Are you doing the thinking that is required to change the game?

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Robert was busy going nowhere. He was drowning in a sea of emails, back to back meetings, performance reports and people issues. It seemed like everything was coming at him; at best, he was just surviving the onslaught. He knew that he needed time to think about the strategic issues that the business faced. But that was not something he could jam into the end of a busy day. Something had to give, so he decided to allocate one day a week for thinking time.Read more

High impact leaders listen first

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Charles dispensed with the PowerPoint talking points he had prepared for the staff information session and asked the audience what they wanted to talk about. He wrote their questions on a whiteboard and worked down their list in a two-way conversation rather than the formal presentation that they had anticipated. It made a real impact. The team were impressed that Charles had spent the time to listen and respond to them, instead of delivering the latest set of key messages about the organisation’s strategy and vision.Read more

Where do you get your inspiration from?

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Drew Houston the billionaire co-founder and CEO of Dropbox learned about the essential difference between effort and effectiveness from the classic book, The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker. In a podcast interviewwith Tim Ferriss he says that he applied the principles in the book when he was transitioning from his engineering/IT training to entrepreneurship. It remains one of his primary go-to references.

Drucker found that the best executives he worked with in his long consulting career had a wide variety of personalities, values and leadership styles.Read more

What evidence are you gathering?

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Students in a University psychology class were given a questionnaire the day after the space shuttle Challenger disaster and their responses were kept on file. They were asked where they were, who were they with and what they were doing when it happened. Two and half years later they were asked the same questions. Despite their confidence that they could recall accurately, most were way off compared with their initial responses. Elizabeth Phelps, a leading researcher on emotionally charged memories at New York University concludes that, “The more we learn about emotional memory, the more we realize that we can never say what someone will or won’t remember given a particular set of circumstances.” 

This study seems relevant as the year closes in.Read more

Do you know what’s really going on?

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Mary’s leadership team had been a high performing group but now they were working hard and not getting anywhere. Mary sensed that they were spiralling downwards and decided to get them together to reset their strategic objectives. But before the strategy session, we interviewed each of them to discover how they currently viewed what was working and what was not in their team performance. They relished the opportunity to say what was on their minds.Read more