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Leading when the unthinkable or unpalatable occurs

Imagine a situation where some undreamed of calamity occurs and it is up to you to lead your people right now through the next steps, possibly while the situation is still chaotic.  Would you like to be able to consciously and competently speak and move during those first moments and then throughout the ongoing response periods, to restore order and workability?

Ian Sampson and Tim Dalmau are hosting to Brisbane in early April Michael Grinder, a world expert on micro self management and interpersonal skills.  Michael has worked with leaders across the world in all types of organisations for many years.

We believe that world and organisational events are becoming so spontaneous and intricate that these skills are now fundamental to every successful leader’s repertoire.  Michael is working to build new NON-VERBAL expertise and knowledge in leading during the increasingly complex circumstances that are emerging every day. He is going to share this work with this special group.
What you will walk away with
The workshop will be set up like a learning laboratory, where you get pick up and practice new skills and see them develop in real time. The working environment will be welcoming, warm, inspiring and encouraging.
Michael will model and teach the behaviours and skills we need in these situations throughout the very interactive and non threatening two days we will be together.

The skills you learn will increase the personal effectiveness of your role in Crisis Management, Disaster Recovery, Continuity of Business and Emergency Management plans.
You will experience a two-day high end training experience with Michael, packed with skills, practice and information that will allow you to:-
• Be credible and influential when the unexpected happens
• Provide a sense of order and calm to stakeholders and employees
• Understand the conditions which create fear and those which create safety and a sense of order
• Know the conditions under which it is and is not realistic to expect that teams exist and be high performing
• Know how to communicate and behave non verbally for impact and effectiveness when the unexpected occurs
• Know how to have difficult or volatile conversations with others easily and effectively
• Receive personal feedback and coaching in real time
• Strategies and tools for increasing both the cohesiveness and performance of groups and teams
What do people say?
“I have attended a lot of leadership programs, but never one that gives you the practical non-verbal skills (and the opportunities to practice) that really make a difference in your interactions with others. From my perspective this program is unique”
PARTICIPANT in similar workshop, March 2015.
”This was the very best training experience I have ever had. I am so appreciative to Michael. Michael skills are world class. 
PARTICIPANT in similar workshop, March 2014.
As a professional conference speaker and International President of the Global Speakers Federation I get to see a lot of conference speakers, trainers and presenters from around the world. I have had the privilege to attend many training sessions during my term as President over the last eight months and I rate Michael Grinder’s program as the also most practical I have attended. I have learned so much I can put into use straight away at both a professional and personal level.
LINDSAY ADAMS CSP, Teamocracy, President, National Speakers Association of Australia

Who is presenting?
Michael Grinder

Dates and locations
6th and 7th April, 2017 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm each day
United Services Club
183 Wickham Terrace, Brisbane
Parking is available at the club for a nominal fee and trains and buses are nearby
Click here to register today: http://www.dalamau.com/?p=3829
If you have any queries regarding registration please email Ian Sampson or phone +61  419 001 179.
Fee A$995

Leading when The Unthinkable Occurs

Can you imagine standing in front of a large or small group of your followers where something totally unthinkable, unplanned-for, unpredicted is occurring right now? How will you handle yourself? What will your body do? How will you speak, to bring the beginnings of a response to the situation that is arising, lurching towards chaos and crisis as the first words come out of your mouth?

Are you willing to take two days out of your office to increase your presence and charisma as a leader in situations where the unthinkable, unplanned for and unpredictable is occurring right in front of you?

Would you like to be able to consciously and competently speak and move during those first moments and then throughout the ongoing response periods, to restore order and workability?

My friend and colleague Tim Dalmau and I are hosting the visit to Brisbane in early April by Michael Grinder, a world expert on macro and micro self management and interpersonal skills.

Michael has worked with leaders across the world in all types of organisations for many years.

We believe that world and organisational events are becoming so spontaneous and intricate that these skills are now fundamental to every successful leader’s repertoire.

Michael is working with Tim to build new expertise and knowledge in leading during the increasingly complex circumstances that are emerging every day. He is going to share this work with this special group, which I hope will include you.

Please see http://www.michaelgrinder.com for more information about Michael and his work. You can also read about Tim at http://www.dalmau.com

Michael, Tim and I believe that people like you will gain a huge benefit from learning and refining these skills and being prepared. As we develop mastery in these situations we can handle everyday Leadership challenges much more easily and effectively.

