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Influence & power: the best story wins

Professor of International Relations at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Joseph Nye looks at two primary types of change in relation to political and economic power.[1] The first, he describes as Power Transition. Literally, how it transfers from one state to another state (e.g. from west to east). The second change he calls Power Diffusion. Simply, how power is moving...

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How does leadership differ across cultures?

Culture significantly influences how the following statements are made, and in particular, how people respond to them. “We should take the initiative” “We should wait until we are asked for help” “This could turn out to be a great political manoeuvre” “Let’s not do anything, as it might be seen as a sign of weakness” “We ...

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Have we lost the art of serving?

I have observed that for many organisations their focus has shifted from serving a need (outward orientation) to serving themselves (inward orientation), sometimes with disastrous consequences. The idea of service can be quite different depending on the organizational context. For businesses, 'service' has more to do with making profit from meeting an identified need in the market pl...

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Finding it hard to transition to something new?

Book Review Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes William Bridges Making sense of life's transitions is not always easy. Okay, let's be honest. Sometimes it is incredibly difficult! We can often experience a range of emotions - hurt, anger, anxiety, fear and many more. Mix in a dose of confusion and disorientation and trying to discover that illusive ‘ne...

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What can be gained from a 'dance of chaos and order'?

In her book, Leadership & the New Science, Margaret Wheatley explores a perspective on leadership rarely heard. Pushing us beyond Sir Isaac Newton’s mechanistic theories of why things work the way they do, Wheatley forces us to think more about the relationship of how things work together in a symbiotic and complementary manner and that the nature of these relationships rarely rema...

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What do I start with -- the best people or the best strategy?

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— or do we need to first make sure we have the strategy bedded down? These are some of the most frequently asked questions I get from leaders in relation to succession planning and the ability to projec...

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Overcoming the obstacles of interruption and speed

Interruptions get in the way of productivity no matter what size the organisation is. In 2006, Dr. André Martin conducted research on a sample of 800 leaders and identified four global trends.[i] In The Risk of Collaboration we addressed the first two: ‘The Ground Truth of Globalization’ and ‘The Rise of Complex Challenges’. The third trend was The World of ...

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Narcissistic leaders and the bottom-line

In a series of narcissism studies, Professor Alex Frino, Dean of the Macquarie School of Management, 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 rules to inflate profit figures.”[i] The more narcissistic...

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If you want to lead, you've got to read

Recently, I was in a meeting with a CEO who expressed concern that he no longer had time to read. “I’ve read more books on leadership than most, and they all say the same thing.” However, I discovered that the reason he had no time to read, was that it simply wasn’t a priority. While it’s impossible to remember everything you read, there are nearly always insigh...

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Deconstructing character

All of us, at some point, have been frustrated at the ineptitude of some leaders. This is especially true when their actions have revealed an overt attitude of ‘what’s in it for me?’, or self-preservation, at the expense of others. This frustration only increases when we have a perception that nothing can be done to address the lack of character shown by the people in leade...

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