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Chrysalis to butterfly

Establishing Sustainable Change in Organizations

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Leading through change is extremely difficult. Organizational culture is an ‘evolving organism’ made up of many sub-cultures and helping it to change is an incredibly complex task. While there are no hard-and-fast rules to change management, there are things we can do to increase the likelihood of a change initiative’s sustained success.

Idea #073
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The Lone Ranger and Tonto, The Lone Ranger, 1949–1957, Dir. George W. Trendle

Leadership Dyads: Beauty, Disaster, and the Big Five

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IMD

‘Leadership dyads’ — or leader/deputy partnerships — can be optimised for high performance by looking at the similarities and differences between the two individual personalities, and marrying them to form a complimentary dyad. This can lead to great results for an organization as a whole. Key to applying this Idea is self-awareness — a rare and precious talent indeed. Fortunately, there is a five-factor personality model — ‘the Big Five’ — that we can use to help us achieve it. 

Idea #068
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Battle of the River Plate, 1956, Dir. Powell and Pressburger

Leadership Alignment and Strategy Implementation

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

It is essential for leaders to understand how to ensure strategic decisions are effectively implemented throughout their organizations. In this respect, leader effectiveness in the aggregate across different levels, as opposed to individual leadership actions, has the most significant effect. This Idea looks at the importance of leadership alignment in implementing strategy. 

Idea #032
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3:10 to Yuma, is a 2007 production directed by James Mangold produced by Cathy Konrad, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, distributed by Lionsgate Films and Columbia Pictures

Leadership: Beyond the Western Model

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

Understanding and relying on traditional Western models of leadership alone is no longer sufficient in a world where most companies operate globally. Progressive organizations need to accommodate cultural differences and approaches to leadership. It is crucial that their managers learn to understand and adapt to this and work hard to acquire the competencies needed to prosper. 

Idea #055
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The Women's Land Army, Bellingham, 1943

Maximising Employee Performance

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: London Business School

Aligning the personal goals of employees with organizational goals can bring huge benefits but it is not easy. This Idea looks at the benefits of a management model based on the perspective of the employee, which can provide better communication with employees and, as a result, more effective performance from them; and suggests some ways to go about it. 

Idea #084
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Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), a detail of a fresco by Raphael (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Character - The Unspoken Essence of Leadership

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

In assessing leaders at any level in an organization, three questions are asked:

  1. Do they have the competencies to be a leader?
  2. Do they have the commitment to be a leader?
  3. Do they have the character to be a good leader?

This Idea focuses on leadership character because it is the most difficult to define, measure, assess and develop. Its aim is to define those dimensions of leadership character that are most important in today’s business environment and suggest how character can be developed.

Idea #157
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Participants in the 2013 Clipper Round the World Race

Leading Dynamic Teams: Alignment, Capability, Autonomy

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change

This Idea offers insights from a round-the-world yacht race to reveal several key behaviours that make a real difference to team performance. Using sports teams as a metaphor for understanding team dynamics in organizations and the associated leadership challenges can be useful. However sports teams generally seek short-term black or white goals; whereas in business, and life, the time horizons are longer and the outcomes much more graded. Trans-ocean sailing teams provide a more realistic environment for leadership analysis. 

Idea #301
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Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin in the 1960s US TV series, based the DC Comic characters, broadcast by ABC Netwrk (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Coaching Chemistry: Building a Collaborative Relationship

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: Henley Business School

The best circumstances for successful coaching include a number of factors, from the skill, style, and experience of the coach, to the desire of the coachee to develop, to the actual process of coaching sessions. But none of these will work effectively if the relationship between the two is lacking. What can leaders do to get the best out of their teams, and the best out of themselves as coaches?

Idea #311
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The Royal Malay Regiment get ready at the Malaysian King Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin birthday parade on June 4, 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Source: Shutterstock)

Rapid Response Teams: Strategic Renewal for Organizations

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

The world changes rapidly these days. Technologies move on and companies adapt – or not in some cases. The problem lies in being able to change as quickly as the environment in which your business operates. But change management need not be crisis management. Through a process of strategic renewal leaders can develop a set of practices that can guide their organizations to a new era of innovation. 

