Future Leaders: The Research and the Reality

Future Leaders: The Research and the Reality

We’re in the midst of a leadership crisis, attrition rates have reached a record high and for the first time ever we have four generations together in one workplace.

What’s more as we approach the fourth Industrial revolution, preparing our brightest emerging talent for the demands of a very different world has never been more challenging. But whilst we may be facing a rather uncertain future one thing is for sure – we need a different approach.

That’s why, for the first time ever, we’re bringing together all of the research, insight and best solutions to talent and leadership development, in one place.

Whether you’re a business looking to attract, retain and develop your top talent and future leaders, or a school looking to equip your students with the skills they need to thrive in a very different workplace – look no further.

Download this white paper to:

  • Understand how best to prepare young people for jobs of the future
  • Get to grips with how to futureproof your workforce
  • Discover how to successfully engage and retain your brightest talent
  • Build a sustainable strategy to fill your future leadership pipeline

To view this content, please fill in your details below:

Download white paper

Future Leaders: The Research and the Reality

Please fill in your details to download the white paper

What’s The Right Career for You?

What’s The Right Career for You?

Pretty crucial question, right? Also, for many of us, REALLY hard to answer. Here’s the thing though – it becomes a lot easier to answer if we accept a few crucial truths…

Firstly, finding our dream job is not something we can do by ticking a couple of boxes on a quiz and hey presto the answer comes out. It is a question that we actually have to engage in over a period of time. Some would argue, our whole lives, because often, our dream job in our 20s is very different to when we are 45.

Secondly, be patient. Discovering what you love doing may take some time. It is definitely going to take some trial and error, as well as the odd false start. See it as on on-going journey of discovery. A journey on which you are constantly gathering data, trying things and refining them to find that sweet spot in which work no longer feels like work. When you relax and accept it is a journey you are freeing yourself up to try things, lots of things, ask for lots of advice and often, dream bigger.

Finally I have a few questions I think you need to take on your journey with you – again getting the right answers to these questions may take time, so keep them front of mind and keep reviewing and refining.

  1. What are your strengths? What are you naturally good at? I’m not talking about subjects at school, I’m talking about real world talents like problem solving, organisation, inspiring others, creativity, deal making…
  2. What are you passionate about? Like really passionate about? What are the things you care about, the things you want to know more about and the things you want to get better at?
  3. What puts you in your element? This is the point at which your strengths and passions meet. When do you lose time by getting so absorbed in what you are doing?

We know this stuff isn’t easy.  In fact, choosing the right career for you is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. But taking the time to really thinking about it, to find where your strengths meet your passions, will ensure you set off on a path to extraordinary.

To get a little more help with finding your element, download our ‘Finding Your Element’ guide below. 

Ivy House alumni interview – Sam Foreman

Ivy House alumni interview – Sam Foreman

What did you think of the IH programme?

It was unlike anything that I have taken part in before. They managed to create this inspiring environment where you’re able to learn an amazing amount about yourself and how you can fulfil your potential. The team on the Ivy House programme are some of the most knowledgeable and inspiring people that I have ever met. 

How different is it from other courses that you have attended?

On other courses, you might have one or two days out of the office and then you go back into your day job and nothing changes. The thing about Ivy House is that it comes at you in a number of different ways. You’ve got four two-day masterclasses. It’s fully immersive and you feel safe to make mistakes. You’re challenged but there are high levels of support.

What were your main takeaways from the workshops?

From the start, I realised how much I was undermining myself with negative thoughts. I learnt how to simply flip that on its head in terms of my internal dialogue around how I approach situations in a different way. I now use the technique every day. For example, I’d go into a meeting thinking ‘I’m not sure I know what I’m doing here’. Now I step back and think ‘why are you having these thoughts? Is that thought helpful? Is that completely true?’ and then ‘What might be a different way of looking at this that will have a better outcome?’ 

