What Does a Leader Look Like?

‘What Does A Leader Look Like?’ was the theme at a conference for South West arts organisations in February 2014.  Farooq Chaudhry, who became the Producer for English National Ballet in October 2013 gave a great talk about his experience and thoughts on this, alongside Sue Hoyle OBE, Director of the Clore Leadership Programme and Claire Hodgson, theatre/dance director and conference organiser. Lots of input and discussion came from around 100 cultural leaders involved in dance, theatre, music, circus, film, museums, libraries, freelance producers, Arts Council England and local authorities.

We talked about ‘cultural leaders’ and how to bring the next generation on. I thought I’d write a blog to give a flavour of the day for our Young Music Leaders and others involved in pushing creative ideas forward (e.g. on the Youth Music Network site). Through the day, words kept coming up that help define the qualities of a good leader. These are some of them:

Personal characteristics:

Attitude – Leadership is about attitude and approach, not qualifications and training.

Vision – filter all your dreams down to one or two that you and your team really love.

Excellence: Strive for the best.

Confidence. Have confidence in yourself and build it in others. Lack of confidence is the biggest barrier to action.

Trust your team – why are they with you if you don’t trust them?

Risk taking without gambling recklessly, experiment, try, believe in success.

Rebelliousness – don’t accept convention is best. Challenge the norm, push boundaries.

Make a difference. Stand up and be counted.

Empathy towards people.

Listening – your way may not be the best.

Respect for others and differing views.

Enthusiasm – communicate your belief in your vision.

Commitment and determination to see something through.

Perseverance to overcome problems.

Stamina – in it for the long haul.

Calm – panic can lead to bad decisions and wobble team confidence.

Honesty – openness identifies challenges that can be resolved.

Integrity – to your values and those of your team.

Patience – problems always arise and may delay progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Judgement – when exploring something new, you may not know the answer and there may be no right or wrong way; use your experience and knowledge to guide you.

Responsibility – own up to things that go wrong.

Leave ego behind. Its not about you, its about an idea.

Project delivery:

Teamwork – build a team that shares your vision, working for an idea, not you.

Diversity in your team – gives new ideas, ways of working, culture and approach.

Reducing barriers to become involved could involve approaches to work such as employing someone to achieve a task where payment is not based on the hours they work but on the value they bring to the project. This gives team members the flexibility to do the job in the time of their own choosing, not restricted to regular office hours. As long as they deliver the work by the deadline you have, they can work around commitments in their personal life such as childcare and looking after family elders.

Collaboration – other individuals and organisations can help you and add excellence. You don’t have to be alone.

Decide – the team can advise, but you should be decisive when needed.

Priority/select – lots of options may be open to you. Diluting your efforts could lead to loss of excellence. Stay focused.

Then there are all the normal processes of project management that are embedded in Youth Music’s and other good project work:

Research; plan; action; monitor; evaluate; share; adapt; repeat on a loop.

You know the score – it’s all in ‘Ideas Into Action’.

Can you add other leadership qualities?


Ideas into Action

Welcome to B Sharp’s ‘Ideas Into Action’.

These notes aim to help young people who want to make things happen, and to encourage innovation and enterprise in music. Once understood, the principles can be applied to any type of project. The notes have been divided into different sections and can be explored by clicking on the subject headings in the table of contents.

More music resources, compiled by B Sharp, can be found in Links to Progress your Music Interests and Journey.


Introduction to Event and Project Planning

Aims and Objectives

Actions and Timetabling

Management, Communication and Teamwork

What Does A Leader Look Like?

Resources and Budgets



Responsibilities and Safety

Results, Monitoring and Evaluation

Social Enterprise and B Sharp

The B Sharp Resources website has been developed as part of B Sharp’s project  Young Leaders @ The Hub, taking place in The HubLyme Regis. The project is funded by Youth MusicWest Dorset District Council and Lyme Regis Town Council. We are very grateful to have their support.

Social Enterprise and B Sharp

Social Enterprise

There are many ways of organising projects and businesses. How they are structured will depend on the aims of the organiser.

Economies may be considered to have three sectors:

  1. The business private sector, which is privately owned and profit motivated. The profits are distributed between the owners (a private enterprise) or between investors who have shares (a public company) and share the profit in proportion to the number of shares each investor has.
  2. The public sector, which is owned by the state on behalf of the people of the state e.g. the NHS and comprehensive schools.
  3. The social economy, or third sector, which embraces a wide range of community, voluntary and not-for-profit activities. The third sector is based around the idea of doing good things for people or the environment.

