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I will try my best to update this webpage with  thought provoking and interesting content, as often as I can.  Please feel free to leave comments as  there is much that can be learnt from the sharing of ideas.

By pa360, Sep 20 2015 09:40AM

The potential of leadership is boundless. Yet it is amazing how many organisations struggle to harness leadership capability in a way that enables them to empower their workforce; de-risk their operational environment and increase their competitiveness. Deployed effectively, leadership can be highly profitable - saving time & money and creating new income streams from new ideas. On the flip side, ineffective leadership is costly, often leading to needless duplication, inefficiency and unproductive effort.


So how do you translate leadership capability into organisational productivity and profitability? Well set out below are seven actions that will help you to do just that.


1. delegate– when a leader delegates they do three things: first they empower leadership potential further along the chain; second they contribute to organisational efficiency by circumventing bureaucracy and third they control risks associated with delayed decision making. Therefore, delegation not only increases productivity it also cuts costs and increases profits.


2. promote innovation – nobody is better equipped to solve organisational problems than those who deal with those issues on a day to day basis. An organisation that promotes innovation empowers others to lead with ideas and design better systems and processes. Better systems and processes contribute to increased efficiency and increased efficiency contributes to higher productivity and profitability.


3. set examples – it is amazing how the actions of one can impact upon or set the tone for others. I cannot think of anything that will make a more powerful contribution to dynamic organisational productivity and profitability than a good example that is applied consistently. Examples not only set the tone, they establish the trend and the trend once firmly established will become the norm.


4. be fair and be seen to be fair - if you want to get the best out of your employees in terms of productivity; loyalty and improved performance then treat them as you would want to be treated. Employees are not robots or units of production, they can be enthused and motivated or disempowered and demoralised. Create environments where people would choose to work in, not ones where they feel they have to work in.

5. share skills and knowledge – one of the biggest risks to organisational effectiveness is key person dependency or single point of failure. This often happens when knowledge about a business or activity is retained by one individual or postholder. That may be all well and good when that person is available, but it represents a significant risk to productivity when they are not. Sharing skills is a way to de-risk your organisational environment and safeguard productivity and profitability.


6. share success – sharing success could mean anything from sharing recognition to profit sharing. However you define it, if you give people something to share you give them something to own. An employee who is a ‘shareholder’ in the success of an organisation will feel a sense of belonging to, and ownership of, that organisation. This relationship is more likely to yield productivity and profitability benefits for an employer.


7. take the hit when it goes wrong during times of crisis, leaders must be in the front to shield the group. Courageous leadership engenders loyalty, boosts morale and underlines the value that an organisation places in its staff. In turn, employees with a high morale are more likely to be motivated and productive.


In conclusion, getting the best out of leadership requires more than a recognition of what needs to be done, it actually requires a determined commitment to do it.


By pa360, Jul 14 2015 07:32PM

Last week, Serena Williams vanquished Garbine Muguruza in straight sets to claim her seventh Wimbledon title and her third Grand Slam tournament in 2015. It was an amazing achievement for the 33 year old who in 2002 won her first Wimbledon title by defeating her elder sister Venus. Some thirteen years later, Serena's dominance of the women's game is more complete and comprehensive than ever before. So what can we learn from all this? Well here are my six key leadership lessons from Sarena's Wimbledon triumph.


1. Adversity is never an excuse for failure - in a number of her matches, Serena had to battle from behind to win. Indeed in her third round match against Heather Watson, Serena actually faced match point and potential exit from the tournament. Yet despite these situational setbacks, Serena dug in and demonstrated sufficient character, resilience and mental toughness to battle through and win.


2. Defy convention and logic - at 33 years old Serena really should be slowing down not speeding up. Not only is Serena the oldest player in the Women's Tennis Association top ten (by some five years), she is also the only one over thirty. In what is essentially a young woman's game, Serena is defying logic, by winning when she ought to be losing and by dominating when she ought to be defeated.


3. Be good to your talent and your talent will be good to you - earlier this year I wrote a blog about Serena following her Australian Open win. It basically underlined how extraordinary her achievements were, considering the circumstances of her early life and that of her sister Venus. However, it also pointed to the commitment shown by Serena to develop her talent and become the best that she can be. As her Wimbledon triumph demonstrated, this commitment continues to produce rich rewards and recognition.


4. Press on to the next challenge - I recently read that Serena has amassed more Grand Slam tittles than all of the other competitors on the women's tour put together. Serena could retire today with her place in history quite literally carved in stone. Yet despite what must be a gruelling schedule, she presses on to her next challenge. Whether this next challenge is a first calendar Grand Slam or perhaps another Olympic gold medal; it is clear that Serena's exceptional success is matched only by her desire to get even better.