I also recognise that vulnerability can be a strength. I grew up in New Zealand, playing rugby. You don’t really show weakness. I’ve gone through life thinking that ‘I’ve got to be really good at this’ and if I’m not, then I’ve failed.  But being able to say “this is something I’m struggling with” can be empowering and that has opened my eyes to certain things both inside and outside of work. 

How have you used them in your work environment? 

I’m a lot more open to feedback and see mistakes as an opportunity to learn from and grow. I approach different situations at work, whether good or bad, focusing on what I can control. That has allowed me to be a lot more effective and adaptive. 

How has the experience affected your relationships with your team/department?

After Ivy House, I took the opportunity to join the Aviva Coaching Programme and become an accredited coach. I am now  coaching a couple of colleagues across my wider team. I was keen to share my experience, some of the techniques that I had learnt to help them with situations they were struggling with. I would also say I’m much more willing to be vulnerable with members of my team and I think that’s reciprocated and leads to building trust. 

How have you used the core principles in your personal life? 

I use the Ivy House ‘Thoughts + Feelings = Behaviour’ model on a daily basis, both inside and outside of work. I am really conscious of the thoughts that I am having and say ‘do I want to choose that thought or is there another thought that would serve me better?’ and that will probably lead to a better result and impact the way I am feeling. It has had a great impact on my relationships inside and outside of work and how I have approached challenging situations. 

How would you describe yourself as a leader before the course? And then afterwards?

Before, I would say I was lacking a bit of direction. I wasn’t aware of what my strengths were. I wasn’t really willing to show up and be vulnerable or share certain things about me.

Now I’m much more proactive about learning. I’m much more willing to be open to feedback and how I can learn from different situations.

I think that I’m calmer and recognise there isn’t much point in worrying about things that you can’t control.

Anna Dalglish

Anna Dalglish

“Ivy House has opened a world of opportunities for me – personally and professionally. I feel better equipped for life, and confident that I can make the most of it.”

Anna Dalglish, Aviva

Developing future leaders is essential but not without risks

Developing future leaders is essential but not without risks

Alex leads talent and development, with responsibility for group-wide talent acquisition, learning & development, talent and succession, inclusion and engagement. 
Electrocomponents has placed several colleagues on the Ivy House Programme.

Our future leaders need development now, in order to prepare them for future opportunities.

Across all industries, HR and Talent Directors are tackling the issue in their own, different ways.

As a speaker on the panel of the Ivy House Future Leader Challenges event, I was interested to hear the different (and similar) approaches that each company was taking. For example, Janet Tidmarsh from Sainsbury’s talked about moving away from formal programmes, towards individualized development for their future leaders.

While it’s a focus for all industries, we know there is no one size fits all approach to developing future leaders.

The work landscape is changing at an ever faster pace and we need to equip people to be more agile and adaptable.

At Electrocomponents, I am responsible for the Future Shapers programme – a 12 month experience that accelerates the development and career progression for a select group of employees, and provides an opportunity to build a cohort and community of peers across the company.

If we get this right, we expect great things.

Our biggest challenge is around the need to be future focused – building our future leaders so they are ready for bigger, broader roles, while also performing at their best today. 

For millennial’s and generation Z’s, they want to experience different roles, companies and industries. They are not looking for a job for life.

We as employers need to embrace their need for purpose.

We need to get comfortable with the fact that employees may leave. As they develop and broaden their mindset and skills, they may look for something different and want to move to a new role or a new company. 

As long as they leave for the right reasons and not simply for more money.

Sometimes there is a fear that you may lose people through development, but if you don’t invest in your people, you will lose them anyway.

Ivy House is an important part of our Future Shapers programme.   One of our attendees told me it has been a transformational experience – he said it was thought provoking; took him out of his comfort zone and made him think about himself as a leader and a human.

The Ivy House programme may not be right for everyone, but if you capture people at the right stage of their career, it is a valuable experience.

The future requires new and different paths to development and I feel we’re on the right road to develop the best leaders.

