Leadership Blog

Learning to Lead as an Apprentice

Benjamin Franklyn is quoted as saying, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

We have been running leadership development courses for years and one aspect that we understand well in theory and have difficulty with in practice, is make sure that skills developed in the training room are remembered and applied back in the workplace.

Get What You Like or Like What You Get

An article carried by McKinsey made us think again about an important aspect of strategy shaping. Given our role as facilitators and advisors on strategy it raised a huge question about how far the biases of the leader or facilitator of a strategy influences not just the form, but crucially, the eventual content, of an organisation’s strategy.

As we say, “Make sure to get what you like, or you will have to like what you get.”

New Thinking on Team Dynamics

An article on group dynamics with good lessons for leaders of teams and boards caught our eye this week.  It is by acclaimed Harvard academics Sunstein and Hastie who draw on a deep well of research to substantiate their findings.

Our interest is in the learning for leadership.  Without dwelling on the research itself we have drawn together the key learning points for leaders who need and want better decision making from groups, teams and boards.

Leadership Lesson in Making Mergers Work

Despite the popularity of growth strategies based on mergers and acquisitions, the challenges of execution are substantial.  Depending on who you believe, something like 70%-80% of mergers fail to meet their objectives in full.  One of the reasons is a failure of leadership.  And this research highlights the importance of middle managers as well as senior leadership.

Leaders, Don't Tread on Dreams

In an article by Dan Goleman last year he begged the question, “If everything worked out perfectly in your life, what would you be doing in ten years?”

Such a question opens us up to fresh possibilities, to reflect on what matters most to us, and even what deep values might guide us through life. Taking this approach offers leaders and approach to coaching their teams to get better results.

Let’s Lead With Different Thoughts

Every so often we come across examples of thought leadership, whether it is a whole new way of delivering things (e.g. Amazon) or a general and seemingly enduring concept like “the internet of things”.  Thought leadership is a powerful and influential attribute that can change economies and can change lives.  We like it at its best and most elusive, when it is counter intuitive.

Useful Tip to Bring Out the Best in Your Team

When teams form to take on tasks, they are seldom able to tap the full knowledge of every member, in large part because the most confident, outgoing people get the most airtime, even if they're not the most expert. Meanwhile, others with a very real contribution to make take a backseat and therefore have a limited impact.

Leaders Can Learn from Google’s Culture

Whether it be encouraging employees to bump into each other or to think big, there is something special about the Google culture. Google makes the point that it’s their people who make them what they are.  Maybe so, but aren’t there people in all organisations. There is something in their culture that makes them different.

In a recent article, Google’s Manuel Schaeffer, who doesn’t claim to be an expert on organisational change or innovation tactics, has shared his top five tips for creating a great workplace environment based on his experience at Google.    

Mission with a Difference

How would you like to lead with a mission, “to be the wuxia master who saves the kingdom.”  This follows a new trend of leaders pausing to identify a personal and unique purpose statement for themselves.  The “wuxia” statement reflects one CEO’s love of Chinese kung fu movies and the wise, skillful warriors they portray.  By the way, he is president and CEO of Heineken, USA – no minor player.

Bad Things Leaders Do – Do You?

The leadership guru Marshall Goldsmith produced a list of 20 common failures in how leaders behave. Spend a minute mentally ticking off which ones you are guilty of, and pick one that you will stop doing this week. Be honest. If you can’t be honest enough, ask someone else to do it for you: