Friday, 15 May 2009

An ACE day!

Yesterday I had an day with the Academy of Chief Executives at a conference. Clive has spoken for them at some of their groups and had been invited to attend by the Chair of one of them, Joe Adams. I tagged along as his partner and was warmly welcomed.

The venue was the stunning Warren House which has to be one of the most impressive I have been to. Beautiful building and grounds, top class service and delicious food. I highly recommend it.

The Academy for Chief Executives delivers Leadership Coaching, Mentoring and Experiential Learning. We inspire groups of CEOs and Managing Directors to learn alongside each other, to take advantage of a completely unbiased viewpoint and to receive support from people who understand your challenges as a business leader, because they face them too.

Joe Adams opened the conference and inspired us to make that extra 1% of effort across all areas of our businesses to achieve success. He made some effective statisitical examples of the tiny bit that makes all the difference, e.g. at 99 degrees water is hot - at 100 degrees it boils and there is steam! So what little bit can you do which will make your good into great?

Neil Poynter delivered a presentation on 'People are your biggest asset, how to maximise that asset'. Several of his points are applicable to my work as he cited that anxiety is a performance killer. Anxiety leads to stress which leads to depression - so my suggestions for postive mental well-being certainly apply to the workplace not just healthcare! His suggestions for a positive attitude and to make people feel valued and important are the same as my beliefs and recommendations.

I then attended a seminar by Damon Segal on marketing. My son Dominic would have been impressed with his use of the Apple Mac for a great visual presentation. He outlined the main aspects of marketing and I was especially pleased to hear him stress that social media is a big way forward - so immediately I sent a Twitter message!

Andy Lopata (a colleague from PSA) reminded me in his presentation of the many early morning networking meetings I have attended in recent years by going through the best ways of making referrals.

The main speaker of the day was F W de Clerk! Wow! When I was at college I visited my brother Kevin who at the time was doing his PhD in South Africa. I witnessed the reality of apartheid. So to be in a room with one of the key players in ending it was amazing. He is an outstanding speaker and gave an inspiring delivery of leadership and managing change. He reminded me to have a clear vision and to perservere until I achieve it!

After lunch I joined the networking session held by another PSA colleague, Rob Brown and had an energised and stimulating session where I was able to meet and 'network' in a variety of ways with many ACE members.

This was my second ACE event - I attended a speaker day last year. I initially felt overwhelmed then and that the 'corporate world' was not my audience. However, after several conversations at the event yesterday I feel even more that mental health is a huge and valid area which does need to be highlighted. The business world does need to ensure that good mental health is important and all leaders in every field need to address their own mental health needs plus those of their employees. Not only will sickness rates be lowered but productivity will increase!

I have my first 'business' audience at Liverpool Chamber of Commerce on 19th June. Thank you to Clive and ACE for yesterday and inspiring me to take that extra 1% of effort to make my vision of reducing the stigma around mental illness and promoting wellbeing even sharper!

See Clive's version of the day here


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