Equipping newly-promoted managers with vital, practical and immediately applicable skills, among a supportive community of peers.

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First Time Leaders is a unique 12 week accelerator programme to provide newly promoted managers from within creatively driven organisations with vital, practical and immediately applicable skills. As well as setting up participants for success within their own teams, the cross-organisational nature of the programme enables sharing of experiences, networking, and learning from supportive peers. Past programme participants have joined from organisations including Ted Baker, The Guardian, Airbnb, Else, Farfetch, Action for Children and Everyman Cinemas.

The programme has been designed alongside organisations from across our learning network, to reflect the most common challenges their first time leaders face. Newly promoted managers must navigate the tests of team dynamics, setting goals, having challenging conversations both upwards, and with their new reports — all while managing their own workload too.

To fast-track effective approaches to these competing demands, participants engage with six core modules, delivered through six energising and focussed workshop sessions with supporting digital resources. Individual and collective action commitments ensure that new capabilities are put into immediate practice at work throughout, with review and reflection in between sessions.  Onboarding and assessment at the beginning and end of the programme enables the capture of behavioural change and impact.

Programme overview

• Over 12 weeks participants experience six, half-day, practitioner led workshops.

• Sessions are hosted in YCN learning and events spaces in London.

• Participants join a 12 strong, cross organisational learning group for the duration of the programme.

• Digital resources, recommended reading and action commitments complement what happens in-person.

• The programme provides a rich context for connecting and learning with peers and with a strong alumni network.

Workshop participants from Airbnb and Propercorn in a past programme cohort

Six core areas of focus:

1. Your Management Style
Stepping up involves self-awareness, purpose and being 'yourself with skill'. As different people respond to your style differently, we'll explore how to adapt and get the best out of them.

2. The Power of Feedback
Memorably providing and meaningfully pulling in quality feedback continually, and from different directions, has never been a more vital skill for managers. We'll share and try out tools for immediate use in our teams.

3. Resilience
Being resilient doesn’t mean being totally immune to stress, but being better equipped in busy, changing and challenging times. How can we stay energised and resilient individually and as a team?

4. Coaching Mindsets
Improve your leadership style with direct reports, through better listening and questioning. Enable others to be the best they can be. We'll be working towards ninja levels of listening, and empowered to know what questions to ask, how and when.

5. Goals and Performance
Involving those around us in the process of setting individual and team goals is fundamental to the process of making them stick. We'll be learning about practical, purposeful and empowering ways to get teams pulling in the same direction.

6.Motivation and Impact
Getting to the bottom of individual motivations within our teams can be testing and time consuming. But knowing where motivations lie, gives a powerful lever with which to drive individual and collective performance. We'll practice proven methods — from empowering through praise, to communicating belief.

Participants from Lush, The Guardian and Everyman Cinemas during a workshop session

Practitioner led learning

Workshop sessions are delivered by external practitioners, bringing their own experience and subject matter expertise; and supported by facilitators from the YCN team.
For example:

Liz Whitney
Liz spent 16 years working in marketing, design and digital product development agencies and today supports creatively driven leaders as a coach and consultant.

Scott Morrison
Scott began his career in advertising before moving client side, heading up marketing for brands including Levis and Diesel. Today he runs the The Boom! and recently co-authored Creative Superpowers.

Hilary Gallo
Hilary is a coach and author, helping people to purposefully work to their strengths. His best-selling book ‘The Power of Soft’ will shortly be followed by a brand new publication titled ‘Fear Hack’.

Creative Superpowers: Co-authored by programme practitioner Scott Morrison

Testimonials from past participants

“Unlike any development programme I’ve taken part in before. This felt more like a series of powerful conversations that fundamentally changed how I think about my work and my style as a leader.“

“Beautifully personalised, warm and convivial. I feel like I’ve made a brilliant new gang of career champions.”

“I took back practical things I could do and review among my team from day one. No filler!”

“ I felt everyone came in with challenges and came out with really valuable new perspectives.”

Coming cohorts

Our next programme cohorts kick off on the morning of Friday 1st March, with half-day workshops every other Friday morning thereafter: 15th March, 29th March, 12th April, 26th April and 10th May — with cohorts also commencing in April and May 2019. There is mobility across cohorts — so that sessions can be picked up where dates are impossible for diaries. March cohort sessions will be hosted in the YCN Rivington Rooms, 58-60, Rivington Street, London EC2A 3AU.

 Email hello@ycn.org for further details and with any questions.

Download a programme PDF here.

Joining our Learning Network

Imaginative organisations, large and small, use YCN to build capabilities throughout their teams in modern, motivating and memorable ways.

Our peer-led membership programme is a popular starting point; giving teams open and self-directed access to a weekly calendar of in-person learning, a digital learning platform and a personal relationship with our own connective central team.

Find out more about what we offer in this PDF, or by contacting Nick Defty on nd@ycn.org.