Brief explanations of different business structures can be found here.

A good blog about choosing a legal structure for a creative buisness, outlining the pros and cons of each model can be found on Creative Choise’s ‘How to set up your own business’.

The third sector can be organised in different ways.

It could be a not for profit organisation such as a charity, community organisation, or club. All their money is spent on their cause and they rely on donations, subscriptions, grants and volunteers to provide a service for people or the environment.

It could be a Social Enterprise, which is generally half way between private enterprise and a volunteer/community organisation. Social enterprises are defined by the government as  “businesses with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.”  Basically a business that trades and is driven by a mission to tackle a social or environmental issue, and invests all profits back into the cause.  People, planet and profit, also known as the triple bottom line framework, is at the heart of a social enterprise.

A social enterprise can have various organisational structures e.g. a Community Interest Company, a Co-operative or a company trading for charitable purposes.

In all the business models mentioned above, people can be paid for the work they do or volunteer their time. The difference is about how money left over is used, after all expenses are paid.

Because the social economy is about benefiting people and the planet and relies on good will and trade to do it, the sector needs to measure these benefits to show what difference they are making. If they have evidence about their value, it’s easier to tell their story and gain support for their cause and efforts.

Benefit and value are not as easy to measure as quantitative data such as the number of people who come to a show. Benefit and value are subjective quality judgements made by individuals and groups. Techniques for measuring qualitative data are talked about in the monitoring section.

B Sharp sits in the third sector. It believes its work adds real value to the lives of young people by engaging them in creative activities such as music. It is a charity that wants to develop its social enterprise activities so that it doesn’t rely so much on donations and grants – spreading its financial risk. This is why we have started to charge young people to take part in B Sharp’s workshops.

B Sharp is particularly concerned about making sure opportunities for all young people are there if they want to take part in its activities.

People may not feel they can take part if they feel unwelcome, can’t afford to, or can’t access the venue because of physical limitations. All projects under the B Sharp brand must pay attention to these considerations and design activities to be as inclusive as possible.

B Sharp is aware that charging people to come to its workshops may put some people off because of financial hardship. One of the aims of this ‘Ideas into Action’ course is to give young people an understanding of what B Sharp is trying to do and its dilemma of creating incomes so that it can continue its work yet still be inclusive. We are pleased to be able to subsidise or give free places to about a third of our participants.


Private and public businesses driven by profit tend to compete against each other, with a culture of ‘winner takes all’. They rarely co-operate.

3rd sector organisations driven by a mutual social goal are more likely to co-operate. If you are in the third sector, there may be other organisations, businesses and individuals that are willing to help you. They could share resources, give advice and training, or help you find customers. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations says, “Working with others can help you to deliver new, improved or more integrated services whilst sharing knowledge, information and experience. Collaborative working can also deliver efficiency savings and help organisations to develop a stronger, more united voice.”

Dorset Loves Arts has written a useful download for organisational collaboration: Dorset Loves Arts- a collaborative charter and the Harvard Business Review has a 15 Steps for Successful Strategic Alliances (and Marriages) blog.

You may want to work with another organisation as a partner. The principle of good communication applies to your new team member. Misunderstandings about what each partner will bring to the project can happen and people fall out, leading to organisations falling out. It’s a good idea to write an agreement outlining what each partner will do and their responsibilities. An agreement could be a Memorandum Of Understanding (an informal agreement of intended actions) or obligations and responsibilities could be more formally drawn up as a legally binding contract.

To find the list and links to all B Sharp’s posts about event and project planning, go here: Ideas into Action

Links to other music resources, compiled by B Sharp, can be found here.

Results, Monitoring and Evaluation

When you start making your project happen, you will want to know if it is working. To do this, you need to find ways of measuring your success. There are various tools.


Outputs are a project management term for immediate results and can be measured. For example,

  • 126 people came to the event.
  • 86 people said they had a good time.
  • Ticket sales totalled £608.


An ‘indicator’ is almost the same as an output, but hasn’t got numbers with it yet. It is a piece of information that can be measured and will show progress towards achieving your outputs and outcomes. If you are asked, “What are the indicators you’ll use to measure the success of your event?” you could say, “People who turn up, comments about the event and the income generated from the event.”


Outcomes are a project management term for long-term results and can also be measured. For example, if your first dance night is a success, they may become a regular event. Or, 3 years after the first event, gigs aimed at young people take place in Lyme Regis 4 times a year.

Outcomes do not depend on outputs, but outputs help outcomes.

Outputs and outcomes can be shown by analysing data collected by monitoring your project.


