I attended the ‘Caties’ this week – which was the first annual awards evening of the Hospitality team at Bedford College. It was a lovely event, recognising a huge amount of effort at all levels across the curriculum. Ian Pryce CBE, Chief Executive of Bedford College, explained in his introduction that “Being Outstanding is a Choice”. My initial reaction was to think how obvious and yet how counter-intuitive this statement feels – it is so often that we think organisations are outstanding because of a particular leader or talents and similarly others are not, because of disadvantage or deprivation. If you believe that being outstanding is a choice, then anyone of us can reach it – that is really empowering!
Nic and I seek to ‘inspire partnerships’ to deliver better outcomes – whether they are new partnerships or exciting developments for existing ones. We are always aiming to offer a top quality consultancy and outcome but I have started to think just how we can use this approach of ‘choosing quality’ to empower and inspire our partnerships further.
We want to choose a path as outstanding consultants but we also need to inspire this within our clients to achieve the maximum outcome. Ian has achieved this within Bedford College and the wider town so it can be done!
I have started to think about how we work with clients and partners to develop some of this thinking and have a real impact on outcomes. I think it is about engagement; the sort of engagement that leads to participation and a desire for participation. I think that drives the choice to be outstanding.
So what makes effective engagement for us?
- Relevance – our work with clients has to be applicable and deliver key priorities and goals; we quickly understand the issues and keep to them
- Challenge – real engagement isn’t easy and part of our job is saying the difficult things or handling the tricky areas and dragging those elephants into the room!
- Choice – flexibility is key and clients need to decide what works best for them – an ‘off the shelf’ formula is not going to work and I don’t think Nic and I have any.
- Contribution – we work with clients, as well as for them, and ensure that we leave a legacy of involvement once the contract finishes. A team striving for high standards is always more effective.
- Quality – hold this focus and consider it in all aspects of the business. Don’t be afraid to bring in others who hold greater expertise or knowledge and add value to the outcome.
So Yes – being outstanding is a choice and there are tools to engage others in this really positive and powerful concept. Have an outstanding week!