Category Archives: "Archive"

Read some of our previous publications   arrow

Giving a damn actually matters

Jul 08th

It never ceases to strike me how much the successful leaders we speak to care deeply, not only about achieving delivery and results, but also about their people and what their organisations are really trying to achieve. This is often in the face of the multiple challenges and risks that leadership brings, now in these challenging times more than ever.

These successful leaders manage to marry caring deeply with having a clear line of sight to the desired outcomes and the real purpose of their organisation. They know exactly what the goals are and keep them firmly in mind and, importantly,



A clutch of awards!

Jun 26th

We always choose to work in ‘blended teams’ with our clients, building the ownership and skills for ongoing work to transform performance, and helping to boost energy and commitment.

So we are especially delighted at the recent success of our client, Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in Europe. BCC has just been garlanded with no less than four awards for its BEST programme, which was designed, developed and piloted with Stanton Marris.

BEST is an innovative and ambitious employee engagement programme designed to create a culture of innovation. Its success has been recognised in the past two weeks by four



Bringing strategy evolution alive

Jun 05th

We’ve just had the first opportunity to discuss the findings of our research with a group of clients. A lively and enjoyable discussion over breakfast reminded us of the power of thinking together.

Testing the key themes in the report against the challenges facing our clients in their businesses today, it was exciting to see a consensus emerge that brings together the four themes in a compelling story. One that’s not only relevant to the current challenging market conditions but also, as someone said, a model for the next five to ten years.  

We summarise it as follows:

The old model for organisations



The vital ingredient in communication

May 20th

I found myself wondering why the personal letters sent by the Prime Minster to those affected by the recent smear scandal landed so badly.  Much of what he did was right. He used a very personal channel (handwritten letters) to communicate his messages.  He acted swiftly. The letters were short and clear.  He showed that he had taken action.  So what was missing?

In delivering ‘high concern’ messages, it is vital to start off with a demonstration of empathy.  This doesn’t mean an apology necessarily. Rather it means putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes and acknowledging their emotions.

So, one extra sentence



The risk of risk departments

Apr 28th

Nassim Taleb’s 2007 book ‘The Black Swan’ has been back in discussion recently as people debate whether the economic crisis fits the category of ‘black swans’ – something no-one could have predicted, but of which a single occurrence invalidates previous beliefs (such as ‘All swans are white’). Did anyone really predict the banking crisis? Certainly no-one acted to prevent it.

Taleb’s thesis reminds us of what someone called ‘the risk of risk departments’ – by having a department devoted to risk, you create the illusion that you have dealt with it. In fact, what often derails strategy is what nobody is



Engaging the power of organisational identity

Apr 16th

When times are tough, more than ever the organisation must pull together and stay energised to succeed. But this is just when the pressures of the recession will tend to push people into battening down the hatches. Instinctively, many individuals will try to protect their jobs by focusing on their own agendas. It can feel counter-intuitive to lift your sights above your individual concerns to focus on the whole firm’s success. So how can leaders help people to do that?

One answer is more face-to-face communication. That personal, human contact will connect with people’s raised emotional needs at times of anxiety



Are we really changing?

Apr 08th

We have all pretty much accepted that the global economic crisis has caused a fundamental shift in the way we will think about doing business from now on. But have we yet made any fundamental changes to the way we do strategy? Some leading companies have reacted by refusing to publish hard financial targets as they know they may struggle to achieve them. Others are being more thoughtful about what needs to be in their place. How can we convince first our people, then our key stakeholders and shareholders that we do have distinctive organisational attributes and market strengths that



So what is strategy evolution anyway?

Apr 07th

‘Strategy evolution: adapting to a new world’ brings together the shared intelligence of 45 of today’s leaders on how to make your strategy work in the new business environment –  the culmination of our research, and precious time kindly given up some very busy leaders to share their experiences of the new risks to successful strategy execution.
During these frank conversations we were perhaps surprised to find little evidence of the desire to reduce their exposure to risk. Instead, we found a growing awareness of the need to be open to all the new opportunities present in the changing