We often find it easier to resist change rather than embrace it, but this process allows leaders to approach the future and all its uncertainties with confidence, while acknowledging the

Idea #331
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Last Call for Social Media Sceptics

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Social media sceptics have all but scurried back into the woodwork. The game is up and the die cast: social media is here to stay. Each week the ‘fad’ seems to blow open a new way of doing things in a different industry; democratizing our flow of ideas even further. The scope of opportunity for science, art, and business here – seems infinite. But what role can leadership play to facilitate those opportunities and create value for their organizations?

Idea #062
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Bricklayer to Architect: How Managers Become Leaders

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IMD

Many executives making the shift from leading a function to leading an enterprise can stumble as they take the step up. It’s tough to do. We are asking someone to shift from left-brain, analytical thinking to right-brain conceptual mind-sets. It’s a big change. Michael D. Watkins highlights seven Seismic Shifts here that allow the emerging leader to do that over time: to draw focus from a wider lens, and make the transition successfully.

Idea #060
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World War II poster (detail) J. Howard Miller, 1918–2004

The Value of Front Line Managers

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Leadership & Change

Front-line bosses may be far more valuable for an organization than has been previously thought. According to research from Stanford Graduate School of Business, good as opposed to poor line-managers and supervisors can increase organizational productivity by as much as 11% — or the same amount as adding an additional worker to a nine-member team!

Idea #133
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Red flag on the beah

Avoiding Bad Decisions: ‘Red Flags’ and Reflection

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

Decision-making can be understood better with an awareness of the brain processes involved in it. There are certain ‘red flag’ conditions that can lead to distortions in judgement, in turn leading to bad decisions being made. The authors provide examples of where this has been the case, and highlight safeguards that can be adopted to avoid them.

Idea #028
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Leading Complex Projects through Collaboration

Idea posted: February 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IMD

Pooling the ideas, resources, commitment and efforts of many is more effective than relying on the few best individuals in an organization. Here, the example of CERN and their successful collaborative model of project management is used to illustrate the ways to lead through collaboration and harmony - collaborative leadership lessons from CERN: the world’s largest physics experiment.

Idea #022
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Culture Club: Coaching by Values for Corporate Success

Idea posted: March 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: ESADE

How can leaders create the right corporate culture to confront the myriad levels of complexity in today’s turbulent business environment?

The emerging concept of ‘coaching by values’ (CBV) provides a flexible framework to help them reengineer their organization’s corporate culture and create positive outcomes for all stakeholders.

Idea #106
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The Leopard, 1963, directed by Luchino Visconti, starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alan Delon, 20th Century Fox Pictures

Charisma or Miasma: Seduced by the Charismatic

  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: University of Florida

Charismatic CEOs come across as higher achievers, and charisma has often been thought of as a must when hiring CEOs, but a large number turn out to be overpaid and underperforming. Boards should measure performance over personality when hiring and compensating CEOs.

Idea #026
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Liberating Knowledge in the Organization

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

It is a universal challenge for large organizations: the larger and more segmented the company, the harder it is to match its people to its problem. This Idea looks at how internal ‘knowledge markets’ can facilitate information sharing within large organizations; helping employees locate expertise and matching knowledge seekers with knowledge sources.

Idea #020
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Mad Men, 2007 premiered on AMC, created and produced by Matthew Weiner, Lionsgate Television

Managers Who Undermine the Meaningfulness of Work

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

A sense of working toward something meaningful is absolutely central to our happiness and well-being. Sadly, many senior executives undermine their employees’ creativity and productivity by inadvertently denying them this meaning. There exist common traps which even the best-intentioned managers will fall foul of in this regard. A loss of meaningfulness in the work lives of employees has obvious long-term implications for the overall health of an organization. This Idea identifies those traps and shows how we can avoid them.

Idea #052
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Inspiring Indian Business Leaders’ Development

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

The most effective leadership development breakthroughs for business leaders in India come from events during their lives and on-the-job experiences; and not necessarily through classroom learning. This Idea explores that research-based notion, and the important role senior leaders have to play in becoming inspiring bosses and positive role models.

Idea #057
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Driving Risk Appetite Higher or Lower: Penalties Vs Rewards

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

‘Innovate or die’ we are told. What if an organization’s ability to innovate could be enhanced by managing risk-taking behaviour through monetary incentive schemes and through a culture that tolerates failure? In this Idea we identify the precise levers that shift risk appetite, and show how they can be tweaked to foster innovation.

