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Spotlight: We shine the light this week on David Pardey


David PardeyDavid Pardey talks to about the excitement of living on the edge, trying new things and asking 'why'?

Name: David Pardey

Age: 58

Job title: Senior manager, research & policy, Institute of Leadership & Management

Brief description of the job that you do:
Developing ILM's research and knowledge base, and monitoring external policy developments to assess their impact on us (amongst other things).

1. Why did you move into this post?

I started off in marketing, and really enjoyed the work I did training others so made the decision to move into education and training, first of all in further education and then, through a specialist residential management development centre, into training. Through that I moved into freelance consultancy, research and writing, working more and more with the Institute of Leadership & Management. Last year we talked about my work with ILM and they developed a role that fitted the ILM's needs that I was able to fill.

2. What do you love best about your job?

The infinite variety – for me it's the ideal job. I work with some tremendous people and my role cuts right across the internal boundaries of the Institute (which are pretty fluid anyway) and I get to do so many different things.

3. What do you find most challenging?

Juggling all the different projects I have on the go. The downside of variety is that there's so little consistency, but without that 'living on the edge' feeling, life would be so dull.

4. What's the best advice that you would give to someone new to leadership and management development?

Be inquisitive and don't accept received wisdom. Be prepared to ask 'why?', keep alert to new ideas and practices, and try them out if they look sound. If they don't work, drop them and try something else, but you must be prepared to try new things out.

5. What's the best advice that's been given to you that has helped you in your career?

'Don't try to do it all yourself', although I still need reminding that I'm part of a team and that I can call on others to help.

6. How do you see your role developing over the next few years?

Leadership and management development is really critical for the success of public and private sector organisations, and ILM is the largest leadership & management awarding body in the UK, growing fast and bursting with new ideas, so my biggest problem will be to take advantage of all the opportunities. However, my big goal is to build a knowledge resource about best practice in leadership and management development that is the most authoritative source of information and advice available.

7. What's the best career help book that you've ever read?

It's not really a career help book, but it has done more to influence my thinking than anything else I've read, and that's Ricardo Semler's book, 'Maverick'. I always tell anyone interested in leadership and management that they should read it, because it makes you question everything else you will ever read about the topic.

8. What's the best event within the training community that you've ever attended?

It was nearly 25 years ago, on a residential training week when I was exposed to some radical ideas about how to deliver the programmes I managed at the time. I spent the week working with two other colleagues on a radical redesign, using the programme tutors to help me, and went back with a goal to change how I and my team worked. I know that kind of event is now seen as old-fashioned, but having the time and space, with your peers and with experts to help you, is one of the best opportunities to learn that one can have.

9. Who do you think is the most inspirational member of the training community and have you ever met them?

It would be embarrassing to mention some of my colleagues at ILM, although there are several there who do really inspire me. However, I must pay tribute to David Taylor, author of the 'Naked Leader' and someone I have heard speak a couple of times and who I had lunch with recently. One of the things he taught me was to focus on what it will be like when you arrive at your destination, rather than on what you are leaving behind.

10. What else would you like to share with our readers?

The best training can change people's lives, which places a big responsibility on everyone who works as a trainer to make sure you do it right. But when you do get it right, the pleasure of seeing someone blossom as a result is the real reward of the job.

Read the last Spotlight, on Bob Selden


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