The Reading Corner

Nicki Lynn, Independent Usborne Organiser


A look back at our Leadership Academy event

28th October 2019

On Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th October 2019, we were joined by our Gold, Silver and Bronze Level Leaders for a fantastic two days of skills development and celebration at the De Vere Staverton Estate in Northamptonshire.

The focus of this season's event was The Art of Brilliant Listening... and no time was wasted! After an important reminder that "the difference between success and failure is often fear", our Leaders were asked to consider their comfort zones. Whilst this space is one we often need, spending our whole lives there makes our worlds feel small. Our Leadership Academy event is all about stepping out of these places of security, venturing through the 'fear' zone to find ourselves in the 'learning' and 'growth' zones - and this is where our Leaders come into their own!

Sometimes, the "best thing we can do for another human being is to listen without interruption" - with this in mind, our Managing Director, Mark Franklinand our Leadership Development Coordinator, Karen Chamberlainexpertly demonstrated a coaching conversation. 

From building rapport and making people feel at ease, to helping your colleagues get to that all-important "light bulb" or "a-ha!" moment, there's no end to the ways in which brilliant listening helps our Leaders and their team members progress on their Usborne journeys.

While our New Leaders practised those all-important coaching conversations, our Established Leaders focused on developing their team members past their promotions to even greater heights.

Having identified our strengths - as well as areas for improvement - our Leaders pondered the following question: "Why settle for anything less than being yourself, brilliantly?" We were delighted to be joined by the Art of Brilliance's Peter Anderton, who continued our 'brilliant' theme by delivering a powerful workshop on 'Brilliant Strengths'. 

The day closed with an important message - "never underestimate the impact you have; both as Leaders and as individuals" - which provided the perfect segue into our evening of celebrations! After some well-deserved bubbles, our Leaders' phenomenal achievements were recognised over a delicious three-course meal.

Our theme of The Art of Brilliant Listening continued into the second day of our event, when we were joined by our Silver and Bronze Level Leaders. Although change can certainly be daunting, absorbing change into your Usborne business is key to moving forward - after all, trying something you haven't done before is the most effective route to somewhere you haven't been before!

Part of our Organisers building their business their way is discerning their unique voice: what is it that sets them apart? Our Leaders were asked to think about their Usborne superpower - and some fantastic creativity ensued! From enthusiasm and perseverance to approachability and friendliness, our Leaders identified their strengths and formulated an action plan to ensure that these continue to add value to their business.

Leadership Academy provides an invaluable opportunity to be inspired by the successes of other Leaders; and three of our Leaders took to the stage to do just that. A big 'thank you' to Melanie Mitchell, Liz Gourlay and Sarah Higgs, who participated in a fantastic Q&A. Discussing energy, thought-processes and mindsets ("why would anyone not want to be a Team Leader?"), their insightful responses highlighted the fact that, although our Leaders have different personalities, motivations and ways of working, they're all successful on their own terms.

Following a fantastic session on project #TransformYourSchoolLibrary from our Marketing Editor, Lucy Raby, our Leaders set to work formulating an action plan ready to implement on their return home. Having seen the creativity and passion shine through the day's events, we can't wait to see how your businesses develop throughout the rest of the season and beyond.

After a couple of hours of free time to reflect, our Leaders regrouped for our second evening of celebrations. Following a drinks reception in the Club House, we enjoyed another wonderful evening recognising everyone's fantastic achievements.

We hope that each and every one of our attendees left feeling energised and inspired... and ready for our Dream Bigger Day of Inspiration!

What did our Leaders think?

"Leadership Academy means quality time for me to focus on my business away from life at home when I'm spinning plates!" - Keely Horn

"An important reminder that listening properly and understanding fully helps us to better advise and tailor support." - Jenny West

"It really made me focus - not just on what I need to improve, but also on what I'm good at." - Claire Stevenson

"I now know my key strengths and how I will use them more in my business." - Emma Bailey

"The experience was pure gold!" - Andreea Bujoreanu

"Can I come next time?"

Every Organiser could attend for FREE if they achieve Gold Level membership of the Business Development Programme.

We would love to welcome you to our next Leadership Academy event in February. To find out how you book your place, take a look at our Business Development Programme blog or speak to your Mentor.

Tags:meetings and events