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Julie Mackenzie

The Henley Partnership

How did you connect with The Henley Partnership (THP) initially?

‘The company had been looking around for a suitable partner, and at the same time we were contacted by Henley who asked if we were interested in joining the Partnership. We were impressed by the calibre of speakers, the reputation of the Business School and the fact that it was such a different environment, and one in which we felt our top team could really focus. It seemed like it was meant to be.

‘We also liked the idea of working with such a diverse group of businesses, and could see the value of the networking opportunities that could deliver.’

So how does your organisation use THP’s events? Who comes along, and how are they selected?

‘This has changed since we first started working with the Partnership. Originally, we would reserve the places for our top potential candidates, but over time, we realised that we needed to develop our entire top tier of senior leaders – around 150 people.

‘So now we publicise the calendar of events, and allocate the places on a first come, first served basis. However, there are occasions when we might alert an individual to an event that we feel might be especially relevant to their personal development plan.

‘The uptake has been very good, and we get a real range of people putting themselves forward and for various reasons. I can think of one individual who seeks out the most ‘edgy’ event each year, and says he likes to get out of his comfort zone and stretch his brain!'

What, then, has been most beneficial to your organisation?

‘All the feedback I’ve had tells me that our people have really appreciated the time away from the office, and the opportunity to reflect on the way we operate.

‘Just having those kind of development experiences has had a positive impact on the way they view the company. They feel more valued and believe that their contribution really matters.

‘They also report that the Partnership has provided them with a range of practical tools that they’ve been able to apply, which have contributed to the improved performance of the organisation.’

And was there anything that surprised you?

‘There was one particular, unintended consequence of our involvement, and that was that several of our executives really valued the opportunity to network with other people from our own organisation. Often, they worked in different areas of the businesses, or different locations and had limited opportunities to interact in the course of their work.'

So what advice would you give to anyone considering joining The Henley Partnership?

‘Do so with the attitude that it is a partnership. Because it really is. You can call them any time for advice, or for an opinion. But eventually, we are all part of the team that shapes and defines the event schedule.

‘And think carefully about who you might send, it’s important to have a plan in mind, to enable you to get the most from the Partnership.’

Find out more about The Henley Partnership