Interning at the Forward Institute

My name is Tolu and I study chemistry at Warwick University. I heard about the Forward Institute from my sister’s friend and I decided to research the company. I immediately fell in love with what they do. It was so important to me as an 18-year-old, that people in the UK (consumers & customers) had better faith in organisations that have legitimate authority. In addition, as a lover of communication and creativity, it was nice to see an institute that has a structure where people learn from one another to see both similarities and differences, to me, this leads to creative thinking.

In the environment I grew up in, having no faith in organisations is not an uncommon sight and my community constantly complains about the issues they have with organisations across all sectors. So, I’ve been taught to be cautious of organisations, whether that be becoming an employee or being the customer. I knew that eventually I had to challenge my trust issues.

The way the FI challenges people, by asking the right questions, is an amazing way for me to break down the wall I had built up. Their approach to tackling these problems was what resonated with me the most. Changing the way leadership is performed will lead to a more responsible and accountable society, where trust and deliverance is prevalent, and this is more effective when reminding future leaders of what good leadership looks like.

During my summer internship, I have had the pleasure helping Camilla. This has allowed me to get a real feel of what it is like to work for the Forward Institute. Furthermore, it has showed me that creativity and business can co-exist, as I had the joy of completing two big projects.

The best thing about working at the institute is the environment. It can be quite daunting to work in an office called the FORWARD INSTITUTE, it has so much gravitas. I couldn’t help but think that I was going to mess something up or that I had to carry myself in a particular way, even if that meant feeling uncomfortable. But to my surprise, the team is so welcoming, and the general vibe is relaxed, which was not what I expected. I feel like I can totally be myself without the fear of judgement.

 Tolu putting together welcome packs 

Tolu putting together welcome packs 

I chose this photo because it is authentic. It shows my excitement welcoming the new cohort and shows my enjoyment of working with the FI, I know that this year is going to be amazing for both the fellows and the FI team. I can’t wait to see what it brings!

I would officially like to welcome cohort 2018 to the Programme. From what I understand from reading Fellows’ accounts is that it’s going to be a fun, interesting and challenging ride and that in the end you will feel renewed, accomplished and more determined than you have ever felt before. Welcome to the ever-growing FI family!!

Tolu

Experimental Leadership Exchange

This week is a big one for us: the first pairs in our experimental Leadership Exchange will visit each others’ workplaces.

We usually run the Leadership Exchange as a core part of the Fellowship programme - it’s one of the most popular and effective aspects of what we do. 

Now at the request of Fellows from Cohorts 2016 and 2017, we’re trying out a stand-alone version for some of their colleagues. In July, Cleo and Ruth briefed 20 team members from the Army, the Met Police, Tesco, Barclays, the Wellcome Trust and IHG at Sandhurst. 

This week a Barclays HQ communications chief will visit an Army regiment; and a police lead on continuous improvement will visit Tesco’s online division. Return visits will follow soon and the remaining pairs will do their exchanges in the coming weeks. We’ll do the debrief all together in October.

It’ll be interesting to see how it goes. No doubt they’ll all have a lot to learn from each other. But without the intensive experience of the programme, will the pairs have built enough trust and strong enough relationships to be really open with each other? Will the support and mentorship of the Fellows who sponsored them back at work make the difference? Over the coming year we’ll be working with all cohorts of Fellows to try out other ways of extending the impact of the programme to their colleagues - to both improve and broaden the experience of the Fellowship programme. 

 Fellows' team members on the briefing day when we kicked off the experimental Leadership Exchanges.

Fellows' team members on the briefing day when we kicked off the experimental Leadership Exchanges.

Reflecting in the sunshine

 Ruth proving Charterhouse benches are as good a place as any to work

Ruth proving Charterhouse benches are as good a place as any to work

We’re big advocates of taking time to reflect, even on the busiest of days. It can help you get perspective and make clearer decisions. Even better if you can leave your desk, board table or screen and get outside. Luckily for me, the wifi just about stretches to the benches outside Charterhouse Square office...

 

So I decided to take a break from reading application forms for Cohort 2018, to read the summer reflections from Fellows on the current programme. We asked them to think about what had changed for them since they wrote their applications a year ago. 

 

Some things jumped out: “It’s now clear to me that things need to change not just for my organisation but the profession itself” said one. “A break-through was understanding my most limiting factor isn’t lack of time or capacity but energy", said another. “Being able to ask important questions, discuss and reflect without fear or judgement or reprisal is novel enough. To have programmed time to do it is a revelation.” 

One woman had advice for colleagues about to join the programme: 

“The Forward Institute has given us a backstage pass into other people’s worlds - as well as the motivation to question our own. Use it! - I intend to.”
— Fellow from Cohort 2017

 

I wonder what the next 12 months will hold for the new Fellows?

First Fellows are accepted onto the 2018 programme

The selection committee has met for the first round of reviews, applications carefully considered, decisions made. We have the first round of names for the 2018 programme. It all happened in the boardroom (see picture above), last week. 

The first round of names have now been revealed to the team. So over to us: we’ll be cracking on with letting those lucky Fellows and their organisations know they're joining our merry (and ever-growing) band of Fellows.

Soon we'll have 70 new Fellows to add to the 180 Fellows who've joined us previously. 

We have much (70x to be exact) to get done as a team - welcome packs to mail, enrolment information to collect, names and faces to learn... 

Really looking forward to meeting everyone in person before long.

Welcome to the first round of people. Cohort 4 (2018) begins!

 The welcome pack when it was still a work in progress...

The welcome pack when it was still a work in progress...