5. Show humility in the face of greatness - in her post match speech at Wimbledon, Serena credited Jehovah God with her success. For someone whose grit and determination has become a hallmark of their life, to diminish her personal contribution and put her faith first demonstrates self awareness and humility. Why is this significant? Well in the face of such great success, self-awareness and humility are often the first casualties. To have the good grace to recognise that she could not have achieved success on her own terms, is a very real demonstration of leadership.


6. Be an inspiration to others - specifically: be an inspiration, not just to this generation or to the next, but to generations still to come. Despite Serena's extraordinary personal wealth, the 21 Grand Slam titles and countless other tournament victories, perhaps her greatest achievement is in inspiring innumerable others to believe that they too can overcome adversity and achieve extraordinary success.

So there you have it, six valuable leadership lessons from Serena's latest Grand Slam success.



By pa360, May 24 2015 02:09PM

The wonderful thing about 'superpowers' is that they enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things. For a leader, the awareness and deployment of 'superpowers' means the difference between an average leader being good and a good leader being great. You could say that 'superpowers' are the defining brand of great leadership.


Take for example, the courage of Winston Churchill during the early stages of World War II and the forgiveness of Nelson Mandela during and following the Apartheid regime in South Africa. The demonstration of these leadership 'superpowers' achieved transformational change and galvanised others in the most appalling and adverse of circumstances.


Listed below are my pick of eight great leadership superpowers.


1. love - in simple terms, truly great leaders are able to transmit genuine care and concern for the well being of others. When leadership is shaped by love, people will follow their leader even when they disagree with them. Nothing will do more to evidence leadership credibility and build leadership trust than the ability to show love for others.


2. delegation - delegation is the power to lead through others. A leader who delegates, creates a virtuous cycle because people who are empowered will also feel empowered to empower others. Few leadership 'superpowers' will do more than delegation to release others into great leadership.


3. affirmation - affirmation is the power of encouragement. To affirm is to build up, energise and release others into dynamic potential and productivity. Evidence of this 'superpower' at work is when a leader is able to motivate others to perform at their very best even when they feel at their worst.


4. judgement - judgement is the power to evaluate evidence and make decisions. Good judgement relies on excellent spatial awareness and situational reading. A leader able to exercise the judgement 'superpower' will get it right even when they get it wrong. As with love, when people trust a leader's judgement they will go with you even if they don't agree with you.


5. humility - humility is the power of selflessness. In humility a leader shares credit with others, even when they do not deserve it. Humility is evidence of a confident, mature and emotionally intelligent leader. The very sort of person who can be trusted to lead others.


6. courage - courage is the power to control one's fears, often in the face of significant risk to oneself. A leader who can show courage at a time of crisis demonstrates credibility, builds confidence, wins trust and has the power to galvanise and inspire others to overcome the insurmountable.


7. resilience - resilience is the power of endurance. The ability to endure, particularly in times of crisis or in response to failure, is the ultimate test of leadership credentials. A leader able to endure not only overcomes, but also creates a pathway through which countless others can pass.


8. forgiveness - forgiveness is the power of reconciliation and healing. Forgiveness repairs the otherwise irreparable, it builds bridges and promotes understanding. Thinking about forgiveness I am often reminded of the extraordinary actions of Nelson Mandela who re-defined the leadership paradigm through his capacity to forgive others.


If there is moral to this story it is this: great leaders are not known by their 'superpowers'; great leaders are known by what they achieve through their 'superpowers'.


By pa360, Dec 31 2014 11:16AM

Earlier this month, Franceso Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship stood trial for his role in the events that led to the partial sinking of that vessel and the appalling loss of life that resulted.


In addition to manslaughter, one of the charges facing Mr Schettino relates to dereliction of duty in abandoning his vessel whilst others were still on board. As I understand it, from what I have read and heard from news reports, captain Schettino's defence is that he did not abandon his vessel, but was thrown overboard into the water (or into a lifeboat).


Issues regarding accountability arising from the Costa Concordia tragedy are a matter for the Italian courts. However, over time, the incident has become somewhat of a international case study in leadership failure and crisis mismanagement.


As communities and societies we organise around the hierarchical principle. Whether that is in our homes, at our places of employment, in our places of worship or in our government. It is important for us to know who will be accountable if things go wrong, who will provide direction in a time of crisis and who will take responsibility for making decisions. Yes ours is a society hard wired for leadership - we do not just expect it we demand it. Moreover, we know great leadership when we see it - so much so that we venerate those who demonstrate those qualities we so admire.


Notwithstanding, leadership is difficult. It often demands a high price - not in our own service but rather in the selfless service of others. Former South African President Nelson Mandela described leadership this way: "It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership."


I really like this quote, because it perhaps reveals the two most distinctive and defining characteristics of leadership - humility and courage. These two characteristics are not mutually exclusive because it takes great courage to be humble and great humility to be courageous.


No-one really wants to be at the back at a time of celebration, we all want to be at the front. Similarly, no-one really wants to be at the front at a time of crisis, we all want to be at the back.


There are no lifeboats for leaders.


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