Creative Leadership: the secrets

I’ve just finished running the final two days of a Business Leaders’ Course for the Radio Independents Group. The focus was Creative Leadership: how to lead creative teams and develop new business ideas, and the course brought together a mix of those running established companies, some who were just starting up on their own and a few who just wanted some ideas about how to develop their business.

Delegates at the Business Leaders Course

So what did we learn?

We kicked off with a talk from Andria Vidler, Chief Executive Officer for Centaur Media who are responsible for such iconic brands as The Lawyer, Real Homes, Marketing Week, The Engineer.

Think about what will build your business

Andria’s top hints and tips included having a Sunday List of what needs to be done the following week, but prioritising only those things that move your business on. She believes in long term relationships, actions speaking louder than words and creating a mindset where you have solutions, not problems. She says, “being confident about knowing the questions to ask, recognising that I don’t need to always have the answer was an important stage in my development.”

For her the key thing is to “understand your customer and market opportunity regardless of product, service, programme – always put audience/customer first.”

The right people

This session was followed by an analysis of people’s preferred style and creating the right leadership environment. There is no right or wrong personality type – its just recognizing whether you are a person who seeks harmony, analysis, actions or is creative . If you lean strongly in one direction then you are likely to need other types on your team.

Generating revenue

The right mix of people will only get you so far, though. You also need practical skills in writing business plans, and how to generate revenue. So, we then had a session on writing business plans and where to seek funding – the importance of a good executive summary and how to appeal to crowdfunders.

All business plans should include Executive Summary; Product or Service; Target Market; Competitive Strategy; Management Team; Operational Resource; Financial Track Record and Forecast and Use of Funds.

Creating your brand

All the delegates had been asked to work on a business idea with a mentor as part of the programme and Claire Lowson from Intelligentc followed this up with a session on Creating a Strong Brand. Everyone took to their flipcharts and started defining their brand against what made it rational, distinctive and gave it an emotional connection. For a successful brand you need to articulate how your brand meets all of these requirements. Much head-scratching but a very energizing session.

The importance of mentoring

All delegates on the course were offered a mentor to help them develop a new business idea. Using the knowledge of someone with more experience really seemed to pay off.

This is what delegates said:

  • “The great thing with a mentor is that you’re drawing on the experience of someone who has been there before you so your interactions and what comes out of them are always going to be grounded in reality and pointing a way forward”
  • “I left each session buzzing with possibilities to explore and after only a couple of sessions had the foundations for the new ideas I wanted to implement.”

All in all a great couple of days and all the delegates energized about their new business ideas.