Accomplishment; how to achieve ambitious and challenging things at scale – A reflection on the June Symposium


Maggie Farrar, Forum Strategy Associate

I knew that the National #TrustLeaders Symposium would be different the moment I walked into the room. There was a real sense of anticipation. Everyone had been sent a copy of ‘Accomplishment; how to Achieve Ambitious and Challenging Things’ by Sir Michael Barber a few weeks before and had been invited to explore with their executive teams, ahead of the day, what, in their wildest dreams, they would love to accomplish for their own trusts and communities – especially given the scale and reach many now have as trust leaders. The copies of Michael’s book were on every table signifying that today was going to be a shared conversation – between CEOs, COOs and Education Executives from across the country – about how we might do that.

Michael’s book is full of stories, both ancient and modern, global and universal and from a range of fields of endeavour. These stories brought to life the two aspects of ‘Accomplishment’ we were going to explore: prepare with purpose and passion, and deliver with precision.

We started by taking to heart the words of Emil Zatopek, the Czech athlete who made his mark at the London Olympics in 1948 for his courage, warmth and generosity as well as his sporting prowess, when he said ‘achieving great things is not just about what you do, but the way that you do it.

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