MRL 4 2017-2018

workshop 1, The Retreat, may 10, 11 & 12, Malham Tarn, North Yorkshire

The art and science of leadership

The 2017-2018 MRL cohort and Faculty at Malham.

The overall evaluations were excellent:


The whole experience was just fantastic. I left feeling inspired and energised and knowing and thankful that I will learn so much more in the coming year not just from the faculty but also from the other cohort members. Brilliant, just brilliant. Thank you.

I have never been so ready to learn as I was in the build up to the Residential - and I wasn't disappointed! Every session and every learning opportunity went straight into the memory bank...

A huge thank you for helping us make the most of MRL so far.

An excellent and thought provoking start to my MRL year. The residential in itself, in an already busy working period of my life was actually very much needed. Taking me out of the rat race for a few short days was important to get the focus needed for the MRL programme. I was inspired by the sessions and faculty and very much look forward to the year ahead, knowing it is likely full of even more challenging situations!

workshop 2, June 09, social enterprise, june 09 hobbs and sons fish & Chip shop and loaf social enterprise bakery


I found the sections about how BCLM approach business and income the highlight of the day and is the part I really took away from the day (apart from the fun!).

What better way to understand a food based social enterprise than to literally sample its product and have a go at making bread in relation to the cookery courses it offers! This literally enabled me to get a feel for what the social enterprise I visited was about in relation to its structure, understanding its offer, product, values and operational processes. I also found the afternoon session really beneficial in terms of focusing on the leadership, management and finances of a larger cultural enterprise and exploring further the attributes of a leader in relation to the general election and its result.

It reinforced the feeling I had coming in to this that I am not familiar with financial reporting or have any experience of working with figures - to the point that I didn't even understand some of the terms. It inspired me to talk to my mentor about taking on a project at work relating to income generation to get the experience I am lacking.

Loaf is run as a cooperative. I found this a charming but challenging concept. I reflected on how much 'cooperative' there is in my team and realised that I am the default decision-maker even in decisions that don't need to be made by me. I have started delegating decisions in a much clearer way (with support) and discussed strategies for re-distributing ownership and decision-making in my mentorial.

workshop 3, july 09, networks and leadership, Museum of science and industry, Manchester


It was great to hear about her leadership and networking journey (Sally McDonald director of the museum). Her story also reinforced the idea of the climb line from the first workshop; what seems retrospectively like a straight line had many twists and turns. I especially liked her observations on the different organisational cultures in her three leadership posts because it's something I have experienced myself.

It was insightful to hear Sally’s networking journey through the three very different types of scale of organisations and to understand how the Women Leaders’ in Museums Network has been advantageous in supporting her career progression. Sally also touched upon her networking practices, exploring her external and internal networks and those which give her access to private information and influential power through a relatively calculated approach to the development of a more potent network, connecting her to senior leaders in the city.

Network mapping:

This seemed very odd initially, but played out into something very valuable. Like many (I suspect) the networks each of us have developed has in many situations been entirely unplanned; the network is just something that seemed to happen. I now understand however the value of an established network, and the need to maintain it and evaluate it. I was early to present my network to the group, and realised through the following networks that I focused mainly on the bigger picture, thereby not listing some connections that had a wider value. The following week I created a new network map that was much more inclusive and wider spreading. My key learning point (something triggered by Stephen's observation that I hadn't included my director in my map) was the extended reach each representative has within our network. Furthermore: I have never previously stopped to consider my network in detail, I'm now considering it very carefully.

Yet again, seeing each persons approach and thought process in considering their map was really beneficial. I could have done my map much differently following the review session. The fact that every map there was effectively linked via MRL is also fascinating. It's still difficult to see those extended connections clearly however, but with the growing online connection between the group, it's far easier to throw a random networking question out to the group in the hope that someone knows someone.