Eastern Leaders Programme 2020

We are extremely proud to announce the launch of our new leadership development programme in partnership with T-Three, on 7th July!

More than ever, we need leaders to manage their teams and act with purpose, empathy and a performance mindset – all at a time when there is uncertainty, fatigue, ambiguity and inordinate pressure.

At this critical time, it is essential that leaders not only feel supported, but that they can also support their teams effectively. Given the intensity and anxiety around the current situation, we need to help our leaders to feel more connected, strengthened, focused and effective and this programme will provide practical, hands-on support and guidance to leaders where and when they most need it. It will enable them to work on real life issues in a stretching and supportive environment, working with colleagues to understand the future housing landscape.

The programme will grow the confidence and capability of leaders in adapting and guiding their organisation forward during times of uncertainty and continuous change. It will provide practical support to individuals who will be able to share their learnings and insights with a network of leaders across the Eastern Region and we are excited to get started!

This programme has been a long time in development, and we would like to thank all of those colleagues within our network for supporting this programme from conception through to the design stages.

The Concept

This was an idea that was planted over 2 years ago through the close relationship between Greenacre and  CIH Futures.

We identified that the landscape for emerging leaders is very different today than in previous years. Organisational structures have been streamlined and directorates have been integrated, reducing the number of executive roles. This is also combined with the merger activity in the sector where larger organisations are being created, again limiting the number of senior positions.

There is also a new dimension to leadership in housing with a need to think creatively and innovate, embark on business transformation activities, lead organisations through significant change and develop an understanding of corporate governance, risk and regulation.

Stepping up into an executive role requires confidence and resilience, and future leaders need to build a supportive network around them to solve an array of complex problems, take risks and implement new ways of working.

So the challenge became clear: to build a programme which would hone strategic awareness and provide the necessary tools and exposure to better prepare housing professionals for an Executive career.

The insight

To kick start the project, we focused on the East of England, which is a region that Greenacre has been heavily engaged with since the business was established.

We hosted a roundtable in September 2019 where we invited a number of influential senior housing leaders from the East of England to join us and debate the challenges the sector faces when developing talented operators into strategic leaders.

There was a fantastic level of engagement, and it demonstrated that there is a genuine appetite for housing providers to work together and share ideas to explore new ways to collaborate and solve regional challenges.

From this roundtable, Greenacre felt perfectly placed to take this on as a strategic priority for 2020 and we set about a project to design a bespoke and inclusive leadership programme which would invite a number of emerging leaders from the region to work with us to design and shape the programme.

The Design

Through an application process we identified a talented group of emerging leaders from a competitive field. The successful applicants represent 8 different organisations in the East of England, who have a fantastic range of skills covering housing finance, new build development, housing services, asset management, repairs and maintenance, learning and development, communications, business transformation and business improvement.

We brought the group together on the 11th March (the week before lockdown) to share their ideas about what skills and attributes inspirational leaders possess, what themes and topics they felt were vital to their development, what a shared research project look like within the programme and what inspiring speakers they would like to hear from.

This session, combined with the feedback from the September roundtable, gave us some invaluable themes that we could take away and shape a truly unique programme tailored to the needs of the group and indeed the organisations that were sponsoring the programme.

The COVID effect

The timing of the outbreak fell at the exact point where we were about to design the programme and it became very apparent that this programme is vital and timely.

We quickly shifted the delivery to a virtual model utilising webinars, MS Teams and Zoom sessions. We are seeing some clear benefits which provide us with an opportunity to be more creative, more flexible and engage with a wider range of speakers to deliver masterclasses and technical training within the programme.

The challenge is how to replace the social interactions that we had planned during the programme with virtual exchanges. It will be important for the group to stay engaged with each other outside of the workshops, however we are all becoming more adept at this as well, so we are confident that meaningful relationships will develop.

The shared project (Fit for the future, housing best practice, the new normal) will  provide the ideal space to work together with peers to gain insight into how other organisations think, learning about their valuable experiences during Covid, hearing new ideas about what the future of housing could look like, and see how organisations are leading their people into the ‘new normal’.

How to keep updated

The programme launches on the 27th July and the first stage concludes in December 2020 where we will reflect on the groups learning and hear the outcomes of their shared project. From January through to May 2021 we move into a series of technical training sessions which are being delivered from some inspiring experts from both within the sector and from outside to provide a world view over important areas such as HR Strategy, Governance and Risk, Finance and Business Planning and Business Transformation.

We have a lot to deliver and we will be sharing our progress throughout the programme using video diaries, which will be posted on our  LinkedIn and Twitter pages. You will see interviews with participants and contributors, and we hope to deliver an amazing programme which will be developed further for future participants.

We look forward to sharing our experiences with you.

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