My personal experience is that as we develop these skills we build our awareness of who we are and how to act in leaderful ways that benefit others. In that process we build wisdom in life because, as we know how to masterfully manage ourselves and to interact with others, we build our capacity to understand how the world works.

The workshop will be set up like a learning laboratory, where you get to pick up and practice new skills and see them develop in real time. The working environment will be welcoming, warm, inspiring and encouraging.

Michael will model and teach the behaviours and skills we need in these situations throughout the very interactive and non threatening two days we will be together.

In our experience of other work with Michael, you could accelerate your growth by bringing team colleagues or others you mentor, so please feel free to invite them.

Our contention is that as we develop mastery in these situations, we handle everyday Leadership challenges much more easily and effectively.

We may never have to actually deal with the equivalent of a Trump or a Brexit, an MH370 or a mass outbreak of hysteria in our organisations, but if we have the skills to be able to handle ourselves in such an event, we will be much better placed to handle day-to-day matters that pop up, where people are in difficulties and our job as leader is to uncover the next steps to take that bring progress.

The skills you learn will increase the personal effectiveness of your role in Crisis Management, Disaster Recovery, Continuity of Business and Emergency Management plans.

The practical details:

Dates and times: 6th and 7th April, 2017 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm each day

Venue: United Services Club, 183 Wickham Terrace, Brisbane

Transport: Parking is available at the club for a nominal fee and trains and buses are nearby

Meals: Lunch, morning and afternoon teas will be provided. Please advise any dietary requirements.

Dress: Business attire

Cost: $995.00. Discounts apply for multiple registrations.

Please register at : http://www.dalmau.com/?p=3829

If you have queries please contact me on 0419001179.

Tim, Michael and I look forward to working with you.

Regards,

Ian

Why Leadership Programs Under Deliver. What to Do

So, you’ve been to the Leadership Development program run by your organisation or a university.
You have the folder, the electronic materials, even a certificate of attendance.
You’ve been assessed, interviewed, monitored, evaluated, tested, fed-back to.
You have formed some new associations to follow up with as your career continues to unfold.
You have been back at work for a while, endeavoring to find ways to introduce the tools, models, structures, processes and techniques you learned.
(You most probably have found by now that engaging your significant others at home regarding what they need to know or do as a result of your attendance at the Program is fraught with danger and very patchy results!)
You sit quietly every now and then and reflect kindly on some of the speakers, presenters and facilitators and in occasional moments also reflect on your leadership and what it means to you and the world you live and work in.
A famous song by Peggy Lee has the lines:
Is that all there is?
If that’s all there is my friends
Then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is
Leadership development is often a tool for managements to make assessments about the capability and potential of new and emerging leaders. It serves a purpose. It provides insights, tools and techniques for keen participants to pick up.
But while participants may be keen or merely compliant, the cost and efficacy of Leadership Development Programs in building real Leaders is a cause of considerable debate and much concern by organisations that seek to build ongoing leadership capability improve writing and writing skills

. If “all there is” is a warm feeling about doing a program and developing data for succession plans without actually improving organisational results through the application of great leadership, there really are problems. Put another way, the problem is this: there is little evidence that they build leaders or increase practical
leadership in the everyday life of organisations as they face the challenges and opportunities of fast paced change.
Formal programs and even mentoring/coaching arrangements after programs are not, of themselves likely to produce as much as their sponsors hope or providers promise.
Emerging leaders and even seasoned leaders seeking to continually learn and build their capability need the opportunity to reflect, increase their self-awareness, build their leadership identity, practise leadership skills in a safe environment, develop their personal leadership plans and goals, learn from others’ real experience in the field.
Opportunities to engage in these activities are fundamental to success.
The Leadership Foundation stands in the unique place of providing opportunities for real leaders to develop real leadership. At regular monthly meetings either at a central venue in Brisbane or in-house in organisations:
They get to reflect on what’s working and not working for them at the moment.
They get to explore new ways to uncover leadership insights for themselves and to develop that in their followers.
They get to take whatever leadership identity they developed for themselves through courses and programs to new levels of insight.
They get to experiment.
They get to practice and debrief their particular approaches in short practical scenarios.
They get real feedback on issues they are dealing with in high impact speed coaching sessions
The Leadership Foundation is a community of leaders that have decided that leadership is not an individual pursuit, it is an ongoing team event where within any given leadership moment experiences are drawn upon, courage is called upon, decisions with intention are made and action happens. These four key elements are not only drawn from an individual, they are collated from and supported by a team of people made up of leaders and followers.
If you are interested in building your leadership capability to the next level with the support of a leadership community, come to an event at The Leadership Foundation www.theleadershipfoundation.com.au. You will be warmly welcomed!
Or call Ben Baldwin on 0400 743 170 to plan the next steps for your personal or organisation’s leadership.

