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Engaging creatively

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The Arts is one of the most inspiring and frustrating, dynamic and turgid, liberating and boring sectors to work in – and I’m allowed to say that because I love it. After over twenty years of working within it, I speak from the privilege of experience. So it’s great to be able to re-approach the sector with a view of supporting the amazing selfless, creative and dynamic people  that it attracts. Often only the creative heads get the credit on opening night but at every level of an arts organisation – the production teams, Front of House, chefs, bookstore staff, finance and IT and marketing – there is a wealth of creativity. And my nose starts to twitch when I can sense creativity waiting to be unlocked. For the past year I have been helping the National Theatre do just that by working with Senior Managers and their teams and modeling a way to creatively engage through the use of coaching and creative techniques…

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Working with Patrick Harrison, Director of Commercial Operations, we developed a 6 month leadership and engagement project for up to 40 leaders to test out new ways of engaging their teams. We taught coaching and facilitation techniques  to move leaders away from reactive problem solving management to a more vision-led engaged process that  unlocked potential within their teams. It culminated in a department-wide series of planning sessions which engaged all membersand helped co-produce long term vision and strategic plans.

The process led to much greater engagement and participation across the department and a noted increase in staff motivation. It’s simple really – most people are attracted to the arts because they have a wealth of creativity. Harnessing that by opening up spaces for dialogue and shared planning and problem solving can, and did, lead to a real sense of collective dynamism.

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