The Family Dinner Table’s Influence on Leaders

Who would have thought the family dinner table shapes leaders’ abilities to influence? A microcosm of family life repeated over days, weeks, months and years as we grow up has significant influence on how we are in groups. Whether we converse easily, disagree without offending others, remain silent or dominate, one likely influence is earlier experiences and habits of family dinner time. Last week, I was working with a group of leaders discussing turning points in their careers. One leader...

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Leadership is Similar to Sudoku

I love doing sudoku, particularly the tough ones. I love seeing the patterns of numbers emerge from nothing, and logic slowly dawning. Sudoku has simple rules; the numbers 1-9 in each of the 9 boxes, numbers 1-9, horizontally, vertically, and at times, diagonally. Every few months, tougher sudoku become possible as I learn new patterns of thought and analysis. I love the experience of being completely absorbed in the puzzle. I don’t emphasize my failure to resolve a particular puzzle....

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5 Keys for Leaders to Accelerate Staff Engagement

BM is a senior leader I am working with. BM is talented, experienced, wise, and thoughtful. She is also shy, and reserved. So far, she has refused to share these insights with her colleagues. She thinks these insights lack value. With her permission, I am sharing these with you, so BM might gain a sense that her experience and wisdom is valuable to others. One of her organisation’s strategic goals is to dramatically improve staff engagement. BM quietly told me...

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Maintain your Mojo to be an Effective Leader

Maintaining your mojo means giving yourself time to rest so that you can continue to be the most effective leader for your team. I’ve met too many executives who continue to work ten-hour days and seven-day weeks. Why is this? Mostly, they don’t want to be judged by their boss or peers as weak or not resilient. The thrill of being on top of something new, making rapid decisions and innovating brings rushes of adrenalin. As inevitable complaints and criticisms...

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Three Tips for Personal Care in a Crisis

Being resilient means getting enough sleep each night, eating well and remaining hydrated. When you are under pressure, it is easy to forget to eat lunch, or to pause and think, breathe and drink water. However, self care must not slide by the wayside. Ensuring your brain has plenty of oxygen enables you to think clearly. Keep a supply of low carb high protein energy bars keeps hunger at bay. Have fresh fruit like mandarins, bananas available each day as...

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Quit the Blame Game – Glitches and Roadblocks are Normal

Hindsight, and reflection: Insights into Learning  Hindsight; I find unhelpful. Reflection, I rate. What is the difference? Hindsight leaves me feeling inadequate, and with a sense of failure, that my effort was not good enough. Hindsight encourages fault finding, blame and criticism. Each is entirely unhelpful in any learning process. Reflection enables me to identify causes, helps me reset a vision of what is possible, identify what I want to learn, and apply. Why is reflection valuable? Setting out to...

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Leading Exceptional Online Meetings

“How do you stop meetings from being boring?” This question dominated my recent free zoom session on leading exceptional online meetings. I had asked participants to submit their top two questions, and everyone had asked that question, or a version of it. It is a great question, and too few leaders recognise their meetings are boring or irrelevant to participants. If your own meetings don’t excite you, and you aren’t looking forward to getting together with those in the meeting,...

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What Do Leaders And Lemons Have In Common?

This photo is of lemons from my central city roof garden. I love lemons. From their vibrant colour to sour taste and the fact they are ripe in mid-winter when most fruits are dormant. Lemons are versatile. With this crop, I dried lemon slices for summer drinks, preserved lemons for chickpea tagines, and made cashew nut custard for deserts (recipe here). Spread it on crispbreads with pickles and it makes a great snack. What have any of these features to...

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Free, Frank And Fearless

Providing advice to others is a professional privilege. The best advisors I know give free, frank, and fearless advice. They share their expertise and they add value. They relate to the results being sought. They use expressions like, “Doing xyz is the wrong strategy. Doing abc will take you in the wrong direction. If you do this…you’ll discover most people won’t want that.” These advisors let you know the implications of different options. These advisors are not likely to tell you what you want to...

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