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Monday, September 30, 2013

Positive Leadership: Leadership at a Time of Transition and Turbulence - Ken Costa

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Positive Leadership : Ken Costa and God at Work

Professor Ken Costa is the former Chairman of Lazard International and is the Emeritus Gresham Professor of Commerce at Gresham College in London. He studied philosophy and law at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and then went on to study law and theology at Queens' College, Cambridge.

Following university, he went to work for an investment bank in the City of London, where he has worked for over 30 years. After serving as Vice-Chairman of UBS Investment Bank, a global financial institution, where he advised international corporations, Mr Costa was named as the Chairman of Lazard International, joining the bank in October 2007.

Ken Costa is the Chairman of Alpha International, which promotes the Alpha course - an introduction to the Christian faith attended by over two million people in the UK and ten million worldwide - and Church Warden of Holy Trinity Brompton. He is the author of best-seller, God at Work.

Over the next few days, we will show a number of Ken's Gresham lectures. His thinking around values and purposes is both fascinating and enlightening and entirely in sync with our own Values of Positive Leadership.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Positive Leadership: Great Teams Are a Mix of Old and New

The best teams, we tend to think, are like a band of brothers. They have been together for a long time. They know each other extremely well. And they are more successful as a result. It’s common sense, right?

Well, it turns out that great teams — the most creative, the most innovative — are more temporary in nature than you would think. 

Take Broadway. The best productions, researchers have found, are made up of rag-tag groups — a mix of old and new faces. The old faces bring knowledge of the best processes and the best working methods, and the new folks bring a fresh creative spirit to the table. 

The most innovative companies work in similar ways, too. Ad-hoc teams form around a given project, then disband. But it’s not so easy pull off — in order for this to work, the entire organisation has to be diverse enough in order to make temporary teams a reality.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Positive Leadership: Pitfalls in Creating Business Strategy

When creating strategy, far too many leaders give in to temptations that result in weak strategic choices, and ultimately, failure.

Here are three common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Failing to choose. Attempting to be all things to all customers is not a winning strategy. Select specific segments of consumers with particular characteristics that you can serve best.

Acquiring to change playing fields. Acquisition usually just adds unnecessary complexity. If you cannot strategise in your current environment, you will not necessarily excel in a different one.

Accepting an existing choice as unchangeable. A company always has a choice of where in the market they will play, so do not use this as an excuse for mediocre performance. Change will not happen overnight, but you can alter the course with focus and dedication.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Positive Leadership: Thinking Like a Champion

We meet and learn from champions every day. We have learned that to be a champion you must ‘Think like a Champion’. Champions think differently than everyone else. They approach their life and work with a different mindset and belief system that separates them from the pack.

1. Champions Expect to Win - When they walk on the court, on the field or into a meeting they expect to win. In fact they are surprised when they don't win. They expect success and their positive beliefs often lead to positive actions and outcomes. They win in their mind first and then they win in the hearts and minds of their customers or fans.

2. Champions Celebrate the Small Wins - By celebrating the small wins champions gain the confidence to go after the big wins. Big wins and big success happen through the accumulation of many small victories. This doesn't mean champions become complacent. Rather, with the right kind of celebration and reinforcement, champions work harder, practice more and believe they can do greater things.

3. Champions Don't Make Excuses When They Don't Win - They don't focus on the faults of others. They focus on what they can do better. They see their mistakes and defeats as opportunities for growth. As a result they become stronger, wiser and better.

4. Champions Focus on What They Get To Do, Not What They Have To Do - They see their life and work as a gift not an obligation. They know that if they want to achieve a certain outcome they must commit to and appreciate the process. They may not love every minute of their journey but their attitude and will helps them develop their skill.

5. Champions Believe They Will Experience More Wins in the Future - Their faith is greater than their fear. Their positive energy is greater than the chorus of negativity. Their certainty is greater than all the doubt. Their passion and purpose are greater than their challenges. In spite of their situation champions believe their best days are ahead of them, not behind them.

If you don’t think you have what it takes to be a champion, think again. Champions aren’t born. They are shaped and moulded. And as iron sharpens iron you can develop your mindset and the mindset of your team with the right thinking, beliefs and expectations that lead to powerful actions.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Positive Leadership: Behaviours Leaders Should Avoid

If you want to empower, engage, or motivate others, don't just focus on increasing your positive behaviours. Pay attention to the things you need to stop doing at the same time. 

Here are three to avoid:

Judgmental body language. No one likes perceived condescension. Watch out for scowling, furrowed brows, and quizzical or sarcastic looks (as if to say, “Are you stupid?”). While seemingly harmless, each of these subtle darts creates a considerable amount of relationship damage.

Interrupting. It's almost impossible for people to feel safe if the boss takes up most of the airtime or cuts people off. Do more listening than talking, and let people finish their thoughts.

