Featured Articles

Below is a list of featured articles. Please click the link to view the article.

Practice is the Key to Success

Description: In this article we discuss some common misconceptions about motivation and its links to talent. With reference to successful sportspeople and studies carried out of students, we explore the importance of facilitating transformational change by changing the mindet of managers and employees alike.

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First Time Team Leader

Description: In this short article we address the issue of how to make the move from team member or work colleague to Team Leader.  This can cause issues and problems, from natural awkwardness to wilful subversion.

This short article discusses some of the problems that can arise and offers a few pointers on how to handle the situation.

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Make Sure You Get a Return From Your Training

Description: Particularly in straightened times we need to be sure that we are getting added value from our investment. In regard to training, learning and development, this is ever more important since it is often seen as an easy target for cutbacks.

We believe that with many learning and development schemes scaling down amidst the continued economic squeeze, it has become ever more important for organisations to review their approach to training and the return on investment (RoI) it produces.

This article discusses the important of RoI and concludes that although the measures of what constitutes a return will be different across organisations and programmes, one central figure in determining the measure and the result is involvement and support from the line manager.

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Trust in Your Leader

Description: A recent study carried out by ILM assessed the perceptions of trust between leaders and followers based on six principles: ability, understanding, fairness, openness, integrity and consistency. Examined against factors such as gender, age and industry sector, the research offers an insight into the key factors at play in the development of a secure leader/follower relationship.

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Leadership, Goal Setting and Google

Description: Of the back of phenomenal success, Google has revealed that their goal setting process defies conventional wisdom by running over a 90-day cycle. In this article Richard O’Rawe reflects on Google’s audacious attempts to achieve the impossible, and the leadership required to pull it off.

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Colin Powell on Leadership

Description: With Colin Powell, Former US Secretary of State, having foreseen the wisdom in endorsing Barack Obama’s successful bid for the US presidency, it seems like a good time to remind ourselves of his view of leadership. Listed below are, in his own words, General Colin Powell’s leadership principles.

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Leadership is Different to Management

Description: Leadership and management are often used interchangeably, but they are two distinctive and complementary processes. John Kotter, Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School, argues that leadership is different from management, but if either is missing, success in today’s business environment will be elusive.

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Can Leadership be Learned?

Description: Having knowledge of leadership and knowing what makes one person a better practicing leader than another will not be of real use in driving performance improvement unless people are able to learn from this and change their behaviours accordingly.

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Public Sector Leadership

Description: The 2002 Strengthening Leadership in the Public Sector report highlighted some real deficiencies in leadership development with the sector. It concluded, as did the Review of Public Administration in Northern Ireland, that the sector faced new challenges.

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Companies Need Female Leaders

Description: When Helen Fisher speaks, the politically correct members of her audience are likely to flinch. Declaring that she's "definitely not a feminist," the American anthropologist from Rutgers University dissects the differences between men and women.

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Is Leadership Necessary?

Description: It may seem a little too obvious to ask, but does leadership actually matter? Do leaders have a substantive effect on the performance of the organisations they lead? Actually, there is some empirical evidence to suggest that it does matter.

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What is Leadership?

Description: Leadership is the process of motivating other people to act in a particular way in order to achieve specific goals. The emphasis is on action because although leaders may exert influence through inspirational speeches, they are judged on what they do.

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Challenges for Leadership Development Planning

Description: The challenge for any new Leadership Development Programme (LDP) will be to both mobilise existing talent and also develop new leaders. This requires that any LDP must help prepare individuals to play roles beyond their normal experience or frame of reference. Therefore, one measure of the success of any LDP is to what degree it helps transform personal behaviour and change attitudes.

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Leadership in the Third Sector

Description: Typical of the competencies commonly associated with leadership are the ability of a leader to communicate vision or strategy, inspire teams, motivate individuals, and identify opportunities and initiate transformation. It begs the question: is this any different for the third sector?

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Mind the Change

Description: During the last two decades, scientists have gained a new, far more accurate view of human nature and behaviour change because of the integration of psychology (the study of the human mind and human behaviour) and neuroscience (the study of the anatomy and physiology of the brain).

The implications of this new research are particularly relevant for organisational leaders. It is now clear that human behaviour in the workplace doesn’t work the way many executives think it does. That in turn helps explain why many leadership efforts and organisational change initiatives fail.

Leaders who understand the recent breakthroughs in cognitive science can lead and influence change that takes into account the physiological nature of the brain, and the ways in which it predisposes people to resist some forms of leadership and accept others. This new thinking would have been considered counterintuitive or downright wrong only a few years ago.

The lessons from the research are:

  • Change is personal pain. Organisational change is unexpectedly difficult because it provokes sensations of physiological discomfort and so people resist it.

