As we prepare to celebrate some of Gloucestershire’s most successful businesses, Stewart Barnes of QuoLux, the leadership development and strategy specialist and sponsor of the Lifetime Achievement Award, explains how leaders are learning from each other.
“Running a business of any size is demanding,” says Stewart. “QuoLux has worked with hundreds of organisations and their leaders through the years and there are many common challenges that they face, albeit within the unique context of their own working landscape and personal experience.
“We’ve seen incredible transformations among leaders with significant impacts for their businesses, from owner-managers and directors taking part in the LEAD programme. One of the most powerful aspects of the programme is the shared learning that takes place within a cohort of leaders; this is sometimes referred to as a ‘community of practice’.
“The cohort of leaders are focused on developing their own leadership and they come together in this joint enterprise. Interacting regularly as part of this trusted group, they generate knowledge, skills, new ideas and tackle the real issues they face and then bring that all back into their business.”
Many of those participating in LEAD also choose to have their learning accredited by the University of Gloucestershire with a Postgraduate Certificate, in what’s known as ‘work-based learning’ (WBL). “Leaders tell us they find that formalising their knowledge into written and verbal assignments helps them to deeply reflect and structure their thoughts,” explains Stewart.
“More than half of our LEAD alumni choose to have their learning accredited and we have a 100% pass rate in all work-based learning accreditations, achieving Distinctions and Merits. Those that go on to develop their leadership further in our GOLD programme can have their learning accredited to Diploma level. Our first cohort of GAIN delegates are working towards their MBA (Leading Business), which will make them the first in the world to achieve a work-based learning ‘practical’ MBA!”
Earlier this year, the QuoLux team extended the principles of shared learning by establishing its own publication. Leading is published three times a year, bringing together the insights, reflections and shared experiences of leaders.
“The concept for Leading is ‘a meeting of inquiring minds’ and we’re fortunate to have some fantastic contributors willing to share their reflections as they continue to develop their own leadership. They offer personal accounts of tools they have found helpful, insights that have changed their approach to certain situations, and business planning processes that they’ve been implementing. This sits alongside short introductions to theory and practice from our LEAD, GOLD and GAIN masterclass speakers, and so the whole publication becomes a mirror of the programmes itself.”
Not only has the team had great feedback from its readers, but the publication has been shortlisted for two awards at the CIPR PRide Awards celebrating excellence in communications, which will be held in Bristol next month.
“Leadership is a question of nurture, not nature,” summarises Stewart. “There’s plenty of evidence that learning in the context of your own organisation and among a peer network that’s focused on sharing knowledge, can bring tangible improvements to leaders and their organisations.”
QuoLux sponsors the Lifetime Achievement category in the Gloucestershire Business Awards.