The Power of 10 – Where is all started

Together with my friends and colleagues at The Living Leader, I am thrilled to be able to introduce to you a 2-day workshop we have called “The Power of 10”. If you have attended the Personal Leadership Programme run by Penny Ferguson or one of her associates, then this new virtual workshop is just for you – a follow-up if you like, another opportunity to look deeply into your personal leadership practice and further update and hone your skills. Let me share with you how we got to this point.

May I begin by sharing a little about my background and experience? Since graduating in the early 1970s with an honours degree in theology and psychology from Northeastern in the US, I worked in South Africa as a Regional Director for Southern Africa Youth for Christ, working in Cape Town and the areas north and east of that city. This was a time of huge growth and success as we reached out to thousands of young people across the Western Cape, establishing youth clubs, education opportunities and many other activities. During this time I also underwent my National Service in the SA Defence Force, rising to the rank of Captain, commanding an infantry company during the Angolan conflict. In the early 1980s the Defence Force came calling asking me to enter the Permanent Force, as Senior Staff Officer (Orientation Services) which meant commanding a unit of men and women whose chief responsibility was looking after the welfare of the many National Servicemen returning to “civvy Street” after 2 years of National Service.

In the mid 1980s I made the decision to take time out from my military duties to become a teacher of English and History, which demanded extra graduate studies and some considerable re-skilling. The short break from the military resulted in a complete career change and I spend over 15 years in secondary education. I ended this phase of my career in mid 1999 as Senior Deputy Headmaster of York High School in the Southern Cape, helping to lead that school from a segregated “whites only” school, to a post-apartheid integrated institution – one of the greatest challenges of my life. During this time I also served as regional president of the National Union of Educators.

In mid 1999 my wife and I, who had both reached a ceiling in our careers, decided we’d like to make a complete change – and this is when we moved to the UK – this is when the fun really starts. I found work as Head of Training for a large recruitment business in the City of London, and whilst I was there, I had the privilege of attending the Personal Leadership Programme, run by Penny herself and that experience led me to a number of changes. Shortly after attending the programme, I resigned from my job and decided to go out on my own as a leadership consultant. I undertook more study and read and read and read all I could about leadership in the business world. The Personal Leadership Programme did a lot more than just challenge my thinking; it radically altered my point of view about a number of key aspects, especially in the areas of responsibility, communication and visioning.

I joined Penny as a trainer, and over 6 or 7 years I facilitated almost 100 Personal Leadership Programmes. I ran 45 of these courses at the Open University, and many others at British Gas, Rank, Caterpillar, Comet Stores and Norwich Union and other organisations. In 2007 I was appointed as a Visiting Executive Fellow at Henley Business School, recently then merged with Reading University – here I led leadership workshops for a wide variety of organisations including the Royal bank of Scotland, Deloittes, KPMG, Kaefer, Irish Court Services and many others. It was also at this time that I was introduced to ARUP, the global architectural and engineering design company, and over the course of 10 years I had the privilege of facilitating their twice yearly flagship ARUP Leader programme, which took me to the far corners of the globe.

In 2014 I joined Cass Business School (City of London University) as a visiting faculty member, and immediately became involved in the massive Management Development Programme for Transport for London (TfL), where I presented a 2-day personal leadership module to over 600 directors, and Grade 5 and 4 leaders. When the UK Department of Transport heard of the success of this programme, they also came to Cass with the request for a similar management development programme. This led me to delivering a 2-day workshop, again on personal leadership, to the top 165 of that Department from the Permanent Parliamentary Secretary and downwards to the heads of al its divisions.

Approaching my 70th year, I felt that I would rather step back from the hectic schedule of teaching and training, and decided to write my own 2-day leadership programme, based on all the years of experience and research that I had behind me. I started reading, and then writing – and the result is “The Power of 10” – a look at 10 principles that I believe, if genuinely observed, will have a major, positive impact on anyone’s leadership philosophy and practice.

When considering if and how to market this programme, my thoughts turned back to my experience with the Penny Ferguson PLP and I began to see that there were many points of congruence between my new programme and Penny’s programme, and, in fact, this could act as a kind of “follow-up”, or second stage for the Living Leader. I went to see Penny and was invited to present the workshop to herself and Emma and her top trainers. To my joy they really liked what they saw – and here we are.

We’re currently in the process of making “The Power of 10” a virtual workshop which we’re looking at launching mid May. In the meantime, I will be writing a regular blog and doing the occasional podcast, to give you all further insights into the Power of 10 programme, with the hope that you will be one of the first to sign up, when we are ready to go.

 Written by Rob Gee | Senior Partner of The Living Leader | Power of 10

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