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Understanding Stress

Book Published: May 2018
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Health
Authors: Jorgen Folkersen

Folkersen’s research has made him aware that knowledge regarding stress is not even widely understood amongst therapists in the sector and that accessible and connected information on the topic is hard to find. This book is his endeavour to fill this gap. 

There is no definition of when ‘stress is harmful, harmless or even constructive’. Stress is not officially regarded as an ‘illness’ though its effects can be debilitating. ‘Stress is usually a natural, non-harmful condition that allows the body and psyche to adapt to temporary peak loads’. Everyone reacts to stress in their own...

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A Brain for Business, A Brain for Life

Book Published: October 2017
  • Problem-Solving
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Leadership & Change
Authors: Shane O'Mara

Advances in our understanding of how the brain affects our behaviour are continuing apace. Trying to align this new knowledge to benefit the way we work as individuals and as teams in organizations is the coming challenge for all leaders. Having a good working understanding of the biases, heuristics and predilections that distort our behaviours and decision-making is therefore important for anyone who want to lead people to produce better organizational performance. This is the second book in Palgrave's 'Neuroscience of Business' series.

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Prediction Machines

Book Published: April 2018
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Strategy
Authors: Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb

Artificial Intelligence is currently gripping the business world, being the next step on the journey from Big Data to full automation. For business executives it is often a slightly mystical concept, offering both dramatic cost-cutting opportunity as many routine human roles are replaced with ever-present, ever-reliable machines, and also threatening many long-standing businesses with being swept away like horse-drawn carriages with the coming of the automobile. Currently, the truth is less dramatic with AI tools making incremental advances and their limitations being as frustrating as...

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Adaptive Space

Book Published: June 2018
  • social networks
  • performance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Creativity & Innovation
Authors: Michael J. Arena

Reed Hastings, the much admired founder of Netflix, noted that “companies rarely die from moving too fast; and they frequently die from moving too slowly”, to which Arena adds, ‘in today’s rapidly changing environments, lack of agility is the kiss of death’. We see this in all sectors: fixed telecoms being challenged by free calling apps; fintech challenging the banking behemoths; auto-giants being threatened by Uber, Tesla and even Dyson; retail veterans succumbing to Amazon, the list goes on and on. Arena asserts that ‘in today’s dynamic environment, organizations need to be more liquid...

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Transforming Nokia

Book Published: November 2018
  • Leadership & Change
  • Boards Roles Responsibilities
Authors: Risto Siilasmaa

Nokia is well-known as the company that spectacularly lost its dominant position as a mobile phone manufacturer by failing to recognize the change that Apple’s iPhone brought to the market. Along with Kodak and Blockbuster it is frequently cited as one of the great corporate failures of the digital age. But unlike Kodak and Blockbuster, Nokia has resurrected and reinvented itself - as one of the top players in the global digital communications infrastructure market. The company is a very different one to what it was….but then it started out making wood pulp in 1865, before going into...

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You Are Not Human

Book Published: September 2018
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Authors: Simon Lancaster

Words make the world go around. Almost nothing we would like to happen happens without some degree of communication. But how much do we know about the hidden power of good rhetoric? Metaphor has become a much explored theme in leadership recently, and Lancaster’s background as a speechwriter brings intimate knowledge of how to leverage metaphor in practice; his academic research brings deep knowledge of its use and influence through the ages from Ancient Greece to the modern day. As he makes clear, simile is when we liken one thing to another, which is far less powerful than metaphor,...

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Bulletproof Problem Solving

Book Published: March 2019
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations
  • Boards Roles Responsibilities
Authors: Charles Conn and Robert McLean

The World Economic Forum has identified complex problem-solving as the key skill required of organizations in the 21t century, closely followed by critical thinking and creativity. However, the authors point out, none of these are ‘taught’ in the majority of standard formal education institutions, either at high school or universities. McKinsey, the leading strategy consultancy, has been using their Seven-Step Problem-Solving method internally to deliver client solutions for decades however, but it has never been explicitly shared externally. Charles Conn drafted the original internal...

