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6 Months in....My Academy Journey so far

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Micha Smith from MOD in Lichfield reflects on the last 6 months and what she has learnt from taking part in the Civil Service Local Midlands Academy.

We are just approaching the mid-way point in our Civil Service Local Academy journey and so far it has been unlike anything I have experienced in my career with the MoD. The Academy has taught me that you have to trust and rely upon your team members entirely. This trust forms the basis of the working relationship between you all, which strengthens the work you produce as a team. Without trust, you cannot hold one another accountable for tasks in the knowledge that they will be well-completed; team members who are struggling or snowed-under will feel unable to approach other team members for help; and during moments of set-back or success, the team will not be able to turn to one another in consolation or celebration.

‘Trust’ is a topic we discussed in one of our early Musk Family project meetings. In order to work with integrity and honesty – two of the Civil Service core values – we agreed that personal accountability for each task we undertook was necessary for driving the project forward.

Initially I undertook to lead on our communication strategy and promotion of online presence for our project, as this was an area that the Family were confident that I was skilled in. Having the confidence of my family behind me showed me that they trusted my judgement and decision-making in this area, which gave me the freedom to act on behalf of the group when making decisions regarding our communication strategy. This trust emboldened me to push myself and, even when I faced set-backs, I felt comfortable to return to my family, explain the situation and re-strategise with the group as to our next step.

The ability to speak openly among colleagues, in a respectful, constructive and meaningful way has really helped us to propel our project in our chosen direction. Our confidence in each other has also spurred us on to network among as many Civil Service departments as possible, making lots of contacts along the way.

If you are a current delegate of the Civil Service Local Academy, I’m sure that no matter which Family you belong to, you will have faced set-backs and challenges along the way with your project – it is inevitable. As Civil Servants, we work in dynamic and diverse environments, with each of us facing our own individual set of challenges every day. But it is the team around us, our colleagues – or Family – who encourage, advise and guide us through.

The interconnectedness of the Civil Service has never been more apparent to me than when I sit around a table with my Academy Family discussing our project: communications and online presence led by the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Work and Pensions; HMRC creating a vast network of contacts vital for our project to succeed; the Home Office producing seasonal newsletters; the Environment Agency and the Department for Education collaborating on promotional presentations for exposure of our project. The Academy is the perfect demonstration of several departments collaborating, sharing ideas, sharing resources and boosting each other up, working together to form a Brilliant Civil Service.

If you would like to take part in the Civil Service Local Midlands Academy 2018 the application process will open from April/May 2018.

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  1. Comment by Dan posted on

    Thoroughly good read Micha, and you do get a feel for the Academy!

  2. Comment by John Mark Haskey posted on

    Ross Bray commented "This is really interesting as I have been looking for a job which involves more team work. The collaboration factor is something that is missing from my role, so thank you Micha. I'm going to look into opportunities here."

    Ross, please can you use your address when posting comments, thanks John

  3. Comment by Judy Smith posted on

    This sounds like a great example of the academy achieving its main objectives. It has reminded me what a good opportunity it provides for skill development and I will definitely promote it within my Organisation and Team.

  4. Comment by Matt posted on


    Excellent article, a real insight in to the development of Leadership from the 'grass roots' of the Civil Service.

    Working in a multi-service multi-disciplined team has many advantages and as you rightly state 'trust' is vital in the journey for success.

    Strong work, Keep it up.