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General Leadership

Make Pace, Not War

Leaders Battle with Time

Having spent the last week training with senior leaders in a professional services firm, one of the clearest things they lack is time. Keeping the group focussed on our work while they tend to the needs of their clients and teams can be a frustrating challenge but there simply aren’t enough minutes in the hour for them to do their job. I sympathise with them because after an intensive nine-hour day in the training room, they then have hours of work to catch up on before joining us again the following morning.

It’s an impossible equation. How can leaders make enough time for all of the elements of their life, personal and professional, without feeling like they are failing in one or the other? In my experience, work always wins.

This most recent programme ended with presentations and vision statements for the future. One of the starkest things to emerge from this, though, was when they took more time, the message they were trying to deliver landed more powerfully and more clearly. Further than that, the sense of ownership they had over the message was far more keenly felt by the audience. For many of the group, this was a revelation.

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General Leadership

Leadership and the role of aligning organisational and personal values

Two recent events in working with clients have been an interesting reminder of the need for defining and agreeing on organisational values in strategic planning and subsequent behaviours in daily routines. 

Both businesses are in engineering, with similar sizes of staff levels. Both were overhauling and re-writing strategic plans.

Company ‘A’ was writing the plan because, amongst other things, of an imminent customer – and industry approval – audits. On a different tack, company ‘B’s reason was it wanted to set the ‘True North’ direction of the business for the next three years – and beyond.

A key point here is that values are both current ‘the way we act do now’ and future, or espoused values and ‘the way we will act in the future’. Or the collective behaviours in pursuit of the strategic goals.

The process and outcome of the respective ‘Values Alignment’ for company ‘A’ and ‘B’ could not have been further apart…

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Carrying out the Coaching General Leadership Leadership Coaching

It’s not what you’ve got…

As the person responsible for our approach to fairness in the organisation I am often struck with a sense of imposter syndrome, because the fact is, I’m a middle-aged white dude with a decent education who comes from a stable, supportive, nuclear family. Privilege you might say.

I have a great job, in a well-established, well respected business, that affords me the means to live in a nice house, drive a nice car and keep rabbits! How middle class could I be? Not to mention the fact that – for anyone that missed it – I referred to myself as a dude in the paragraph above!

So, when I’m asked to talk about our efforts in the area of equality or fairness, whilst I’m happy to do so, I often feel like a fraud. Let’s face it – what would I know about how it feels to face inequality?

Yet the portfolio remains mine and I continue to work hard to educate myself and push the agenda as part of all the work that we do – despite the niggle…

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General Leadership The Role of a Leader – Performance & Engagement

Lent Leadership Lament: Top 5 things to give up for Lent

Today is Shrove Tuesday. It is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent. Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter. This was traditionally a period of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were ‘Shriven’ (absolved from their sins). Lent is also a time when people commit to giving up certain luxuries – hence the question “What are you giving up for Lent?” As you can see, I know today’s feast day as ‘Pancake Day’. And my plan is to give up pancakes for a year – until Shrove Tuesday comes around again in 2021.

Once again I have to remind myself this is a leadership blog, not a culinary one. So what can leaders give up for Lent? Maybe the ‘luxuries’ of error, laziness and omission. For inspiration I looked back at recent articles from our merry band of Guest Authors and came up with five negative traits leaders might consider giving up for Lent.