On Wednesday 22nd October, Adventure Sports Outdoor Activity Centre in Warwickshire hosted the SMART Way Forward CPD Management & Leadership Experience.
The event was the brainchild of SMART Way Forward Managing Director Nadeem Shaikh, who wanted to organise a CPD (continuing professional development) training event which would include a good mix of real life management and leadership seminars, along with strategic thinking tasks, team building challenges and group outdoor activities.
The day definitely did not disappoint. Chief Executives, Managing Directors and Senior Management representatives from organisations such as UK Dodgeball, Leicester Tigers RFC, The Strength Academy, Speed Freq, Hippo Leisure, Manuplas, KPMG, Bentley Holland, Synergy, Sweatshop, Specialist Computer Centres (SCC), Personal Best, Essentii and British Cycling all attended the event.
Upon arrival, delegates were greeted with ‘egg and bacon rolls’ with tea and coffee, along with welcome packs and bags packed full of goodies from event supporters Vitabiotics (Wellman, Wellwomen vitamins and energy drinks) . The team from SMART Way Forward also provided A4 branded pads, pens, sports bottles, USB memory sticks, bottled water, chocolate and literature.
Nadeem welcomed all the delegates to the event, before delivering an engaging workshop on how to ‘Manage your Managers and Lead your Leaders’ focusing on learning styles and leadership styles.
‘Understanding the learning styles and characteristics of your team is vital, if you’re going to get the best out of them and help them be the best that they can be!’ said Nadeem. Nadeem then explained the ‘VARK’ and ‘Honey and Mumford’ models giving examples of how to manage visual learners, aural learners, members who learn through reading and writing, as well as kinaesthetic learners.
Nadeem then explained the importance of having a balanced team of individuals within the group and how they can influence a successful outcome. ‘We all need Activist, Pragmatists, Theorists and Reflectors in our teams, because they will spot things before you do and keep things controlled and focused’
Nadeem gave specific examples and scenarios to demonstrate this, which certainly entertained the delegates, as they could all relate to these from their own work life experiences. Nadeem then shared his observations and experiences of the five key leadership styles. ‘A new position, promotion or job title doesn’t make you a leader. A good leader makes the position- not the other way around!’ explained Nadeem, before sharing the characteristics, positives and negatives of each leadership style. The workshop was very well received and nicely set the tone and PMA (positive mental attitude) for the rest of the day.
The group was then split in to two. Group 1 enjoyed an hour of archery, where Group 2 enjoyed an hour of strategic think and team building tasks. This really challenged everyone’s thinking, management skills and leadership approach. There was a good balance of seriousness, along with friendly banter, interpersonal skills, networking and competitiveness. The perfect blend for a successful leadership experience!
The delegates then congregated back for a hot lunch in the Adventure Sports club house, before SMART speaker Annie Page, Director of Essentii delivered a presentation on ‘How to manage change in your organisation’ and recognising the point of transition. ‘When thriving through change, you must expect it, face it, action it, learn and adapt it’ said Annie. Annie then explained the importance of understanding your purpose, identity, beliefs and energy. ‘Change doesn’t have to be scary! It’s only scary if you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing’ said Annie.
Everyone faces change in some way or another in their lives. So what better way to demonstrate this by getting everyone out of their comfort zone again. Once the delegates and finished attending Annie’s workshops, the delegate groups swapped around and spend an hour participating in activities out in the field. This time, Group 2 enjoyed an hour of archery, whilst Group 1 enjoyed an hour of strategic think and team building tasks. This certainly got everyone’s endorphins going again!
Before all the delegates headed back to the meeting room for the final session of the day by SMART speaker, British Cycling Olympian Bryan Steel, everyone participated in a strategic thinking task called ‘Cross Roads’. Cross Roads involved four individual teams based on four individual platforms, which were elevated off the ground. The challenge was to get all your members from one side to the other, with no one dropping off, touching the floor or knocking into other members. It definitely sounded easier than it was – but we all completed it. See photos in the Gallery section http://www.smartwayforward.co.uk/galleries/the-smart-cpd-management-leadership-experience-2014/
The final seminar was then delivered by British Cycling Olympian Bryan Steel. Bryan explained how British Cycling devised a coaching structure and strategy which helped the Team GB British Cycling team accelerate their world ranking from 17th to 1st in just over 8 years!
‘You must have a plan. Everyone must know their role in the team and everyone must take responsibility for delivering their bit. Nothing more and nothing less. Focus on exactly what you need to do’ said Bryan.
Bryan then explained his model for Ability, Commitment, Focus and Belief, then showed a video of how the Team GB Cycling team failed to win a Gold medal and had to settle for Silver in the World UCI Track Championships, because one member of the team tried to do more than he could. A valuable lesson learned and self analysis ensured that the same mistake was never repeated again. The Team GB British Cycling team have secured more individual and team medals than any other event discipline at major championships. This is by no means a lucky coincidence, Bryan explained how small changes can make huge differences when fractions of a second can be the difference between winning and losing. Relating this to the business world, Bryan explained how ‘everyone in a team is like the spokes on a bicycle wheel. If they don’t turn, the wheel doesn’t move forward’
The event was then closed by Nadeem Shaikh, Managing Director of SMART Way Forward who thanked all the delegates for attending and acknowledged the contributions made by all the speakers, supporters and the team from SMART Way Forward.
‘I would to thank all the delegates, speakers and supporters who have attended the SMART CPD Management & Leadership Experience today. It has been another amazing energetic day. This is how CPD learning should be. Fun, engaging and helping you be the best that you can be!’ said Nadeem