Stephanie Haughton-Campbell's blog

Six: More than you bargained for….

July 9, 2010 by Stephanie Haughton-Campbell   Comments (0)

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2010-07-09 at 12:27:06


Rarely does it happen, but I love it when promises are delivered on and you get more than you bargained for.  I attended the Networks session yesterday, which was billed as ‘A mix of dynamic presentations from CLP leadership networks and Meeting the Challenge partnerships and interactive discussions to investigate what makes leadership learning networks work.’  The session did what it said on the tin and more….


Expertly delivered, which belied the extensive thought and preparation taken in it’s crafting, I was able to dabble in chaos theory and throw a dice, contribute, relfect and walk away with a giant purple crayon (as well as plant seeds – thank you Hilary J).  It was destined to be a hit with me.


Ultimately, the session provided nuanced insights around the key headings of ‘Purpose, People, Process, Content, Resources and Evaluation’ from individuals who had or were running leadership networks or who had participated in them.  Again the diversity of the group made the ‘wisdom in the room’ incredibly powerful, insightful, illuminating and dynamic.  Also, the fact that our discussions were punctuated with raucous laughter made the two hour session fly by. 


I found three areas of the discussion and investigation beneficial to my thinking;

-         Evaluation.  How an integrated evaluation methodology is not only a way to measure the successes or failures of a network, if used creatively, it is also a reflective tool and an effective feedback loop to support any real time changes made to a network’s purpose, process or content.  Also, ideas on the why, what, when and how of evaluation and the ingenious use of technology (flip cameras, blogs, basecamp, learning clouds etc) can take a dry process and make it immediate, effective and creative!

-         Network performance.  How you manage the challenges faced when you bring together different ‘mindsets’ and leadership challenges of individuals and partners from the public sector and commercial enterprises.  It reminded me of a comment made by one of the leaders at the CLP launch on Wednesday evening, 'partnerships are like marriages they need lots of work'.  And bringing together of individuals in any form of network requires the ability to 'hold the space' in terms of time, communication and resources.  Also, how it is imperative that the benefits to the individual participating in network are relayed and/or felt by their business or organisation as a clear demonstration of ROI to support on-going sustainability and legacy work.


-         Holding the uncertainly.  The point was made that much of the work of individuals in the creative and cultural industries is the management of an ‘uncertain’ creative process in direct contradiction to the certainty of outcome required by senior management and stakeholders.  It was suggested that a leadership learning network can be a place where the individual can bring, explore and play with that uncertainly – an idea I love, which is funny as traditionally I'm the one in any group who always wants certainty!


I made a new contacts, shared insights I didn’t know I had, was challenged, learnt more than I expected and left the session energised. 


Top marks!

Five: Curiosity killed the cat….

July 8, 2010 by Stephanie Haughton-Campbell   Comments (0)

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2010-07-08 at 11:24:16

Thank you CLP for the thought provoking re:freshers launch event yesterday.  21 leaders from across the creative and creative industries, each one sharing insights on what leadership means for them and what the future holds – inspiring!


My overriding thought as I walked home…the uniqueness! Everyone’s presentation was as different and as fascinating as the person speaking.  Exposure to the diversity of cultures, perspectives and ideas will be a vital element to growth and survive in the testing times ahead.  My curiosity has been well and truly been pricked, particularly around authenticity and leadership.  Thanks!


BTW - If you pass Trafalgar Square over the next two evenings have a look at the Slow Dancing film by David Michalek.  You can’t really miss the three massive screens in the Square and it is exquisite!


See you at the Network session later today.


Four: Deep Breathing!

July 7, 2010 by Stephanie Haughton-Campbell   Comments (0)

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2010-07-07 at 11:30:53

'It is not necessarily those lands which are the most fertile or most favoured in climate that seem to me the happiest, but those in which a long struggle of adaptation between man and his environment has brought out the best qualities in both'.

T S Eliot


This quote resonates with me as I survey the lively environment in which we all find ourselves working in today.  At no other time in my career does the way forward seem so treacherous, unpredictable and full of axel braking potholes.


However, when I take a deep breath, quieten the internal and external voices of doom and gloom.  I remember, it is only when I have struggled, when I move from conscious incompetence to conscious competence and beyond do I truly learn, develop more able and aware! 


It could be said that our choice to work in the creative and cultural industries predisposes us to a long struggle, by default.  Nevertheless as this ‘decade of austerity’ dawns the knowledge, skills and insights gained from our involvement in CLP programmes will underpin the development of our ‘best qualities’ as we adapt to this 21st century leadership environment.


Three: The Amy Question and Denial

July 5, 2010 by Stephanie Haughton-Campbell   Comments (0)

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2010-07-05 at 20:40:20


I’m re-reading a ‘Time To Think’ by Nancy Kline, a beautifully written book and have been reminded of the ‘Amy Question’.  The ‘Amy Question’ (on page 83) is designed to pierce the assumption that what is true is not true.  Or alternatively butt-kick you out of denial!