Sensitive Leadership

(I started to publish this as a series of posts but received some feedback that they would be best published together, so here they all are as one document.)

A colleague recently described me as a new age type of leader… sensitive, caring, wanting to serve others. Does that make me a sensitive leader? Yes and No.
Good leaders use their sense, their sensitivity and their senses in being leaders in the moment.

There is some debate whether the old five senses- touch, sight, sound, smell and taste still are the right and only senses we human beings have.
Be that as it may, good leaders use all their senses when leading effectively.

The wonderful thing about our senses is that they allow us to scan our environment and make assessments about the context in the moment. Effective use of our senses increases our capacity for awareness, both of self and others.

Sight

A few years ago there was a management craze about Management By Walking Around. It still pervades some management training programs. The central idea was to get managers out from behind their desks and seeing what is going on in their operations. Paying attention. Making observations. Noticing what is really going on. Being aware. Being seen.

One post I read recently included a comment from an executive dean of a university. He “makes it a policy to meet quarterly with the people he manages to ensure they remain engaged and enthusiastic about their work. If not, a candid conversation may open the door to new, more meaningful ways in which that employee can contribute.”
Yeah, right. I can just imagine the rose petals strewn in his path as he deigns to chat with the plebs and reviews the troops. I can just imagine, too, the flocks of “the people he manages” rushing to his door for a candid conversation!

Of course there is another interpretation of Management By Walking Around. It involves Management By Walking Around…Problems. This can involve literally going around them as if they are not there, like sidestepping a turd on the footpath.

Or MBWA might mean not being stuck, held up, stopped, thwarted, limited by an issue we see and instead ‘finding a way’ around the problem so that outcomes are still achieved. Will you find a way around a problem so that progress is maintained or will you ignore it?

These are just three ways of interpreting how Management By Walking Around looks. How do you see things when you are interacting with others?

Here’s a useful way to hone you sense of leadership sight:
Think of a situation that will come up today where you will be a leader.
What will you pay attention to? What will you need to be very aware of?
What do you notice in just thinking about this right now?
That is Sight Sensitive Leadership.

Listening

In December 2015 I travelled to Mexico to be part of a program with leaders from around the world. 260 of us spent 8 days experiencing what actually happens when we are being leaders and experiencing what happens when effective leadership takes place.
A good part of the program covered listening. Many leaders think that leadership is about speaking.

Speech acts are one of the ways we move others to action as leaders. When we are speaking as leaders, what we say, and how we say it are deeply listened to by others. In that process, others make assessments about the content of what is being said and whether the person saying it is followable. That is why face-to-face speaking is so powerful.
Listening is just as important in a conversation as the speaking. Good leaders know how to speak effectively. They also know how to listen effectively. In the course we talked about the listening that goes on in people’s heads as they are listening to what is being said by others. These thoughts, interceptions, interpretations, assessments and the like act like a veil between the listener and the speaker. The speaker has no idea what is going on inside the listeners’ heads but what is going on is what ensures that every single listener gets a completely different and unique experience of what is being said.

Followers who are in a dream, listening to their thoughts etc, can’t get the full unveiled stream of communication. Poor leaders who don’t appreciate the power of clean listening can’t get the reasons why their communication is one sided.

Pay attention to effective leaders who are masterful listeners. As they are speaking they are deeply listening for their listeners. They are not making up stories in their heads about what the listener is thinking. They are making a clearing for communication to occur. How do they do that???????
They create communication by taking responsibility for their own listening. Then they listen from the speaker’s place. As their own internal voice keeps interrupting their thoughts they acknowledge it and take responsibility again for listening and getting what the speaker is really saying. It’s like being present in the place where the speaker is: not “in here”, not “out there”, but “out here” with the speaker.

