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Lyn Bacon from Nottingham City Care reflects on her experience of Wavelength 2014

Roy Disney once said “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are”.

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Comfort in my own skin. 

Choosing to participate in Wavelength’s leadership programs wasn’t a difficult decision, but I initially questioned the benefit of joining a group of leaders from iconic, global corporations, whose environments, experiences and priorities were surely vastly different from my own.

I needn’t have worried. Amongst Wavelength’s core values are human connection and diversity. The sharing of stories, insights and learnings with a vast range of organisations and individuals, has built connectivity and trust. I’ve found the frank openness and availability of leaders of some of the world’s most high profile organisations to be both informative and inspirational. But this nine month adventure on Connect and my four days in the USA on Inside Service Excellence has also revealed strong synergies and shared organisational and human values that have helped me to know myself as a leader and redefine my ambition and strategy for the future of CityCare.

Diana Orek from The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Group said that employees need to love the brand for the customers to love it. We’ve tried capturing some elements of The Ritz-Carlton’s approach, to ensure our values of unity, integrity, enterprise and expertise are known, owned and energised every day by all of our employees. Every staff review is linked to our values; we’ve redefined the way we recruit and have made brave choices to turn away credible professionals who would culturally harm the fabric of our organisation.

We’ve taken Zappos’s customer-centred approach and started to incorporate this into our management recruitments. New managers will complete a month’s induction before taking up their posts, which will include activities planned and coordinated by frontline staff, patients and stakeholders. I think it is vital for managers to develop a core understanding of the organisation, its people and the culture, which is a direct result of being exposed to other leaders who are willing to push changes and aim high.

At the final event John Steele, Chief Executive of Youth Sport Trust, described his personal values, what he felt in his gut and those internal lines that are not to be crossed. He was talking about those fundamental decisions and actions that define him as a leader.

Lars Kolind, Chair of Jacob Jenson Holding, made a resonating challenge “If Wavelength has not changed you, then you never will” and I agree with him wholeheartedly.

Wavelength has had a positively disruptive impact on the way I lead our organisation, through exposure to such a wide range of senior corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and social innovators. And it was the final Wavelength event, focused on resilience, which proved to be the most personal and reflective.

Geoff McDonald, former global VP at Unilever, started by challenging the word resilience, suggesting that the need to appear strong can inhibit people from being open about depression and anxiety in the corporate world. Geoff’s own strength came from his transparency and using his experience and passion to influence change at a national level.

Our speakers shared personal experiences with a depth and rawness that touched a nerve inside, reminded me of my own vulnerability, and the times I’ve questioned if I’ve made the right decision or worried about the impact of my actions on others.

Christopher Robin once said “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”.

My fellow leaders share an inner strength that is founded on strong, personal values. They put their heart and soul into what they believe and overcome obstacles to create something inspirational.

Wavelength Connect is the antidote to Caretaker Leader syndrome.

The highlight of the year for me was the trip to the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit as part of Wavelength’s Inside Service Excellence tour.  This sits outside of the Connect programme and was a great complement to my learnings from Connect. It would never have been possible for me to do this without Wavelength’s inherent mission to support leaders but also to generate social purpose.

Henry Ford Hospital’s vision is to ‘transform communities through health and wellness one patient at a time’, based on values of excellence, respect and a social conscience.

Their ambition was to develop a world-class facility with a homely, normal feel and this has helped to shape the development of CityCare’s newly launched 56 bed community unit. Our vision is to build healthier communities and our social purpose is to transform lives and build a healthier, sustainable future for all. This underpins everything we do as an organisation and everything I do as a leader.

Wavelength has given me the opportunity to look inside some of the world’s biggest companies and work and learn alongside best in class leaders to mutual advantage.

As Mahatma Gandhi said “Your values become your destiny”. On reflection, human connection and diversity lie at the heart of my ambition for CityCare.


Some of the speakers mentioned in this article are part of the Wavelength Speakers Bureau. To view full biographies and to book them for your own event, click below:

Lars Kolind, Chair, Jacob Jensen Holding

John Steele, Chief Executive of Youth Sport Trust

Geoff McDonald, former global VP at Unilever

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