Written by Claire Sofield, Co-Owner & Managing Director
As a member of Be the Standard and previously Vistage, Claire discusses the opportunities and growth she has experienced with these groups.
Three years ago when I joined a peer-topeer leadership group I soon realised the importance of investing in yourself as a business leader. If you don’t invest in yourself, how can you expect your business and team to grow.
As many of you will be able to relate, it can be a very lonely role as a leader or owner-manager and confiding in a group of people who face similar challenges is really comforting.
During my time with this group I extended my network at MD and CEO level, surrounded myself with supportive, like-minded individuals and implemented various business strategies on the back of the meetings. The most significant impact to come from the group was after assessing our business values and positioning and realising there was more opportunity for us in that area. We appointed external brand agency, ‘Muddy Wellies’ who have since worked with us for a number of years to help refine our corporate messaging and purpose, which now underlines absolutely everything we do as a business.
It was after speaking with Paul CheethamKarcz, about Be the Standard that it stood out to me as something a bit different. The group was originally founded by Sedulo managing partner, Paul Cheetham-Karcz and Kevin Sinfield MBE in Summer 2021. Their vision was to create a leadership performance group with a focus on human development, ultimately leading to better people, better leaders and better entrepreneurs.
Kevin and Paul recognised that in the sporting world, elite performers have the best support systems to deal with external influences. They are told when to sleep, what to eat, how to get the best out of training and often have psychology professionals available to them. So why do we ignore these aspects of our own being when we expect elite performance from ourselves? Paul explains: “What I didn’t realise would be most of the problems I would incur would not be hurdles within business but within myself and I had no answers for the personal challenges I faced.”
The refreshing thing about the group is the breadth of individuals. As you know there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to leadership and there are a huge variety of roles, sectors and growth stories where we can all learn from each other. After each session I leave feeling inspired with lots of ideas to take away and implement for myself and at Four. The topics discussed don’t just revolve around work either, there are conversations around our personal and home lives as they’re interconnected and one can affect the other.
For me, the biggest thing to come from the group is the recent appointment of our Non Executive Director, Chris Brindley. He spoke at a Be the Standard event and when I heard about his experience in a number of high profile roles, most recently as MD at the challenger bank, Metrobank, I was inspired. His session was effectively a business master-class and once I’d heard him speak there was no way I wasn’t going to explore the opportunity for him to support our growth at Four! After six months of Chris working with us as a consultant I am delighted he’s now our Non Executive Director.
Be the Standard is an exclusive and driven group of like-mind individuals focused on personal reflection and self-awareness. The combined experiences of business leader Paul Cheetham-Karcz and sporting legend Kevin Sinfield created a leadership programme focused on achieving a sustainable, elite performance lifestyle.
Through my membership of Be the Standard I get access to some really high profile businesses, experts and elite athletes. Recent events have welcomed speakers including Peter Cowgill, Gary Neville, Rebecca Adlington and Karren Brady. I find that the insight and advice from these icons really resonates with me and provides an alternative and hugely beneficial perspective on business and leadership.
In addition to the business connections I have formed from the group I have also been lucky enough to make some genuine friends. I think Paul has done an exceptional job at creating this group and bringing together a great group of like-minded people who can benefit from one another and the advice of world class speakers.
If you’re interested in learning more about the group please get in touch with Claire Sofield in the first instance. E: firstname.lastname@example.org