Throughout this year, myself and 39 other staff at Bradford Council are undertaking the council’s Future Leaders Programme. We are the chosen ones from a pool of over 100 applicants, and I’m delighted to have a place. A schedule of learning has been set out to help us become, as the title suggests, leaders of the future. We are now one week into the programme, and here are my reflections of these early days.
Things were kicked off a week ago with a morning of talks to set the context and give us an idea of what we will be doing and what will be expected of us. I was impressed with the way Kersten England (our chief executive) spoke, incorporating our New Deal objectives into all that she said without over-emphasising the four specific New Deal work streams. Those work streams underpin the fabric of all that we do, and that came across in the way Kersten spoke.
Two things in particular from Kersten’s talk really struck me:
- A quote from an economist who believes we are closer to the next recession then we are to the last recession.
- Due to the unprecedented nature of the shift in funding for local government, there is no guarantee that by 2020 the Council will still directly provide any services.
When taken together, those two things highlight how important strong leadership will be over the coming years. What form that leadership will take, and where it will come from – well, that is to be seen, and is partly why we’re on this programme.
Things I learnt during that opening event include:
- I’m capable of succeeding
- we have a large degree of autonomy about how we progress
- there are big inequalities both in the Council and in the district
- I need commercial and strategic awareness
- we need to look to tomorrow. Today has already gone. (and I don’t mean we should procrastinate!)
- the Future Leaders Programme is not simply a receipt of information
- I need to pay more attention to what those around me think and feel
- I’m going to be busy!