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New ‘GU6’ Initiative to Support Dorset’s Business Leaders Launches

Posted on: 10/02/2021

Dorset Chamber is proud to announce the launch of a new initiative to help build the resilience of business leaders in what is potentially the most challenging business climate of our time.

The project has been named ‘Got your 6’ (or GU6) after the term originating from WW2, where fighter pilots of the US Navy or Air Force would watch the ‘backs’ of fellow pilots in formation at the vulnerable rear ‘six o’clock’ position. Dorset Chamber ‘has the backs’ of our business leaders hence the initiative will offer personal and confidential support to employers who may be finding stress levels too much to cope with.

Liz Willingham, who has championed mental health throughout her time as Dorset Chamber President, has taken the lead on the project.  It is supported by OuchTT, which has donated free MHFA (mental health first aid) online training, Dorset Mind who is providing Peer Support Skills Training, and Livewell Dorset.

Business leaders from the Chamber board and ambassadors and across the membership have come forward to volunteer their time to the initiative and take up the training so they can confidently be at the end of the line to help their peers who need someone to talk to. Our GU6 Champions understand the pressures of running a business, that making difficult decisions which may affect others has significant stress associated with it.

They will be able to offer crucial peer support to fellow members, as well as signpost to further help where needed.

Liz said: “The WW2 clock reference in Got Your 6 is a good analogy as we know many are in the so-called ‘3am Club’ where businesspeople lie awake worrying about their businesses at all hours of the night. Our aim is to support business leaders in the Chamber network (and potentially beyond) with a neutral, non-commercially driven, confidential non-judgmental hub where they can talk and share anxieties to help them feel some relief, clarity and control over issues that may be affecting them. Ultimately the aim is to build resilience in our business community and enable our leaders to thrive.

“Dorset Chamber is an approachable environment and a fitting safe-house for this initiative, particularly at such a pressured time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mental health in the workplace has become higher on the agenda for most businesses in the run up to 2020. As we head into a second year of life in a pandemic, we are threatened by a crisis of increasing mental health problems. I have seen no resource that focuses support on those who actually head up businesses – I believe if the leader is in a good place, the rest of the organisation will naturally follow.”

To hear more about GU6, how you can become a Champion, and importantly how business leaders in our community can access this important support hub, please join the next Business Leader event on 18th March.  Liz will give a short presentation before the main event with Paul Kinkaid, which is fittingly on his Forensic Leadership Theory and philosophy that great leadership comes from a position of care.

Register online at www.dorsetchamber.co.uk/events/ or contact Liz directly liz.willingham@lizleanpr.co.uk.

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