Paul: Hi there, Dr Paul Brewerton here, the strengths guy, Dr of Organisational Psychology, Founder and Chair of Strengthscope and also, you may or may not know, Strategic Director of leadership and culture change practice You Collective, which launched formally this month – September 2021. I am delighted to be talking to my two fellow Directors at You Collective, Zara Bates and Dee Currier (Hi guys), about conscious leadership – what it is, why it matters and how You Collective plans to help create more conscious leaders who can build long-lasting high performing cultures. I’ll also bring in each of our stories and why we each decided to get together to create You Collective, as well as the strengths and skills that we each bring, coz this is the strengths guy podcast so it’s always good to get a bit of strengths in.
We’re going to rotate the mic a bit today in terms of questions and answers because there’s three of us and we’re each Directors in the business with questions to answer for it and that we want to ask each other too. In fact, it’ll probably be more conversational than that for the most part, so let me stop talking for a minute. and ask the question:
What is conscious leadership and why does it matter?
Zara: it’s an overly connected and busy world, and we place our efforts on reacting rather than pausing. How much time are we really giving to problem solving and decision making? So we feel disconnected and distanced from leaders who aren’t aware of their impact on others. What does conscious leadership look like? Someone who is committed to personal growth and mastery, to building their self-awareness, in service of supporting and developing other people’s potential.
Dee: It’s not just doing something because it’s easy or it’s fast but having the will to have positive intent to do the right thing which has a real ripple effect and from a business POV can really ensure you attract and retain great talent and who align with your values because that’s pretty critical. This shift we are seeing in the world particularly from our younger generations wanting to care for ourselves, each other and our planet – organisations need to listen up and show that they care too, it’s all linked.
For more, check out Zara’s article on this on the You Collective magazine on our website: Click here.
So what needs to happen to create more conscious leaders and more sustainable cultures?
Paul: to create more conscious leaders and more sustainable cultures, leaders need to work on themselves and understand the impact they are having on themselves in the way they have chosen to live their lives. They need to work on their impact in their team and on the team itself. And they need to work on the culture of the organisation and be more conscious of its positive impact in the world.
Zara: To truly support your leadership and have a more sustainable culture you need to be curious and honest about what is being valued in the organisation. What sort of leaders are successful? Is the organisation saying one thing and valuing another? Martin Luther King Jr “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” And I think from a conscious leadership perspective that quote sort of drives everything.
Which brings us to You Collective – can you say a bit about what You Collective is? Its purpose, its values, the people… How is You Collective different?
Dee: For me, YC really talks to the topics that are very current today which may seem much bigger – climate change, mental health, etc., but really we’re galvanising action around thinking and more importantly caring about the ripple effect of our actions. It’s creating a kinder more compassionate world, inwards starting with ourselves, and outwards both directly and indirectly and other people, and our expertise is posing this to leaders and how they can affect their wider organisation.
Paul: You Collective exists to help create more conscious, connected leaders who understand and manage the impact they have in the world from themselves to society as a whole (so ‘you singular’ to ‘you collective’ – starting with the individual but rippling out wider and wider).
Zara: Absolutely agree with all of that, I’d say what makes YC different is our community and diversity as well as our philosophy and values that are really felt by our clients. Our values are very important to use and include:
YOU shaped – we believe in valuing, uncovering, unleashing and empowering the uniqueness of individuals. Helping people explore what makes them exceptional and diverse and appreciating this in others as well as ourselves, enables us to collaborate fully and withhold judgement in favour of listening and acceptance, in service of YOU.
Science based – at our heart, we are organisational, science and self-improvement geeks. We strive to assimilate, translate and embed our combined 50 plus years of experience along with current research into everything we do. From informing our YC methodology and everything that underpins our programmes to the events and people experiences, science and self-improvement is always at the heart of our why.
Seek truth – openness and honesty aren’t just words, they are a mantra that guide our culture. Doing the right thing and the courageous thing by ourselves, colleagues and clients. This is by no means the easy or comfortable option but for us it is essential. We believe in calling it out and naming it, and helping others to find that openness and honesty, often masked and hidden in corporate spaces.
Growth mindset – we believe if you’ve stopped learning and growing, it’s time to create a change. Life is an ongoing lesson, and we strive to reflect on and explore as many of these lessons as possible. We are dedicated to creating space to challenge ourselves and others to learn and grow.
