On with the show

Ways to establish effective strategies for leadership and cope with uncertainty have dominated the thoughts of HR and development professionals over the past year. So it is fitting that these are some of the main themes of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) conference and exhibition on the 27-29 October, which will take place at a variety of venues in the Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate. 

For example, seminar stream A7-G7, Labelled Leadership, promises to look at how high-profile organisations, such as Unilever and Interbrew, are using leadership development strategies to achieve competitive advantage.

Six other conference themes focus on the issues of strategy, topical updates, legal updates, managing change, global thinking and the war for talent. They will cover subjects such as working with unions, and the new psychological contract.

The  event’s finale is on Friday 29 October at 11.30am, when Warren Bennis, founding chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California, gives the closing keynote address. His theme of competencies of exemplary leadership should ensure that the conference ends on a high note.

Key themes

Many of the 350 exhibitors will be picking up on these key subjects. For example, executive education and  research organisation, Roffey Park (stand M210), will be launching a new research report exploring the leadership challenges facing global organisations.

Featuring in-depth case studies of large global companies, it will highlight the skills, capabilities and behaviour required by global leaders. It will also illustrate the steps which organisations  take to evaluate leadership effectiveness.

Roffey Park will be giving away a free guide to organisation development (OD) at its stand. It will highlight what OD is and will also outline the skills  needed by practitioners. 

Issues surrounding managing change and leadership will be highlighted in the facilitated case study workshops, demonstrated by  CragRats  (stand C92). These theatre-based workshops are said to give an insight into empowerment and behaviour change.

And still on the theme of drama, Purple Monster Training will be demonstrating its leadership programme ‘The Hero’s Journey’ – which has already been used by a major refinery company – and Steps Drama will be participating in the main conference on Wednesday 27 October as part of Ernst & Young’s session (2.30-3.30pm) entitled ‘The under-pensioned middle manager’.


Creativity is still on the wish-list of many companies as they look to their managers for fresh and brave thinking on achieving success. A new process from Infinite Possibilities (stand M93) is said to be able to do this, and to help them define and align objectives. The company is known for its work in organisation development.

Role play and real life experiences are at the centre of development activities launched by Right Training (stand Q20). Its new courses include ‘Future Leader – Present Tense’, which contrasts leadership with management, and The Power of Personal Impact, which focuses on how to develop staff to achieve results.

Extreme and challenging environments for developing leaders will be explored by Impact Development Training Group (stand B102) as it markets both its open programme from the Leadership Odyssey series, and a new approach to corporate social responsibility, as it includes social -action projects in its development programmes.

There can be few scenarios more challenging than leadership training for the fire service . Expert in this field SFL is new to CIPD Harrogate this year (stand Q17), and is keen to talk about its approach to experiential learning for those crew managers and its work in emotiona intelligence and leadership.

And finally, if a tour around the exhibition leaves you keen to dash back to the office to evaluate the communications style, management norms and culture of your organisation, then why not visit Reed Executive (stand B70). Occupational psychologists at Reed Consulting  are  launching a new measure called Fit4Wrk. This culture fit tool is initially available free online. It allows you to measure the style of  your existing team, and offers the opportunity to see how it matches with the working culture preferences of potential new staff.  


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