A first selection of partners went through a Leadership Excellence Programme in 2021, with input from Shona Mitchell at external consulting agency People Matters. These were partners with direct line management responsibilities. Due to COVID, they went through their training sessions remotely, via Zoom meetings. You can read more about it in our Q&A with Head of HR Anne Allen (Part 1).
The second cohort started their programme in September 2021, which came to a close in February. The broader Leadership Team thought it was valuable to invest in these partners as potential leaders of the future, even though they do not necessarily lead their own teams currently.
Prior to starting, each participant took the Myers-Briggs personality profile test, and the introductory session was dedicated to feedback on their individual results. Then, once a month, they met in-person as a team in the Capstone Centre in Alness, for workshops and discussions based on collaborative skills and team management.
In the final session, participants presented to the Leadership Team, individually and collectively, their insights on the training, and take-away points, as well as their recommendations for the future of Aquascot. They are not short of project ideas to enhance Aquascot's working environment.
The dozen candidates created strong bonds over the last six months, sharing deep aspects of their personalities, along with some of their struggles with everyday job tasks and relationships. Shona helped them veer in the same direction and be more open and vulnerable with each other. It reinforced the belief that the only way forward is to share best practices, and break up the silo mentality.
As we speak, the first and second cohort of partners have built their own groups of working – called ‘Ways of Working’ and ‘Future Leaders’ – and aim to meet regularly to implement action plans and hold the Leadership Team to account.
Changing behaviours, along with enhancing people skills, is a sustainable approach to developing a strong sense of engagement within partners. The third cohort will enter their own version of the programme in March, and will be coached by members of the second one. We wish them good luck on their own journey!