Here’s a useful practice for building your listening as a leader:
Be aware of the context you are entering.
Recall what your models of thought and leadership are teaching you about the situation
Clarify what you intend to come from the conversation
Deepen your care for the other person
Begin the conversation, listening from “out here”
Notice what happens.
That is Listening Sensitive Leadership

Smell

So much of what passes for leadership these days is rotten, on the nose. Our political leadership is causing repugnance and recoil. Many are disillusioned that election campaigns, which seem to go now for half the political terms sometimes, are just self indulgent exercises in casting bread and promising circuses to the masses.
As this smelly phenomenon continues, our so-called political party leaders become ever more isolated from their real role: to provide leadership through the development, articulation and passage of policies that contribute to the advancement of our nation.

The situation is not much better in many organisations, businesses, not-for-profits, entrepreneurial activities, academic and governmental bureaucracies.

In other posts on sensitive leadership in this series I have suggested a useful practice. For this one I am struggling! The best I can do is suggest that you try paying extra attention to those who provide leadership in your situation. What does your sense of smell tell you about their effectiveness? If it is on the nose, look to your other senses and see if there is a practice you could take on to either help their ineffectiveness or improve your own.

Taste

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the etiquette of leadership. The notion of etiquette has pejorative implications for many: ideas of class, exclusivity, elitism. But as Elizabeth Post said: etiquette is the science of living.
Leadership etiquette might then mean the science of living a leaderful life. Etiquette is not about how one holds a knife or whether the spoons are in the right order on the table. Etiquette is about taste: doing the right thing, nobly, generously, inclusively, in a quality manner that brings out the best in situations and in others because it brings out the best in us.
Tasteful leadership is that approach to being a leader where others want to come on the journey with us, to explore and embrace the ideas we are presenting, to achieve the goals we are putting forth, to accomplish achievements in the way we are modelling by our own conduct.

Here’s a practice you might like to take on in building your leadership etiquette:
think about the qualities of leadership that you love to see yourself practice.
Recall those times when you have seen others respond well to your courage as a leader.
Incorporate that thinking into who you want to be as a leader going forward

For me the etiquette of my leadership, my tasteful leadership, includes; being at peace with my self, relating to others through deep care for them as amazing others, conducting myself so that others feel good about themselves and their situation.

What is your leadership etiquette? Whatever it is, that is tasteful leadership

Touch

Some years ago I watched a managing director of a very large organisation ranting at a management retreat. The woman sitting beside him eventually leaned a little towards him, and lightly touched his arm. The effect was electric. Without seemingly noticing the touch, his voice transformed, his volume decreased, his pace slowed and his language became more considered.

We all have the gift of touch as leaders. Sometimes it is a physical touch: embracing another appropriately to show care and concern, helping in a situation where physical effort is required. Sometimes it is metaphorical touch: reaching out to another to make contact, build relationships, promote connections, strengthen connectivity.
Of course at the other end of the spectrum, touch can be expressed as force. This is not leadership, so don’t do it.

Heres’ a practice for you to develop your leadership sensitivity to the power of touch:
In your leadership interactions this week, notice the impact of a slight, appropriate, physical touch offered to another. Observe the other’s response
Notice your own response
Use it as an opportunity to move your next leadership action to a new place of sensitivity and effectiveness.

Sensitive leadership is not namby pamby stuff. Being sensitive to ourself and others in our practice of leadership requires discipline, awareness, courage, intentionality, strength of character, the practice of ethical behaviours at all times.
As I said in the first episode in this series of posts: Good leaders use their sense, their sensitivity and their senses in being leaders in the moment.
Best wishes in your practice of sensitive leadership. I’d be delighted to hear of your experience in this domain.

Deceptive Leadership

I have been an admiring reader of Jeffrey Pfeffer’s work on Leadership for many years.

All that went out the window this week when he published an article in Forbes magazine titled: “Why Deception is Probably the Single Most Important Leadership Skill.” (Forbes, June 2,2016)
Pfeffer described the world of truthfulness, candour and transparency as being illustrative of “the kumbaya nature of leadership advice.” Really??

He advocates that it is OK to:

  • create false expectations in order to influence a persons performance
  • deceive others by creating placebo effects to create self fulfilling prophecies whereby an “idea produces behaviours that make the idea, even if originally false, become true.”

