Category Archives: leadership

Adaptable Leadership in the Public Sector: Courage to take the Strengths-based Approach for Key Outcomes

Introduction The early 2000s was a febrile period for public services in the UK when government expected improved outcomes for increased funding levels and regulatory inspection and audits were expanding in scale and reach. Direct or implicit intervention was an ever present risk if failure was suspected. Resilient and adaptable leaders were expected to craft effective responses to the challenges. Some interventions took the form of relatively ‘light-touch’ oversight of specific services. In other cases the interventions were more dramatic and included: Leadership teams excised from the organisation Interim leaders installed Governmental appointees sent to guide and oversee improvement Councillors… Read more
Posted in Appreciative Inquiry, assumptions, change, Complexity, courage, Culture change, Good-finding, Interims, leadership, Leadership styles, learning, Listening, Local Government, Make a difference, Organisational development, People, Positive core, Public Service, reputation, Strengths, Supporting leaders, Transformation | Leave a comment

Change – Our Worlds, Contexts and Conversations

The imperatives to change and transform our organisations, and the risks of not responding coherently and appropriately to those imperatives have never been greater or more pressing. During change, the emphasis is often on the ‘programme’ and the programme management tools; the Gantt charts; the HR procedures, cost-management and delivering the ‘benefits’ (how I recoil from that particular term) and so on – and perhaps rightly so. Without appropriate emphasis on those technical aspects, many change programmes (again, not keen on that way of describing change, as programmatic, almost guaranteed to succeed) can and often do falter or fail to… Read more
Posted in change, Culture change, engagement, Illuminate, leadership, Seeing Systems, Strategic Planning, strategy, Transformation | Leave a comment

The Secrets of Great Groups

I’m re-reading a tremendous book I picked up a while ago ‘- Leader to Leader’, from the Drucker Foundation. It’s a compendium of short, highly readable articles by great leaders and organisational thinkers and researchers. One particular article has my attention at the moment. Warren Bennis in his article, ‘The Secrets of Great Groups’ suggests there are enduring lessons to be learnt not only from studying personal leadership, but from studying group leadership. He suggests that the “few great accomplishments are ever the work of a single individual”. Mythology refuses to catch-up with reality, according to Bennis, so the myths… Read more
Posted in Action Learning, AI, change, co-create, Complexity, courage, Culture change, cuts, Executive coaching, Future Search, ideas, leadership, Leadership styles, learning, Peter Drucker, Public sector cuts, strategy, Summit, Talents, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Transform the Culture as well as the Structures and Systems

David Clark, Chief Executive of SOLACE, (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives) wrote this weekend about a recent survey of Chief Executives throwing up some interesting views on the subject of transformation. “Many (most?) councils feel they must “transform” themselves, if they are to survive the harsh conditions of austerity. Many embarked on large “transformational” programmes, some even appointed new staff to lead the transformation and a few now report that their transformation has now been concluded successfully. But these transformations are in no sense homogenous. They have often started in very different places. Some have included customer led service… Read more
Posted in Appreciative Change, Behaviours, change, Complexity, Culture change, customer service, cuts, engagement, leadership | Leave a comment

Does it have to be like this?

It’s been quite a week or two from a number of perspectives, with several occurrences that have caused me more than a little pause for thought (and emotion) around people, services, systems and perhaps leadership. The examples and analysis I offer are less felt as an organisational consultant, ‘though I do analyse these things from more than one perspective, and much more about what I find as a consumer, client, customer; call me what you will. Nor are these stories meant as gratuitious criticisms, borne out of a simple impatience or ingratitude. They are offered more as a narrative as… Read more
Posted in appreciative, Behaviours, Culture change, customer service, leadership, Leadership styles, Metaphor, reputation, service quality | Leave a comment

Change and ensuring great culture doesn’t go in the cuts

As we enter a period of substantial, long-term and  discontinuous change for organisations in all sectors, the reality that we will lose massive experience and talent is unavoidable. The headlines tend to concentrate on the loss of jobs, people and resources – rightly so. There is though another risk of loss that is less obvious yet potentially more damaging to the long term health of an organisation. That is the loss of ‘culture’, i.e. “the way we do things around here”, the often ephemeral yet vital social ‘glue’ that binds many organisations together, sets them apart from the herd. This… Read more
Posted in AI, appreciative, Appreciative Change, Appreciative planning, Behaviours, Culture change, leadership, Positive core, Public sector cuts, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The NHS, leadership development and the public service orientation

Two recent articles in the Guardian’s Healthcare Professional Network have brought NHS leadership styles and leadership generally to the fore, specifically in relation to the Mid-Staffs Hospital Inquiry and more widely to the raft of process changes underway in the NHS. Part of the debate now involves the leadership style that seems to have been the predominant style desired in both recruits to a senior level in the NHS and, by inference, being turned out by the NHS Leadership Academy. Either way, the critique seems to be that the so-called ‘pace-setting’ style of leadership, whilst appropriate for a wide range… Read more
Posted in leadership, Leadership styles, learning, NHS, Public Service, Public Service Orientation, Public Services, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Painting the ‘big picture’ – leadership & intentional communication

Effective communication by leaders with their organisation’s employees helps to create engagement, motivation and a shared direction. What can sometimes happen though is that corporate communications fail to create a clear picture of the organisation’s strategic direction, tending to focus more on day-to-day operational matters, exhortations to better performance and trying to beat the rumour-mill to the punch. In 2007 HBR research found that a clear minority of employees reported that their managers communicated a clear strategic direction to them. Interestingly, in connected research this year, senior managers when asked believed a minority of their employees had a good grasp… Read more
Posted in communication, leadership, strategy | Leave a comment

Courage and authenticity in times of change

Peter Drucker once remarked that “my greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.” It was a self-deprecating quip. But it also contained a grain of truth. He also said, ““I can only ask questions. The answers have to be yours.” So it is now, whether as a facilitator, consultant, or adviser, it’s the power of the questions we ask that can illuminate complex change and transformation efforts. Once we think about questions, we also need to consider what sort of questions, e.g. are they deficit-based, i.e. what’s the problem here, or are they… Read more
Posted in Appreciative questions, authenticity, change, courage, leadership, Peter Druckerer | 1 Comment