Monitoring is about gathering information as your project progresses, so you can

  • Measure if you are achieving your aims, objectives and predicted outputs and outcomes, and understand the reasons for the results.
  • Improve how you do things in the future.
  • Build a database of potential customers so that you can let them know about any future projects.

There is no point in collecting information unless it can help you, so think about what you want to do with data before you start collecting. It should be collected in a way that can easily be interpreted.

Someone should be responsible for collecting and interpreting the information and if there are a number of people involved with this, the interpreter needs to make sure the person(s) collecting data gathers it in a useable form.

There are 2 types of data you may want to collect:

Quantitative – numbers of things such as how many people came to your event, how many people engaged with your social media campaign, what ages the audience was, how far they travelled to get to your event, how much money have you made?

Quantitative data can be gathered in a number of ways e.g.

  • Ticket numbers/audience count
  • Registration for workshops
  • Membership/mailing lists
  • Surveys/questionnaires
  • Sales register
  • Online statistics e.g. the number of visitors to your blogs, found in the blog administration tools.

Qualitative – measurements of opinion – did people enjoy what you did, was there something they didn’t like, would they come again, have people learned something, how else did they benefit?

Qualitative data helps you know what people think about your project and brand. It’s important if you want to continue doing more things, because previous customers may or may not return, depending on their experience and they gossip. This data is not so easy to gather – you have to be proactive in seeking it out.

Information can be gathered using e.g.

  • Questionnaires that include scales of opinion e.g. from 1 to 5, where 1 is terrible and 5 is excellent. A good blog by Youth Music, with scales to download is here.
  • Focus groups
  • Interviews
  • Posts on social media sites
  • Samples of work – recordings, video etc
  • Records/minutes of any meetings

Questionnaires with scales can be used to measure progress or changes over time e.g. a self-assessment questionnaire using scales of, say 1 to 5, can establish a baseline understanding of knowledge/confidence at the beginning of a project and then the questionnaire is repeated at the end. You can then interpret change over time with charts/graphs.

The data protection act restricts sharing information you may have about people. As a default policy, you should treat any information given to you as confidential unless individuals give permission for you to share it with others.


Evaluation is about interpreting the data you have gathered. By looking at the information you have, you can compare the results with what you hoped would happen in your plan and see if you met your targets.

To help you, data can be shown in visual ways such as tables, charts and graphs.

Interpreting the information should help you understand the results and the reasons for them. It will help you improve the way you continue any future work.

It is a good thing to periodically evaluate your project as you progress through it, so that you can improve its delivery as it evolves.


Your mission is to explore your ideas. The Ideas into Action guidelines will not self-destruct. They will be available for you to look at, any time you like.

Good luck on your mission

It’s not impossible

It’s logical

To find the list and links to all B Sharp’s posts about event and project planning, go here: Ideas into Action

Links to other music resources, compiled by B Sharp, can be found here.

Responsibilities and Safety

If you organise a project, you will have certain responsibilities. Key ones are

  • The safety and wellbeing of those who help organise it or take part.
  • Looking after money and making sure you don’t go into debt.
  • Keeping to the law, understand and practice any policies your organisation has, and obtain any licences you may need.

The Concert Promoters Association has a code of coduct which is good to follow if you are putting on a music event.

The safety of people is the most important responsibility you will have. Making sure things are safe is good customer care, respectful to people and avoids getting into trouble if you have caused an accident by being careless/negligent. The Guardian’s Voluntary Sector Network has a good blog about this.

Every project should carry out a risk assessment, where you think of all the risks that may arise to people from what you do. As an example, Parkinson’s UK has a Events Risk Assessment Form put together for their fund-raising events. You can make your own form and write down the risks, how they will be minimised and who will be responsible for doing so. If risks seem too high, you should do it differently so the risk is small, or simply not do the project.


For an event, you would want to know that people could get out of a building or area quickly and safely if there was an emergency. You could ensure this by

  • Checking there are enough exits and they are unlocked and unblocked.
  • Not having more people in the place than is recommended/allowed by the fire service.
  • There are stewards who know what to do and can help direct people out of the area.
  • There are no trip hazards on the exit routes.
  • Emergency lighting works if there is a power cut.

You may have done the best you can to avoid accidents but one may still happen. As an organiser, you will be liable for any costs resulting from an accident if you could have reasonably done something to prevent it. This could run into millions of pounds. Insurance should be taken out to cover your liabilities.

