Tag: Elite Lessons

Time for new metrics for leadership


Microsoft just became the most valuable company in the world.

This made big headlines, though very few people know the name of their CEO and few of the articles truly got into why his radically different style of humble leadership has been at the heart of that transformation. Yes, humility in leadership at the heart of the most highly valued company in the world.

My homepage begins with the words:

“Command-and-control leadership is losing its grip. A new way of thinking is emerging: leadership that embraces change as constant, encourages individual thought, relies on intuition more than data, fluidity more than hierarchy, trust more than fear, and the common good more than profit.”

Naturally, I’ve then written about new ways of leading, new ways of valuing, new ways of measuring what matters. Today, then, I’ll tie together some thoughts from earlier articles.

  1. how the CEO of Microsoft understands this
  2. how Patagonia also “gets” this, and
  3. how the broader corporate world doesn’t, and are still largely using dated metrics.

Time for change.

Time for for new metrics for leadership (more…)

Listening for energy

ting jin

As I write this post, I have just finished a meeting with a client where there was a powerful moment that came from deep listening to what sat behind the words and content of the conversation. It even sat behind the context or source of the issues being discussed. It sat in the deep energy behind this.

Today I’ll say more and give some examples from experience around “Listening for Energy”. (more…)

PUSH and PULL, finding the right balance

push pull

As leaders, sometimes we push ourselves hard. Work hard, be busy, lead by example etc.

We often then push our people to think, decide, do, deliver.

In the #OpenLeadership model, I refer to this as #Warrior mode. It can work for a time yet ultimately depletes others.

Alternatively, we can seek others to feel the pull of our vision and ideas, to be attracted to an idea and bring their own energy, ideas, effort to make that vision a reality.

Life and leadership are not binary, not “either/or”. It is always a matter of balance between push and pull actions and push and pull energies of leadership.

Today some stories and ideas to support you as a leader in considering your own choices around where to find that balance. (more…)

Kindness as Leadership

fred rogers

Yesterday I published “Be Nice“, talking about Jeffrey Sachs and his advice for changing the world. As a leader he has certainly changed the world through his thoughts, actions and choices.

November 13th, two days ago, was “World Kindness Day”, and at one stage that day I sat and read the Sunday Times review of “Won’t you be my neighbour”, a documentary just released about Fred Rogers, one of the kindest humans I’ve ever come across.

Today let me share my thoughts around Mr Rogers and kindness, closing with one of the most powerful appearances at a congressional subcommittee you will ever see.

He exemplified kindness as leadership. (more…)

Patience – Don’t swing at every pitch

Aaron Judge

This is the look of a batter striking out swinging.


This is a picture from the book, “The Science of Hitting” by Ted Williams, where Ted broke the strike zone into 77 baseball-sized circles, colour-coding each one based on where he had the best chance to hit the ball.

He knew his sweet spot and waited patiently.

Ted Williams did not swing at every pitch.

Ted Williams was the last player to bat .400 for a season.

77 years ago.

Today, lessons from Ted Williams and Warren Buffett on patience. (more…)

From Pooh to Cantona

This week I brought you wisdom for Leadership from the sagest of sage bears (apologies to Paddington, who comes a close second), Winnie the Pooh.

Today, I bring you the legend that is Eric Cantona, who I also wrote about recently in: “Ferguson and Cantona – Vulnerability and Strength“.

Yes, Leadership learnings from Eric Cantona. You come here expecting the eclectic, yes?

I’ll share learnings from an article he recently wrote, as well as my own reflections.


Leadership lessons – from an orchestra conductor

dressage orchestra

Yes, that photo is of a horse and rider doing dressage being conducted along with a chamber orchestra. My friend Steven Roth, a conductor of many years experience, has even conducted dancing horses !!

Steven is Executive Director of Scottish Ballet and I love meeting up with him when we can to exchange ideas on leadership.

We met recently for breakfast in Glasgow and afterwards he sent me this hysterical clip of Mr Bean as a conductor, then later shared some leadership lessons he takes from it.

Thank you for giving me permission to share, Steven ! (more…)

Masters practice incessantly, then improvise

oscar peterson

This week I was at my favourite recurring learning experience, a “Facilitation Shindig” led by the amazing Julie Drybrough.

This experience inspired today’s post, about Mastery being about the ability to improvise and that ability coming from incessant practice.

