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Category: Leadership

"Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things." – Peter Drucker. We bring together the best leadership thinking from around the world. These leadership articles provide the knowledge and inspiration you need to be a great leader.

Seven ways to land the big deal

Patrick Hughes

Megadeals are the holy grail for many organisations. It’s not unusual for 40% of projected revenues to come from just 1% of deals.

Losing one can mean missing revenue targets. But winning one on the wrong terms can destroy value because of bad pricing or terms and conditions.

Here are seven ways to win the right megadeals.

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Make learning creative and dynamic in your firm

Tim Lewis

Top-down formal training methods popular during the 1990s do not equip staff to deal with unpredictability and rapid change, write John Hagel III and John Seely for Harvard Business Review.

Instead of relying on process manuals to tell staff what to do, empower them to learn on the job, creating knowledge and developing new ways to share it.

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How to compete in the new borderless economy

Bernard Cohen

The onward march of digitisation will change the nature of the game for everyone – including your company – over the next ten years.

It's time to recognise and accept this impending change and create a gameplan for a borderless economy.

Here are your four new critical priorities. 

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Engaging employees who struggle with change

Shen Wei

When you instigate any change in your organisation there will always be team members who cling doggedly to the status quo.

But ignoring the dissenters can build a virtual wall between those with conflicting viewpoints and encourage a culture of “us” and “them”.

Here's how to steer the two sides to meet in the middle.

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Should your leaders seek dominance or prestige?

email-Glenys-Barton-compressor

The two key motivations driving people to become leaders are dominance and prestige.

But which trait will work best in your organisation? And do you need someone capable of displaying both?

Here's how to find the leader who best suits your organisation’s culture and goals.

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Five tips for success when you’ve inherited a mess

Aleah Chapin

It pays to avoid classic pitfalls when the business you take on has been left in a mess by your predecessor. Taking over leadership of any business, especially as an outsider, is a challenge. 

Over half the leaders who take over a mess will have failed within a year and a half.

Here are five ways to avoid stepping on the land mines that were left for you.

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Why meetings should never mix strategy and operations

Richard Smith

As a senior executive, you need to balance the long-term strategic and short-term operational needs of your company. This is not easy, writes Sabina Nawaz for Harvard Business Review, when meetings so readily become dominated by day-to-day concerns.

Here's how to maintain your focus on the long term and stick to the bigger picture.

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Seven steps to forming a new habit

Cedric Christie Habit

If you want to form and sustain a new habit you should adopt the “7S Model”, writes Steven MacGregor for European Business Review.

Forming a new habit is hard – making sure that new habit sticks is even harder. Here's MacGregor's a seven-step plan for forming and sustaining your new habit. 

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Three ways to achieve dynamic reflection

Julie Cockburn

The way you think as a leader can leave gaps in the way your business and working relationships develop.

With awareness and know-how you can adapt your thinking mindset to suit the task in hand.

Here are three key strategies to help bring your thinking skills up to scratch.

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Why leaders need to be more engaged

Carol Robertson

Are you taking more days away from the office, or delaying replies to emails or calls?

These are all signs that you have become disengaged as a leader. And when you disengage, your employees could follow suit, writes Peter Crush for Raconteur.

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How to make better decisions

Paul Neagu

Growing organisational complexity and proliferating digital communications are a recipe for poor decisions.

To improve the speed and quality of your decisions, categorise the type of decision being made and tailor your approach accordingly.

 

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How to use data to choose your next leader

Michael Kidner Canterbury

Rather than relying on subjective opinion, use assessment tools to identify talent and eliminate bias.

A strong talent pool is critical for success, and diversity is key to unlocking performance. Yet diversity is still scarce at the top of the largest corporations.

Writing for MIT Sloan Management Review, Stacey Philpot and Kelly Monahan say this means you’re missing out.

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Three ways to communicate clearly in changing times

Glenys Barton Angel Head

To help people understand your strategic vision and implement the change you want, make sure you send the right signals.

This is especially important during times of strategic change.