Ivy House alumni interview – Jessica Bradley

Ivy House alumni interview – Jessica Bradley

What did you think of the IH Programme?

In short, and this sounds dramatic, it really has changed my life. I always worry about going on training or learning programmes and coming away without truly embedding the things I’ve learnt. With this, it couldn’t be further from that. 

To have that kind of development, whilst still fairly early on in my career, has been instrumental. It’s the kind of learning that you see given to the Execs and Senior Leaders.

The masterclasses are incredible. They’re such a great opportunity to learn things that I would never have been exposed to before. My external network has grown loads and the facilitating of the coaches has been amazing – they really enable you to see a different perspective by asking you the kind of questions you wouldn’t have thought about yourself and they inspire a new way of thinking, new beliefs and new actions. 

Before Ivy House, I was nurturing and empathetic as a leader, but I think I was a little self-deprecating. Maybe I didn’t know myself so well, I was frightened to have the difficult conversations that I knew I needed to have to be more effective but chose not to. I was less willing to put my hand up for opportunities that cropped up because I thought I wasn’t good enough, or I was nervous that I’d get it all wrong. 

Now I feel confident, self-aware and generally more powerful and a better leader. I know who I am, I know what my strengths are, I know what my development areas are, I have a plan, I take on feedback so much better than I used to. I feel that the Ivy House programme has helped me to become more of a true learner.

How different is it from other courses that you have attended?

They’re worlds apart. With the Ivy House Programme, the minute you walk in, you feel totally safe. You feel able to disclose things that you would never have thought about disclosing before. You feel real power in vulnerability with everyone else in the room and I think that vulnerability and that exposing of yourself helps you to learn that much quicker, and that helps the learning to embed that much quicker as well. 

What were your main takeaways from the workshops?

Ownership and choice. So, one of the things that they teach you is a really important equation: ‘Event + Behaviour = Result’. It really teaches you how to take full accountability for the life that you want to lead, relationships that you want to create or change, and making your own choices. Before Ivy House, I felt a little bit like the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that I was having or doing weren’t through choice. So, if something went wrong in my life, I instantly felt annoyed, sad or frustrated and I thought that was out of my control. 

I now feel that I’m totally in control of the thoughts that I’m having and the feelings I’m having. I can really take a step back, look at the bigger picture and choose the thoughts and feelings that I want to have, be more accountable, and have more empowering beliefs rather than the limiting ones. 

How have you used them in your work environment? 

Before, presenting to large groups or holding a call with thirty plus people and trying to get people to agree to something, would fill me with panic. 

Now, I see things like that as an opportunity to grow and develop. Back in December last year, I had only been on two masterclasses by that point, and I volunteered myself to speak in front of two-hundred people at an event. My whole thought process has changed; I feel able to channel excitement and positivity into the nervous energy I’ve always had. I asked for feedback and took ownership of that feedback. That was a huge thing for me.

How has the experience affected your relationships with your team/department?

 I would say that the conversations I’m having at work are much better now. I don’t think any of my team would mind me saying that I’ve become far more open and honest since completing the programme! But I’m having those honest conversations in a truly effective way.

 One of the things that Elke (founder of Ivy House) told us on the masterclasses was: “Only you have the power to change your future” and she’s totally right. Now I see that in a totally different way, and I am being totally honest and authentic about the things that don’t sit well with me, and the things that I think are working really well. 

How have you used the core principles in your personal life? 

One of my core values – fairness – would be a good example.  A friendship wasn’t working to its best, and it felt like I was making all the effort. I was always going round to see her or contacting her rather than her ever coming to me. So, we had a good conversation and I just said “I don’t think this relationship is as effective as it could be, it feels different and I want to get us back on track” and she really understood and said “I never would have seen it that way”. I’m not sure she’d have raised it. Before Ivy House we probably both would’ve let it just keep slipping away. It helped us to work through that and now we’re getting on so much better. That was a real positive.                                

