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When talking about it doesn’t help

Mar 10th

In turbulent economic times – and after a very long winter – how do you keep yourself going? Research suggests that ‘talking out’ your concerns does not always help and that suppressing negative thoughts can be just as bad for you. However, research also shows that ‘expressive writing’ can boost your well-being, reduce health problems and increase your happiness.

If you are struggling to come to terms with a negative experience (a professional setback or even redundancy), try spending a few minutes each day writing a short account of it. Constructing a written narrative (which is naturally more coherent than a

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This article is filed under: communication, employee motivation

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Don’t be limited by what you’re good at

Feb 23rd

My colleague Rupert wrote last week about challenging constructs.

I’ve been working recently with some companies that are by any reckoning very successful.   They’re highly profitable, well led and well managed. They’ve developed strong business ‘formulas’ in their different markets and are disciplined in sticking to what they know works.  They have stripped costs out, made their supply chains highly efficient, and honed a way of growing their existing businesses.   In short they’re doing all the right things and delivering the results. 

So what’s the problem?

It’s this.   The very discipline of their approach is an inhibition to thinking more broadly about their

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This article is filed under: business capability, organisational culture

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Could something stunning happen if you freed your mind?

Feb 16th

Travelling to work the other day on the bus, I absent-mindedly reached for my iPod and looked at it.  Simple, minimalist and beautiful.  And a great example of what can happen if you question your constructs.

By construct I mean an assumption or web of assumptions that helps us make sense of our world.  Constructs help us organise our activities, and identify important things from the extraneous.  They can occur on multiple levels:  individual, organisational, business model, and industry.  Multiple constructs typically converge and form a ‘dominant logic’ for a company and for an industry.

Here’s one:  “Construction work is dangerous –

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This article is filed under: leadership

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How to do more with less

Feb 04th

“My mantra is simplification, both internally and with the clients I am working with. That means always asking the questions, is this the simplest way of doing it? Is this an elegant way of doing it? Is this absolutely necessary, does it really add value? Is it freeing up time for people to add value doing the things that really matter, or is it just eating up your time? The most successful businesses have simplification ingrained in their DNA”

In these belt tightening times, exactly how can businesses keep growing? Management Today gathered a group of corporate leaders and asked what

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This article is filed under: cost cutting, more for less, waste

Leadership in times of uncertainty

Dec 20th

This paper is sparked by a dinner discussion, facilitated by Stanton Marris and hosted by Addleshaw Goddard in November 2010 with participants from a number of financial service businesses with the theme Have our leaders led us down the garden path and how do we get back up again?

A recent paper by Douglas Board † suggested that there had been a deafening silence about the role of leadership up to and during the crisis in financial institutions.  We wanted to test if a focus on leadership and leadership development had become irrelevant and we wanted to find out if leadership

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This article is filed under: leadership, leadership development, transformational leadership

Is leadership just high level stuff?

Nov 14th

“A mistake executives often make is thinking that being a leader and being a manager are the same thing. But while there are similarities, they are quite distinct.” Rhymer Rigby, The Financial Times, 12 November 2010.

You need to stay up on the balcony where you can see what’s happening on the dance floor, rather than being on the dance floor. Leading also has a far stronger political element than managing.  You need to deal with the emotional stuff as well. You have to tune into the mood of people and connect with them. Leaders are influencers and persuaders. It’s a

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This article is filed under: leadership

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The National Children and Adult Services Conference

Nov 02nd

One of our clients, Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT), will be exhibiting at this years National Children and Adult Services Conference in Manchester tomorrow. This is an established event that sees an audience of approximately 1200 high-level attendees coming together for three days to discuss and debate the latest issues affecting children and adult services.
 
SSAT is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation dedicated to raising levels of achievement in secondary education, and to sharing new and effective teaching and learning practices.
 
We wish them well tomorrow!

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This article is filed under: raising levels of achievement

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Making safety a priority

Oct 08th

This week leaders in organisations that claim to make safety their priority have probably had a sustained aha moment.

On Wednesday I attended a leadership forum, alog with about 100 senior safety leaders, organised by AKT productions. It put the spotlight firmly on leaders by getting them to ‘Think Again’ through an engaging dramatisation of BP’s Texas City and Deepwater Horizon tragedies.

On Thursday there was a full page feature in the Financial Times under the hard hitting headline: ‘A sea change needed’. It was evaluating the last chance BP’s new CEO, Bob Dudley, has to transform the organisation’s culture to

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This article is filed under: organisational culture, safety