“Trust Is Weakening”

AICD  reported this week that the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer “has shown the trust crisis is deepening in Australia.” (The Boardroom Report. Vol 16, Issue 02 14 February 2018).
The ETB measures trust levels in a range of political, corporate and social institutions.

The key measure of trust is INTEGRITY.
Since Integrity is what is created (or isn’t) when something is tested, trust is the resultant measure.
If I ring a bell and it dings, I trust that the bell has integrity. If I test the bell by ringing it and it clunks, I know it has no integrity and I can’t trust it to do what it was designed and built to do. The integrity of the bell only comes into existence when it is tested i.e the bell is rung. So it is that trust only occurs when the integrity of a person or thing is tested. Before the bell is rung it’s just a bell. It may look like a bell but you can’t know if it rings like a bell until it is tested i.e. rung.

The same applies in organisations and politics.
If leaders say something, often while being tested or under pressure, and it doesn’t ring true, trust evaporates.

Trust is so hard to recapture after the Integrity of a person has been called into question because the leader is demonstrating that they lack integrity.

When trust evaporates it can only be rebuilt by cleaning up the mess that has been created and demonstrating integrity going forward.
This is the reason why so much care has to be demonstrated even in the issuing of an apology (politicians please take note of this re the forthcoming apology to the victims of institutional violence): if the apology is not issued with integrity, the trust that was intended to be created is never created.
This is because integrity is binary: it is either present or not. It’s a 0 or a 1. Integrity can’t be partly present.

We humans are finely calibrated and extremely sensitive instruments for measuring integrity; after all, our ability to assess integrity in people and things and the trust which follows are sometimes vital to our very survival.

This is essential work that I do with a small group of leaders, assisting them in building and maintaining integrity in who they are and what they do; assisting them when integrity and the resultant trust are lost; rebuilding trust through the restoration of integrity. Please call me on 0419 001 179 if you would like to take this further.

“The Etiquette of Leadership: The Art and Science Of Leading Well.”

The Etiquette of Leadership: The Art and Science of Leading Well,” by Ben Baldwin and Ian Sampson

(The following is a review of our chapter on “The Etiquette of Leadership” in “Think Big” by O’Sullivan and Fitzgerald.)

“Leadership has its own etiquette, and there’s an art and a science behind leading well. Great leaders side-step the old formulas of leadership theory to transform their effectiveness, to strengthen their reputations and to increase their wellbeing.

“Sampson and Baldwin explain that there are some common, deep and often unrevealed factors at work behind most of the effective leaders. These factors enable natural leaders to emerge in times of crisis, and they can also be spotted in the most successful CEOs and entrepreneurs.

“Effective leadership is this: repeatedly getting done through others what can’t be done by oneself. And in the lead up to each moment of effective leadership, good leaders bring together four elements:

  • A model that works for them about what real leadership is
  • An awareness of their surroundings
  • A deep sense of commitment to maximise the wellbeing of those they’re seeking to lead
  • A strong desire to move the situation forward

“The etiquette of leadership is practised effectively when leaders take these four elements and use them as a basis to build their own unique approach. The art of leadership lies in how the science is applied to the situation by you as the leader. When the art and the science come together, effective leadership creates outcomes that would not otherwise have been achievable.

“To give you a little extra inspiration, here are a few examples of the etiquette of leadership in action:

  • A senior executive who puts aside his grand title and flashy totems of office to create a sincere conversation with his followers
  • A politician who speaks at a rally and puts aside jargon and platitudes to engage with the listeners’ intellect and emotions
  • A project manager who delivers results exactly as planned for
  • A case worker who leads a group of clients to new understandings of practical ways to deal with problems#

“Effective leaders are out there right now, making things happen every minute of every day. It’s time for you to become one of them.”

If you would like a first edition copy of “The Etiquette of Leadership: The Art and Science of Leading Well” please go to www.the leadership foundation.com.au

Copies are also be available by contacting me at ianrs@iansampson.com.au

Do You Chair an Organisation?

Do you Chair of an organisation, either for profit or nfp in any sector, of any size? I am hosting a quarterly meeting of Chairs in Brisbane QLD, where we explore aspects of great chairmanship.

Each meeting will be an opportunity for new and experienced Chairs to explore the special issues that they face in their role. Sometimes we need assurance about the best approaches that others are using. Sometimes we need to be able to talk about issues in strictest confidence and get some wise counsel. Sometimes we need to stay up to date on how to practice great chairmanship.

