The John Muir Leadership Centre?

I met Bill Stephen and Ollie Bray on Friday to explore how we might build upon some of the experiences I had at the Project Adventure programme in the summer.

We started off exploring how we might use some of these ideas at one of our Head Teacher conferences in the coming session but quickly extended into considering how we could develop a facilitated leadership programme for a wide range of individuals – teachers, private sector leaders, local authority leaders and young people.

East Lothian is well placed geographically to offer leadership programmes which make use of our wonderful environment yet is close to a major city with relatively good transport connections.

Our emerging idea went as follows:

  1. Develop our leadership approach around the principles, personality and achievements of John Muir;
  2. Develop a series of programmes which would be acccessible to mixed groups, i.e. not just educationalists – cross fertilisaton would be a key feature of our approach;
  3. Make use of the outdoor environment of East Lothian;
  4. Train facilitators in a leadership philosophy which would permeate the programme;
  5. Support public sector engagement through commerical rates;
  6. Offer our programmes to a local, national and international clientele.
  7. Make use of public sector and private sector facilitators.

We are pulling together a management group to further develop these ideas but if you feel you could make a particular contribution to such a group just drop me a line.

As Alan Blackie (he joined us during our meeting) suggested our strap line, which might underpin the type of leadership approach we would seek to develop, should perhaps read “Leave no Footprints” – which was one of John Muir’s most famous sayings about people who visit the wilderness.

Exciting stuff!

“A Space to Grow?”


How would you like to work in a place which set itself out as “A Space to Grow”?

A place where you could:

Achieve your personal goals;

Provide an outstanding service;

Fulfil your sense of vocation.

A place where your employers:

cared for your personal welfare and well-being;

focussed upon the impact of their service to users;

were flexible and willing to take decisions based upon consideration of circumstances – as opposed to being locked down by policy;

trusts that their employees want to do their best;

encouraged innovative and entrepreneurial practice to meet the needs of service users.

Sound a good place to be?

Well that’s an insight into what we got up to today at our first Leadership Team meeting for East Lothian Council’s Chief Officers.

Alex McCrorie – our new Acting Chief Executive – clearly set out a new agenda of change and opportunity where we are determined to listen, respond and work with our users and colleagues to improve the quaility of service we provide.

Despite the challenge provided by recent circumstances and the on-going concern over single status I was – in common with my colleagues – excited by the prospect of creating a new and vibrant culture for East Lothian Council.

A culture which is shared across all services and which shapes the practice and behaviour of all leaders in our organisation.

A culture  where we learn from our short-term experiences and translate them into new forms of practice.

A culture in which people can take pride and satisfaction in supporting, benefitting from, and promoting.