Writing in Harvard Business Review, Elsbeth Johnson describes three signals that leaders often get wrong, causing confusion, or even the opposite of what they’ve asked for.

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How to conduct reviews effectively

John Kean Figure with a Red Top

Strategic and operational reviews often fail. 

Leaders spend three to five days per month being reviewed or reviewing someone else. But how useful are reviews? They typically take an hour or so, and half that time is wasted covering what’s already happened.

Writing in Ivey Business Journal, Himanshu Saxena explains why reviews often fail, and how to change your approach.

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How to become a digital leader

Bernard Cohen Study 2

In order to unlock the full potential of digital technologies and achieve “digital transformation”, your company must foster a digital leadership structure, writes Stijn Viaene for The European Business Review.

The aim is to enable your company to identify opportunities and take advantage of them quicker than your competitors.

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Three key incoming tactics of extraordinary leaders

John Loker

How can a CEO make an outstanding impression when moving to a new company?

Making the transition to a fresh role is a huge test for leaders in the contemporary business world. Getting your early moves right is vital if you want to get the existing team on board and guide the company to singular success.

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Why your CIO can make or break your business

CIO

With digital data increasingly driving performance, it takes a strong, forward-thinking champion to make sure your organisation embraces that shift effectively.

These days the role of CIO goes way beyond overseeing your company’s computer technology. With businesses from all sectors adopting a digital-first strategy, the CIO holds a transformational position.

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How to develop the next generation of leaders

Patrick Tomasso

Most leadership development programmes have a critical weakness: they view leaders as sets of competencies, not as individuals.

In today’s turbulent times we don’t need standardised leaders: we need individuals who work well in their context.

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Six ways to deal with an indecisive boss

Tai-Shan Schierenberg

Reporting to an indecisive boss is challenging and frustrating. Here’s how to turn the situation around.

Managers who can’t pick a course of action, or constantly change their minds, are infuriating. You waste time, switch direction, and your credibility and reputation suffers. So how can you help a wishy-washy manager make decisions?

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What problem are you trying to solve?

Terry Frost

There are few management skills more powerful – or underrated – than the discipline of articulating a clear problem statement before jumping into action.

There are few questions in business more powerful than: “What problem are you trying to solve?” – yet it is so rarely answered. Formulating a clear problem statement will unlock innovation and enable you to get more done, and with less effort.

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Why it pays to show you care

Carol Robertson

Making your employees feel they matter is a powerful tool in the corporate world.

When a leader demonstrates concern for the wellbeing of his or her teams it generates a climate of safety and trust that positively impacts on their work.

Fostering a caring attitude can actively encourage an engaged and satisfied team as well as better productivity. But what if it doesn’t come naturally?

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Five ways to manage your emotions at work

Julie Cockburn

How to perform the ‘emotional labour’ of leadership while remaining true to yourself.

We’re all familiar with the ‘service with a smile’ provided by fast food servers, airline crew or nurses. Yet leaders have to perform ‘emotional labour’ too. Motivating or disciplining staff, appearing confident in uncertain times, and controlling personal feelings are all part of our working lives.

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Are you trapped in a CEO bubble?

Kleio Gizeli

It’s easy to put yourself in a ‘good news’ cocoon. Get out of the office today and spend more time being wrong, being uncomfortable, and being quiet.

The CEO’s dilemma is that no new course of action can be launched without your say-so – yet your power and privilege insulate you from information that allows you to see threats or opportunities.

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Why there really is no such thing as a bad idea

Aaron Burden

If you want groundbreaking ideas you should encourage your employees to challenge the consensus.

As a manager, consensus might make for an easier life, but you risk losing a potentially game-changing idea by fostering a herd mentality. “Humans fear being a fool much more than they hope to be a genius.”

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Learn when to share information

Breidamerkursandur by Boomoon

Organisational transparency – sharing information freely with your company’s employees – is said to empower people to make better, faster decisions.

The challenge for executives is knowing when to share information and when not to share information. There are three main areas where transparency can create problems and some measures you can take to avoid oversharing.

