September 20th 2016

East Midlands employers complete Executive Stretch

Attendees take part in a leadership activity

37 employees from East Midlands based organisations have attended a professional development and learning event based on the British Army’s approach to leadership and management.

Exercise Executive Stretch took place on Thursday 15 September at Chetwynd Barracks in Chilwell, Nottingham.  Nine organisations from both the public and private sectors across the East Midlands sent employees to take part in leadership training and activities designed to develop their management, communication and problem solving skills.

All of the participants are currently in either supervisory or management positions in their workplace and they were offered this one-day personal development package towards gaining new perspectives, ideas and leadership skills relevant to their workplace.

The morning program centred on leadership theory with a number of stimulating and interactive sessions focussed on values, personal style and the key components of good people leadership. The afternoon saw the delegates in an outdoor setting getting to grips with a range of fun problem solving activities on the purpose built command task area.

John Wilson, the Ministry of Defence’s Regional Engagement Director, said: “Working closely with our Regional Brigade Head Quarters we were delighted to offer this unique opportunity to those employers who have taken advantage of this employer engagement event. We have always greatly valued the understanding and support many employers readily give to those employees in the Army Reserve and we believe we have found a good way of further cementing that engagement through the free provision of these one-day events based on the way the Army does leadership”.

Taking part in a command task

Taking part in a command task

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Sutherland, event organiser, added: “It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Army’s greatest assets are not its tanks or equipment, but its people. It is the quality of its personnel which gives the Army its cutting edge, enabling consistent success on operations and many other endeavours it is tasked with. All of which comes down to effective leadership. The idea behind Executive Stretch is to share some of the Army’s best working practice with relevance to those in leadership and people management roles across business and industry and based on the success of this recent event we intend to lay on more in the future”.

Feedback from employers who took part in the event: 

Adele Bryan, General Manager in Adult Mental Health Services at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust took part in the event, she said: “It was a brilliant event in which we put our learning into practice in the hands-on exercises. I previously studied a master’s degree in management and leadership and I preferred today’s practical event as a different way of learning.”

Gary Wilson, Crew Manager at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I have previously studied courses in leadership and management through my workplace so it was great to see that the Army’s approach to management was very similar to the way the Fire Service operates. It was also good to work alongside people during the event from other industries. I’d recommend this training experience to anyone.”

Damien West, Group Manager at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, organised for a number of his colleagues to attend the event. He said: “This opportunity has allowed some of our new, and experienced, managers from within the service to benefit from the outstanding leadership training that the Armed Forces has to offer.  We have previously seen how reservists from within the service have increased their confidence and decision making abilities, amongst other leadership qualities, from their reservist role and we are very grateful that this opportunity has been extended to other operational and support managers from within our service.”

Chris Whaley, Catering Manager at the University of Lincoln, attended the event. He said: “It was a brilliant day. The event showed us a different way of looking at management. We took part in theoretical discussions then put this in to practice by taking part in activities in the afternoon. My team won the last command task which was great. We were just seconds ahead of the other teams but it was a great feeling to win. I’d recommend this style of training to anyone.”

Rob Allan, HR Director at Loughborough University, said: “Today’s event has been a brilliant experience. It has demonstrated how much common ground there is across public and private sector organisations in terms of management. The exercise also showed how quickly teams can gel in an activity under the right leadership.”

Simon Davies, Team Leader at Pearson TQ, Army Foundation College, in Harrogate, said: “As a middle manager I very much enjoyed the opportunity to understand and immerse myself in the theory and practice of how the Army encourages and teaches leadership skills. This has given me time out of the workplace to reflect on my own leadership and management practices and how I can adapt these to best fit the requirements of leading a busy team.”

Clare Teeney, Director of Human Resources at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, organised for a number of her colleagues to take part in Executive Stretch. She explained: “We were keen for members of our staff to be able to participate in the Executive Stretch leadership and learning event as it provides an alternative approach towards leadership development.  It gave our staff the opportunity to explore different learning styles and work with members of their own team as well as people from other organisations.  The feedback we have had from staff who attended has been really positive and we would be keen to encourage others to attend future events.”


“This opportunity has allowed some of our new, and experienced, managers from within the service to benefit from the outstanding leadership training that the Armed Forces has to offer."