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ASPIRE 2020 Leadership Programme

ASPIRE has been a huge success for us over the last few years; and successful for the people who we’ve worked with. We’ve seen plenty of promotions, plenty of growth, plenty of lasting relationships built. What started as a programme for the voluntary and community sector in Essex has grown, and we’re ready for the next steps.

Background: 2017 – Essex County Council commissioned us to develop and run a 12-month leadership development programme for leaders in the voluntary and community sector.

2018 and 2019 – Big Society Capital (the UK’s only  social investment sector wholesaler) commissioned us to run 2 12-month programmes for some of their leaders, and some of the leaders from their partner organisations. We then started a third programme (INSPIRE) for the CEOs of the social investment firms in the UK.

2020. The next step – ASPIRE run more as an open programme, spanning the social sector, the voluntary and community secret and the private sector. We’re receiving requests form our alumni asking for programmes for their team, other clients of ours are expressing an interest, and we want to continue to offer places for Big Society Capital and the social investment sector as an alternative to them filling all 20 places on each programme. As an open programme, we know it will offer a new dimension to the group too as relationships are built across the sectors.

What do we need?  We need organisations that currently invest in leadership development to choose to support ASPIRE for some of their leaders, and at the same time additionally invest to support organisations from the social, voluntary and community sectors to participate at a lower cost. Everyone wins; organisations get access to the most evolved leadership development programme in the UK; they also meet some of their CSR needs and commitments; the other sectors access the same leadership development opportunities that the best and most forward thinking organisations access, previous alumni and clients are able to provide the same opportunity to others in their organisation, and Humans Being continues our amazing ASPIRE leadership development journey.

If you have a leadership development budget, if you have a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) budget and would like to maximise its impact – please get in touch.


Are great leaders born or made?

Google has something over 26 million responses to that question, suggesting it’s something that gets asked quite a bit.
We can answer the question very quickly. They are made. There may be a few who look like they were born that way, but they probably just started their development earlier in life.

There’s no need to mystify leadership any further, just because we experience such a wide range of leadership behaviours and capabilities in our life. Good leadership is a skill, and like all skills it can be developed, learned, mastered with the appropriate attention to explicit development opportunities.

Over 12 months we aim to deliver the most effective leadership development programme that we have been able to develop. No dumbing-down, no corner-cutting. We’ve brought our experience from working with blue-chip organisations worldwide to carefully curate a programme that will allow every individual to develop their leadership.

We are a team of people who by profession, education and experience are qualified to create and deliver this programme. The framework includes residential days together, webinars and 1:1 coaching, and participants will learn from themselves, each other, us, their teams and their placement opportunity. However, leadership isn’t just about the leader – leadership isn’t done in a vacuum.
You will also learn about the nature of the people in the teams you LEAD, how you can create great environments, enable high performance, great leaders develop and coach their teams

Even natural born leaders are welcome to apply.

Optimal vs Maximal…what kind of perfectionist are you?

Optimal vs Maximal

What kind of perfectionist are you?

I often work with self-confessed perfectionists, and irrespective of whether they meet any clinical definition, what I often see as the start point is their belief that their perfectionism is both a ‘good thing’ and also something that causes them difficulties when delaying completion for example in search of the last elements of perfection.

Before looking for solutions, it’s important to look for the drivers of their behaviour as this leads to 2 discreet groups – people working from either low or high self-esteem. Those with low self-esteem keep going because they feel that nothing they do is quite good enough, so they strive to meet a standard that they believe ‘other people’ can and do deliver. That’s quite different from the high self-esteem group who hold themselves to high standards and work to meet those.

So we can in some cases look to help develop self-esteem, but in many cases this will still mean there are perfectionist tendencies to also address.

What is often overlooked by perfectionists is that sometimes, good enough is good enough. In short, everything must be done to a high standard whether it needs to be or not.  Often, an understanding of the differences between optimal and maximal can be sufficient to enable choices to be made that can leave the perfectionist tendencies intact, but deliver them where they are most needed.

Should I ever require heart surgery, I will be perfectly happy for my surgeon to be a perfectionist; but I won’t be happy if my operation is delayed by them untying and re-tying their shoelaces repeatedly until they are perfect. There is an optimal level for shoelaces that will suffice. I’d like my sutures however to be at the maximal level of perfection.

The likelihood is that there are many aspects of your work that are being done to too high a standard for no additional gain – that is, where optimal will suffice. Identifying these tasks and deliberately lowering your personal standard for delivery will undoubtedly save time – time that can be better spent on the tasks where maximal is valued, needed and critical.