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Host

Book Published: April 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Strategy
Authors: Mark McKergow and Helen Bailey

Leadership prowess is elusive, despite the enormous amount invested in it and written about it. This is partly because we require different types of leaders for different types of situation but tend to seek and act out a single leadership style, all too often the charismatic, strong, opinionated one. This inability is partly because we have few effective metaphors for leader that resonate with us, both telling us what they do and that we can relate to. Servant leader never quite rings true as a metaphor as we struggle to envisage leading as a servant; agile/adaptive leadership does not...

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Goliath's Revenge

Book Published: February 2019
  • Creativity & Innovation
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Strategy
Authors: Todd Hewlin, Scott Snyder

We are all familiar with the tales of the fallen corporate giants, slayed by nimble start-up: think Kodak, Blockbuster, Nokia to name a few. The story has been well analysed, a mixture of poor strategy, hubris and a mix of legacy issues and lack of agility fatally undermines their ability to respond to the fast-changing context in which they operate. This book takes a fresh look at this phenomenon, where these issues are now better understood and suggests there is an alternative script where the incumbents’ strengths can be combined with start-up strategies to allow them to ‘proactively...

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Value Creation Through Executive Development

Book Published: March 2019
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Strategy
Authors: Solomon Akrofi

Establishing the RoI for executive development is one of the exasperations every leadership development manager has to wrestle with. Ultimately it boils down to the far from scientific assessment best summed up in the well-known cartoon: Finance Director enters CEOs office and says, “what if we spend all this money on developing executives and they leave the company?” To which the enlightened CEO responds, “what if we don’t spend the money and they stay?”. We implicitly understand that training people in management best practice has to be good, but identifying the exact returns it brings...

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Fair Talk

Book Published: March 2019
  • Leadership & Change
  • feedback
  • Organizational Culture
Authors: Sergey Gorbatov, Angela Lane

Amidst current pace and complexity, feedback has never been more important nor more difficult to craft. In an environment of disruption and adaptation leaders find themselves on quests to facilitate higher performance, greater engagement, and boosting the potential of the talent around them. Here, the authors draw on science and expert opinion to surface the myths that need debunked, present a feedback framework that fits today’s world, and take us through the step by step practices that can make a huge difference to the work of leadership and the shaping of organization culture.

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The Healing Organization

Book Published: September 2019
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Organizational Culture
Authors: Raj Sisodia and Michael J Gelb

Business bookstore shelves are filled with titles that glorify sociopathic empires and their leaders, perhaps the apogee of which is 'The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun', but also includes the analyses of  'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu and many others. TV programs such as The Apprentice and Shark Tank (Dragon's Den in the UK) do little to change this approach. Sisodia and Gelb quote these examples at the outset and set out to see how we can identify better metaphors and examples to make work less ruthless or brutal and more well-...

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How People Learn

Book Published: May 2019
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • performance
Authors: Nick Shackleton-Jones

Extraordinary amounts of money are invested each year in learning - for children, young adults and in corporate environments for workers, supervisors, managers and senior executives. However, very little thought is given by those being taught about how they learn. Indeed, not nearly enough thought is given by those who do the teaching on how they learn. The vast majority of learning is founded on old models of teaching that have come from Victorian institutions when the focus was prioritised to the efficiency of the learning institution rather than the effectiveness of the tuition. With...

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Everybody Matters

Book Published: October 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Organizational Culture
  • Learning & Behaviour
Authors: Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia

In much of the western world old manufacturing businesses are shrinking or closing as production has moved to cheaper locations. The first response to this threat is almost always cost- and job-cutting. This brings a corrosive environment where everyone is fearful for their position. As the authors’ acknowledge “there is a fatal flaw at the heart of capitalist enterprises….from the beginning employees were treated as functions…interchangeable as the parts they laboured to produce.” This is exacerbated by relentless short-termism from management to meet quarterly KPIs for outside analysts....

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The Manager's Guide to Human Beings

Book Published: February 2019
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Emotional Behaviour
  • Leadership & Change
Authors: Bronach Crawley

From the beginnings of the Agrarian Revolution in the late 18th-century, and accelerating through the Industrial Revolution, the focus of organised labour has been on increasing efficiency. In a world where any paid work was an improvement on scratching a subsistence living in growing urban centres, the unitisation of work roles was acceptable, however in the late 20th and particularly now in the early 21st century, the treatment of humans as cogs in ever-more efficient machines has begun to lose its effectiveness. The needs of modern businesses are more for innovation, adaptation and...