Being inconsistent. It’s hard on employees to wonder who is going to show up: "smiling, charming, funny boss" or "judgmental, intense, snapping manager." Try to keep your tone and personality consistent so people know what to expect.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Positive Leadership: What a Winning Business Culture Looks Like

  • People enjoy the work they do and the people they work with.
  • People take pride in the work they do and the company they work for.
  • There are high levels of engagement, connection, camaraderie and a community of caring.
  • There is a culture of fairness, respect, trust, inclusiveness and teamwork.
  • The leaders walk the talk, live the values and communicate a clear vision and strategy for growth.
  • Lots of open, honest, robust and transparent communication across the entire organisation.
  • The company invests back in employees; there is a commitment to learning, coaching and development.
  • There is a bias for action, employees have an ownership mentality and always strive to give their personal best.
  • There is high accountability and a strong focus on delivering the desired results.
  • There is ample recognition and rewards and mediocrity is not tolerated.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Positive Leadership: The Attributes of Great Leaders


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Positive Leadership: The Power of Listening

Tom Peters uses an example from the healthcare industry to highlight the importance of listening. 

According to Tom, "the single most significant strategic strength that an organisation can have is not a good strategic plan, but a commitment to strategic listening on the part of every member of the organisation."


Monday, September 16, 2013

Positive Leadership: Teamwork Exemplified

The record for the fastest pit stop in Formula One history was broken not once but five times in Malaysia earlier this year.

Back in the early 1990s, fast F1 pit stops were timed at around 4.5 seconds. The fastest even closed in on 4.1 seconds – but anything close to halving that would simply have been unimaginable.

Mark Webber’s Red Bull was stationary for just 2.05 seconds when it had all four wheels changed on lap 19 of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

“It’s possible this season we’ll see the magical two-second barrier breached at some point,” said the team.

“However, rather than chasing individual times, improving consistency is always the thing coveted by the crew: breaking records is merely the consequence of doing that well.”


Friday, September 13, 2013

Positive Leadership: The Importance of Being a Role Model

“Every child deserves a champion — an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”

Rita F. Pierson, a professional educator since 1972, taught elementary school, junior high and special education. She was a counsellor, a testing coordinator and an assistant principal. In each of these roles, she brought a special energy to the role -- a desire to get to know her students, show them how much they matter and support them in their growth, even if it was modest.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Positive Leadership: Focus on Employees' Strengths and Potential (Not on Their Weaknesses)

It is much easier to focus on what your employees do well than to try to fix their weaknesses. However, many leaders don’t understand how to translate this truth into how they lead on a day-to-day basis. So how do you make it happen?

Understanding your employees’ potential is going to take some energy and thought on your part, especially if, like many of us, you’re used to focusing on what people are rather than what they could be. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
  • Can they do something well that isn’t in their formal training or experience?
  • Compare them to others with the same experience—are they doing anything faster or better?
  • Do they appear to enjoy certain projects more than others?
  • What kind of work do they show the most ownership for?
  • What kind of work do they need the least guidance from you to do?
  • What have they produced that has genuinely surprised you?
  • Once you’ve identified employees’ strengths, take a few minutes in your next one-on-one meeting to tell them what they’re doing especially well, or to describe the potential you see in them in a particular area. Get their perspective. Do they know what they’re good at? How can you help them leverage those strengths? Do what you can, but then get out of the way! 

Now, here are a few practical suggestions to help you bring out hidden strengths in your team members:
  • Ask them what they like about their job and what they are less enthusiastic about. Make a list. Add the strengths in them that you see that they have not listed. Discuss how—or whether—these strengths map onto their current job or role.
  • Even when giving corrective feedback, talk about the strengths you see in them.
  • Instead of viewing them as a problem employee, take the approach that there has to be something they do well and it’s your job to help them find it.
  • See whether you can structure the job around their strengths.
  • If you can’t offer them a job or project that plays to their strengths, consider whether the employee might thrive in another part of the company.

The lesson is simple: Spend your time and energy developing your employees’ strengths and limit your effort to address their shortcomings; in these weak areas, they need only be passable. This is not the same as saying that you should ignore weaknesses completely. In fact, one of the most important aspects of Positive Leadership is acting swiftly and decisively in the face of poor performance. Nevertheless, even in this situation you must focus more time and energy on developing your team’s strengths.

Once you discover the individual strengths of your employees and provide them with appropriate coaching, you’ll set them on the course to develop their true potential. This will benefit both parties!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Positive Leadership: What Makes a Good Leader?


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Positive Leadership: Leadership Presence

Show Your Strength as a Leader!

Competence can be established by virtue of the position you hold, your reputation, and your actual performance. But your presence matters too. 

