the programme started this time last year with a ‘kick start’ session where we shared the OSiT vision and encouraged contributions from the team so that they would feel invested in themselves and the future of the company.
The Leadership Academy programme itself started in January with a workshop to introduce the team to the principles of strategy, problem solving methodologies and tools. Three project teams were created and assigned a strategic project topic with a mandate to deliver and present back their findings and recommendations to the Board some 8 weeks later. Each team had access to online resources including videos and further reading, one-to-ones and individual coaching sessions to help with their personal goals and challenges. Each individual completed a motivational map and a self-assessment of various core leadership skills including communication, project design and implementation, strategic thinking, self-awareness and effective listening. In addition, they also attended a ‘body work’ retreat day summer school that focused on how they respond to challenge both mentally and physically and participated in role-play exercises.
Roseanna Farish, our client manager at Alembic Strategy, and I agreed that it was wonderful to see the enjoyment and appreciation of everyone coming together to deliver on change projects which contribute to the wider business. Everyone responds in their own way - building a high-performing leadership team comes from shared experience, learning from each other and collaborating to achieve that shared vision.
This year’s programme may be over but we are continuing to invest in our leaders. Each person who participated will now be joining the Institute of Leadership and Management as members to help them with their continuing professional development by giving them access to a community network of over 30,000 like-minded leaders and resources such as MyLeadership, their flagship e-learning tool.
So, has it been worth the investment? This is just a small selection of what the team had to say about how the programme helped them – I’d say that’s been totally worthwhile and we can see the difference in these individuals and the businesses that they run every day.
Sarah Singlehurst, Group Sales Director, “The best and most valuable lesson I learnt was about strategic time management. Understanding, planning and implementing new strategies has changed my life. I am now far more organised, attentive and effective – this has had a truly positive impact on my relationships with both colleagues and clients.”
Katie Rice, General Manager at Waterloo, “The most valuable lessons for me were around raising my own capacity for self-awareness; what I’m doing and the reasons why. It has enabled me to learn how to prioritise effectively and make sure I’m spending my time in the most strategic way.”
Amelia Woolley, General Manager at Monument, “The most valuable thing I have taken from the Leadership Academy is the ability to reflect on the things I do and the way I do them. I’ve learnt to question whether or not I should follow a particular path because it brought me success in the past and evaluate each challenge or project with a fresh approach as if it was the first time I’d done it. This has allowed me to open my mind to consider a wider range of solutions.”
Georgia Sandom, General Manager Liverpool Street, “I’ve learnt really valuable project management skills to use in my job every day and had the opportunity and experience of working with my peers in a completely different capacity.”
Lisa Mumford, General Manager, Euston Tower. “My favourite project was the ‘One-page plan’. This really helped me visualise my goal for the year and how I can achieve it. It’s also a tool I will continue to use and pass on to my colleagues.”
Jamie Stuart, General Manager, Mayfair. "What particularly resonated with me were the self-reflection tools. Reflecting on past performance and where I saw myself at certain points of the year helped me set future goals for my team and their development”.