Parent organisation of Community Links, Foundation, Bridging the Gap and Foundation Living

A New Year, a new decade – what now for 2020?

Ruth Kettle holding Best Companies plaque for Inspire North

Ruth holding our 2** Best Companies plaque

It’s a new year and a new decade – how will we move forward in 2020? Ruth Kettle shares her thoughts on the last decade, and her leadership journey.

Wow, 2020, where did that come from? I still remember all the fuss about the year 2k and how technology was all going to come to an end, which of course it didn’t. The last decade for me has been a busy one with some significant events; at work I became CEO in 2015 and group CEO of Inspire North in 2018. At home I became a mum for the second time in 2012 and (among many other things) entered my first triathlon in 2016.

So what next in 2020?

This last year at the Inspire North family we have achieved so much together, embracing change and consolidating the merger of Community Links and Foundation. We are excited about our future and the difference we can make in 2020 and beyond. We are now a 2-star Best Company as a group, which was a phenomenal achievement and one of which I am rightly proud. We are a Living Wage Employer as a group, and we recently achieved our Investors in People accreditation with fabulous feedback. We continue to receive wonderful feedback from our clients about the difference we have made to their lives. We have many ‘wow’ moments and things to celebrate.

We are determined to keep building on the good work we do and make changes to ensure we are as effective as possible and make the biggest difference we can. But what does this look like?

Throughout my leadership journey I have always tried to understand the answer to the million-dollar question of what it means to be a great (effective) leader. As I have grown into my role as CEO, it’s become clear to me that the most successful leadership approach is to be values led. This means that the leaders embody the organisational values and lead with a deep sense of purpose, enabling a sustainable culture that reaches beyond the bottom line.

I have been thinking a lot about this lately as we discuss at our Board the performance indicators we are using, what they tell us about the health of our business and remembering the old adage “culture eats strategy for breakfast” (Peter Drucker). It is still the case that enabling a values-driven culture to emerge will get you the best performance results. Our job is to allow this to happen, and to present the evidence that shows this is the case.

I have been sent some great articles by colleagues that set out far more eloquently than I ever could just why this approach works, which are definitely worth a read: Kindness, an underrated currency and 5 myths of compassionate leadership. While these both focus on healthcare, I believe they are applicable in all social and health service delivery areas including housing, homelessness and domestic abuse. This makes being kind and compassionate our core business.

So, in 2020 and beyond I will be practising being gentle in my honesty, listening deeply, exceeding expectations with generous acts, and being courageous to ensure that as a leader I embody our group values of People, Collaboration, Passion and Integrity.

Happy New Year, Happy new decade!

Inspire North colleagues attending Leeds Pride 2019

Inspire North colleagues at Leeds Pride in 2019