Monday, 17 March 2008

My colleague Peter Alp who is Senior Financial Manager (Charities) within the Corporate Financial Management Team sent me this e-mail after my session with them on Friday...

"Dear Chris, Thanks for Friday morning's talk at Herd Farm. You were preaching to the converted as far as I am concerned. Here is my story. I look after the finances of Council related charities such as Lineham Farm, Leeds Grand Theatre and the Riding for the Disabled equestrian centre at Middleton Park. My job is brilliant because I am working with a range of diverse cultures, histories and hopes. As with Education you soon realise that Charity sector people are passionate about why they are doing what they are doing.

Anyway, charity finances are not mainstream core activities compared to the local authority finance function. Over the years I have been allocated staff who have a low esteem of themselves personally. They have felt that they don't fit in with the perceived template of what a successful accountant should be. With each person I use a "just do it" approach whereby I let him or her get on with the job in his or her own way. Instead of being the boss I position myself as a mentor who uses the inevitable learning curve set backs as growth opportunities for each person. Until he or she is competent and confident enough to stand on his or her own feet I take full responsibility for all and any mistakes they make. And guess what? In each case every person has transformed him or herself from being a no-hoper into eing a technically brilliant, extremely reliable and very loyal accountant. I find that even before I have thought of something, it has been done and done very well. Errors and mistakes? They just don't happen.

As you said on Friday I find that investing trust in someone, taking off the reins and letting him or her run free and taking an interest in him or her as a whole person is always repaid many times over. During your talk you mentioned your Friday routine whereby you go round and show your face and talk to staff etc. Although I don't work with her, I am always impressed that Clare Maidment does this sort of thing with her staff on a consistent, daily basis.
Anyway, thanks again for Friday. Peter."

Across Education Leeds and the City Council leaders are releasing the magic and the potential of talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful individuals and it is wonderful to hear from Peter about his work, his approach and his passionate belief in his colleagues.

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