Should they be in charge? (Assessing leadership)

1 month ago 0 0 84

The Australian opposition just selected as new leader, and the UK Tories are currently starting the process of finding a leader to replace Ms. May and take them forward. It is likely that the people selected for these roles are not chosen on their ‘ability to lead’, but rather may other elements.  In a ‘perfect world’, how do we go about assessing leadership, both in current leaders and leadership aspirants?  In truth, people are routinely terrible at identifying and selecting great leaders. Whilst we are desperate to identify them, install them and even emulate them, knowing what will make a great leader is fraught with human error. In our desire to find and become great leaders, we often get sucked into the myth that is the cult of leadership. Why are we suckers for the cult of leadership? Humans seem to have a need to raise onto pedestals people who

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Bad incentives create bad behaviour

4 months ago 0 0 183

We use incentives all the time to shape behaviour.  From our kids at home, to employees, to people we have just met, it is almost human nature to offer incentives to encourage specific behaviours.  However, like most things we do without really thinking them through, there is a dark side to incentives that often gets people stuck. Consider what an incentive might be – it might be the supply of some positive reward such as financial, social or relational.  It might also be the removal of punishment.  Often if people know that some punishment comes unless they demonstrate the behaviour, this acts as an incentive for this behaviour to be displayed. We often simply deploy incentives without thinking – in fact, the culture of the group that we are in often dictates what will be incentivised and how.  For example, if the culture can be defined as all the behaviours

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you get what you deserve

Your culture – you get what you deserve

3 years ago 0 0 1156

It is interesting when working with organisations that are struggling with culture issues, poor performance and less-than-desirable behaviours, how often the leaders believe they are ‘victims’ of some sort of cultural ’virus’ to which they can just seek a cure. The truth can be a little more confronting. The culture of the organisation is the culture that the leadership deserves. Either the leadership allows the culture to form by chance, and be controlled by others (making them the ‘victims’), or they create a culture consciously, developing the elements of the culture with clear direction and intent. The effort to do so will provide the organisation with the culture it deserves – one of high performance behaviours. As a leader, how do you contribute consciously to developing and maintaining your culture? Culture can be defined as the social pressure that shapes an individual’s behaviour in the context of a group. It

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Welcome to ‘Back to the future’ day – what have we learned?

3 years ago 0 0 539

Today – October 21, 2015 – represents the day 30 years into the future that Marty McFly and Doc Emmett Brown visit in their time machine.  If we could find the town ‘Hill Valley’ we could watch them burst through the space-time continuum.  What have we learned – both in terms of what was predicted in Back to the Future II, and from reality, now that 30 years have passed? Human behaviour is still human behaviour In 30 years, we can see how much things have changed, but what has not shifted at all are the key drivers of human behaviour – as demonstrated in leadership, work, play and consumption.  Whilst the context has changed, the behaviours of individuals remains the same as it did in the 80’s.  People still follow trends and fads, are scared of uncertainty, driven by scarcity and comparison, know they have capabilities beyond what they

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Are you flexible enough?

4 years ago 0 0 781

Leaders often describe a desire to have ‘better leadership flexibility’ – or they want to see it throughout their organisation. Understanding leadership flexibility and how to create it is critical in business – and it is not as hard as most people think! Leadership flexibility can be described as “The ability to lead and manage others in a non-rigid way”. The definition is important, because too often people want leadership ‘flexibility’ to mean only using a more negotiated, discussion and consensus based approach. That is, they want to rigidly adopt a more consensual decision and leadership style. The underlying belief is that this is the “best” leadership style for a leader to have. Perhaps derived from a view that such a style demonstrates high Emotional Intelligence, and therefore must be good. This, however, is faulty. Leadership flexibility is about being able to utilise a full range of leadership styles, from

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You must use IQ before EQ

4 years ago 0 0 707

A coaching client stated that a key hire they were chasing had to have ‘EQ’. So I asked a couple of refining questions, and it opened up a really interesting discussion. It turns out that the term ‘EQ’ had been thrown around so much in the executive board and no-one was really clear what anyone meant by this term. Reflecting on this conversation, I wondered about all the times EQ is used in conversations about leadership. Has it become a buzz word, or do people really understand and use the term appropriately? EQ as the big thing – or do we mean EI? EQ (Emotional quotient) is reflective of a quotient or score, that is related to the score that someone achieves on a specific test instrument measuring aspects of Emotional Intelligence (EI). Emotional Intelligence, on the other hand, is more reflective of the expression of ’emotionally intelligent’ behaviours. When

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‘Trance formation’ for brilliant transformation

4 years ago 0 0 889

When we talk about change, we seek transformation to something better. What if, to borrow from the world of hypnosis, that the transformation was really a ‘trance’ formation? How can understanding the concepts of trance help us to lead change? What has hypnosis got to do with it? Hypnosis is characterised by the ‘state’ of trance that people experience. Often it is misunderstood, as a state of ‘mind control’ where the hypnotist exerts some special power over the person entering trance. This concept has been completely debunked over the last thirty years, with over 4000 clinical papers into understanding hypnosis and trance. Even more recently, with the availability of new brain imaging modalities, we are learning to understand trance in a whole new way. What has been discovered is that trance is simply a state of personal absorption. This means that parts of our experience are in focus and more

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Creating Creativity – what you can do (part 2)

4 years ago 0 0 848

In part one of this series, we explored the elements of individuals and teams that limit creativity and innovation. In the second part of the series, we will explore what organisations can do about it.  By creating a culture of innovation, designing your thinking and taking true innovative leadership in your organisation, you can move beyond the things which impede creativity, and really create something special. Create the culture for innovation For innovation and design to be a reality in an organisation, it has to move from being a peripheral activity to a culturally accepted process, central to the business. This means the culture has to be accepting of the time and effort that creativity can take, and reward ‘exploration’ rather than outcomes. Peter Murphy, design instructor in Melbourne suggests that creativity is a difficult process, and to be truly innovative, they must “roll their sleeves up, say goodbye to

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Organising behaviour – learning from Zappos shift to holacracy

4 years ago 0 0 1436

We create structure and process in a business for only one purpose – to organise behaviour so as to create efficient and effective ways of getting things done. With Zappo’s in the news for instituting a ‘holacracy’ model of organisation, it raises some interesting questions about how we can – and should – organise behaviour. How well does it work when you tell someone with depression to “Be Happy”? The paradox implied in the instruction “Be spontaneous” should be clear – how is spontaneity spontaneous if you have ordered it? This has never been better demonstrated in the corporate world than is currently happening at Zappos: “You will become a holacracy”! Forcing the organisation to become self-organising has an ironic paradox buried at its heart. However, as the organisation pursues this idealised structure, it will provide a fascinating case study over time. With it reported that one in seven employees

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Giving feedback to enhance performance

4 years ago 0 0 962

There is a lot of commentary about the value of formalised performance reviews. Unsurprisingly, when only 37% of employees in a major survey reported that they had never received valuable feedback from their employer or manager, the majority of comment seems to suggest that feedback processes are a waste of time. Feedback is imperative to enhancing performance, however giving and receiving feedback is fraught with problems, often institutionalised in such workplace processes. Understanding the true nature of feedback, and how to use it successfully to enhance performance is a critical leadership skill. Feedback on our performance comes in many forms – from what we see happening as an outcome of what we do, how we personally feel about what we do, and what other people observe, interpret and communicate to us. Feedback is important for developing performance at an individual, team and organisational level. Without feedback, we would perform a

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