Review of HRD Exhibition

What does Leadership look like in your organisation?

At this year’s CIPD HRD exhibition we invited visitors to our stand to help us with a piece of informal research.

We asked people to wander around a selection of black and white photographs laid out on the floor and choose one representing what leadership looks like for them right now in their organisation and a second one representing how they would like it to look. This led to some very interesting and meaningful conversations about leadership, culture and behavioural change.

So, what are people saying?


The most popular photograph for leadership right now was the spider’s web.

The words and themes we heard linked to this were complexity, inter-relationships, tangled up, knock-on effects, strength. This was particularly interesting given the theme of our Topic Taster session on Day 2 – Leading in a VUCA World. With its origins in military parlance, VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous and can be used to describe the current world we inhabit and the leadership challenges that brings. Read more about Impact’s take on VUCA leadership in David's blog.

Or take part in our webinar on Thursday 24th May at 15.00 BST.


For the future state, the most popular photograph was the team celebration.

For the people we spoke to this picture spoke volumes about the human aspect of leadership – motivation, fun, belonging, success, collaboration – these were the words people wanted to be able to say about leadership in their organisations. Ready for Generation Z? Collaboration will be vital – read more about Generation Z in David's blog.


So, do you agree? 


Below are the images we used. Have a scroll through and consider what leadership looks like in your organisation and how you would like it to look. We'd love to hear your thoughts and if you'd like to talk to us about how you can get there, please carol [dot] pearson [at] impactinternational [dot] com (subject: HRD%20research) (email us)

A big thank you to everyone who came to our stand and took part in our research.