As well as doing a risk assessment for specific projects, when working in an organisation or your own business, you should be generally mindful of safety and the behaviour of yourself and those around you. Read, understand and practice the policies of your organisation. They are there for the protection of everyone. For example, B Sharp has

Health and Safety Policy for B Sharp Ltd

B Sharp Ltd Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy

B Sharp Ltd Equality Policy

Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures

As a young person, if you see something that seems unsafe or appears to be inappropriate behaviour such as bullying, you should tell a responsible adult.

The government has a useful document Diversity & Equal Opportunities

Behaviour has an impact on your brand. Your behaviour is not just observed in your immediate surroundings, but also online. The Internet has a long memory. Beware and be sensitive!

To find the list and links to all B Sharp’s posts about event and project planning, go here: Ideas into Action

Links to other music resources, compiled by B Sharp, can be found here.


Telling Your Story

Your project is a great story. Why would you be doing it if it wasn’t worth the trouble?Letting people know about your project is important. What’s the point of having the best event in the world if no one knows about it?

In addition to these notes, it is worth looking at Promote a Gig. For musicians, these blogs giving lots of advice on Music Promotion.

Before the age of the Internet and social media, a general guide was to use 10% of your budget for publicity/marketing/branding – telling your story. If your target market uses new media, you may be able to reach people more cheaply.

To carry out a good awareness campaign takes time. Plan for this. How can you tell your story and pass on the good news?

Press Releases


Image sourced from Daily Blogma

More people read local newspapers than nationals. They are a good way to reach local audiences.  Press coverage is free if the publisher writes a story about you, so you get editorial coverage rather than have to pay for an advert (you may decide it is also worth paying for an eye-catching advert to strengthen/amplify the article). They may do this after interviewing you or after receiving a press release from you. A press release is a story written by you and sent to the editor. Press releases are the safest way to ensure your message is told in the way you want. Misunderstandings in an interview or different emphasis created by a journalist can distort what you want to say.

Press releases should be about 300 words. Editors generally cut from the bottom up so get your message into the first paragraph using the 5 ‘W’s rule – Who, What, When, Why and Where. For the editor, put your contact details (and those of other partners if they could give more information) at the bottom and when you want the article published e.g. ‘For immediate release’ or ‘Embargoed until 21 March 2013’.

Try to use some quotes from people involved so that enthusiasm and personal touches can be shown to readers. This will warm and excite the story.

You may want magazines to tell your story. Find out when they want information so that you  get it to them in good time, for the edition you want. They may publish once a month or even less frequently, so make sure you have your press information planned well in advance.

Good advice about writing press releases has been written by Ideas Tap  and can be seen here: How to write a press release. They have also blogged Five common press release mistakes

A really good contemporary piece of advice about press releases has been written by . It makes full use of links to social media, images and strory telling. She says, “The content and structure of press releases have a far greater influence on the visibility of the message, and as competition for attention increases, the formula for a successful press release is changing. Here are some ways to freshen the news releases your organisation publishes, and get more results for your campaigns.”


Having a website as a promoter, or an organisation running events is an important way to keep people aware what you are doing. Your website is the place where you can tell your story in its fullest form, using text, video, audio, photos and has the ability to be designed and navigated to attract and lead viewers to what you want to say. It is important to keep it up to date. All other campaign tools can direct people to your website so you can tell your story in full.

Social Media

The Internet is becoming increasingly important. Half of public relations is about getting other people to repeat your messages. Social media is a great way to do this. Create content and experiences that people will want to share, then use a mix of digital tools to ‘amplify’ them across all media to support your campaigns. Be friendly, fun and interactive. Tell your story through a website and use the variety of social media sites available – they are generally free. Scroll down this list of services to see what is available.

You can refer to a detailed story e.g. on your website, blog or video through shorter sound bites and links on e.g. Twitter or Facebook. Lead people to where you want them to go by cross-linking information.

Remember – if you are doing more than a one off event and you want to be known as a promoter, its not all about you and what you put on. You need to become part of an online community with mutual interests. In a blog ‘Voluntary sector marketing myths‘ Zoe Amar says, “You won’t reap the full benefits of social media unless you use it to have conversations with your stakeholders. This is particularly true of Twitter. Social media expert Kirsty Marrins advises charities to follow the “rule of thirds”, ie one third of your tweets should be used to push out your charity’s content, one third to engage in conversations, and one third to share content from other useful sources.”

SoundDelivery have written fantastic guides on using social media for campaigns and marketing. See their Social Media Handbook The handbook was originally written for organisations supporting families, but the principles are good for all campaigns. The useful bits are from page 5 onwards.