  • Traditional approaches often fail. Change efforts based on incentive and threat (the carrot and the stick) rarely succeed in the long run.

  • Persuasion is overrated. In practice, the conventional approach of connection and persuasion doesn’t sufficiently engage people.

  • Get people’s attention. The act of paying attention creates chemical and physical changes in the brain that starts a process of creating new patterns and habits.

  • Emotionally engage people. The more you can appeal to personal insight and involvement the more likely people are to learn and retain the learning.

  • Repetition and practice works. Repeated, purposeful, and individually focused attention can lead to long-lasting personal transformation.

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Brain Food Advice for Leaders

Description: What you eat not only affects your body but also your brainpower. Concentration, memory and problem-solving abilities are all affected by poor diet and can be improved by sticking to a brain-friendly diet. So, to keep your brain healthy and stave off disease, make sure you’re getting the following foodstuffs and nutrients for optimum brain health.

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Making Memories Stick

Description: I remember our garden when I was a child, the smells, the colours and the laughter as we played games near the big old tree. I remember when I fell off my bike and everyone from the neighbour's barbecue rushed over to see if I'd broken a bone.

Remember, remember... the verb itself is almost poetic. The notion of memory is so intriguing that it seems as though we have come up with more metaphors for it than for any other mental phenomenon. Early theories predicted a memory "engram," a literal text written by the body to describe past experiences. Freud popularised descriptions of repressed memories, experiences physically buried in the depths of the subconscious.

Modern descriptions are dominated by analogies to computers, in which the human brain is a hard disk that stores experience in electronic files and folders. Typical of biology, the truth is at once more complicated and more beautiful than any of these descriptions.

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Memory and Learning

Description: One of the things that is often said is something along the lines of :

"Well I have tried that and it doesn't work for me"
"I can see how these techniques work but I don't know if I want to put the effort in to learn how to use them" .

People get hooked on the process rather than the result. To be a really effective learner, you need to know exactly what it is you want to learn, the level of proficiency you want to achieve in your subject or skill and a deep understanding of the reason why you want to do it and its importance to you. If you have those things clear in your own mind then the process does not matter because you will do anything to achieve your goal as long as it works. Some may require more effort than others to get to work and what may be easy for one person to use may be very difficult for the next but if you are focussed on the result and it is an important outcome for you, then you will do W.E.I.T. (Whatever it Takes).

Look to "Accelerated Learning for the 21st Century" by Colin Rose and Malcolm J. Nicholl in January 2000 and the 6 step M.A.S.T.E.R. plan for Accelerated Learning.

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Choose a Coach Carefully

Description: Coaching may have moved into the mainstream of management development practice, but watch out, choose your coach carefully.

Coaching is no longer a fad. It is well established and we can expect to see a whole lot more of it. Many of the coaching skills needed by a manager are no more than good management practice. Unfortunately, the number one management shortcoming seems to be good communication and giving feedback. These are crucial skills for good coaching. There is a job to be done here.

Most business people agree that coaching pays because of its immediate beneficial impact on the individual in terms of their commitment to new ways of doing things. It has real potential for bottom line results.

The problem is that where there is scope to do good, there is almost certainly the possibility of doing harm. Choose your coach carefully. Check them out beforehand. You have been warned.

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Management Toolkits: Useful but Handle with Care?

Description: There has been a dramatic rise in the use of management tools on a world-wide basis. The availability of a toolkit is one thing, but knowing which tools are best used in any particular situation is another. You wouldn’t normally use a screwdriver to hammer a nail, would you?

In a survey of top organisations last year, Bain & Co. tracked the adoption and usefulness of management tools. What they have found is that organisations place heaviest reliance on tried and tested ‘compass-setting’ tools such as strategic planning.

The clear bias is towards growth rather than cost-cutting and this signals the belief that moving ahead, not retrenching, is seen as critical to controlling an organisation’s destiny.

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Drivers of Success in Services

Description: The professional service-sector has blossomed over the past twenty years. More and more product companies want to build or acquire services to expand profitability and deepen their customer relationships. Service companies in sectors as diverse as information technology, financial markets and health want to have more impact and influence on their clients.

But, the service sector is more difficult to manage, in large part because it is harder to control strategy, results and customer relationships when people are your product. Success can plateau or slip away if talent erodes or does not perform in line with customer expectations and strategic imperatives.

So what are the key ingredients to building service companies that endure?

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Getting Customers to Promote Your Company

Description: Most managers understand that customer loyalty drives growth and profits. And yet some companies, in the way they treat their customers, appear to be using the wrong management tools for this job. Why is that?

It is because most of the measurement and management systems that we've built in our businesses today are based on profit and not on measuring and managing growth.

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