The meetings will be in a small group to maximise interaction. They will be followed by a lunch where we can network, build relationships and connections.

If you are a Chair or know someone who is, please contact me by email or on 0419001179 to discuss further.

I look forward to welcoming you!

Director Opportunity

3rdSpace (www.3rdspace.org.au) cares for nearly 1000 homeless and vulnerable visitors each week in Brisbane.

We are seeking two new Directors. https://www.seek.com.au/job/35419076?type=standard&userqueryid=ae85a114bb9826a401b95e2174740a1f-5450583

Please reply to the ad if you are interested and feel free to contact me on 0419001179 for more information

A Leadership Gem from BHP’s AGM

One transformative takeaway from the BHP AGM presentation was: “nothing gets done if it’s not done safely.”

This powerful concept has important implications for leaders: focus on real outcomes, manage total risk, lead people to safety.

In order to “get things done” leaders and followers first need to be sure about who they are committed to be. Who we are being, gives us what we do and that in turns gives us the outcome.

So, a leader might take on being committed to the safe completion of a task by their workgroup. That will determine a different way of doing the work than just completing the task no matter what. A safely completed activity will be what gets done.

Hats off to BHP for providing intellectual and practical leadership on this! Well done.


I had fond hopes that the kerfuffle about executive pay might have brought more principled debate and courageous decisions to the Board tables of our largest companies.

The idea that obscene amounts of money incentivises already committed and values- driven executives to achieve more than they otherwise would, is nonsense. The sooner Boards face up to it as self serving, special pleading the better. It’s not an overly significant or complex problem. Without being simplistic, all it requires is some leadership and sound thinking to create a new pathway for responsible and sustainable remuneration practices.

Those who argue it is, at least in part, “compensation” for things like uncertain tenure should be met with the same insights that apply to ordinary wage and salary earners: fair pay stabilises tenure for all. Others argue about CEO and other senior executives’ remuneration needing to reflect what is paid in international markets; bad international practice doesn’t justify bad domestic practice.

If there are resisters and counter viewers, let them present some evidence that current remuneration policies do really create additional discretionary actions that actually deliver leveraged value. And even more, that these often enormous amounts of additional pay above base create intelligent action that would not otherwise have been initiated but for these payments.

For 50+ years organisational experts have accepted that money is not a motivator, except to the extent that unfair remuneration is a de-motivator.

Remuneration needs to be a measure of the value that the incumbent in a role brings to their organisation’s success and sustainability.

Those who are seized with the realisation that these currently obscene and unconscionable practices need to be addressed and know that they are accountable for doing so, seem to be struggling with the competence issue of how value can be reasonably measured.

There are many ways to assess value and there are some industries and professions that may be able to argue special cases for how they measure it; but for the vast majority, Boards need to do some hard thinking and reflection about the value that the CEOs and Executive Teams create.

They also need to be aware of the increasingly insidious cultural practices that they are contributing to by sanctioning and defending these remuneration processes.

Boards need to remember that employees outside the executive teams see these manifestly unfair outcomes and can be forgiven for thinking that their only recourse is to adopt similar self-serving behaviours themselves.

These reflected behaviours apply to employees at various levels in organisations, as well as contractors, advisers, and other service providers.

The underlying philosophy that develops from these indefensible remuneration excesses in the top echelons is: if its good for the goose, its good for the gander.

How can value be measured?

One simple, but not simplistic, way is as follows:

If I have a paddock and I agist a horse on it for $50 per week, I can assess the value of the paddock in two ways: one is the revenue it creates i.e $50 per week. A second is the capital value. If I had $50,000 dollars and I invested it at 5% it would earn roughly $2,500 p.a or $50 per week. So, the capital value of the paddock might be said to be $50k.

On this logic, an executive who earns $1m p.a. would have a capital value of $20m. If they can demonstrate what they have done to create that value, they would be worth that pay.

If it is a team effort, the results need to be shared on the same basis.

So, if a large organisation creates $100m of added value, a pool of $5m would be available for the total remuneration of all involved i.e. from the cleaner to the CEO.

The percentage used in the calculation might be the same as the rate of return for shareholders in that company in the previous year or an average of the past three years or the like, or it might be based on another shareholder relevant measure.