Also see the blog  A beginner’s guide… to sharing content online using 5 really useful websites by Rebeka Haigh on the Youth Music network site.

Some examples of tips:

  • Use photos in Facebook posts – no more than 10 in an album. If you want to show more, use Flickr, an image and video hosting site.
  • YouTube – make 2-4 minute videos to tell a story. Plan your story before filming.
  • Twitter – allowed 140 characters but try to use 120 or less (this allows retweeters to add on a little extra information or @somene to your message). Twitter automatically shortens web addresses to 20 characters – a web link in your tweet can expand your story.
  • Audio Boo – Record a message or an interview and add photos and links. People can listen to an interview while looking at photos and reading a little background information.
  • Hootsuite – links all your social media sites and can schedule times to post things, so you can co-ordinate a media campaign in advance, before it’s launch and prepare tweets etc for times people are most likely to look at them.
  • Blogging – opinion pieces, behind the scenes, what’s happening. They give more information than Facebook or Twitter. Lots of tips about blogging can be found on these links: basic blogging and blogging resources.
  • Blog a maximum of 500 words – you want the blog on one page. People can comment on blogs. Ask questions to create interaction.
  • Update blogs about once a week. Blogs are archived and you can tag words to link to other blogs and websites. All the blue words in this article/blog, and throughout B Sharp’s Resources website, are tagged to take you to more information if you click on them.
  • Find blogs with Google blog search.
  • You can use Google alert to find out what’s being said about you – keeping you aware of how your brand is doing.
  • You can shorten web addresses using services such as bitly.com. Bitly also monitors how many people use the link, so you can measure how effective your campaign is.

Other useful guides are:

A Guide to Twitter


Tumblr guide

Creating a Fanpage on Facebook

Blog writing tips

8 Top Tips for Writing Excellent Blog Posts

When publicising an event/campaign/service, try to use at least 10 ways to tell your story (or ‘amplify’ your story) e.g. a mix of press releases, posters, facebook, Twitter, Audio Boo, YouTube, blogs with e.g. Tumblr, e-mail, mobile texts, word of mouth, newsletters, partnership networks, merchandising with a message (T-shirts/mugs/pens etc), sandwich/blackboards, publicity stunts.

Quick Response Codes

If you have a website, always have its address on any publicity material. On posters and adverts, use QR (Quick Response) bar codes for smart phones to link people immediately to your website and/or social network sites. This example takes you to B Sharp’s main website:

B Sharp website QR code

B Sharp website QR code

There are many free QR generators to choose from. Your website has the fullest capacity to tell your story, keep people updated and be a point of contact. Regularly review your website and keep it up to date.

Creating Content

Creating good content in the various media you use is important. It should be relevant to the people you are targeting. What is it you are offering that they want? What are they going to get out of it? Concentrate on the product/service/event you are offering and not yourself and how good you or your organisation is. Fun, quirky and memorable content will motivate  people to share and help spread your message and brand. Think about ways your customers and others can help promote your project and encourage this.

A comprehensive guide to creating content can be found in the document ‘The Advanced Guide To Content Marketing‘ by Quicksprout.

Other advice:

  • A content strategy should focus on existing customers as well as prospects. Content marketing is a great tool to create brand affinity but can also be powerful in building a new audience of potential customers.
  • An amplification strategy should be a key tactic in a content strategy. Once the content is created, search and social networks can be used to distribute, but you should also make sure to distribute it out to others who may not know it exists. Intent is not created in a search box.
  • Invest in the appropriate resources to meet your objectives.
  • Stay honest and true to the brand

Anything you give away can be used to capture data about your customers e.g. by asking for contact details as a condition of the gift, so you can reach them in future campaigns.

You can build data bases of customers using social networks. If you are a musician selling your music, you could offer a reward such as a free music download on e.g on Soundcloud if people join your Facebook page. They are unlikely to leave it, and later on you can promote tracks you are selling, publicise gigs and other news to your new facebook fans.

If you were promoting a band, why not try to get trend setters or ‘influencers’ on board – journalists, bloggers etc who are recognized influencers? Send samples of music, invites to gigs etc. If they start to relay your messages there is less pressure on just you to get your message out, and it’s less likely you’ll be seen as a nuisance constantly broadcasting your own agenda and business.

How to become an online influencer is a useful blog with 10 handy tips.

To find the list and links to all B Sharp’s posts about event and project planning, go here: Ideas into Action

Links to other music resources, compiled by B Sharp, can be found here. Particularly relevant to publicity is the page Links for Music Promotion, Marketing & Getting Heard.