And why did you want to start You Collective, what’s your story each of you? And me obvs
Zara: For me it’s really rooted in our values – we were desperately seeking a space where we could have more challenging conversations that uncover truths, deep self-introspection and passionate commitment to action. Knowing in my heart and supported by the science that people have been creating versions of themselves to fit into a corporate structure that conceals their true potential. So if there was a way I could start to support people to knock down those structures/barriers and free the incredible potential within they I wanted to give it a go. My purpose at the moment which is – inspiring people to seek their truth so they can have a positive impact in their world.
Dee: So I met you both back in 2013 when I was employed by Strengthscope® and I feel like that’s where my career started to have some meaning. I actually wanted to study psychology at uni but ended up going down the route of event management, now I understand that was meant to happen because of where my strengths lie, but it never stopped me being interested in the topic, and being introduced to the world of positive psychology and strengths (in an event management role) felt like I had hit the jackpot. I was given the opportunity to really stretch and grow and at the point that I decided to try out something else what I never lost from those three years of my life is how much I valued knowing my strengths, and helping others to know there’s and get more back from the effort they put in at work. And also you two, who aren’t just my friends but are also part of the inspiration and motivation behind wanting to do this even when it might feel a bit scary! We started talking about You Collective a long time ago. We knew there was a need for something different – going one step further and looking at the higher purpose of our actions and how we could intentionally and positively affect people, businesses and the world around us – and that between us we might just have the elements (strengths / skills/ shared values and passion) to do it together. A few major life events (businesses, babies and a pandemic) and here we are. Ready to open up a safe and challenging space for people to connect with themselves, and others and really find their purpose.
Paul: For me, You Collective represents an opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented people I have every met in my career (that’s you two) as well as the experts that form part of the wider collective, in areas that create deep transformation and long-lasting change. Prior to starting Strengthscope, I had a culture and leadership consultancy that worked with organisations such as RAF, PSNI, Crossrail, Orange, Santander and many others and YC gives me a chance to continue that journey with the learnings I’ve had over the past 20 years of my career. The world’s very different to how it was back then in some ways, but the underlying needs of leaders and organisations remain the same, so I’m excited to continue that journey with you two.
And what skills and strengths do you bring to the collective? What’s your role?
Dee: I’m Operations Director. Operations for me is all about making sure everything runs as it should, efficiently, cost effectively but most importantly making sure that our clients receive the best experience and that our work makes a difference. I’m a bit of a data geek too so I’m really keen to see the return on investment for our clients through evaluation data, we have some client stories already in our magazine on the website and I’m really keen to ensure we capture these so we know that we are serving our clients right. Strengths for me are particularly in detail, results focus, efficiency and courage and these show up in planning, project managing and delivering, and also challenging at the right time.
Paul: I’m Strategic Director – I bring strengths of Strategic mindedness, Empathy, Collaboration and Leading – I use these with clients to understand their context, their future position and how to get from now to then. And I use them within the team, from a personal POV and business too. Also, I’m a psych and a social scientist and for me, using a scientific evidence-based lens is crucial if we are to sift through what’s out there and advise clients on a courser of action that’s going to work individually or organisationally.
Zara: I’m Creative Director. I’m an accredited executive coach, strengths-based expert, psychologist, consultant, facilitator. What I bring is a focus on authentic and conscious leadership, trusting and connected teams, and infinite organisational cultures. I’ve got 15 years’ experience, of coaching, consulting, co-creating and designing solutions that help organisations create thriving teams and workplaces. That’s what I bring to YC – oversight on these activities and getting involved with the delivery too.
What would you like to ask from the listeners – there are a lot of people listening to the podcasts who will no doubt be interested in what we’ve been talking about…what’s can you do for them and what can they do for you?
Dee: We’d love potential clients to get in touch for a literally no expectations conversation. We’d love for people to come to the website and check out our magazine where our written content is hosted – use it share it, enjoy it, comment on it, come back to us about it. On that point, please interact with us on social media as we love hearing people’s opinions, supportive or critical or both – these topics need discussion.
Finally, if anyone wants to get in touch, what are the best ways of contacting You Collective but also each of us?
You Collective Ltd on LinkedIn or directly Dee Currier, Zara Bates, Paul Brewerton