Though hesitant to call me or anyone else a “master”, the common ground for all present is that we are experienced coaches/mentors/facilitators and come together for a full day to deepen our practice, or, as Julie has put it, “rattle our foundations”.

At our latest shindig, one thing we talked about was about how little or how much we plan and structure before we run a session for a group. What came forth from this for me was that, though we all have different styles, what we had in common was that in fact, we learn, prepare, plan, structure in detail (in our own way), so that we can then “flow”, we can improvise.

As Debussy said (and I reflected on in “Less is more – leave space“:

“Music is the space between the notes”

In your leadership, when the critical, key moments occur, the “moments of truth”, do you need to think about what to do? Do you need to plan, to structure, or do you simply “flow”, as if everything in all your experience readied you for the moment.

Today, then, let me reflect on “Flow”, on my favourite athlete, and finally on my all-time favourite jazz moment.  (more…)

Organisational Transformations – dropping pebbles

pebble pond

The #BeMoreYou page on this site is there to help leaders assess if I am the right person to support them and if they are the right person too. Words like bravery and transformation are peppered through the site, and this phrase from the page is apposite to today’s post: “My commitment is that our work together will facilitate the greatest possible impact for you, your business, and the world.”.

In my work, many of my clients over the years have been leaders of large organisations and they bring me in to support them with transformational change, to amplify their own already high impact, to put an even greater dent in the universe, so to speak.

Today I’ll share an excerpt from a recent article on transformational change I found valuable in an understanding of just what it takes to move from idea to execution of transformation.

In this, I’ll also distil some of my thoughts around the themes in the article, including how you can create a conversation around “dropping pebbles” to create an effective strategy to effect “complex contagion” and so real transformation throughout the organisation. (more…)

Don’t be more than one hilltop ahead


What can Don Quixote teach us about leadership?

Today I saw this post from a leader in the UK I respect and am frequently inspired by, and it had me recall a leadership parable I have often found of value with clients, so will share it now. Who would have thought Don Quixote could teach us about leadership? (more…)

When will you next recharge…yourself?

Bak to nature device

Thanks to Monique Valcour for sharing this, with the tagline:

Recharge yourself with nature

The thing is, here in the Northern Hemisphere, there is a real “back to school” energy which means that for those who were able to slow down over the summer and recharge themselves in nature, now only a very few will consciously and with awareness plan to take time to recharge themselves with nature in the coming months up until the end of the year.

In terms of leadership performance, sometimes with clients, I find some of the biggest shifts are the easiest and simplest to propose and support them in implementing.

The most obvious and most overlooked? (more…)

The compass matters more than the calendar


Image credit : Lewis Howes – Leadership Compass

Today a guest post from my friend Jeff Raker of Level Up Leadership.

Jeff is a wonderful guy and a top swimming official in the USA. We met a number of years ago through world of international swim officials. When not volunteering in swimming, Jeff is a certified executive coach who develops leaders at all levels in business and in sports. Regular readers know that I am passionate about seeing the linkages between elite sports and elite business. Jeff and I therefore often exchange ideas and thoughts.

When I saw his latest post, and given that one of my phrases when helping clients set direction is “if you don’t know where you are going, all roads will take you there”, he kindly accepted my request to make this a guest post today.

Oh, and when I made the request, he shared this.

“The inspiration for the article comes from a phrase I either created or picked up somewhere (I know not where if I did). My wife, calligraphied it and I sit it in front of an actual compass on my desk:

“The compass matters more than the calendar. The direction you’re heading matters more than the speed with which you are getting there.”

So many applications of that thought.”

So, to Jeff’s post (more…)

Elite Lessons – Making failure possible


In order to make failure possible, you first have to try, to commit, to go where it may scare or even terrify you, to be vulnerable, to say “this might not work” and do it anyway.

Very recently I was disappointed to witness this first hand in someone. They were presented with a real opportunity, yet my sense is that it felt too scary to them to try, so instead, they creating a rationale for them to choose to back away and shut down. Rather than risk failure, they chose not to commit, to make the effort, to try.

By making the choice not to try, as Cate Campbell notes (see letter below) that person “let the fear of failure destroy the possibility of success”. We all have our own journey to go on, our own choices to make, and reflecting on that experience, today I’ll riff on this with lessons from two leaders. (more…)