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Anna's drawing of herself as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz

Anna Wallbank

Take it from me, if you don’t feed your creativity it might get starved and start to gobble you up instead.

See Anna's slideshow on leadership and creativity

transcript from slide show

  1. Leadership & Creativity Anna Wallbank

  2. The Sync leadership programme found me - or I found it - at an incredibly intense and busy time. Zinc, the organisation I work for, was almost at the end of an incredible journey. We’d been building a new cultural centre, were about to complete, officially open and start proving ourselves. Dorothy had Oz in her sight; the yellow brick road had ended - we were just about open the door...

  3. Jo and Sarah then asked ‘when would you like to write your piece for the Sync website?’ Given my dyslexia, my first response was an incredibly enthusiastic ‘I’ll go last if you don’t mind,’ and ‘can I draw my one?’

  4. So now here I am - internally I’m thinking who on earth is interested in what I’ve got to say? Well, I’ve worked out the answer to that question - I’ll tell you at the end. Leadership can be a lonely road and there is often no map. I do lead. I am part of a team and if leadership is about pushing, pulling, carrying, slogging, pointing, waving, shouting... (and other words that end in ‘ing’) then that is what I do.

  5. So I am going to reflect on leadership, but before I do I want to ponder a little on creativity. Why? Because this is where my leadership was born. I use creativity within my practical working life to install drive, passion, energy, self and societal interest and identity in others (or something like that). Catch that word there? ‘Others’. For me, the focus has nearly always been on others.

  6. I did not set out to be a leader. I led workshops, I acted, I directed, I made art. I worked with a friend. As we got more work we employed people to work with us... then a few more. The ‘we’ grew. We wanted to do it properly, get it right. We were doing good work. But we didn’t like the buildings we were working in, they weren’t accessible, they didn’t instill equality or if they had good access they weren’t very creative spaces.

  7. We looked and looked. Couldn’t find one. So decided to build one ourselves. Our Oz. (You’ll have spotted I’ve paraphrased this story).

  8. Lately my own relationship with creativity has been the focus of coaching sessions with Sarah. Creativity can give pleasure and pain in equal parts, and for me it’s also part of my politics. It has been neglected as the Yellow Brick Road steepened near Oz.

  9. I work with those whose chances to be creative - to unfurl, imagine, explore, give voice and realise that most beautiful part of what it is to be human (you know the list) - have been denied, ignored, deprioritised. I am part of an organisation whose core principles embrace this. This is why I can’t look at my leadership without looking at my relationship to creativity. It is painfully ironic that I have recently had to put my creativity to one side.

  10. So here I am, trying to reconnect with my creativity and focus on leadership. Leadership puts you in some vulnerable places. You could: • drown in the sea • fall off the mountain • or the truck you are pushing could roll back down over you

  11. Anyway as I write this, it’s Friday afternoon – I have the positivity of a clear weekend seeping through my bones. A weekend free of work and full of time for me and whatever I wish to create.

  12. Now here comes the answer to the question about who may be interested in what I have to say. The answer is me. I am interested in what I have to say and I guess this understanding is what Sync has given me. The chance to listen to myself and find it rather interesting. The chance to build my confidence to say ‘yes, I am a Leader - so what? - and get on with it.’

  13. Oh, and one more thing before I go. Take it from me, if you don’t feed your creativity it might get starved and start to gobble you up instead. Feed it. It’s important.

  14. Anna Wallbank works at Zinc, www.zincarts.org.uk She made this as part of Sync Intensives, www.syncleadership.co.uk


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