A-Z of Leadership Learnings

A: First + foremost I am an artist; my leadership development is framed by artist as leader, artist in governance, artist placement group, autonomy for artists + audiences and how and when to take action.

B: One baseline element of effective leadership is belief. What do you need to do, think or feel in order to believe in yourself? What characteristics + behaviours do you need to promote + action so others believe in you also?

C: My Clore time has refocused my commitment to working with Context is Half the Work #ArtistPlacementGroup + how identifying and communicating common ground from cross discipline collaboration feeds my practice exponentially.

D: My clore secondment explored dance @dance_east and learning through doing including a great ballet class! Doing is great for Dyslexic brains which are wired to think differently. Thinking differently = Leadership innovation.

E: The fellowship has expanded horizons from individual practice towards what’s beneficial for the arts sector and practitioners specifically. Important to explore equality + question who gets to be an artist @rhi_annon1584

F: Fellowship is Life so said the clarion movement and Clore is an exemplar of this. Feeling fortunate to know my fellows have my back as floundering + failure couple with experimentation + testing of new learning.

G: Feeling green (as in untried, unsophisticated, inexpert) in the face of new ideas and working practices can feel bruising but cultivating a feeling of generosity to self and others facing the same can be a gracious act.

H: Horizon Scanning: identifying opportunities, emerging issues, potential risks for holistic future planning. Opportunity; growth in arts for good health/wellbeing. Risk; who looks after the health of delivering practitioners?

I: As imagined leadership futures are formed into plans and actions, it may be that impostor syndrome appears alongside trying to remind us we don’t belong. Be insistent and keep going in your direction of travel.

J: Is artist as leader a juxtaposition? Art practice and leadership practice may feel contrasting but at the converging junctions the possibilities of reach, influence and impact result in a strengthening of the arts sector.

K: Locating our own salient point is to find our keynote which comes from exploring, learning and interrogating through conversation, experience and input. After reflection new knowledge emerges to inform practice going forward

L: My late father was an avid golfer and would watch the big players on TV at any opportunity. I’ve always remembered @NickFaldo006 saying on winning a major golf tournament “It’s luck – the more I practice the luckier I get”.

M: Metaphor helps with understanding complexity. A conversation with @Ed_Ikin from the first clore residential about a single stem or multi-stem silver birch regularly informs my thinking on existing practice and new directions.

N: Now is the best time; waiting for circumstances to be ‘right’ and everything to ‘be in place’ before starting is a fallacy. If it feels important, if it demands your attention then begin it now, take the first step.

O: The fellowship led to an overhaul of beliefs, values, activities, approaches to practice, modes of communication. This modernising is still oscillating so there is an opportunity for real change, development and expansion.

P: Many practitioners belong to the Precariat, a new class of worker who lives with instability and uncertainty as an almost constant state. Could Universal Basic Income Help? @theRSAorg The Autonomous Artist

Q: The open questions used in coaching are amongst the most powerful mechanisms for reflective practice. Direct but not directive in their intention they facilitate a much needed space for thought and speaking out loud.

R: Clore is an intense development programme with learning curves coming fast and steep at times so a period of rest and recuperation in what ever form that takes post fellowship will effectively help to cement learning.

S: The Clore Stretch. An invitation issued by our great facilitators @followfearghus and @Mortimeri at the fellowship residentials – to draw out, expand and extend our thinking into new ideas, reflections and connections.

T: My fellowship involved a lot of travel; physically on trains and metaphorically in thinking and thought processes. Travel offers new experiences, input, people and places all informing what action to take when the time comes.

U: There is some immediate understanding of fellowship activities and experiences but really it’s the longer term opening up and unpacking that will lead to further insights; tomorrow, next month, next year, next decade.

V: The completion of Clore may bring to the fore a Fertile Void. Trusting the process and staying with the void of not knowing will result in something new emerging as the only constant in life is change.               

W: There was a time when the fellowship was very busy and I took a WhatsApp holiday: it proved just the ticket. In times of complexity it can be productive to reduce input and stimulus to a minimum.

X: Identifying what your x-factor is can be a really useful process: what is it in your approach, method, belief or strategy that could have the most significant impact on a process or outcome?

Y: Yes to ideas, collaboration and slow. Yes to research, conversations and exchange. Yes to new horizons, new projects taking off and exciting times. And yes to remembering it doesn’t all have to be done immediately.

Z: There has been lots of zooming in and zooming back out again over the fellowship getting the balance of big picture + fine details. Official last day of Clore Fellowship but it also continues also…

All the images for the alphabet can be seen on @nicolanaismith1 where the A-Z was first published a day at time over the last 26 days of the fellowship.

Luke Davies