Interesting, because in some ways it shows Wales up in a very bad light indeed. The survey, undertaken in December said respondents found it extremely difficult to name Welsh leaders, with only 50% being able to name 2 or more. Not one Welsh person made it into the top 10 of world leaders (headed by Winston Churchill) and perhaps even more worryingly, some 40% said they were ‘very dissatisfied’ with the performance of their own business leaders, including their decision-making and general leadership skills. Good old Nye Bevan and previous Leading Wales Awards recipient Rhodri Morgan were in there, but not terribly highly placed it would seem.
Is it ‘cos I’s Welsh?
Is this a ‘Welsh’ thing? Is it about the old inferiority complex again? Do we not think of ourselves as leaders? Or are there really none to be found here?
I think that’s fascinating, as I meet Welsh leaders EVERY DAY. I meet business leaders, entrepreneurs, academic leaders, social media leaders, creative leaders, radio leaders, leaders in parenting, leaders in education, leaders in blogging or leaders setting up events and festivals.
Wales, it seems to me, is bursting at the seams with leaders. I sometimes think that Wales is the single most entrepreneurial country in the UK. Its seems there are micro businesses / small businesses / on line businesses / production companies / web design companies / graphic designers / authors / teachers / lifestyle businesses / tech businesses, all sorts, just working away, seemingly slightly under the radar.
A Great Nation
And these people are BRILLIANT. There is something about the uniquely Welsh mixture of unfussy, non fancy yet outright passion for a cause or an idea that is extremely potent. I meet these people every day and they inspire me everyday. It might be a mum dealing with autism, and single-handedly taking on a school and an LEA to make sure she gets the right thing for her kid, it might be someone with an idea for a product or service that they just have to get off the ground. It might be a newly qualified grad who is going to change the world, or an old school businesses man who has reinvented himself as a new media guru(can we call it new media still?).
And there are many organisations doing amazing things too. Here are a very few examples… From Autism Cymru, genuinely setting the autism agenda, here and abroad, to BBC Wales, making the best content. First Doctor Who, now Sherlock, stunning TV at its best. Or take Admiral Insurance making tons of money and still regarded as a brilliant place to work, the team there know they have a route to management and leadership in that organisation should they want it. There’s also PHS based in Caerphilly, they are a HUGE organisation, doing amazing things and making tons of cash in an industry most people don’t even think twice about. There are more and more examples of brilliance and of course brilliant leadership in Wales every day.
So is it that we don’t want to talk about it? Are we embarrassed? OR do we not recognise the ‘greatness’ and the leaders around us for what they are? More importantly, what do we do about it?
PLUG – The Leading Wales Awards
Worrying isn’t it? The reason I have supported The Leading Wales awards for the several years I have done, is because I think Leadership, especially for Wales, is such a vital part of our burgeoning country’s path to the future. Recognising leaders, and celebrating them is a natural extension of that. The Leading Wales Awards does this for all sort of categories of leaders. Leaders in business for sure, but also leaders in the community, leaders in the public and the charity sectors, leaders working with kids and young people, leaders all over Wales in fact. But it won’t be down to award ceremonies to do it all. In fact, so much ‘leadership’ goes on unrecognised and unremarked upon, that one, albeit one very well done awards ceremony, is clearly not enough. By the way, follow the links up top there, and enter someone for an award. If they deserve it, enter them. It’s easy to do, and so very rewarding for everyone concerned.
It’s not just about ‘Land of my Fathers’, it’s about the Future of my Children
What ever the reason, its got to change. Get with the programme Wales! You are simply amazing, and its time to grow into your potential. We’ve said it all here already. Creative, energetic, driven, family orientated, teaching by inclination, technologically advanced, entrepreneurial, fabulous Wales. Stand up for yourselves!
We’re Welsh and we’re proud. Yes, but its more than that. We are Welsh and we are brilliant. YOU are brilliant Wales. I meet your people and talk to your businesses every day. They amaze me everyday. Be proud. Recognise, celebrate and revel in what we have here. Believe the hype!
An enthusiastic, confident Wales is what I want for my kids. Perhaps its starts here. In twenty years time, maybe there will be a few more Welsh names on that survey, leading Wales forward.