SME Innovation, Growth, and Leadership Research: The MCIL programme is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme
Today’s guest blogger is Grant Leboff who delivered an inspiring two-day workshop for our SME participants on sales. In this short and accessible vlog, Grant talks about how SMEs can harness social media to connect directly to their customers. Social media connects people individually. This means that sales is no longer about a company taking out a mass market advert. Instead, SMEs should focus on building individual relationships with their customers. Customers are no longer interested in a brand, more in what their friends and family think of a product.
Professor Kelemen delivered an astonishingly creative session for our Mercia Centre for Innovation Leadership participants: 22 owners of innovative, growth-oriented firms from the Staffordshire area. Sue Moffat, the Director of the New Vic Borderlines, co-delivered the workshop with the professionalism expected of an experienced theatre director.
The theme of the workshop was Leadership in a Liquid Modern World: specifically, how SME owners could work with their teams to create an imaginative vision for their organisation.
The CASIC method, entitles Cultural Animation, uses playful, experiential exercises to create connections between participants, allowing them to step outside their day job as SME leaders.
In the image above, a group of SME owners created a beehive to illustrate the nature of a busy firm, where all the staff had an important role in creating value. The collaborative and hard-working nature of the firm could easily be understood through the analogy of the beehive.
Participants quickly learned that, despite the seriousness of the leadership themes, the creative nature of the exercises helped them see problems in a new way.
In other exercises, participants were asked to dramatise their leadership style: the image is the prelude to a group “high five” from one of the SME leaders, who has a participative and supportive leadership style:
The CASIC method was a powerful learning methodology: participants felt invigorated, challenged, but also much closer to each other as a result. Leadership programmes such as MCIL often show that improved networks are one of the most long-lasting outcomes. CASIC has certainly played an important role in helping participants learn to trust and work with each other, through creative play.