He says that leaders should not display uncertainty and insecurity even if they do not have “a real understanding of where they are heading.”

Notwithstanding that, in Australia at least, such conduct may constitute the criminal offence of deceptive and misleading conduct under the CorporationsLaw, this is just plain morally and ethically wrong. Do not do lie to those who put their trust in you.

Pfeffer attempted to justify his position with references to great American business leaders who successfully adopted this approach as a means to the end of creating business success.
No wonder so much of the world of business is in diabolical trouble.

If you can:

  • level with your followers
  • tell the facts
  • affirm your determination to go forward, even in the face of difficulty
  • provide believable next steps that will allow others to step up
  • be honest about the possibilities of success,

you are a leader.

If you can’t, you should not be in a formal leadership position. No matter what your title says, you are not a leader. Get out of the way and let someone else with the fortitude to say what is so and provide realistic next steps, come forward.

In the world of ontological leadership, this is a great example of inauthenticity at work. Pfeffer’s advocacy of deception is a sad but powerful example of the inauthenticity of inauthenticity. Shame on you, Professor Pfeffer.

Why I Am Not Reading Many Books on Leadership

A Personal Post From Ian…

Every month a management magazine shows up at home.
Last month’s edition reviewed several new books on Leadership. No doubt they have contributed to the 641,000,000 items that came up when I recently Googled “Leadership.”
One book modestly professes in its title to tell us “what you really need to lead.” Another promised in its subtitle to help in “taking the guesswork out of leading leaders.” Yet another proclaimed in its title that I could learn how to “ influence, motivate and lead high performance teams” by adopting one of the Four Mindsets.
One book concludes that “management is more art than science, with empathy being the critical attribute. In the end it is not about receiving adulation but about getting the job done.” Evidently it’s like sincerity: if you can fake that, you’ve got it made!
One tome opines that “over reliance on training programs can be a trap, especially as they often depend on a one-size-fits-all approach”, having instead blown the problem up by declaring that there are actually 12 sizes of solutions to fit problem employees who can’t be lead.
It advocates that as a leader you should engage in active listening and having a capacity at an emotional level to identify what to do about which one of the 12 types of problem employee they are. I’d like to be a fly on the wall to see how the subsequent interactions with employees go once they get wise to the game and somehow learn to manage their escalating fear and sense of loss of self.
The common underlying but unspoken theme of these and similar books seems to be: follow these tips and tricks on how to control and manipulate others in order to get what the company expects and advance one’s own career. The perks of personal advancement then reveal themselves to occur at the cost of fenangling the people one is charged with the responsibility of leading.
This is not what leadership is about.
Leadership is about first knowing Who one is as a leader, What one chooses to do to be the effective leader you are and only then How you might go about that. Most of the current guff wades straight into the How without doing the character defining and building work that will determine how the How gets done.
If it is time to get off the treadmill, come to an event at The Leadership Foundation (www.theleadershipfoundation.com.au). In meeting with other leaders you will uncover for yourself
Who you really are as a leader and Why,
What choices you will make to personally take your leadership forward,
How to deal with barriers to your leadership and
How to build a trusting network with other leaders who are all committed to being leaders and effectively exercising leadership in their organisations, communities and families.

