Magazine article Management Today

In My Opinion: Chartered Management Institute

Magazine article Management Today

In My Opinion: Chartered Management Institute

Article excerpt

Chartered Management Institute Companion Roy Clare reflects on how Lord Nelson's principles of active leadership resonate today.

A background commanding HMS Invincible may not seem an obvious preparation for directing the National Maritime Museum (NMM). But having worked in both settings, I believe that principles transferred from the Royal Navy have helped improve performance at the institution. Both organisations emphasise leadership among trained professionals, uphold core values and focus on results. Each depends on developing human capacities. Success stems from specialist knowledge, coupled with attention to priorities and exacting performance. I'm sure Lord Nelson himself - an exemplar of inspirational leadership still - would have recognised these parameters.

So how do the two compare? Invincible had a complement of more than 1,200 men and women. Engineers, logisticians, caterers, operations crews and aviators were posted for two years at a time. All received extensive prior training, and keeping skills and knowledge up to date was a priority. Teams trained together, and computer-based training was used extensively.

By comparison, the NMM has 500 staff, with a diverse range of specialists, including curators, conservators, educators, authors, librarians, designers, marketers, event managers, retailers, fundraisers and a span of technical, financial and logistical staff. With 1.5 million customer visits each year in Greenwich and many more web users worldwide, the museum turns over pounds 20 million annually. Our products add value for the public and realise a cash profit in some activities.

With so many specialist skills in the workforce, the NMM emphasises the benefits of training. The budget is some 2% to 3% of the annual pay bill. New joiners undergo formal induction, while a key initiative is our modular management development programme. Such measures are important in developing the capacity and efficiency of the institution - while at the same time making it a rewarding place to work.

The core similarity between such contrasting organisations is that at heart, stripped of jargon, both aircraft carriers and museums are 'bunches of people doing stuff'. For both, leadership skills and active management are the premium requirements at all levels in every department.

At my instigation, the objectives and values of our 70-year-old institution were redefined through consultation at every level. Next, we initiated the Investor in People programme and in 2001 the NMM became the first national museum in London to be accredited - just as Invincible had been the first warship to be accredited.

The museum has since been re-accredited twice. Organisations can claim to be 'investors in people' only when their people say they are. An assessor gathers individuals' views and these underpin the accreditation. …

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