Idea #059
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The Marx Brothers, Horse Feathers, 1932, directed by Norman Z. McLeod, Paramount Pictures

Rendered Speechless: Too Powerful Leaders Stymie the Team

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

We have all seen it happen; a newly promoted leader monopolizing more and more ‘air time’ in meetings. It seems to be an occupational hazard: when leaders experience heightened power, they are compelled to demonstrate it with verbal dominance. This compromises and even stymies good team communication. The good news is that this effect can be virtually eliminated by taking steps to protect an egalitarian culture. 

Idea #063
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Chief Information Officers: Secrets to Success

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

A valuable learning tool for CIOs, this Idea draws upon the successes and experiences of 14 extraordinary Chief Information Officers from organizations including FedEx, Cisco, Time Warner and the US Department of Defence. Cross-referencing both personal characteristics and environmental factors universal to all 14 we can define and determine the skills needed to excel in this role.

Idea #069
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Communicating Multiple Roles through Social Media

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Communications executives are surely the experts on using social media to create value in large organizations. This Idea shares the results of a large survey on social media use in the communication profession, specifically looking at the increasingly common practice of executives using multiple social media profiles or personas to achieve diverse goals.

Idea #070
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Hindustan Unilever's Shakti Programme

CSR: Creating Value through Partnerships

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
Institutions: IMD

Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives have overcome the stigma of being a distraction; something to be suffered. Smart companies now recognise CSR as an opportunity to significantly strengthen their businesses – while building and renewing human, social and natural wealth. Finding the right partner is absolutely critical to the success of a CSR strategy; and there are steps that can be taken to ensure a partnership co-creates value for both business and society.

Idea #071
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Her Complexities, Jennifer Main, www.jennifermaingallery.com

How Women Leaders Can Avoid the Gender Trap

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IMD

There is a ‘Gender Trap’ that women leaders face. The received wisdom that female executives looking to get ahead should adopt male leadership traits is defunct. Traits a male can ‘get away with’, or even be praised for, are perceived very differently in a woman. To break the trap and cultivate a winning leadership style: women must live up to collective expectations of what makes a leader, but remain true to certain gender expectations too. 

Idea #072
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Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner, 2006 (Source Wikimedia)

Ensemble Leadership: Lessons from the Orchestra Pit

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

An examination of musical ensembles offers insight into how ‘distributed’, or ‘plural leadership’ can work. This type of leadership, as opposed to individual or hierarchical styles can be more effective in moving organizations collectively towards shared goals.

Victoria Concordia Crescit — Victory through harmony.

Idea #074
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Supper at Emmaus, Caravaggio, 1600, National Gallery London

Gaining Influence through Listening

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

We can process language at 300 to 500 words per minute; however, most people speak around 100 words per minute. The extra brain capacity makes it difficult to manage our attention: Listening is difficult. It’s a discipline and a skill and those who have it are more likely to conduct influence, to persuade, and negotiate successfully. Here’s why you need to, and how you can: gain influence by listening

Idea #077
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WH Situation Room, 2010 (Source: Wikimedia)

Crisis As Opportunity: Leadership, Change and Renewal

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Arguably the greatest gift we can glean from a crisis is an improvement in our ability to see the next one coming, to prevent it coming if possible, and to lead our organization successfully through that next crisis situation. We learn Crisis Leadership. This is essential: crises are inevitable. Similarly, there are essential characteristics and skills required to navigate them, and to ensure your organization not only survives but emerges from the crisis better off.

Idea #078
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The Fall of Icarus, Andrew Johnstone, Cadogan Contemporary London www.cadogancontemporary.com

Why Do CEOs Fail? How the Mighty Are Fallen

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

In the past year, the average tenure of a CEO has halved. This is, of course, worrying news for top leadership teams and CEOs want to know, how can they ensure their roles are secure? Well, there is no magic formula to guarantee that; but, remaining aware of the factors (endogenous and exogenous) that have been shown to contribute to CEO failure can help them be better equipped to succeed.

Idea #007
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Dayron Robles winning the 110 meters hurdles at the Beijing Olympic Games, 2008 (Source: Wikimedia)

Embedding Diversity: Three Key Steps

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Diversity within an organization is now obligatory, and management policies in this domain are a must. However, implementing such policies is only the first hurdle in diversity management. In this Idea, two other hurdles faced by executives charged with this are presented, as well as tips based on others’ experiences on how to overcome them.

Idea #027
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