By some careful thought, remuneration for executives can be more closely tied to their real value. A “bonus” (pardon the pun) might be that remuneration is paid in ways that reflects sustainable performance and avoids the nonsense of short and long term incentive payments and the fashionable but illogical approach of deferring pay.

Paying on the basis of market rates, comparable skills assessments, years in a role or profession and the like are all outdated, unwieldy and unworkable. In the digital, automated age we now are in, added value is the only measure.

How “Value” is defined needs careful thought by Boards. The same thinking that they apply in determining arrangements for their CEO needs to apply to the whole organisation, not least themselves.

Only a couple of years ago, executive pay and CEO pay in particular might have been addressed by Boards as an issue related to workability: i.e. what do we need to do to get an acceptable outcome in all the circumstances? Today, it is a moral issue.

If it is confronted as a moral issue, Boards will make a considerable (even valuable) contribution to restoring trust in their organisations, promoting a healthier working environment for employees at all levels, reaffirming their mission as stewards of the organisation, recreating pride, as well as addressing the fear and ennui that is such an unacknowledged attribute of organisational life for too many at present. This is a question of leadership.

Stop Giving Back: We’re not sure we want It

“I want to give back,” he said.

I resisted the temptation to ask what he’d taken.

Instead I asked:”How do you think that will benefit a board?”

“Well, I’ve been enormously successful and now I want to share my success by helping others as a director.”

“Nice,” I replied. “And why would a board be interested in you above all the other thousands of aspiring directors swimming in the same pond?”

“Well, I’ve got some really useful skills like strategy and leadership and of course a governance Qualification. And I am a successful manager of large teams and I have commercial acumen.”

“And so do hundreds if not thousands of your colleagues who want board placements.”

I plowed on. “Let’s come at this another way: why do you really want to become a director?”

He slumped in his chair. “If I am being honest, (Ahhh! Progress!” I thought to myself) I think I am ready to pull back a bit from executive life. I like the idea of being at the top of a company without having to get tied up in all the executive rigmorale like budget negotiations and interminable meetings and all that HR stuff. It gets pretty wearying.”

“So this is an escape? Or do you honestly think that competent board work is any less intellectually emotionally or physically challenging than executive life?

“Or do you really have something to offer that is unique? What is it about you in addition to all your qualifications, skills and experiences that is not just relevant to an organisation you could become a director of? What would make you interesting on top of all that?

“I don’t know!” The shock of the realisation then led on to a great conversation about who he really is. What he sees for himself as his unique contribution apart from glib stuff like giving back.

Assuming you do really know that you really want to do to be a director, why do you really want to be a director? What would make you interesting to a board that you have relevant qualifications experiences and skills to contribute to?

Get clear about the Why as a unique encapsulation of your purpose.

This why will be a subset of your why for life.

Then get clear about what makes you interesting to a board. Get focussed on what would make you interesting to the Chair and the other directors and useful to the CEO and their team without getting in their way operationally.

What are your unique personal groundings and qualities that will enable you to make a contribution as a great colleague?

Do this work in draft form if you can. If you can’t get a draft down or when you can get as far as a draft, share it with a coach experienced in board governance and dynamics. Conversations in this domain are what makes for successful leadership in the special work that effective directors do.

Knowing why you really want to be a director and what makes you unique will be what lifts you out of the swamp of other director aspirants. It will position you to be a successful contributor whose life is enlarged through the privilege and responsibilities of being on a board.



Can Directors Also Be Leaders?

You may know CEOs who become directors; as business leaders they sometimes have difficulty in redefining their role on the Board. It’s important preliminary work for CEOs and other senior executives to understand at a visceral level why and how they can’t keep an operational mindset in the Boardroom.

If they have been effective in their executive functions, providing all the leadership qualities that are required of incumbents in high office, can they use those same leadership skills at the Board table, without contaminating their new role as a director?

Leadership is one of those qualities that can be translated from Executive roles to Board roles. Other translatable qualities include strategy, people skills, decisiveness and the like. All require some redefinition for success. Strategic thinking needs to be refocussed from execution to include the capacity to search more, question more and the like. People skills need to be refocussed from taking the decision and managing the risks to gaining answers to questions like: “what lies under the presenting problem” and: “is the issue more about the person raising the issue than the presenting problem?”