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Leading Transformation

Book Published: November 2018
  • Leadership & Change
  • Strategy
  • Learning & Behaviour
Authors: Nathan Furr, Kyle Nel and Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy

The business arena continues to evolve rapidly in ways which demand fresh innovative approaches that take account of emerging technologies and ever-shifting consumer patterns.  At the same time major change efforts that fail to truly understand human fears, biases and habits will fail or be sub-optimal.  Here, the authors draw on the tools of powerful storytelling, meaningful data and neuroscience to explore what they term ‘behavioural transformation’ as an influential framework for opening up new possibilities and facilitating change.

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Chief Wellbeing Officer

Book Published: May 2018
  • board roles ans responsibilities
  • Leadership & Change
  • happiness and wellbeing
  • CSR & Governance
Authors: Steven P. MacGregor, Rory Simpson

In parallel with the emergence of the Chief Digital Officer to inform and co-ordinate organizations’ digital transformation, has been the realisation that the continuous change that digital transformation requires is exhausting and calls for a different mindset and culture of behaviours to manage sustainably. This new ‘sustainable’ approach is increasingly seen as not being a transactional model but a more human/relational one, and with that perspective on achieving employee health and happiness as the foundations of all successful organizations, the search for wellbeing begins…. and so...

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Align

Book Published: November 2019
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
Authors: Jonathan Trevor

Trevor opens with a case study of a large business, which had grown quickly led by a charismatic CEO. The CEO was beloved by employees but feared by his senior team. He had always had all the answers but the size and complexity of the business prevented him from being able to oversee it all now, and now wanted his senior team to run the operations and discover new solutions. As each division was run as a standalone entity (and competed for glory between each other at Board meetings) this collaborative approach, that might leverage economies-of-scale was not in their mindset. The case study...

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This is Marketing

Book Published: November 2018
  • Marketing
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Authors: Seth Godin

The world has evidently shifted from one of mass market - where we all watch the same shows on a handful of TV channels, for example - to a more individualised and empathetic one. One that relies on customised service and innovation - in TV-terms, we now watch what we select à la carte, from an infinite menu, when we want. The challenge for marketers is how to get people to notice your product in a very crowded and noisy market. Godin's starting point is that the internet is not designed for marketing (like radio and TV were) - and while SEO consultants, Facebook experts and PR...

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Humanocracy

Book Published: August 2020
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
Authors: Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini

'Making Organisations More Human' has been the theme of Ideas for Leaders since our inception, and it has been a core theme of Hamel and Zanini's since 2015 too. We see that the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of transactional activity at the expense of relational activity, and that leads to an over-focus on process and an under-focus on the magic that happens when people work together in a trusting, open and mature environment. 

Hamel and Zanini recall that in April 2017 United Airlines staff forcibly dragged a passenger off a flight which was over-booked. The...

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When More Is Not Better

Book Published: September 2020
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Finance
Authors: Roger L. Martin

Martin's focus in this book is founded on the dislocation that has occurred in the industrialised world between the rewards people receive and the output generated. By late 2019 it was evident that the elite had been doing better than the rest for some time, exemplified by the growing disparity between top executive pay in comparison to that of everyone else.

The book was written (though not published) before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, so many of the key drivers he cites seem oddly blind to today's preoccupations and new contexts.

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Meltdown

Book Published: April 2018
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Problem-Solving
  • CSR & Governance
Authors: Chris Clearfield and András Tilcsik

As the authors note, the Middle Ages were 'the golden age of bacteria', when Black Death and other diseases could travel, largely unimpeded because new trade routes opened up the world, but hygiene policies and medical knowledge had not advanced to prevent their spread. Today, the rise of computer power has created systems that are so technical and fast that we find it very difficult to see if and where they maybe flawed, and so when things go wrong, they can go very wrong, very quickly. It is the 'golden age of meltdowns'.

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Messengers

Book Published: September 2019
  • Leadership & Change
  • charisma
Authors: Stephen Martin, Joseph Marks

The world circulates on information – whether that be hard data or gossip. Those who are listened to and have their messaging acted upon hold the levers of power. This book recognises that the ability to be listened to and then acted upon frequently has little to do with the content of the message but rather traits the messenger possesses, and their ability to deliver the message convincingly. 

