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Working professionally with leadership and management storytelling I collect gold nuggets on the subject, that I find useful, educational, and inspirational to others.
Stories you and learn and grow from. And stories that will provoke personal reflection and constructive action.
My aim is to provide you with insight into the latest trends - but at the same time stear clear of easily digested stories that leaves you with nothing but empty calories and meaningless buzzwords.
The subjects featured here all relates to the complex reality that leaders must navigate in today's business world.
You're welcome to connect via:
I hope you'll be inspired.
Leaders have to learn and practice new management techniques to overcome the habits that could be holding them back. In two articles, I examine the obstacles, and later, the factors that can help senior executives overcome them.
It is absolutely necessary for leaders, including senior leaders, to continue to develop new responses and capabilities. Well, there’s good news: Years of leadership research shows that it is indeed possible for senior executives to learn new capabilities. Their personality does not change, but it does not have to. You can learn new skills, new capabilities – i.e., the ability to do something new effectively and without having to think about it too much – without having to change the set of preferences that we call our personality.
Two actions that I believe we can all take to help us on personal improvement journeys .... The first is to openly seek insights on our own performance (for example if we are leading a meeting ask at the end what went well, what should we have done differently during the workshop and what are you going to differently tomorrow). The second is to commit to undertaking regular periods of personal reflection, Personally, the amount of reflection I undertook dropped dramatically when I was given my first Blackberry and spent time that I used to use for reflection (train journeys for example) to answer emails!
Will it be the ability to thrive amid uncertainty? To handpick talented employees in a remote region of China? Or just to stay awake as you visit three continents in three days?
The book; Leadership 2030: The Six Megatrends You Need to Understand to Lead Your Company into the Future uncovers six megatrends that will dramatically impact organizations' markets, cultures, systems, and processes. You can read more about the book here.
Download the Leadership 2030 whitepaper here.
Companies have a powerful tendency to compete on the basis of their core competencies rather than on the basis of the attributes that truly distinguish them in their customers’ eyes—what William Putsis calls “salient differentiators.”
Roger Martin, coauthor of Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, introduces a lesson on the proper foundation for core competencies from Compete Smarter, Not Harder: A Process for Developing the Right Priorities through Strategic Thinking, by William Putsis.
William Putsis is a professor of marketing at Kenan-Flagler Business School. You'll find a video with him talking about the core messages from his book here.
In dealing with ambiguity, when it is difficult to understand why things are going wrong – we have to be able to create a diagnostic approach to the organisation as a system, and look at what is called the systems conditions – “What are the reasons that the system is as it is”.
Then looking at the systems conditions, the next question is, “What makes the system conditions?” And the answer is management thinking.
Every organization needs to ask the relevancy question posed in this article
First: a framework to check the reason of the systems' ambiguity, or, more correctly how they face the ambiguity of the world... nothing is linear, straight line, more and more things (everything?) are in the first order or in the later order of chaos (fractal-type and further on...)...
One of the pieces of counselling I recall being given was to develop more comfort with dealing with ambiguity. It was a perceptive point and something I then worked to address over subsequent years.
We're generally intelligent people...so why do we do such dumb things?
One of the best ways to explain our counterproductive behavior is the Ladder of Inference. This elegant model was first developed by Chris Argyris, building on the work of S.I. Hayakawa and Alford Korzybski, and articulated further by William Isaacs and Rick Ross.
Start at the bottom and work your way up.
Chris Argyris has made a significant contribution to the development of our appreciation of organizational learning.
Recommend resources with Chris Argyris that you watch this video and read his 1977 Harvard Business Review article: Double Loop Learning in Organizations.
And it is amazing how often our cognitive biases limit our view of the world and our creativity.
Dan Pontefract's latest blog post about the state of Enterprise 2.0 - and the need for behavioural change in our organizations in the way we lead, learn and collaborate.
If we are to talk about the next generation of the enterprise — Enterprise 2.0 — then we must also discuss behaviour, culture, learning or leadership in concert with the premise of collaborative-based technologies.
The Chris Heuer quote in this blog particular resonated with me
“connect with each other and figure out how to re-imagine our broken corporations and set about trying to fix them.”
In my experience this necessitates involving the people much more in the development and application of strategy and processes as well as the technology.
Before senior executives try to spread best practices, they should use seven techniques to clear out the negative behavior that stands in the way.
This article relates to Robert Sutton's new book: Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less.
Bob Sutton says that scaling a company is a balancing act between "Buddhism" (flexibility) vs. "Catholicism" (imposing standards).
"Destructive behavior—selfishness, nastiness, fear, laziness, dishonesty—packs a far bigger wallop than constructive behavior."
Funny how it is that ethics and basic tenants of morality (without the religious connotations) has a significant impact on how we operate and our chances of success on THIS level of being, not in Heaven "above".
