The Hundreds Club: Building the next generation of human-centric leaders

Aislinn MahonGeneral Manager, Huckletree DublinHuckletree06/10/2022

The world is calling for human-centric leaders equipped to navigate times of uncertainty through building and maintaining strong cultures and establishing growth mindsets where innovation is prioritised. At Huckletree, we believe that investing in your people is mission-critical, and so we partnered up with Within People to deliver this year's Hundreds Club, with a focus on Leadership and Culture.

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Participants are building the leadership capacity necessary to enable people to step into and lead innovative change in their organisations. Graduating from the programme will mean knowing how to lead a culture where innovation and creativity thrive in a human-centric, 21st century way, unlearning the leadership ways of the past and embracing the leadership qualities required of us today.

At this point, we're halfway through the eight-week programme and already beginning to see deep change and awakenings happening amongst the group. For the past four weeks, 20 forward-thinking leaders from across the Huckletree ecosystem in the UK and Ireland have been immersed in learning led by Within People Partner, Anique Coffee.

Among the twenty eclectic minds taking part in this Hundreds Leadership and Culture track, there are C-suite and director-level representatives from Starling Bank, Butternut Box, Hammock, Hello Launch, JBH, PUBLIC, and Earnest Research. An added bonus of the programme is helping our members connect with their peers across our hubs, and build relationships in an open sharing environment.

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Below, I'm sharing my observations about what the group has learned so far.

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Week one focused on understanding our strengths and stretches as leaders around Within People’s eight essential leadership qualities:

Vulnerability - Lose the armour. You don't need all the answers.

Conviction - Have integrity and follow through on promises.

Courage - Accept there will be fear and work with it.

Creativity - Give space to ideas. Work with the unknown.

Curiosity - Listen to learn. Ask questions rather than jumping to solutions.

Empathy - Hold perspective without judgement.

Patience - Don’t rush to solve problems. Patience unleashes presence.

Love - Remember, we're hardwired for connection.

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Week two centred around culture and its impact on creativity and innovation. As a group, we spoke about the importance of being clear about our purpose and values and living them day-to-day. It was agreed that operationalising our values into behaviours can be really challenging.

The importance of storytelling and bringing our people on a journey was discussed at length this week. It can be really tough to set out a clear and inspiring picture of the future and a shared vision for growth that everyone can move towards when times are uncertain and no two days are the same, but we need to see the big picture.

Culture has the power to both block and unlock innovation within a company. If there's no clear mission and purpose behind financial targets, these lack purpose and meaning and will be hard to inspire teams to take initiative around how to move toward them.

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During week three, we broke off into peer groups and learned how to be mentors to one another. Discussions centred around the leadership qualities that we found challenging and the areas where we wanted to grow:

  • Consistency. It's key, but it can be really hard to follow through in times of uncertainty when we're stepping into the unknown. You need to balance the art of being vulnerable and displaying confidence to your team.
  • When we're trying to nail day-to-day processes, it's challenging to make room for creativity, especially in revenue-generating roles like sales.
  • How can we be patient with ourselves in times of change when we’re not in our comfort zones? Being truly kind to ourselves and moving at a realistic pace can be challenging.

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This week's session focused on blame culture, which can really hold us back from motivating others and ourselves from growth and development. As part of our conversations, we learned that:

  • When we move into blame, we aren’t listening to the other person or for the story behind what has happened. You lose the opportunity to actually solve the problem because the anger gets in the way.
  • In the workplace, blame can often be subtle. There can often be an underlying tone of fear in the organisation. As leaders, we can challenge ourselves by being direct and honest with our people and seek to understand rather than assign blame. If we can stay in “understanding / listening mode” for longer, we will see behaviours change.
  • In the drama triangle, there are three roles people can play and shift in and out of - the victim, the persecutor and the rescuer. Most of the group identified most strongly with the rescuer role, which can be common in leadership roles where we often struggle with patience and do not always set others up for success because it takes too long “let me get this done for you quickly”. This can be typical of start-up environments where there is an emphasis on output and productivity and “get sh*t done”. The space for people to learn is often not prioritised.

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Within People are stellar partners for this programme. They're a team of growth strategists working globally to help leaders use culture to grow more purposeful and equitable organizations. Discover more about what they do.


Aislinn Mahon

As HKT Dublin’s fearless leader, Aislinn is expert in new market entry and identifying new opportunities for strategic growth, and helped launch Huckletree in Ireland in 2017. She's also deeply passionate about the practice and teaching of yoga. Superpower: Building inner confidence.

aislinn@huckletree.comLinkedIn