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Why it's so hard to lead when you're scared

I was recently working with a group of senior leaders on a leadership programme.  On the first day they came across as on message, did well in the various activities and we had plenty of lively debate. But something was missing.  It felt like they were holding me at...

Leading through storytelling

I was running a Leadership workshop a couple of weeks ago with a bunch of Innovation leaders in a European Telecoms company.  We were working in their Innovation Centre, a closely guarded environment in the bowels of the building.  It had no windows, black walls,...

Just because you train it, doesn't mean you can do it!

I have just bought a new car.  50,000 miles sooner than I expected to, but that's another story. As we know, car dealerships are a wonderful place for exercising your Negotiation muscles.  I tell people this all the time, and we practice car dealer role plays on my...

How not to delegate.

As Christmas approaches and stores fill up with scary amounts of extra stock that they hope will all magically vanish by Christmas Eve, I find myself thinking about the time when I was put in charge of stock ordering for a major business.  They delegated to me too...

What about WHY?

I was with a group of senior leaders last week, running a Leadership workshop.  They work for a fast moving entrepreneurial IT company in California, and are going from strength to strength.  Hence the need to build some leadership muscle. I started the day by asking...

What to do with poor performers

I'm not a golfer.  I've played a few times and never seemed to be able to connect properly. I once teed off on the first hole and the ball went rocketing sideways and I am told ended up ricocheting around in the clubroom lobby. We had a golf day at work once, where...

What to do with Energy Sappers

When I was 15 I was told by my house captain of games (the school was made up of 26 houses of 50 boys: yes, it was a big school) that  I was to represent the house in the school Steeplechase.  This required us to run 15 miles or so over a cross country course, most of...

How not to give bad news

20 years ago I was working in marketing for a large drinks company.  I worked closely with a marketing agency, and they invited me to an awards dinner in London during which they hoped we would be picking up an award.  It was a black tie affair, and I was looking...

Can a human survive without a mobile phone and the internet?

Since moving house I have had the pleasure of meeting lots of new friends.  Amongst which I count a couple of young lads, early twenties, who have both rekindled my faith in the human race, whilst at the same time reminding me how doomed we all are. They are twins....

How NOT to set Objectives

Most of us have come across SMART objectives, and we kind of get why they are a good idea.  If people are working towards well formed objectives, it tends to improve their performance somewhat. How else did we get the 4 minute mile  (set 60 years ago this month, as it...

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