Posts in category: Leadership

Too senior to be accountable

Too senior to be accountable

Organisations can become too big to fail. The ones with the right political connections that can access public funds should their flounder for any reason. Similarly, certain management executives can become too senior, too well connected, too well entrenched, to be...
Thank those who go the extra mile, because it probably cost them

Thank those who go the extra mile, because it probably cost them

Those who go the extra mile (to deliver outstanding results) are probably doing so on their own dime. This seems to be the unfortunate reality of work today. We have set up the organisations that run our government institutions, community causes, and private sector...
Signs of a broken organisation

Signs of a broken organisation

A combination of the following behaviours and conditions, seen consistently over a period of time, can be a sign that things are not well in an organisation. Senior management is missing in action; especially during crises. Management is alienated from the workforce...
Incremental acceptance of the unacceptable

Incremental acceptance of the unacceptable

Social disasters stem from the gradual acceptance of unacceptable (but small) changes. Step by unchallenged little step, we march as a whole towards a greater outcome we would not otherwise choose. Social disasters can start from both bad and good intentions. A...
Asking the wrong questions of politicians

Asking the wrong questions of politicians

When our politicians make terrible decisions, when we struggle to comprehend their seemingly illogical or irrational support for certain causes, we often ask the wrong question. Why do they want to destroy the environment? Why do they want to take away healthcare? Why...
EQ visualised

EQ visualised

This is my visualisation of Daniel Goleman’s definition of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) as he described in the video...
Problems in an ego-driven business

Problems in an ego-driven business

When a business is primarily driven by the owner’s ego, the following problems often arise: Wrong priorities: The ego’s needs come first. Everybody else, including customers, must come after. Customers will feel this self-centredness no matter how well it is hidden...
The time for grassroots action is now

The time for grassroots action is now

Forget governments and politicians; the time for grassroots action is now. Like many people I know, I have been increasingly disillusioned with politicians and governments of late; from both and all sides of the liberal/conservative divide. Politicians in the US and...
$500 census server

$500 census server

QUT students design a $500 cloud-based census server four times better than IBM’s $9 million system. This article about two university students creating a system over a weekend that “could handle nearly 40 times as many census submissions per second” made a...

If you truly feared failure…

This is an interesting reframe: “People who think they fear failure have got it wrong. They really fear success. If you truly feared failure, you’d be very successful.” — Barbara Sher in I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What it Was. The fear...
Five steps to tyranny

Five steps to tyranny

This documentary explored why normal everyday people do horrible things or allow horrible things to happen; and consequently how tyranny arises out of ordinary societies. These lessons are relevant to organisations too. It takes five steps to create tyranny in a given...
Making THEM change

Making THEM change

I have sometimes joked that this is the ultimate change management tool. People I have said it to have generally found it funny. Because we recognise the underlying truth about change – no one likes to be made to change from the outside! Can you remember a time...
Ideals vs perfectionism

Ideals vs perfectionism

I have on a few occasions heard this said with derision and disdain: “Ideals (and values) just hold us back.” I think a lot of the time this is because they have confused Ideals with Perfectionism. Ideals give us a grand vision to strive towards. There is no illusion...
No one succeeds on their own

No one succeeds on their own

We (and the media) often celebrate a loud and charismatic leader as The One championing a movement. We forget the masses of behind-the-scenes individuals that enable this one leader’s success. We as a society have an unhealthy obsession with the idea of The One. We...
Leadership fishtanks

Leadership fishtanks

A poor leader is like this fishtank design. It is all about surface showy bits designed to draw attention to the tank itself, detracting from the content within. A good leader is like this design. Strong, simple, and unadorned. The focus is on the content of the tank,...
Pink flamingo legacy

Pink flamingo legacy

Don Featherstone invented, inventor of the pink (plastic) flamingo died this year aged 79. This brought to mind the idea of legacy. What do we leave behind? What do we want to leave behind? I’m conflicted too. On one hand, it would be so cool to have invented a...
Visualising De Waag

Visualising De Waag

I recently had the great privilege of visiting De Waag Society in Amsterdam. I think of De Waag as a modern day art and technology guild (like the historical craft guilds), engaging in cross-disciplinary research, collaborative discovery, and civic...
Cross-ed FTW

Cross-ed FTW

I had the privilege to attend the final presentation of MediaLAB Amsterdam students recently. The message from students and staff is clear: there is immense value in cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural team-based learning. Cross-ed rules! It is inspiring and...
9,000 year commitment

9,000 year commitment

In 1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease for the brewery in Dublin. Now that is commitment to a vision. Can you imagine signing a 5 or 10 year lease for your office today?!! What conviction must one have to think this far ahead? How confident must Arthur...
Driving over vs walking around potholes

Driving over vs walking around potholes

Driving a car along a potholed road is like applying brute force to solve a problem. You are going to feel the effects of the potholes. The harder you drive the solution, the more you will encounter resistance, and the more noise and dust you will throw up. An...
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