Ian Sampson
Chairman,
The Leadership Foundation

A Letter to Leaders about the Meaning of Life

Dear leader,
I was talking yesterday to a woman who has made some poor decisions and has begun to become a victim. She seemed not to have any purpose in her life.
There was little I could offer her just then, mainly because she was stuck in her troubles.
Most of us go through life seeking to answer questions about the meaning of our life. Some find answers. Some don’t look. Some look and don’t find anything satisfactory for themselves.
Some discover that there is no meaning to life and it doesn’t mean anything that there is no meaning. Others equate meaning with purpose and discover a religious insight such as the Christian teaching that the chief end of man is to know God and enjoy him forever. Others draw on philosophers such as Immanuel Kant who points to our need to find someone or something to love, something to do that we are passionate about and something to look forward to.
How do you describe the purpose and meaning in your life? What words do you actually use? How do you use that foundation in your life each day? If you are struggling in life as a leader or a follower, I strongly suggest that you look to the foundations of who you are.
If you don’t have a way to think this through you might consider an identity statement. At The Leadership Foundation we sometimes suggest members develop a Leadership Identity statement, to give their leadership a framework to be thought from as they exercise leadership each day.
The one we use allows access to the following areas:
• Where we are now
• Our sources and quality of information gathering and sharing
• Our relationships
• Our intentions
• The principles that underlie of thoughts and actions
• The tensions and issues we face
• The context in which we operate what we are actually going to do next and
• Our reflections and learning in this work
I particularly like Kant’s philosophy in relation to my leadership journey. As a leader I seek to always act from my care and concern for the people I love and the leadership opportunities present for others. I can get passionate about many things, so it is easy to direct my leadership wherever it is required at the time. I look forward each day to something to do and someone to be as a leader. On this basis I am living a great life and am planning to live to be 110. (Who knows if I’ll get there; the journey is the thing!)
If you desire to be a leader who lives with a central core of understanding about your life and what it stands for;
If you are on your leadership journey and you want to develop the quality of your leadership; If you are seeking new leadership opportunities;
If you are an effective leader who wants to build on your existing leadership skills;
If you are looking for some partners in your leadership;
consider coming to an event at The Leadership Foundation.
The next event in Brisbane will be focussing on building our courage as leaders. It will be on 20th April, 2016.
See www.theleadershipfoundation.com.au or call Ben Baldwin on 0400 743 170.
You will meet other interesting and accomplished leaders and you will be warmly welcomed. Regards,
Ian Sampson
Ian Sampson – Chairman
ian.r.sampson@gmail.com
www.theleadershipfoundation.com.au

Leadership and The 12 Days of Christmas

“Almost Christmas!” a friend exclaimed in March!
How the year is flying by.
Perhaps it’s flying by because you are reading too many Google entries and posts on Leadership. There are 500 million (if Google can and really do keep track after the first few million!)

It’s hard not to be dazed by the constant flow. Just for fun, I picked out some for the 12 Days of Leadership.

12 Leadership Behaviours that Build Team Trust
12 Leadership Lessons from Special Operations
12 Habits of Exceptional Leaders
12 Leadership and Happiness Tips from the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey(!)

11 Leadership Strengths That Can Turn Toxic
11 Leadership Lessons From The Brits.
11 Principles of Leadership
11 Leadership Secrets You’ve Never Heard About

10 Impressive Characteristics Great Leaders Have life
The top 10 Leadership Skills
10 Leadership Techniques for Building High Performance Teams.
10 Leadership Survival Tips.

Top 9 Leadership Behaviours That Drive Employee Commitment
9 Qualities of a Leader.
9 Leadership Behaviours that Drive Customer Loyalty.
9 Leadership lessons From The Game Of baseball.

The 8 Dimensions of Leadership
8 Skills Every Leader Must Master
Harvard Says These 8 Leadership Traits Are Critical For Success.
8 Massive Mistakes Companies Make About Leadership Development

The 7 Crucial Skills Of Leadership.
7 Leadership Mistakes To Avoid In 2016

6 Leadership Styles And When You Should Use Them.
6 Emotional Leadership Styles- Changing Minds.
6 Leadership Traits You Need to Develop On The Job.
6 Leadership Traits Seldom Mentioned.

The 5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership
Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve.
5 Leadership Lessons from Dogfish Head’s Founder
5 Leadership Styles Good Bosses Avoid Like The Plague

Which of These 4 Leadership Styles Are you?
The Four Leadership Traits That Translate To Business Success
4 Leadership Milestones To become A Great Leader
4 Leadership Imperatives For Humanitarians

3 French Hens

2 Turtle Doves and

A Partridge In A Pear Tree (Taa Dah!)

If you are are keen to build your leadership before next Christmas, come to The Leadership Foundation’s next event on 20th April. www.theleadershipfoundation.com.au or call Ben Baldwin on
0400 743 170. We provide opportunities to build on whatever foundations of leadership you already have through courage, reflection, high quality relationship building and self planning. It’s fun and effective. You’ll be warmly welcomed. But no partridges!

When Professional Knowledge, Skill and Experience and even FIT isn’t enough.