If you want people to see you as a strong leader, do the following three things:

Feel in command. If you see yourself as an impostor, others will, too. Instead, believe in your abilities and you’ll project confidence, enthusiasm, and passion.

Stand up straight. Good posture does not mean the exaggerated chest-out pose known in the military as “standing at attention,” or raising one’s chin up high. It just means reaching your full height, using your muscles to straighten the S-curve in your spine.

Get hold of yourself. Twitching and fidgeting sends the signal that you’re not in control. Stillness demonstrates calm.


Monday, September 09, 2013

Positive Leadership: Making Sound Decisions Under Pressure

Here are a solid set of principles for making sound decisions under pressure:

1. Remove the rose-coloured glasses: A good cost-benefit appraisal can be trickier than you think. Why? Because most of us tend to underestimate costs and overestimate benefits – and to be generally optimistic about our ability to make things happen. Our analyses inevitably bend toward the outcomes we’re hoping for. Good decision-makers are wary of wishful thinking. Get a second or third opinion from skeptics you trust — the advisers who'll push back and make you defend your assessments.

2. Wield the red pen ruthlessly: When it comes to picking ideas, separate the elephants from the ants. Cross off everything but the top few priorities, and make sure you haven’t fallen in love with pet projects and ‘hobbies’ whose time may have passed. When it’s clear a pet project is ailing, hurry up and get out the rifle (so to speak). A few, clear, simple goals are more likely to yield results than complex “perfect decisions” that can bog down an organisation.

3. Don’t fall in love with percentages: Everyone likes a tenfold return, but you’re not going to be noticed by the Wall Street Journal for turning $10,000 into $100,000. A mere doubling of $500 million into $1 billion, however, could be worth spilling some ink over. In many business decisions, it’s the long-term return that matters, and the highest absolute benefit wins over the highest percentage benefit.

4. Don’t delay the decision: Time is rarely on your side. We have yet to hear an executive say he made a tough call too soon. The same goes for making personnel decisions: if you’re not looking for ways to promote or keep current team members, it may be time to think about replacing them.

5. Feel the fear and do it anyway: Be careful about letting your feelings warp your perception of the situation. Fear can make you freeze up; but in almost every case, it’s better to make a call and deal with consequences than to leave things in limbo. Look the circumstances squarely in the face. As Sir Winston Churchill said, "courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”

6. What would Kant do? It should go without saying that you want your decision to be an ethical one. So if your ethical compass needs a bit more calibrating, remember Immanuel Kant. His “categorical imperative” is a useful thought experiment to help you decide if you’re doing the right thing. It’s a bit like “The Golden Rule” on steroids: what if everyone in the world, in your shoes, always made the same choice you’re about to make? If that's a world you’d want to live in, you’re okay in Kant’s book.

7. But can you execute it? Good decisions can become great ones if you execute them well. So for every one of your options, think about whether it’ll be easy to explain to your team and your organisation, or if it’s likely to be lost in translation. Will people be enthusiastic about making it happen? If not, maybe the idea's not as good as it looked on paper.

8. Think forward: Don’t relive past decisions – good or bad. Circumstances change, people change, and you change. Dwelling on past glories or failures is dangerous and unproductive.

9. Borrow wisdom: You’re probably not the first person to face a given predicament, so seek out anyone who might have been there before. Mentors have seen a lot of things – find a good one if you can. And make a habit of reading about how past leaders made momentous choices.

Many of us have come to rely on our instincts to cut through the jungle of choices we face every day. Be careful, though: good intuition is not the same as good decision-making. In business, intuition works, but only in conjunction with calculation. Like a chess master, you should pick your move after weighing the outcomes. Then make it, implement it, and start thinking about the next one.


Friday, September 06, 2013

Positive Leadership: Possibilities

We're all capable of a little more -- a little faster, a little higher, a little stronger, a little more. And when we look at all of the little things we've done, we'll see the big things we're doing.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Positive Leadership: Great Advice From Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson on leadership - For the full interview, visit - http://www.ca.com/ii


Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Positive Leadership: Employee Engagement Matters


Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Positive Leadership: We Can All Be Leaders

Look around the room you are in. Can you spot the leader?

Most people grow up believing that a leader is someone else in the room.

There are many different types of leader and some people take more naturally to leadership than others. Yet most people have it inside them to become leaders themselves.

In order to realise this potential, you must realise what it takes to be a leader: make a decision. Make a mistake. Move on.

Look around the room you are in again. How many future leaders can you spot now?


Monday, September 02, 2013

Positive Leadership: The Hidden Power of Smiling

Ron Gutman reviews a raft of studies about smiling, and reveals some surprising results. 

Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you'll live -- and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being? Prepare to flex a few facial muscles as you learn more about this evolutionarily contagious behaviour!

Ron Gutman is the founder and CEO of HealthTap, free mobile and online apps for health info. He is also the organizer of TEDxSiliconValley.