In Ancient Greece, Cassandra forsook the god Apollo who had gifted her the ability to foresee the future, and in revenge Apollo cursed her so that despite this gift no-one would...

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The Imagination Machine

Book Published: June 2021
  • Creativity & Innovation
  • Organizational Culture
  • Operations
Authors: Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller

Business life-cycles continue to get ever shorter - outperformance quickly fades to the mean. In the 1990s only 10% of top quartile corporate performers were average performers 5 years later, whereas today 90% of outperformance has decayed within 5 years. There is a consistent imperative to reinvent your organisation, to continually have the hunger to do things differently - entrepreneurially. Entrepreneurship is often scrappy and chaotic, which is anathema to highly structured organisational behemoths - so there is an inevitable tension between the internal culture and the external...

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The Heart of Business

Book Published: May 2021
  • Leadership & Change
  • Humble Leadership
Authors: Hubert Joly

Joly took on the CEO role at Best Buy Co in 2012, when everyone believed the business was destined for bankruptcy and the job a poisoned chalice. Best Buy was seen to be at the wrong-end of the online battle, with large bricks-and-mortar retail  stores and a management that was showing no nimbleness or agility. As a consequence the employee morale and general innovation and energy capacity of the business were at rock bottom. Joly had followed a successful career path from his early days as a McKinsey consultant in Paris, trained on the numbers and traditional commercial strategy approach...

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Anthro-Vision

Book Published: June 2021
  • Organizational Culture
  • Leadership & Change
Authors: Gillian Tett

It is becoming ever clearer that the 21st century is not like the late 20th century - principally as technology changes our world in multiple spheres. Digital transformation, that buzziest of buzzphrases of the last half-decade has touched every aspect of our lives from the way we think (who needs to remember a fact now, when Google is ever-present?), communication (out with phone calls, in with emails and text and now video), shopping (first books, then groceries now houses, cars and holidays are all available online), learn (from MOOCs to YouTube) and even dating (awkward propositioning...

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Leading Remotely

Book Published: June 2021
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations
Authors: Mike Parkes

Eighteen months ago, there may have been a question about why we need a book on leading remotely. While globalisation and dispersed teams are nothing new, they were a subset of how the majority of people worked - today, as the COVID-19 pandemic rolls into its 15th month, great swathes of the working world has come to understand and live with remote working - and it has certainly brought a broad array of new challenges. What COVID-19 has also done is highlight many existing leadership challenges that were frequently being overlooked and the author uses the current virtual world to lever...

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The Power of Clarity

Book Published: July 2021
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations
Authors: Ann Latham

When business was just trade, and trade was all about product it was pretty simple to work out what the product was, who had it and what more needed to be done to it to get it to the customer. In a world that has not just become service-driven, but also hugely virtual, it is far less straight-forward to identify and understand these things. What is more, is that most jobs, even in organisations that produce product, are now knowledge and service ones. The complexity of modern organisations further complicates the picture. If you recognise the issue of 'where is this project right now?' '...

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Too Proud to Lead

Book Published: June 2021
  • Leadership & Change
  • Humble Leadership
  • performance
Authors: Ben Laker, David Cobb, Rita Trehan

The world of organisations is littered with failed endeavour, CEOs ending their careers with their prized legacy in tatters and executive trajectories that have never quite lit up the sky in the way they had hoped. The progress of careers is often derailed just when they should be achieving their glittering pinnacle. The old adage that 'what got you here, wont get you there' is often the source of this derailment, more particularly it is the misbelief that previous success was all down to their own genius, rather than a complex mix of talent, circumstance and luck, as well as over-looking...

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Leadership

Book Published: July 2010
  • Leadership & Change
Authors: Keith Grint

As the author notes at the outset the number of books written about the concept of leadership increases at a staggering rate, and yet we seem to never get closer to a generally agreed definition of what leadership is. This book serves a vital purpose in scanning the broad horizon of these different perspectives, and drawing the multitude of threads together to present a woven cloth of the field of leadership. 

Leadership is a peculiar beast as a topic, most people implicitly acknowledge that leaders are necessary, and that good leadership makes a critical difference to outcomes,...

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