Ivy House alumni interview – Hannah Stenton

Ivy House alumni interview – Hannah Stenton

Before I started the course, I was expecting to be challenged in professional development. It was so much more than that. It was life changing on a professional and personal level.

I loved it. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I went. 

It is such a safe space to be yourself. I’ve never connected with a large group of people so quickly. You get to know yourself and what’s important to you. I really loved the group stuff. Then having eight hours to focus on yourself with the 1-1 coaching is great. The answers are all in you and you don’t realise it until you are put in that environment. 

I’m not feeling guilty about saying no 

I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to self-reflect so much. While I’ve always had values I’ve never focused on them before. It’s so useful to think about them and make value-based decisions.  If issues are going against my values I am now able to say no. And I’m not feeling guilty about saying no anymore.

I also learned a lot about my personal life.  There is only one you and the private and the professional parts are not separate.

I had a big family upheaval to deal with while I was on the IHP and it gave me such perspective to deal with things.

It helped to strengthen my relationships with family members and know when to intervene and when to take a step back.

Before completing the IHP I had a severe limiting belief that I should only do things for myself if I had time left over. But unless I recharge myself and put myself first I can’t help anyone else unless I’m fully charged myself. So now I make that time and don’t feel bad about it.

We had a dog shaped hole in our lives

We also did loads of stuff about physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. I love being outdoors and need to find time to do this.  We lost our dog 6 months before and told ourselves it was ok, and we could just live our crazy work lives without any responsibility. But I realised we had a dog shaped hole in our lives. Thanks to Ivy House, I got a dog!

I massively learned from others. Learning that other people have the same kind of problems going on is a comfort. Lots of people are in similar situations. Listening to others talk about their situations, helps you address yours.

I’m completely living and breathing Ivy House

I used IH techniques every day. I’m completely living and breathing it in my work and to support the teams I lead and help them be the best they can be. 

I am definitely working more effectively. It’s made me tackle more rather than just over think things. I was really unhappy in my job last year. I would have previously just carried on but knowing my values, I knew what was wrong and how to make changes.

I have taken control of my career development. I got to a certain level by a young age I knew the next step was a few years away, so it would have been easy to stay static but IH has given me the fight to keep developing and keep learning.

Future leader challenges
need you to act now

Future leader challenges
need you to act now

We gathered a group of the most experienced and forward-thinking HR and Talent Directors to discuss their challenges around developing future leaders. Their industries are diverse, and their challenges vary, but one concern is shared. If you don’t tackle the issue in advance, you will be left with a huge leader-shaped hole and no time to fill it.

You can’t wait for the perfect plan to develop your emerging leaders, or until the senior leaders are all engaged… you just have to start. We heard from Bernadette Bruton, Global Talent and Organisational Development Director at Aviva; Elaine Vaile, Group Head of Leadership and Organisational capability at RBS; Alex Holland, Vice President of Talent and Development at RS Components and Janet Tidmarsh, Head of Leadership and Development at Sainsbury’s.

Our guests heard great insight into how these women started to change the future of their companies by tackling the difficult issues and planning a new way forward all the while moving their organisations from a state of ‘knowing’ about the problem to ‘doing’ something about it.  What they all made very clear is that, as talent leads, it is essential not to get bogged down the institutional prevaricating that characterises so many organisations and just get started. The very act of putting your plan in place will, in itself, be a catalyst for change. 

First you need to find your senior leaders who ARE interested in supporting and developing emerging leaders and kick something off. Reverse mentoring, an emerging talent programme, a shadowing programme. Just get started.

At Ivy House we work with clients to support their unique needs and develop programmes to support and develop the individuals. Their plans are not always fully formed when we start talking. But what we notice is that even those who start with just a few of their high potentials and create something for them, very quickly seem to attract support from areas where they previously had no traction.

Our panel members were also in union when it came to individual approaches. You can’t force one type of development programme on every colleague. By connecting forward thinking leaders with emerging talent, you will inject your organisation with a new energy. By giving them the kind of development that inspires them and makes them feel valued, you will kick something off. 