So the 'Amy Question' is: ‘What do you already know that you are going to find out in a year?’  The question, as Nancy describes it, acknowledges the phenomenon that we are willing to deny difficulties at the beginning of a relationship, enterprise or change preferring the rose-tined view and that we can usually go for about a year before we are forced to see what has been right in our faces from the beginning. 


I love this question, particularly in coaching sessions.   It can open up new options based on accurate information and allows us to take stock and reflect on what we want to achieve in any given situation.  So what do you already know….?


Time To Think: Listening To Ignite The Human Mind

Nancy Kline, Cassell Illustrated, 4 Dec 1998

If it's magic... Then why can't it be everlasting?

July 1, 2010 by Stephanie Haughton-Campbell   Comments (0)

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2010-07-01 at 13:29:53


At the risk of either stating the obvious or making a sweeping generalisation with my next statement, I believe that everyone has a favourite piece of music.  Be it classical or contemporary, everyone has a piece of music or a song that truly lifts the soul and brightens the darkest day on hearing it.  For me, after seeing Stevie Wonder at Hyde Park this weekend, my (current) favourite song is ‘If It’s Magic’ from the majestic 1976 ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’ album. 


Music’s power to engage is intensely intoxicating (Did you see the crowd at Glastonbury?), personal as well as universal.  It is music’s ability to bind people and cultures together that means there will always be an ‘industry’ devoted to bring music to the widest possible audience. 


When I tell people that I use to work in and around the music industry during my career a common response is, ‘Record companies just aren’t making money anymore with all this piracy, init!’  And the theoretical demise of the music industry has been well document over the past ten years.  Despite the doom of futuristic predictions and the challenging realities of working in the music industry today, in the UK, the music industry still continues to shine as a world class creative powerhouse.


It is true, the commercial music industry was hit first, and arguably the hardest, by the seismic shift in the way we all consume culture and media.  My IPhone died yesterday afternoon.  I was bereft at my inability to check email, catch up on news whilst playing Tetris (old skool!) and listen any of the 500+ songs I have on my mobile phone during my thirty minute bus ride home.


It is the relentless pace of change in digital technologies and consumers’ shorten attention span and adoption of a ‘free’ mentality that now dictates the demand for creators and music industry executives to be more creative and visionary in the way they do what they do.  It is the responsibility of all those who work in the music industry, who are instrumental in nurturing new artists and business models and the evolution of the industry, to ensure that they bring their ‘A+’ game.  Nothing less will do – music and the joy it brings depends on it!  


Previously, there was a somewhat ‘sink or swim’ mentality to career development in the music industry.  However, I believe a crucial tipping point has been reached and surpassed in recent years.  The value of professional development in all it forms: external intensive programmes & courses, mentoring, coaching, networks and work-based learning etc are being recognised, acknowledged and utilised in the industry. 

For years many of the music industry trade associations provided well regarded professional development opportunities tailored to the specific area of the industry they covered.  In 2007 basic groundwork saw the first National Occupational Standards for the music industry developed and approved.  Other significant developments included; the successful pilots of the Music Leaders Network 07 - 08, which was the first formalised leadership develop programme for the music industry and the Advanced Leadership in the Creative Industries programme, which was developed by the advertising, design and music industries in partnerships with Ashridge Business School  and CLP in 2009.   

The ‘foundation building’ work of the music development agencies and organisations up and down the country (see: Music Sector Forum) is the grassroots evidence of the music industry’s behavioural change towards professional development.  It is also clear that raising the ‘A+ game’ of the industry by utilising professional development is on the agenda at UK Music with the ‘call to action’ document, Liberating Creativity containing a clear recommendation on ‘Skills and Training’ for the industry.  Also, in partnerships with Creative & Cultural Skills they are completing Skills Audit to identify the skills need to work in the music industry.


The traditional barriers to up-take of professional development still remain;

  • a lack of industry awareness of development opportunities;
  • a lack of industry investment and access to funding;
  • how to manage of staff training absences; and
  • a strongly belief that many externally delivered programmes are not credible or tailored to the specific needs of the music industry. 

However, when the professional development opportunities are tailored, accessible and funded the far reaching benefits ignite, support and enhance the intrinsic entrepreneurial spirit of the industry. The greater capacity to lead teams, companies and creative ideas provides that all important ‘edge’ for individuals and businesses to evolve and succeed in a continually turbulent commercial marketplace – basically to bring their ‘A+’ game everyday!


Now that the tipping point has been reached and surpassed, what’s next? I hear you ask.  Well I was thinking;

  • greater awareness and access for those in the music industry to professional development that is tailored and delivered to meet individual and collective needs (e.g. Music Leaders Network Toolkit); and
  • secure, long-term funding from both the industry and public purse – gulp!

Professional development may not be magic, but it is everlasting!