This month, I will be posting across all my platforms to (re)introduce you to the Future Leaders Breakfasts® or FLB® networking events due to reopen along the South Coast in the coming quarter. I thought it might help, to start at the very beginning … with our “why.”
Why Future Leaders Breakfasts?
How often have we worked with people who were brilliant at their professional discipline, (engineer, lawyer, surveyor, financier, etc…) but whose people skills were rubbish or totally lacking? There are people in leadership positions up and down the country who should not be there because they are utterly unsuitable for the role. Sadly, in the UK we still promote members based on professional efficacy, rather than whether people are effective managers and leaders. This means there are big gaps in leadership competency and, therefore, leadership and organisational performance.
At a local level, it has to be acknowledged there are some standout business leaders. Nevertheless, everyone knows at least one Partner in a professional firm who is either incompetent, unpleasant, or both. That isn’t OK. It’s bad for morale, it’s bad for productivity, and it’s bad for the local economy. I saw this problem and wanted to fix it. I was determined to find a way to offer accessible leadership development training for those starting out their leadership journey, to build a framework for ethical business in the area.
How to make this happen?
Cue a conversation with the innovative and far-thinking lead of the Business Development team at RSM Restructuring Advisory, Kat Cook. RSM were looking for a new BD activity, and I was looking to introduce this new basis for business development. The Future Leaders concept was born. Introduced as lunches, it seemed like a good idea until the Boat Show took up available parking and attendees’ firms’ Partners were unhappy about the junior staff needing to take time out of the middle of the day. Time for a rethink. Thanks to Kat, Charlotte and Richard from RSM, these monthly networking events moved to their Tollgate offices, at a new breakfast time, and Future Leaders Breakfast ® (FLB®) was born.
Since that time, these networking events have opened in Bournemouth and Chichester, as well as Southampton. All three FLBs have built a strong reputation for high quality networking, that offers something unique. Our monthly events have created a cohort of like-minded young professionals from Brighton to Poole. They all have found in FLB® innovative networking that really builds high calibre business relationships and leadership skills at the same time.
The immediate benefit for attendees is that they build an invaluable set of skills, supported by quality handouts which summarise the learning as a handy reference tool. Longer-term benefits come from the fact that they belong to a cohort, where shared learning has bred shared understanding and a deeper set of business relationships. There is also a wider benefit for the whole city/regional economy. We’re building a cohort of young professionals rising through the ranks across the key professions, all with shared contacts and great business relationships built on trust and integrity. This will lead to better business deals and better business leadership.
So what makes these networking events so unique? The FLB® formula is a simple but winning one. A low-cost, high value breakfast networking meeting, which sounds so far, so standard. The difference is that the meetings build a cohort of regular attendees, where leadership topics and theories are discussed in a fun environment. There’s personal learning, a simple breakfast, and some great networking with other professionals. Each session has a leadership development theme to the presentation and related table-top exercises and networking. In fact, we’re looking to introduce Institute of Leadership and Management certification to the events too. This will mean attendees can build their skills to accreditation level over breakfast.
There simply isn’t anything else on offer anywhere quite like it.
The target audience for these networking sessions is people starting out on the management ladder. They want to learn how to do it right by avoiding common pitfalls. They’ll also be free to explore how to use their new skills to create excellent client focus, healthy productivity, and a satisfying career. To date, we have welcomed young people from the professions in the main. However, we have also welcomed attendees from charities, public and government organisations, and local companies. The more, the merrier, and a wider mix enriches the networking (and the leadership insights) for everyone.
We’ve kept the FLB® family together since Covid hit. We ran online webinars monthly, in collaboration with Irwin Mitchell’s Chichester office. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the content we discussed focused on self-compassion, wellbeing, and effective teamwork. In the near future, we are hoping to re-open in the following sites:
- “FLB Bournemouth” with Pure Networking
- “FLB Chichester” with Irwin Mitchell
- “FLB Southampton” with BDBPitmans
- New “FLB Portsmouth”
- New “FLB New Forest”
- New “FLB Isle of Wight”
I remain incredibly grateful to those organisations that have had the foresight and thought leadership to back the FLB® project to date.
Future Leaders Breakfasts are re-opening – come and join us!
Hopefully, you have found it interesting to learn more about our networking events. You may be thinking that it could be of interest to some of your organisation’s new leaders. In fact, you may even be wondering how to come along and see for yourself.
We would love to welcome you to a face-to-face FLB® when they start back up. They may even start back in hybrid mode, for those who want to distance until things calm down. So if you would like to know more, please get in touch. Let’s work out which FLB® would be the best for you to visit, if you’re based between Brighton and Poole.
And if you’re not local to the South Coast, maybe your firm might be interested in collaborating with us to bring FLB® to your town?! We’re looking to grow and are always open to offers.