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  • Start as you mean to go on! (Weekly blog, 20 January 2019)

    Posted on January 20, 2019
    A blog by Catherine Leonard, Secretary-General

    A new start

    I love the start of the year.  Something very refreshing and exciting about it.  An opportunity to reflect, re-set and start afresh.   Last week, I met up with Fiona and Justin in Cambridge for a mini-strategy session and my development review.  As you know, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting in 2018 about my values, strengths and weaknesses and so on.   Many INTO friends even contributed to a giant 360 degree review for me, which was wonderfully kind and really eye-opening.   Fiona and I met up in September with my coach to ‘handover’ his role.   I’m not sure I shared much about that meeting here but there are earlier blogs about the process.  And here is a picture of the ‘chocolate box of my coaching experience’ which I made for Matt and Fiona to eat.   (I was challenged to tell the story in a creative way … hence chocolates and a little explanatory guide.)

    The ‘chocolate box’ of my coaching experience

    Looking forward

    At our meeting last week, we did as much looking forward as back.  We set out some milestones for the first quarter and plans for the rest of the year.   I discovered in my coaching that I like a pace-setter manager.  I always knew I loved a deadline, but this is a great further insight.  With our new hire about to start, I’m also consciously thinking about my own leadership style.  And learning.  So have just signed up for a couple of training courses with the National Trust later this year.

    Enjoying beauty

    One of the things I want to do more of this year is find beautiful and inspiring places to work. That shouldn’t be hard, given the work that I do.   In actual fact, as I spend quite a lot of time working from home, I’m surrounded by beauty.  But I also want to reconnect with what the Trust is all about.  Visiting a property even for only a few hours reminds me what we’re all here for.

    Earlier this week, I met up with Irena Edwards, INTO Trustee and Chair of the Czech National Trust Abroad.  We went to the Vyne near Basingstoke and were inspired. The property has just run a very successful re-roofing project which certainly got Irena thinking!  And just being outdoors on a lovely cold sunny day was a bonus.

    This was also something that came up in Hilary McGrady’s Town Hall session at the office on Monday.  She was talking about how the Trust will celebrate its 125th anniversary next year.  And how staff can get involved in celebrating people loving places.  Working from properties more was something that came up in the ensuing discussion.

    Town Hall gathering at the National Trust HQ

    The Scottish Play

    In other news, I took our son to see Macbeth at the Barbican this week.  I had heard he was going to be reading it in English this year so it seemed like a good idea.  Particularly as an old Doctor Who is playing Macbeth.   Well, it seems they haven’t started on Macbeth yet.  Consequently after the first scene, he turned to me and said “I haven’t a clue what’s going on”.  However, as the play progressed and more fake blood spurted, I think he really got into it.  I LOVED it of course having studied it in-depth at school.   This was actually the second time I’d seen this production.  Anyway, it was a very easy introduction to Shakespeare and who knows, might spark something in a twelve-year-old head?

    Thanks for reading!

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