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Five simple steps to good leadership

C of E by Tai-Shan Schierenberg

Whatever type of company you are running, the basics of good leadership remain the same.

Sophi Tranchell, CEO of UK-based social enterprise Divine Chocolate, and Bill Sandbrook, CEO of US based producer of mixed concrete and aggregates, US Concrete, are two CEOs from different backgrounds and companies who turned out to have a lot more in common than you might think. “Their insights make a great playbook for the leadership basics from which everyone can learn.”

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Three key ways to mastermind digital transformation

Carpet by Scarlett Hooft Graafland

As the digital world romps ahead at incredible speed, leaders need to be sure they harness the best and most relevant developments.

Technological innovations shake up the industrial globe every day. Keeping track of these – and understanding which ones are essential for your organisation – is becoming a priority for most CEOs.

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It’s time to get real about leadership

office

Aspiring slavishly to contemporary ideals is a sure route to failure

Can you tick all the boxes on the popular checklist of attributes for successful leaders? Over the past few decades the qualities prescribed by the corporate training industry have focused on authenticity, trustworthiness, modesty, empathy, emotional intelligence and a desire to serve others – especially your employees.

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How to become a chief executive

Ben Rosett

If becoming a CEO is one of your ambitions, what is the best path to take? Writing on Raconteur, Peter Crush draws from a variety of sources to show how the nature of the job and the criteria for choosing candidates are changing.

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Three things that make you a great boss

Aatik Tasneem

Share a vision, drive results and help employees achieve their career goals for a happier and more productive workforce.

Most leadership advice is based on anecdotes and common sense. Stanford professor Kathryn Shaw took a different approach: data-driven analysis. She discusses her findings with Beth Rimbet and Steve Hawk in a recent article in Stanford Business, and shares three important things that great bosses do differently.

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12 ways to manage for trust

John Kirby

Build trusting relationships with your employees to improve productivity, accountability and company performance.

Less than half of lower-level employees trust the companies they work for. And the problem’s getting worse: according to the PwC Annual Global CEO survey, three years ago 37% of CEOs were concerned about a lack of trust in businesses; today, it’s 55%.

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Leadership: no style fits all

clothing rack

Being dominating and being likeable can both be good qualities in a boss, and often a hybrid is even better.

In a New York Times article Phyllis Korkki explores the advantages and disadvantages of two key styles of leadership – the dominant leadership style where the boss is in control of everything, and the prestige style where the boss’s main motivation is to be liked or admired.

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Four ways to recognise executive hubris

eagle

There’s a fine line between confidence and hubris in a CEO. Spot the early warning signs to avoid disaster.

Most incoming chief executives have pride and self-confidence above normal levels, with good reason. The problem comes when the CEO crosses a line from responsible risk taking to recklessness.

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Four secrets of CEO selection

graffiti

Why are some boards great at hiring company leaders, while others get it wrong? Make the right choice by following these four key principles.

Some boards still pick chief executives who aren’t right for the job – repeatedly. Make the right decision by following the example of successful boards.

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How to move from firefighting to fire prevention

fire hydrant

Are you and your employees stuck in a vicious circle of firefighting?

Workers’ compensation business illustrates the cycle of rework – and more rework – that comes from not doing jobs right first time. Despite knowing that legal processes and costs could be slashed by contacting workers within 24 hours of injury, staff were too busy to do so.

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Make troubleshooting no problem

Rubik's cube

It’s likely that you spend a fair proportion of your time problem-solving. What’s the secret to overcoming hurdles swiftly so you can get on with the important stuff?

Whether you are a homegrown startup or a multi-million multinational, obstacles will always be thrown in your path. As you try to concentrate on productivity and innovation, fresh difficulties are always around the corner.

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Lead like a warrior for a fighting chance

Marines

Business can be a minefield, which is why employing a military mindset can be one of the most effective ways to direct your teams.

Strategies from the battlefield don’t sound like the natural choice for top-level business leaders, but successful companies actually share more common ground than you think with the US Marines Corps.

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