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Crossing a crevasse in the Himalayas during the assault on Mt Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. Photographer Alfred Gregory. (Source: Alfred Gregory: Photographs from Everest to Africa. Penguin Books, 2008, ISBN 978-1-920-98961-3)

Managing Risks: Culture Matters More Than Rules

Idea posted: June 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Micro-regulation is not the most effective way to manage risks and improve services. The best guarantee of high standards is ethics-based risk control, underpinned by rules-based codes.

Formal risk management systems can encourage a box-ticking mentality, threaten internal and external relationships, and — in the literal sense of the word — demoralize people. The dangers are likely to be greatest where stakeholders have a strong emotional investment in self-regulation and ethics-based risk management.

Idea #160
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The Education of Alexander the Great by Aristotle, Charles Laplante, 1866 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Aristotle, Ethics and the ‘Art’ of Leadership

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Aristotle’s ‘master virtue’ of phronesis, which combines ethics and action so that people can ‘live well’ and be happy, is often seen as the key to effective leadership. But it tends to be too narrowly defined. A re-reading of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics reveals that phronesis is linked not only to knowledge, skill, wisdom and intelligence but also to sensory perception, intuition and aesthetics. For Aristotle, doing the right thing partly depended on seeing and appreciating the fine thing. This raises important questions about how leaders reach their

Idea #202
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Money for Nothing: The Truth About Investment Consultants

Idea posted: October 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Widely used by retirement plan sponsors and pension fund trustees, investment consultants advise on institutional assets worth trillions of dollars. But their influence is not matched by their performance. New research finds no evidence that they add value to plan sponsors — or provide higher returns for pension scheme investors.

Idea #230
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Investment Banking: Technology and the Decline of Trust

Idea posted: February 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

‘Up or out’ promotion policies and reward systems that encourage ‘star’ bankers to ‘shine’ by taking unacceptable risks were significant factors in the 2007-2009 financial crisis. But they need to be viewed in a broader context. The seeds of trouble were sown decades previously, when a trend towards ‘transactional’ models, powered by technology, began to transform investment banks.

Idea #325
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Napoleon at the Battle of Wagram 1809, Horace Vernet, 1836 (Courtesy: Palace of Versailles)

Ensure the CEO Gets the Right Information at the Right Time

Idea posted: July 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

CEOs must be informed at all times about all internal and external facets of the company relevant to his or her performance as leader of the company. A personal knowledge infrastructure, based on the right practices, relationships and tools and aligned with the needs and personality of the CEO, can make the difference between leadership success and failure. 

Idea #532
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British generals, during the Battle of Gazala, 1942 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Power of Scenarios to Open New Perspectives

Idea posted: February 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Well-known as a strategic planning tool, the scenarios methodology can drive potent academic research that shatters assumptions and reveal radical new perspectives on major issues and problems.

Idea #582
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