Our panel today talked about the great work they are doing, the progress they are making and the challenges they still face.  So don’t think all large companies have it all sorted – they don’t. Don’t think there is a silver bullet – there isn’t. But there is a very real threat… if you are not feeding your talent pipeline and preparing them for the future, you are in danger… so just start.

The Ivy House mentor experience

The Ivy House mentor experience

The Ivy House mentors play a fundamental role in the development of the next generation of leaders. Drawing upon their experience and expertise, they provide 1:1 guidance and support to our programme delegates. It is a hugely rewarding experience for everyone involved.

Spinny Witter, who heads up the mentor programme, says, “I have had the extraordinary pleasure of seeing first-hand the impact our mentors make. The feedback we get from our delegates is fantastic. They really appreciate the opportunity to connect to senior people from a range of forward-looking organisations. Both sides find it a truly inspiring process.”

We’re always delighted to hear from people who want to get involved. We look for senior leaders who believe passionately in giving the next generation the support they need to really fulfil their potential. Aside from the mentoring itself, our mentors have the opportunity to join Ivy House events and network with other senior leaders from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience.

Here is what some of our current mentors have to say:

“There is nothing better than seeing a person exceed their own hopes and expectations and it is humbling to be able to provide a bit of support on their journey. I probably learn more from my mentees than they do from me.”
Kate Griffiths-Lambert, Charles Stanley

“I supported one of my recent mentees as they applied for and got their dream job and I could not have been more proud!”
Sarah Anderson, Gordon Ramsay Restaurants

“Mentoring is a two-way street. We listen, we share experiences, we guide but we also learn from young professionals at the same time. Any situation where both parties contribute to the process of improved leadership in companies benefits society as a whole.”
Patrick Dewilde, Citigroup

“It’s invigorating to work with such talented, enthusiastic, and humble new leaders. Of course, it’s nice to feel I’m doing something positive for someone else but the thing I value the most is how much I’ve learnt from the mentees I worked with and how much I have personally grown through reflecting on my own experiences. Highly recommended.”
Chris Mitchell, Office for National Statistics

The word from Aviva

The word from Aviva

Ivy House has had the extraordinary pleasure of working with Aviva to develop their emerging leaders both on The Ivy House Programme and through our in house offering. We caught up with Bernadette Bruton, their Global Talent and Organisational Development Director, to hear more about her experience.

An exciting and determined group of emerging leaders at Aviva have come together with other delegates from a diverse range of forward-thinking companies for a transformational development experience.

“When we went out to the market to source a partner for our Emerging Leader Programme the team at Ivy House were streets above the others; they absolutely love what they do, they know intimately the audience they are trying to attract and develop and they brought an energy and a passion into the room that completely separated them from the rest.

Ivy House have built an innovative programme that truly responds to the changing needs of the next generation and future leader landscape, they are a valued partner in our business.”

Aviva engaged Ivy House to deliver their Global Emerging Leader Programme. It’s been an incredible journey. The 100% NPS score says all you need to know about the energy that was in the room.

“When we made the decision to partner with Ivy House for our in-house Global Emerging Leader Programme we were delighted that our Alumni delegates became part of our marketing campaign. They are telling the stories, bringing back their learning and applying it in our world; they are being recognised for the changes and impact they have made. Essentially, we have our own ‘future leader’ ambassadors right across the business – and that’s working really well.”

We also asked Aviva what they thought about The Award for schools and the impact they believe that will have.

“We’ve done a lot of research about the workforce of the future. Overwhelmingly it’s telling us that purpose and a feeling of contribution are core needs of the next generation; developing that in school rather than when you’re 30 at work makes perfect sense.

I believe in what Ivy House are trying to do, driving a depth of self-knowledge and building self-leadership skills in young adults, before they move into the world of work will pay dividends.
Understanding inner traits and connecting with purpose, not just business purpose but their own purpose, will undoubtedly lead to healthier individuals and more successful lives.”