So too, leadership qualities evident in the C Suite can be translated into effective leadership as a director. Almost certainly, bad leadership behaviours learned as an executive will not be tolerated in the Boardroom. Your colleagues won’t let you get away with them and if they are effective directors they won’t allow your bad leadership behaviours to compromise their own effectiveness, duties and responsibilities.

Leadership effectiveness as a director requires a new level of perceptiveness, permission seeking and preparation that is often not required in CEO roles where the incumbent exercises leadership from a place of power.

Effective director leadership is often more measured, more like a coaching style, more open to deep listening and reflection. Of course, decision making and the exercise of governance and strategic functions continue to be the hallmarks of good director leadership, as they are for leadership as a CEO or Executive. In the Boardroom, often the pressures of time can be less, allowing for consideration of context, fit of proposals with deeply held assumptions and principles, impacts of proposals on the organisation’s collective intelligence and the quality of relationships, the sense of organisational identity and the effects on the working environment (often mislabelled as “culture”).

This is a different kind of leadership to what is often required of CEO leaders. There is a kind of etiquette evident. It is not just good manners. Good leaders directors demonstrate congruity, alignment between their personal and organisational values, respect for the unsaid and a commitment to move things forward.

These themes are developed in more detail in “The Etiquette of Leadership: The Art and Science of Leading Well” by Baldwin and Sampson in a new book to be published in late November. Some aspects are also covered in a chapter with the same title in “Think Big” by O’Sullivan and Fitzgerald, available now through Amazon.



“Experience”: The Last Bastion of the Old Guard

The barricades against diversity are falling fast. Resistance will continue to fade as those with responsibility continue to pass through the “WHY should we?” phase to the “HOW do we do it?” and the”WHAT must we do?” phases.

Next to go in the continuing transformation of Boards and Managements as we meet the new era of business in the age of digits and automation is: “Experience.”

Experience is the last vestige of protection against diversity. “Of course (the female, LGBTIQ candidate) is good but she just doesn’t have the experience that this important role requires.”

Not only is “Experience” the quality leaders hide behind to protect themselves from having to face the new reality of a truly diverse workforce; “Experience” is also a limiter of performance and effectiveness in itself. This is because “Experience” is not distinguished by many who are accountable for deciding on appointments to organisations and their Boards.

When “Experience” is distinguished from Knowledge and Skills, Fit and Potential, recruiters begin to see the elements of a candidate. Unfortunately, “Experience” often remains undistinguished in itself.

Boards and Managements don’t just need the experience of candidates who have “been there, done that”; operated in the same industry, profession or calling; acquired the same views, prejudices and mores of others. They need the “savvyness” that is drawn from experience. The other components of “Experience” (mentioned above) are largely self limiting.

“Savvy” as a noun includes these qualities:shrewdness, practical knowledge, astuteness, sharp-wittedness, acuteness, acumen, intelligence, wit, canniness, common sense, discernment, insight, understanding, penetration, perception, perceptiveness, perspicacity, knowledge, sagacity.

When a leader is savvy they demonstrate these ways of being: shrewd and knowledgeable; having common sense and good judgement, astute, sharp-witted, acute, intelligent, clever, canny, perceptive, perspicacious, sagacious, sage; on the ball, smart, streetwise, whip-smart; long-headed, sapient, argute.

Being savvy is the quality we want in new hires to managements and Boards.

This is the quality that candidates must be able to demonstrate for successful appointment and progress.

Winston Churchill once said: “The one thing we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history.” Experience is a useful quality in ensuring that the lessons of the past are remembered. But it is only half the story: remembering the past is only useful if it forms the basis of future action. This is where being savvy springboards off the past and creates the opportunity for action.

Boards and management teams must build their savviness and ensure that they are rightly composed of individuals who are savvy if they are to remain viable and prosperous.

Key means to building savviness include: regularly scanning the environment, maintaining a vibrant strategic focus, sharing the wisdom of the group as an access to deeper wisdom; bringing in new thinking in the form of people and knowledge; continuously shaping collective identity (who we are, not who we were).

Next time you are recruiting for a role, consider what you really mean when you specify “Experience” as a criterion. Do you really want candidates who are “savvy”?

Next time you are seeking a role, draw out your qualities of being savvy, not just with examples from your experience but also demonstrations of how you would handle situations in a savvy way.

Boards and managements with savvy members will forge ahead; the others will be left guarding the exits.

www.ian sampson.com.au

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