So what’s happening with leaders in the 21st century?

October Newsletter

Well for a whole host of leaders the tried and tested ways of the past work for yesterday’s paradigm at yesterday’s pace and yesterdays people. The trouble is today is today and we’ve not even reached tomorrow yet.

So what’s to be done? Let’s some new questions?

  • What do people experience of us on their first day?
  • Even before that, what do candidates we’ve interviewed think of us? Are unsuccessful candidates discarded even though they have demonstrated lots of great skills? What do we do with them?
  • What’s working exceptionally well right now and why?
  • Do we as an organization follow the herd or lead it?
  • Do all of our peoples attributes turn up and turn on for work?

The concept and practice of collective leadership being aligned top to bottom seems to be getting more air time and the comment and writing in this area is increasing

As early as 2011 Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP published a research article “Collective leadership: Getting organizations to work as one” it highlighted some key trends (I have added my own de-jargonised thoughts in italics)

Leaders are seeking new ways to drive effective action. Changing employee expectations demands different and more tailored leadership approaches than many companies have used in the past. (why is it that employee engagement surveys in the USA show a lowest scoring for 20 years)

The average CEO tenure is getting shorter. This creates two challenges. First, continuity of leadership is hard to sustain. And second, leaders feel pressure to produce quick results that stick. (Football manager syndrome, that’s the problem measure the wrong things well and you get the wrong things done even better)

Downsizing has taken its toll. Leadership ranks and organisational layers are thinning. Organisations have to take full advantage of the talent they have to drive engagement that fulfills the business strategy.(taking advantage or mobilizing their potential) I recently participated on a Human Resources Professionals discussion group that harped on about how the psychological contract was dead and moaned about people most of the time and then gave advice on how you can control them, at that point I left the group)

Risks seem riskier. Today’s competitive environment values executives who are able to find new ways to manage through continuing global challenges and workforce instability.(its called reducing fear and increasing trust)

This is just one of the reports that highlight similar needs so why is it so different for most organisations given that the three principles of collective leadership are easy to understand (but hard to do)
1. Creating a sense of belonging (we want to work here)
2. Gaining shared commitment (we want to stay hear)
3. Achieving a shared interpretation of the problem and desired solution. (we know what is going on and what part we play)

These principles should be used across the organization strategy formulation, leadership development, organization design, process design, technology strategy, and change management.
• Drawing lessons from the people closest to the customer
• Ensuring your people have a sense of being connected
• Enabling people to act together to achieve their goals
• Understanding the ways in which the organisation gets work done?

Recently after attending a series of business gatherings and specialist workshops where the key issues of energizing your people and managing your talent we explored.

I came away realizing that neither question had been addressed in any great detail or significance. Yes energy can be increased by ensuring you are properly hydrated (the key tip bit from a two hour presentation by a presenter who was anything but energetic).
The managing talent session was an introduction to using assessment and development centers how to do it and what makes them effective actually a really great session but not what it said on the tin which was talent management?

What’s significant about these examples?
These sessions in their different ways show the dilemmas leaders have in the 21st century, making the message clear and making the message appropriate. The time for jargon has gone people has become too skeptical and lost faith in many institutions banks, religion politicians easily spring to mind
• The time for meeting people you wouldn’t normally meet
• The time for trying new things
• The time for taking action in a way that’s different from the past

Taking some tips from Rosaline Torres in her recent TED Talk “What makes a great leader?” see video.
She asked a series of questions to establish the leaders that we thriving what was it that they we re doing
1. Where are you looking to anticipate your next change? The companies or people who are exceptional
2. What is your diversity measure? The capacity to develop relationships with people different to you, so what would someone who has never bought your product or service say about you?
3. Are you courageous enough to abandon the past? So what’s next, what’s now and what will work tomorrow? Innovation creativity is the key. Letting people have space to think without a box let alone outside of one.
Call to action to all people developers, coaches and trainers an innovative new programme

The Artist & The Engineer: coaching using harmonised approaches      See your inner Artisteer!

Integrate from the world of the arts and science, understand how these approaches converge and flow together



Breakthrough in leadership: Is leadership thinking?

 September 2014 Newsletter

Have you taken the time to sit and have a real think about what your leadership does for others?

Perhaps this is too scary a thought to contemplate.

image-indiv-subWell, the other day, I decided to think about how I worked with others and gain some insight from them about what my interaction has done with them. This then posed some new questions, “what to ask” “who to ask” ”what will they say”

So before letting my doubts subvert my curiosity I decided to send off a reasonably short questionnaire with six main questions.

1. What golden thread is throughout Peter, what is Peter about?

2. Strengths what you have noticed Peter does well and what does he do exceptionally?

3. What does Peter need to watch out for? (Potential pitfalls weaknesses)

4. What Peter would benefit most from given your experiences of him that would stretch and develop him?

5. Any further thoughts?

6. Five words that describe Peter as a coach / mentor?

What I hoped for was some feedback; some praise (well I am human after all) and some things I need to look out for,

What it reinforced for me was:
• having a sense of ease
• knowing that I am appreciated
• getting recognition, thank yous and being thoughtful

Most of the time we underestimate the exceptional work we do. We have been brought up to look for gaps, improvement, through what’s missing rather than what we’ve achieved, what we know, and what’s been gained.

Recently I attended a group undertaking an overview of Nancy Kline’s work,Time toThink-Listening-Ignite-Human which is about creating a thinking environment and having time to think.

Some of the key principles are:

• Everything we do depends for its quality on the thinking we do first. Our thinking depends on the quality of our attention for each other
• Thinking at its best is not just a cool act of celebration it is also a thing of the heart
• A thinking environment is a set of ten conditions under which human beings can think for themselves with rigour and imagination, courage and grace

In coaching we talk about being present and having presence this is about the close attention we pay to what is being said and the gaps in between, sometimes this is referred to as being in the moment or working with whatever comes up.

Whilst I’m on the topic of thinking I wonder how much of organisation’s thinking is really fit for the 21st centaury. Previously I have talked about talent and recognition and how the talent and the talented may be two different approaches or organisatons to take

To quote Dan Pink from “the puzzle of motivation” (Ted talk) there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.
Autonomy, mastery and purpose are the building blocks of the new systems for business success examples of this are engineers having free time to work on blue sky ideas; this builds motivations, increases innovation and desire to achieve.
The carrot and stick approach works only with simplistic tasks however in today’s age tasks are not simple, so now what we need is motivation that expands our mind, grows our curiosity and increases our ability to solve the uncertain and mystifying.

For the individual the first step of creating autonomy, mastery and purpose is to use some of the latest lessons from our discoveries about the brain
So the latest neuroscience suggests you can literally “adjust” your memory. You choose the experiences you decide to remember and how you wish to remember them.

To emphasis the value of a human authentic and appreciative leader who has autonomy, mastery and purpose he / she is able to
1) See clearly
2) Hear correctly
3) Think clearly
4) Inquire critically
5) Show respect
6) Maintain calm
7) Consider consequences
8) Create desirable outcomes
9) Do what is right
10) Give credit and step aside

Many of my examples are about engineers which was my initial training and having worked with so many over the years I have noticed the innovation and process skills that get things done. Recently I have been working with some artists and highly creative individuals and a synergy has developed.

Our intention is to use these convergent and divergent skills to create a unique development programme for all those who act as coaches either internally, in a leadership role or an external coach.

The programmes tentative tile is “The artist and the engineer” coaching authentically in the 21st century”

Details coming soon

I hope this newsletter has sparked some reaction and provoked some thoughts about your own leadership style. For those who want to be provoked further and am very happy to help you along the way