business

Everything’s going to be all right: the power of leadership narratives

Everything’s going to be all right: the power of leadership narratives

  How to construct leadership narratives is likely to be a talking point on the new NCVO programme Charity Leadership in the 2020s that I am co-creating with Rebecca Nestor. Here’s what I’m noticing and thinking as the programme takes shape. If you have been into a gift shop in the last year or so you will probably have … Continued

Plain English introduction to U Theory: how to create innovative solutions collectively

Plain English introduction to U Theory: how to create innovative solutions collectively

U Theory in plain English U theory is a process that is profound, powerful and practical. But it seems to me that U Theory believers use so much jargon that they are in danger of turning it into a cult. One day I decided to try to explain U Theory in plain English. The is the result. U … Continued

Finding Leverage Points for Learning: Titi Tade discovers the value of allowing her medical social work students to digress

Finding Leverage Points for Learning: Titi Tade discovers the value of allowing her medical social work students to digress

Pure water? “Pure water” in Nigeria refers to a sealed polythene sachet containing 500mls of water at a minimum cost of ₦5 ($0.03 or £0.02) per sachet. It is available on every street corner across the country in both urban and rural settings. The “pure water” phenomenon started in Nigeria sometime in the 1990’s as … Continued

‘Don’t ask me to lead’ by Del Redvers, Head of Sustainability at BMT Group

‘Don’t ask me to lead’ by Del Redvers, Head of Sustainability at BMT Group

I’m sitting on an A380 Super Jumbo. The seatback screen says that we are at 35,000 feet, travelling at 576 miles per hour with almost 6,000 miles still to go. I should be trying to get some sleep. Instead I am idly watching the cabin crew bustle around, clearing away half-eaten meals. For me, this … Continued

Leadership Tendencies in 2014: the banker, the nun, and the business professor

Leadership Tendencies in 2014: the banker, the nun, and the business professor

What’s new and good in the field of leadership and sustainability? It’s good that Barclays Bank boss, Antony Jenkins, is encouraging his staff to learn from the example of Sister Mary Owens, who cares for children with HIV in Kenya. The essence of good leadership, said Jenkins on BBC Radio, “is about having an impact … Continued

2013 Transitions

2013 Transitions

January Taking myself to market This is a blog about how I made the transition from employed to self-employed. According to Dan Pink, to sell is human. So I took myself to market and I sold! I try to sell myself quietly, and I also notice how other people sell themselves to me. One day, after a … Continued

A business person, a politician and a consumer go to a gastropub: what do they order, and who pays?

A business person, a politician and a consumer go to a gastropub: what do they order, and who pays?

Can we trust business to build a sustainable future? Last night I went to hear a panel discussion about the role of business in helping to build a more sustainable future. Judging by the number of people who left before the end of the session, what the panel had to say just wasn’t that interesting. … Continued

What real leaders really do

What real leaders really do

Once upon a time, when I thought I wanted to work in HR, I read a much reprinted article by John P Kotter, called “What leaders really do” (Havard Business Review, May-June 1990). In plain English Kotter described a step by step approach to helping people deliver the organisation’s vision e.g. involving people in decision-making, being a good role model, providing coaching and feedback, and praising people when they were successful. At the time Kotter made complete sense to me, and I was grateful to him for making leadership seem so simple.