Insight

When leaders leave the comfort of home

‘Culture’ is both an internal phenomenon, and an external one. While every organization has its own unique work environment and culture, leaders engaged in the spheres of politics, religion, sport, business, and the social services sector also operate within vastly different cultures where assumptions, expectations, attitudes, ...

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When strategy has no substance

It's not a bad thing to ask people to dream or set their sights higher, or even aim for something no one else thinks is possible. But is that enough? UCLA Management Professor, Richard Rumelt, likens adhering to stretch goals without substance, to "the great pushes of ...

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What do you value the most?

One morning during breakfast at the Hilton Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, I was reading a newspaper article titled, “Evaluating Valuers”.[1] The article focused on the importance of evaluating the qualifications and practices of the person conducting the valuation of a property in relation to its location and ...

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Is it enough to be inspiring?

I still remember reading Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time by Howard Schultz and Dori Jones Young when it was first released.[1] I was very impressed by their commitment to a set of values that focused not ...

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Overcoming the obstacles of interruption and speed

Whether or not it is true that the number of interruptions is relative to the number of people you lead or the size of the organization, interruptions get in the way of productivity. In 2006, Dr. André Martin conducted research on a sample of 800 leaders.[1] ...

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“I just don’t have time!”

How many times have we heard people say this, or said it ourselves? In 2006, Dr. André Martin for the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) analyzed global trends to paint a picture of the challenges and needs facing organizations as they seek to develop leaders who will guide them through ...

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Why humility for a leader is important, but not enough

When humility is absent, leaders lose the ability to listen and focus on what is important. “Egos drive people in every occupation.”[1]  However, when humility is absent in leadership, Jim Collins describes the resulting behaviors as “arrogant neglect” and “hubris born of success.”  When these behaviors ...

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Why every leader needs a fool

Much has been written about leadership and its nature, function, character, and what capabilities and skills are needed to succeed.  Simply, it comes down to the relationship between the leader as an individual, the follower, and the organization or culture in which the leader leads. In ...

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Which meetings should I attend?

Are you constantly running short on time?  How many meetings did you attend last week?  Were they productive?  How much did they actually cost your organization?  Were you able to measure the return on investment? In 2004, I moved to the U.S from Australia after accepting ...

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Forward thinking partnerships

"The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be.”[1] Much could be said about our changing world—economic instability, political and civil unrest, the threat of terrorism, religious intolerance, epic levels of national debt, corrupt governments under attack, the rising ...

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Why Courageous Leaders Are Vulnerable

“We can’t afford to take the risk.” “If I follow through with this decision, I run the risk of losing the support of my staff.” “I wish I had made the decision to set aside budget for innovation when we were in a comfortable position. I didn’t ...

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‘Undoing’ the compartmentalization of character

All of us at one time or another have been frustrated or become disillusioned at the ineptitude of leaders, especially when their actions have revealed such an obvious attitude of ‘what’s in it for me’ or self-preservation at the expense of others.  This frustration only increases when there is ...

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The invisible marketplace

When was the last time you stopped to think before making a decision? I mean really stopped to think?   Some of us are not very good at it.  We’re always in a hurry, running from one meeting to another; trying to grab a moment here and there to ...

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The Failure of Success

Not long ago, I was asked to speak to a group of 70 business leaders in Melbourne, Australia on the topic, ‘Leadership: More Than Competence’. I was looking forward to this, as I believe we need to change the dialog on leadership and go beyond merely focusing on ...

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Redefining Courage

In 2007, Robert Eckert, the CEO of Mattel Toys, chose not to recall millions of toys he had learned contained excessive lead.  Instead of doing the right thing and taking responsibility for the products and their failure to comply with safety standards, he blamed the Chinese manufacturers. While some ...

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Periods of isolation for a leader can be debilitating or life transforming

For children growing up in America during the 1960’s and 70’s, “Gilligan”, “Skipper”, the “Howell’s”, “Ginger, the movie star”, “The Professor” and “Mary Ann”, were household names as key characters in CBS’ hit Television series, Gilligan’s Island.[i]  It’s 98 episodes focused around the plot of finding ...

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Managing talent is an exercise in creativity

What if I recruit the wrong person?  How do I make sure I get a return on my investment and not lose this person to a competitor?  Are we ready to recruit someone into this new growth area—perhaps we need to make sure we have got the ...

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Making Decisions

You make 1000’s of decisions every day—ranging from smaller, insignificant ones, to those of great importance.  But have you ever stopped to think about how you make decisions?  Why is it that some leaders find it easier to make certain decisions than others?  When you are confronted ...

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How much does my leadership impact the bottom-line?

In a series of narcissism studies by Professor Alex Frino, the Dean of the Macquarie School of Management, he concluded that "there was a clear correlation between the level of CEO narcissism and the company’s use of ‘earnings management’ - a technique which takes advantage of the flexibility in accounting ...

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How do you respond to organizational decline from the inside?

One issue that has emerged rather frequently in recent years—perhaps brought about by the fallout of the global financial crisis—is that of dealing with organizational decline from the inside. Growing frustration with the lack of accountability and poor performance by leaders has led to a significant ...

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