A little while ago I learned a great lesson in Board selection from an executive chair of a listed mining company, while we were working on the placement of two new directors. He told me that his focus was on FIT: the assessment of whether another could find their place and make a contribution that worked for all.
My job was to get the funnel of good applicants narrowed so that efficient and effective selection of preferred candidates could take place. His job was to use all the background information and add impression, intuition and a bit of guesswork to make the final choice. This is the mysterious area where values, interpersonal connection, and the like are tested and validated as best they can be.

The reservoir of potential company directors and senior executives is large in total.
It doesn’t necessarily result in sustainably successful placements. Often, the expectations for a new recruit wear off too soon. Often, important factors in performance and relationships start to emerge that cause friction, dysfunction and tears. Sometimes even the internally placed applicant becomes problematic.

Why is it so?
Way back in the last century (1969) a little book called “The Peter Principle” revolutionised the nascent world of managerial science. One short story concerned recruitment. Peters postulated that if there was a huge pool of potential applicants, the ideal recruitment process would be to so expertly craft the requirements and the places where the advertising was done that only one prefect applicant applied, was interviewed and hired.
Today recruitment is a science involving competencies, background checks, targeted interviews and many other tools. All good, but have the results improved?
(In a test of the Peter Principle that won the 2010 igNobel Prize, three researchers found that the best way to improve efficiency in an organisation is to just select randomly between the identified best and worst candidates!)

From my long experience as an interviewer, employer and occasional applicant for professional jobs and board roles, I have to say that too little attention is still being paid to one vital area. For want of a better descriptor I am calling it character.

An applicant may submit a well crafted covering letter with their CV, perfectly suited to the requirements for the opportunity. They are short listed because of their stated relevant knowledge skills and experiences. They are interviewed, where these factors are elaborated, tested through skilful interview techniques. They are invited to a final interview where amongst other things, FIT is to be assessed and gauged.
All goes well initially but within several months relationships are stressed and results are sub optimal. Sometimes it’s a speed bump; too often it’s carnage. What is missing?
The assessment of character is often what makes the difference. Character includes the ability to lead one’s self before seeking to create opportunities in others to follow. It includes being a functional human being. It means having the capacity to move situations forward. It means being courageous enough to pay attention to tensions and seek at least to understand if not deal with them. It means showing deep, real care for others. More time an attention needs to be given to assessing character. It is the quality that makes the difference between joy and upset for all concerned.

If you are interested in progressing in this domain of life and would like to discuss how to refine your character, demonstrate it to others or find it in those you seek to work with, please feel free to contact me at ianrs@iansampson.com.au

Good Leadership Is No Laughing Matter

I laughed and laughed and then became very concerned when reading that a learned international institute has reduced leadership to a checklist! If you can tick them off, you’re a leader, apparently!

The boxes to tick are:
Know yourself
Know your team
Consider the context
Share best practice
Continue to evaluate

They’re all good items. By paying attention to them one can raise their external awareness of a situation, BUT leadership also comes from within.

We at The Leadership Foundation have noticed that there is a simplicity to leadership that lies within. Four things are happening in the moment when a leader draws in their breath to speak words that lead or tenses their muscles ready to take a leadership action:They bring to bear all their awareness of the world around them and their place in it.They consciously bring forward their learning, thoughts and experiences that are relevant to that moment. (This is a most important piece; it requires genuine assessment of whether the leader considers themselves followable.)They bring an intention to move the situation forward: this is the very essence of leadership.They marshall deep care for the people they propose to lead and a reasonable assurance that those they lead are prepared to follow.

Now, these points might look, at first glance, like a checklist too! But the difference is this: The Leadership Foundation’s approach requires the development of a strong foundation of thought, reflection and a certain amount of courage. We can’t lead others until and unless we understand ourselves and how knowledge of ourselves can enable the leadership of others.

If you have a moment right now, compare these two approaches and consider which one you think will produce the more effective leadership outcomes.

Leadership is not a product, like a set of accounts, to be ticked off.

Leadership requires more than competently performing a series of steps. Leadership is the result of contextual and inner awareness, a genuine commitment to make a difference and a deep care for the people one would propose to lead.

At The Leadership Foundation, we provide opportunities for leaders from all walks of life and at every stage in their leadership journey with the opportunity to contemplate, reflect, review, get support and refresh their leadership to go forward. Come to an event. More details are available at www.theleadershipfoundation.com.au or contact Ben Baldwin on 0400 743 170

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