Perhaps we weren't evolved enough to be able to handle the old teachings of the prophets, all those years ago and be able to interpret them on their most general level.
Silly brains.Think about it!
The reality is that we—all of us, not just the financial elite—are the collective sleepwalkers. How do we wake up? Why is it that, across so many major systems, we collectively create results that nobody wants? Nobody wants to increase environmental destruction, poverty, cultural ADHD, or suicide. Yet we keep doing it. Why do we collectively recreate these patterns?
True leadership mindfulness ... transitioning from "me" to "we"!
A great thought-provoking article. I get the sense that we are beginning to wake up to our realities of diminishing resources, lack of purpose, unhappiness etc - what is needed is a catalyst to speed up the rate of change.
Have managers lost the ability to listen? Professor Jim Heskett reviews recent research that suggests we don't even listen to ourselves anymore. What do YOU think?
... so, this is the fourth article I was talking about previously...You see?...
#HR make sure you take note of this and see how you approach this essential skill daily !! #workplace
Have managers lost the ability to listen? Professor Jim Heskett reviews recent research that suggests we don't even listen to ourselves anymore. What do YOU think?
Supported by their community and the power of decentralized network, the new leaders navigate a world where curiosity, vision and adaptation are more necessary than convictions and authority.
Excerpt from blog post:
The crises in our society that politicians and leaders incessantly point to cannot be separated from a crisis in leadership. A better community has to start with better individual responsibility. Leadership is merely a reflection of our nation.
Thoughtful article every MBA should read and fully digest. The only way to remain powerful, is to empower the people you are tasked to lead. This has always been true. Now it's crucial.
Leadership does have to change. What is interesting is that today, as I looked for dissertation materials on leadership, this idea of a leadership crisis is not new, Many authors and thinkers complained of the same thing in times past. The challenge might be the pace of change is so rapid it presents new challenges.
While I don't agree with the entire thought pattern here I do agree that Leaders reflect whats going on in our society. Leadership is going through one of its many changes over centuries of time. What once worked...won't tomorrow. Stay tuned....
Find out what's on the mind of over 1,300 global CEOs. Valuable insights from PWC's 17th Annual Global CEO Survey: Fit for the future.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman talks about how politicians are floundering as social and economic pressures converge. We need a new type of capitalism, he believes, and a new sort of leader with a deeper sense of purpose if we are to seize this opportunity to eradicate poverty and create a better world.
Leaders' deeper sense of purpose that Mr Poleman refers to will benefit organizations and their communities. Purpose resonates with employees and engages them; one key element in effective organizations. Responding to societal needs as in socially responsible organization evokes positive responses from communities and customers; this openness to larger needs contributes also to effectiveness by encouraging agility and adaptation in the face of change.
At all levels, I sense that a sense of purpose is the most effective foundation for developing effective engagement abd enduring commitment.
Leaders have to learn and practice new leadership behaviours to overcome some of the habits that are limiting their current or future effectiveness.
Executives’ efforts to develop new behaviours often perturb the equilibrium situation they had reached with members of their ecosystem, who are often unwilling and/or unable to change their own behaviour in ways that would support the executives’ efforts.
Understanding these four challenges doesn’t make the change easy, but it makes it easier for executives to accept that the change process is demanding and they must hence approach it with courage and persistence. It also helps to identify four pillars that can be extremely useful to executives who want to modify some aspect(s) of their leadership style.
Forget the monolithic change management programs and focus on the elements of your culture that drive performance.
To sustain a true competitive edge, your culture should accelerate business performance. This is the ultimate goal of the critical few.
Four indicators can reveal that your culture is boosting the business.
1. Your culture taps into the waiting reserves of energy within lots of people. If you have a culture focused on a certain set of performance outcomes, and employees buy into it, people start reinforcing one another informally. Simply put, they increasingly help one another feel good about what they need to do. As a result, you gain a greater level of emotional commitment to the work that matters most.
2. Your culture guides down-the-line decision making. If you have a strong culture, you don’t need to have prescribed policies for every permutation of a situation. Employees can rely on cultural influences to help determine what they should do—they will act with speed, and they’ll take initiative. You simply do not need all those formal sign-offs when you have the right kind of cultural support. When nobody is there to give the approval, the culture guides the individual in how to act.
3. Your culture builds enduring execution capability. Over time, critical behaviors are repeated; as they turn into habits, people become faster and better at executing. You see evidence of greater customer loyalty, higher levels of the kinds of employee engagement that matter most for performance, higher degrees of emotional commitment to what the organization is focused on, a more rigorous pursuit of continuous improvement, and greater resilience in downturns.
