How To Create Your Own Local RE Group
“If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together”– African proverb
Networking is integral to our vision and to our growth. YorkshiR.E was born out of the desire to learn and grow from individuals who I knew were better and more experienced than me. I firmly believe that this purpose of the group was what ignited the flame that inspired me to pursue it. We have been very fortunate to attract the attention of RE enthusiasts from all over the UK. As a result, we feel privileged to have been asked to provide some guidance on how to develop your own local groups.
Peter Drucker explains clearly that “culture eats strategy for breakfast” establishing the right culture to your group is a vital starting point before going any further. If strategy is the road then, then culture is the engine in the car that gets you there. There are three questions when vision setting for any project which helps give clear and concise direction.
What do we want to achieve?
Why do we want to achieve it?
How are we going to do it?
When leading a local group and developing a strategy for growth, humility has to be at the forefront. It’s not about who’s right, it’s about getting it right. YorkshiR.E is affiliated with NATRE as a result we found that utilising the expertise of NATRE was critical to our decision making. Recognising expertise and talents around you is a key skill to have in order to apply those skills to the relevant areas and watch the project fly.
We identified that marketing was key, fortunately, NATRE already had templates that can be used and are professional. We recognised particularly during lockdown that social media was going to be a useful tool in promoting the group. We had worked together to create an agenda publish it and share it on as many social media areas as possible. Linkedin, Twitter, and of course SAVE RE on Facebook. We also utilised the further contacts that NATRE had, which we didn’t have and this also saw the group grow.
Communication is a key area that determines the successes and failures of a group. It was very tempting to stick to emails and continue playing email ping pong but as our group continued to grow from having an expectation of around 5-10 enthusiasts join to 64 signing up. Clear communication is what has helped the group grow. Using zoom meetings has saved time and stress when communicating and during the communication, it is vital that you allow any member of that meeting to be as vulnerable as they need to be. Simon Sinek speaks of how allowing people to show their vulnerabilities leads to progress as it addresses the concerns swiftly and appropriately. When we had a meeting of 64 to organise. There were some moments where we had to be open and honest about some of the obstacles we faced. However, each member of the team allowed each other to be open and become solution-focused through effective questioning and listening.
Daniel Goleman outlines 4 areas there are to emotional intelligence. Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. On this occasion, I’m going to focus on social awareness. It is important to know what your group wants for the meetings you provide. We put together online surveys that enable our enthusiasts to feedback on what they liked about our meetings, areas of development, and areas they would like to address in future meetings. This isn’t always easy but necessary for the growth of your group as you are then making a conscious effort to evolve.
Mistakes are learnings:
There is so much research available currently that suggests that we learn the most through mistakes. This is far from easy to put into practice but you must be willing to make mistakes. This is one of the things I told myself before starting. In order to learn and grow am I willing to make mistakes and on occasion have them pointed out? My answer was yes as I felt the benefits of pursuing this outweighs the risk of making a mistake. I know that running a local group and networking has made me a better practitioner. I acknowledge that there will be attendees that are better and a lot more experienced than me. The best part is, is that it’s not just me learning from our best talent, it’s everyone else too!
If you want more information on local groups, please click here.
Ashish Kundi is Head of RE and PSHE at Bridlington School and Leader of YorkshiR.E @ashish_kund