Starting from Scratch – Home



The Sagrada Familia, situated in the heart of Barcelona, is a one-of-a-kind temple. Religious or not, when standing at the foot of the building and looking up the architecture and elaborate towers, I challenge you to not be impressed. The brainchild of Antoni Gaudi in 1883, it continues to be added to and built on today. Inside, in contrast to the outside, is a simplicity evoking peace and reflection. It’s an amazing building and anyone visiting Barcelona is strongly encouraged to visit.


The Sagrada Familia, like many buildings, is a thing of beauty. But, more importantly, it is a place that fulfils its intended purpose. Gaudi wanted it to be a church of beauty, reflecting on God and the ‘Sagrada Familia’ – the ‘Holy Family’ – and so the structures on the outside celebrate that. Time inside, regardless of your religious beliefs, encourages peace and thoughtfulness. The building meets its intended purpose.


This month, we have been looking at starting something from scratch. We have looked at how…


· Drivers

· Team & Partners

· Community


…play their part. This week we look at the importance of where we have our home.


Fit for purpose

'Fit for purpose' is a phrase we hear in many contexts. It is one of those ‘what it says on the tin’ phrases, simply answering the question: Is this fit for the purpose it was intended for? When we start something from scratch, we need to have a home; a base that is fit for the purpose. In other words, does it help us deliver our purpose? When I was a headteacher, we needed to create a new space for a library and computer area. One of the purposes we hoped to achieve was a space for flexible learning. A space where discreet computing could be taught but that could also allow the development of exploratory learning and curiosity. So, we built it with a flexible wall between the computing suite and library that could be retracted to enable larger groups to do self-study, and explore learning using books, ICT and the internet. Costs were rising and the designer asked, “as a big cost, do we need the flexible wall?” The answer was simple, “yes.” The purpose was to encourage flexibility in learning and that feature was how we were going to facilitate it.


When you are considering where you are going to be based, consider:

· What is our purpose?

· Will this site/space/building help us deliver that purpose?


Access

When we chose Everyday Leader’s offices, accessibility was important. So, we wanted it in a space where towns like Ipswich, Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds were easily accessible. We wanted good internet access. We also wanted tranquillity for anyone visiting for face-to-face coaching. And so, we moved to our former clay lump stable block in Middlewood Green with views over the countryside.


When you choose your location, consider its access. Consider those you are trying to support and how its position helps with that.


Partnerships

The Innovation Labs in Stowmarket is an innovation hub, business hub and coworking space. It is designed to bring people together who can share ideas and expertise to stimulate growth in each other. There are many tech businesses that work there and, as a result, they share ideas and expertise over a cuppa in the shared space.


When you think about the space you are working from, does it allow easy access to strong partnerships?


A word of warning

As we draw our series to a close, there is a word of warning about the home or building. As I mentioned at the start, it is too easy for a building to impress and become the talking point. The danger as a leader is to spend too much time focusing on our building and how grand or eye-catching our facilities are. The key thing we must keep coming back to is our purpose and the reason why we do what we do. Our buildings can be grand, but if the behaviour of the staff in it is poor then that is what people will take away with them.


 

Hear more

If you would like to hear more about starting from scratch, tune into the April episode of the Leadership Lounge Podcast! Richard Dedicoat, the headteacher of Grace Cook Primary school, has been living out this theme for months as he works to build a new school from the ground up, so join us to learn how he has managed it!


Can we help you?

Do you want to get something off the ground and need a sounding board to help shape it? Could we help you through coaching to discover your why, how and what? Everyday Leader’s team of coaches can help you understand what is going on in your head and how you can manage your emotions and other people in those moments. Give us a call on 01449 710438 if you would like us to help you explore this and empower you and your team.


Everyday Leader is here to empower, inspire and equip you to do that. If we can help you find a way forward, through coaching, training or consultancy, do let us know. Contact us now: colin@everydayleader.co.uk

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