Indielab’s Victoria Powell sets out the commercial imperative for inclusive leadership as the 2022 TV Accelerator opens for applications 

Most people who have worked in production have met those creative mavericks, brimming with ideas and popular with commissioners, who perhaps should not have ever been left in charge of running a company, even if it was their own name above the door.

They may not have cared if the office environment was known to be tough or if they were deemed ‘difficult’ to work with: in fact, they probably enjoyed wearing the ‘difficult’ descriptor as a badge of honour.

None of this was deemed to matter when commercial success and reputation were driven solely by creative success. But times have changed, and for the better.

Today, as well as the need to navigate a changing media landscape to succeed and grow, indie leaders need to understand and embrace the changing cultural landscape and recognise that failure to do so will invariably hit them where it hurts - the bottom line.

We’ve all read stories about companies with toxic workplaces losing commissions, staff and their reputations. And for some, there’s no bouncing back.

Expectations and standards are now so high around the commercial and creative leadership in our sector, that even leaders of start-ups need to think about how they build a healthy culture – as well as a healthy slate.

For leaders of mid-stage businesses who are not able to start with a clean sheet, the challenge to do this can be even greater, and may seem daunting. But it is totally achievable if business principals buy into and commit to inclusive leadership.

This isn’t about ticking boxes to be seen to be doing the right thing, nor is it the latest ‘woke’ phrase to be bandied about. Inclusive leadership should be something to which everyone in charge of a business aspires.

“More than ever before, we know that inclusive leaders and healthy cultures are as vital building blocks on the growth trajectory as owning and maximising IP”

It’s about putting your own biases aside and actively seeking different perspectives to develop a well-rounded, successful, contemporary production business, one that is recognised as a great place to work, partner with or invest in.

Traditionally the Indielab Accelerator programmes have been commercially-focused but now, more than ever before, we know that inclusive leaders and healthy cultures are as vital building blocks on the growth trajectory as owning and maximising IP.

So, we have expanded our 2022 Accelerator programme to include sessions on helping indie principals create a positive and distinct culture while supporting them in becoming the best leader they can possibly be.

We will be exploring what inclusive leadership looks like today and how to make an authentic commitment to diversity. As a bespoke programme, we’ll help participants define their own positive leadership style and a culture that’s right for their business – whatever its current size and stage.

Victoria Powell index

And we’ll help them to deliver this culture, working with the strengths and skills of the people in their team, and give advice on how it can be sustained as they grow.

The UK indie sector has been the envy of the world for 20 years and has some remarkable people leading stellar businesses.

By embracing inclusive leadership and healthy cultures alongside sharp commercial and creative skills, UK indies will help future-proof themselves, evolve the industry and uphold our reputation on the global stage.

  • Victoria Powell is the chief executive officer of Indielab

The earlybird deadline for Indielab’s 2022 TV Accelerator is 28 February. Final deadline for applications is 31 March

Click to apply