21 thoughts from interviews with CPP directors

One of the most enjoyable things about doing the Multiplying Leadership in Creative Communities research was interviewing the Directors or Co-Directors of all 21 Places. The report has a page of thoughts that didn’t quite fit elsewhere. I was at one point tempted to call the report ‘Get your coat on.’  (I may just use that title for something else.) Anyway, here they are. Discuss.

‘Talking to people is how to get things done – get your coat on and get out there.’

‘The biggest challenge has been having to let go of some notions or versions of quality I had – it was hard but I had to hand over control anyway.’

‘Arts background has trumped management skills. You need to get out of the arts leadership comfort zone, of which CPP has elements.’

‘Being managed badly previously meant I wanted to manage well. I saw it’s a lot of work leading like an arsehole.’

‘You have to absorb a lot of anxiety to be calm and reassuring.’

‘Targets work against being responsive and accountable – but the consortium board were nervous about the lack of targets.’

‘We’re about shifting an ecology not building organisational or cultural capital – that’s not ethical or useful right now. It’s unethical to make work about how it is without thinking how tomorrow could be.’

‘Though we’re not about solving the world’s problems, people want value for money and large-scale work can seem a bit distasteful in light of cuts to services.’

‘I take having fun seriously, and to have fun you have to be yourself, and bring all of yourself to the task.’

‘You have to sit with the job never being done.’

‘I didn’t think I could be the director I’d seen other people be.’

‘There’s the pressure of being invited to every meeting about every thing and every event. It’s hard to say no. But my job isn’t going to meetings.’

‘This is the most stressful job I’ve ever had – I think it’s the weight you carry doing community work.’

‘What are you trying to prove and who are you trying to prove it too?’

‘Having joint directors was completely liberating – it enabled ambition and scale, using a broader set of experience.’

‘We don’t go in with ‘this is the way it’s going to happen’.’

‘You have to resist the urge to try and fix everything.’

 ‘Exercise and drink help!’

‘There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance in being your authentic self.’

‘Reducing funding and community demand create pressures and stress. It’s been heart-breaking to lose staff.’

‘We take the micky and laugh a lot.’

This is an extract from Multiplying Leadership in Creative Communities