During these days I was challenged in ways I have never been before. Some of these challenges (especially tasks like Col/ab where you have to act as different organizations and negotiate with each other) were very hard for a lot of us; we found ourselves very far outside our comfort zones. I remember recollecting something that an alumnus had said, "throw yourself into the tasks and go for it" – so I did and absolutely loved it. I had to negotiate contracts and think very quickly on my feet. By the end of the exercise I felt really good about myself and what my group had achieved.
The 3rd day was my "light bulb" moment. It started with a masterclass on empowerment. I had never really understood what empowerment was but after this short but detailed masterclass I came out of it full of ideas on how to improve my management style and also with ways to potentially improve my team’s performance. Straight after the masterclass, I took part in a coaching session. I had no idea what to expect so I decided to go with it and it really paid off. By the end of the session I was mentally and emotionally drained but I felt that my confidence had been given a real boost.
By the time Friday came, I was exhausted. I didn't want to leave the space where we'd spent the past four days. I didn't want to say goodbye to all of the inspiring individuals I had formed a great bond with.
Since the Academy I’ve really tried to stay in my positive cloud and take that into my work. I've spoken with my manager and also my team about the course and ways I see we can improve not just our productivity but also our work-life balance. I’ve been arranging to meet my fellow Academy attendees and I've also organized for one of the guest speakers who spoke at the Academy to come in and speak to my directors and fellow managers.
The Academy has given me so much confidence and self-awareness, it really was the best course I've ever participated in and I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone.