What can we say? Disappointingly for those of us who know what dealing with the org can be like, the new man seems to have already fallen into the British Council habit of uncritical mutual congratulation. For example:
“The first thing I wanted to say was what a great place the British Council is. I have heard so many impressive things, any one of which was fabulous, never mind how good all of them collectively are. I hope you are all proud of what you achieve individually and collectively.”
Alice, pass that bag. We had all that of course from Green, Kinnock, Davidson and co, so it would be unrealistic to expect anything very new. And like everybody else in the British Council, he’s busy. Three weeks in and “forty meetings a week”, so that’s 120 meetings and counting – impressive on quantity but to judge from his conclusions above there must be a slight concern about the application of the law of diminishing returns.
Curiously, he also seems to suffer from his predecessor’s garbled English affliction:
“the office here is determined to get me out an about as soon much as possible”.
But let’s put that down to excitement.
Despite my reservations about the organisation, I will sign off by wishing him well. He has an agenda for change, and we must all hope that his critical faculties are a little sharper than he’s letting on. And that he can deliver the change required.
Happily for the new leader, his subjects feel the same about him as he does about them. These comments are all genuine.
Thank you for sharing your views so early in the day.
I literally jumped up and down, and cried and laughed at the same time, when I heard I was coming to work for the British Council, many many years ago. I was so proud and happy to come and work for such a fantastic organisation. And I certainly did not know then exactly how much my colleagues around the world do and accomplish every day. So I'm even prouder now. Which is why it was so good to read your words. Welcome on board and I hope you will enjoy the ride!
A Good Place with Good People
Penning your thoughts of your first 3 weeks ( what ? 40 meetings a week !!! ) is quite an achievement and very commendable ! Moving around from Amman to Pakistan will surely give you a good ground feel of how some of these projects run. Keep moving. The Global perspective is much more. All the best and enjoy meeting BC good people.
Telling Our Story Better
Thank you Ciaran for sharing your first impressions. As a Communicator, I can't agree more with your comment that you have heard we don't tell our story enough.
Communicating what we do - let's get personal
Many thanks for your blog. You have raised a perennial problem - how to communicate what we do. Indeed my first director when I joined many moons ago made a point of reminding me at every opportunity that it was no good doing good things, unless everyone knows about it.
Warm Welcome and great thanks
I am really honoured to have you as our leader. You said once the great organisations you admired were British Council and John Lewis. I appreciated you told us how you were impressed by the work we did and also reflected that ‘It would be nice to think we can finish some of the projects, resist the temptation to start a few more and just give ourselves the space to learn, to improve and to build on our good work.’ I believe you will lead us to where we started and make our organisation to be an easily recognised promoter of the UK because UK is a great country and it wants to share its greatness with all the other countries in the world.