4. Behaviors in normal times emulate positive behaviors during crisis situations. We often hear executives praise the collaborative, selfless, and energetic behaviors of their people during a crisis—and lament the fact that they don’t see more of those kinds of interactions normally. This difference is in large part explainable by the activation of cultural forces that occurs during a crisis. When you are focused on activating those forces all the time, you get that “special” level of performance all the time.
In 7 Lenses, Linda Fisher Thornton describe a clear multidimensional framework for ethical leadership that incorporates seven different perspectives on what it means to lead ethically in a global society. This framework honors organizational complexity and guides leaders through the challenge of honoring multiple stakeholders when making decisions.
7 Lenses of Ethical Responsibility
Helpful list of dimensions to help put substance into consideration of ethical leadership
Influence is becoming more and more challenging. It’s hard enough to attract attention, much less retain it or use that attention to shape the behavior of others. And yet, in a world of scarce resources and mounting pressure, the ability to influence others becomes more and more central to the ability to set big things in motion.
We create influence and trust by accepting our magnificent imperfection ...
Really insightful post about the changing nature of influence and the power of questions
Business schools prepare us to become better at strategizing, inspiring, mentoring, team building, delegating, and so on. But do they prepare us for dealing with executives who are resistant to motivating, influencing, and coaching interventions?
Why would you want to go through such a rigmarole to keep a passive-aggressive on track? The answer is that these people are often highly expert at what they do, despite being poor at teamwork. In an effort to carve out an identity for themselves, they often make themselves highly expert in a narrow field in which their parents have little authority and can’t challenge them. That’s obviously fine until they get a job with people who do have relevant expertise and can challenge them.
Nice insight on dealing with passive agressive people at work.
Leaders have to develop their affective skills if they want to create a positive emotional atmosphere. Positive emotions create positive relationships. Positive relationships are key for a successful and a joyful business life.
Ryan Carson was presenting his company’s latest numbers to investors when he broke the big news. In the middle of the presentation, one investor stopped and asked, “Wait, who reports to who?
This is a compelling trend, but it wouldn't work for every org. Certainly worth the read to see if it could work with your internal culture!
Say the word leader and most people immediately think of those with business cards that says “manager,” “director,” or other such lofty title.
But anyone who has worked in organizations knows that there are also people without managerial titles, and who have no direct reports, and yet wield great influence and make critical contributions to the firm.
Based on the book, Good Leaders Learn, Ivey Professor Gerard Seijts divulges key leadership lessons from some of today's most notable managers.
For Good Leaders Learn, Gerard Seijts interviewed 30-plus leaders, at various stages of their careers, from different industries, sectors and countries.
The conversations revealed ten clear pathways for learning to lead:
I do further and suggest that good leaders have teachable points of view and the first of these is that teaching and learning are core values of successful enterprises.
Love the 10 clear pathways to leading...
Business strategy has evolved dramatically over the past four decades in response to the Big Shift that is re-shaping our global business landscape. We’re on the cusp of yet another shift that will determine who wins and who loses in the years ahead.
We are in fact at the beginning of a set of gigantic changes in society, in which everything we do is being re-invented—how we live, how we work, how we play, how we communicate, even how we think and how we feel. At the heart of these changes is of course the Internet and its related technologies. We have already seen big changes. But the implications of it have only just begun.
(From the article): But it requires more than agility. It requires an agility that is tightly linked to empathy and a responsiveness to what customers want and need. That’s because the technology has not only empowered producers and entrepreneurs and given them more possibilities in terms of what they can produce.
Technology has also empowered customers. Globalization gave customers choices. The Internet gives customers instant access to reliable information as to what those choices are and an ability to communicate with other customers and mobilize support for what they collectively want.
We are talking about the need of leadership in managers 2.0 and confronting the question: If leadership is an aptitude with which one is born? Or is leadership an aptitude that is made?
We are all born, and we are all made, mostly by ourselves!
Excellent scoop, Kenneth and David. I just did a great podcast with Gen. John Michel on this topic that will go live on Monday.
Here is my favorite section of the post:
I have always argued that a manager feels alone. What drives him/her then? Cold spreadsheets on a screen in a closed office? That is the past.
The future of Management 2.0 will be for leaders trained in all of the intricacies of the community. This is the challenge for the new manager.
Very good introduction to Transleadership generation - The 21st century leadership way forward.
Digitization, automation, and other advances are transforming industries, labor markets, and the global economy. In this interview, MIT’s Andrew McAfee and McKinsey’s James Manyika discuss how executives and policy makers can respond.
A new year should herald new ways of thinking about business. Start out by reading evolving literature on brain science, to find some fascinating ideas that apply to business.
WE rally are beginning to tap into the way our brains work. Endless potential from mastery of this for leaders, organisationally and commercially.
Much of what we are learning is not new. We are able to prove it scientifically, but it is the wisdom that provides a starting point for science.
Some great quality book suggestions linking brain science and leadership